Flying through history with the Memphis Belle

Local News

(WSYR-TV) — It’s been more than 74 years since the European theatre of World War II came to a close with the surrender of Nazi Germany. A big part of what helped bring about the end of the Nazi regime was the 8th Air Force and its fleet of B-17 Flying Fortresses. 

This weekend at the Geneseo Airshow, you can get the chance to see a piece of living history. A replica B-17 nicknamed The Memphis Belle will be part of the show.

“It’s amazing to me that guys continue to get into the airplanes after I think one mission.”

The B-17 Flying Fortress. The bomber that brought the war to Germany. This is a replica of the real Memphis Belle, which holds a special place in Air Force history. It was the first bomber to complete its 25 mission tour.

This replica of the famed aircraft is part of the Geneseo Airshow. Peter Treichler was at the controls and he knows the legacy he’s carrying on.

“They’re bouncing around in that thing and yea, it was a significant effort pretty unbelievable,” Treichler said. “It was a very heavy airplane and it took a lot of effort to fly it. It was a true two-crew airplane, two-man airplane, as far as the pilot perspective goes.”

Only in this instance, we’re going to a leisurely flight over the Finger Lakes, being accompanied by a pair of the airshow’s performers.

But 75 years ago, the fate of the free world was in the balance and the threat soldiers faced was very real.

“You got people coming at ya, you got flak fighters and all that,” Treichler said.

But now, in 2019, the goal is not only to preserve these precious airplanes, but also to tell the younger generation about how the greatest generation saved the world from tyranny.

Treichler said, “There truly is evil in the world and there’s still evil in the world today and it’s important that our country as the greatest country in the world stands up for what’s right in the world.”

Honoring their sacrifices while keeping the memories from fading.

If you’d like to check out the Memphis Belle replica for yourself, the Geneseo Airshow is this Saturday and Sunday at the National Warplane Museum in Livingston County.

For more information, visit

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