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Historic B-17 roars over Front Range

"Memphis Belle" open for tours, flights


Dave Faries

The B-17, built in 1945 and used in the film "Memphis Belle."

Frank LaBlotier remembers his first mission as a B-17 waist gunner. He was five miles over the submarine pens at St. Nazarre on the French coast, huffing oxygen from a bottle, wrapped badly against temperatures in the 50 degree range-below zero-watching German fighters line up to attack his bomber.

"I thought 'what am I doing here?'" recalled the Denver native, then 19-years-old.

 On Monday afternoon, LeBlotier joined a group of journalists for a ride in a historic bomber decked out to resemble the famous "Memphis Belle."  The flight was a precursor to this weekend's public display of the...

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