Restored WWII bomber Memphis Belle makes public debut

Visitors gather for a private viewing of the Memphis Belle, a Boeing B-17 "Flying Fortress," at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, Wednesday,

Visitors gather for a private viewing of the Memphis Belle, a Boeing B-17 "Flying Fortress," at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, Wednesday,

Veterans gather for a private viewing of the Memphis Belle, a Boeing B-17 "Flying Fortress," at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, Wednesday,

Veterans gather for a private viewing of the Memphis Belle, a Boeing B-17 "Flying Fortress," at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, Wednesday,

Visitors gather under open bomb-bay doors during a private viewing of the Memphis Belle, a Boeing B-17 "Flying Fortress," at the National Museum of th

Visitors gather under open bomb-bay doors during a private viewing of the Memphis Belle, a Boeing B-17 "Flying Fortress," at the National Museum of th

The Memphis Belle, a Boeing B-17 "Flying Fortress," is displayed for private viewing at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, Wednesday, May 16,

The Memphis Belle, a Boeing B-17 "Flying Fortress," is displayed for private viewing at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, Wednesday, May 16,

Robert K. Morgan, Jr., son of the Memphis Belle pilot of the same name, walks past the Boeing B-17 "Flying Fortress" during a private viewing at the N

Robert K. Morgan, Jr., son of the Memphis Belle pilot of the same name, walks past the Boeing B-17 "Flying Fortress" during a private viewing at the N

Visitors gather for a private viewing of the Memphis Belle, a Boeing B-17 "Flying Fortress," at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, Wednesday,

Visitors gather for a private viewing of the Memphis Belle, a Boeing B-17 "Flying Fortress," at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, Wednesday,

Visitors gather for a private viewing of the Memphis Belle, a Boeing B-17 "Flying Fortress," at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, Wednesday,

Visitors gather for a private viewing of the Memphis Belle, a Boeing B-17 "Flying Fortress," at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, Wednesday,

Visitors gather for a private viewing of the Memphis Belle, a Boeing B-17 "Flying Fortress," at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, Wednesday,

Visitors gather for a private viewing of the Memphis Belle, a Boeing B-17 "Flying Fortress," at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, Wednesday,

Visitors gather for a private viewing of the Memphis Belle, a Boeing B-17 "Flying Fortress," at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, Wednesday,

Visitors gather for a private viewing of the Memphis Belle, a Boeing B-17 "Flying Fortress," at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, Wednesday,

Visitors gather for a private viewing of the Memphis Belle, a Boeing B-17 "Flying Fortress," at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, Wednesday,

Visitors gather for a private viewing of the Memphis Belle, a Boeing B-17 "Flying Fortress," at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, Wednesday,

United States Air Force (Ret.) Col. Howard Hunt, center, meets with Memphis Belle fans during the private viewing of the Boeing B-17 "Flying Fortress"

United States Air Force (Ret.) Col. Howard Hunt, center, meets with Memphis Belle fans during the private viewing of the Boeing B-17 "Flying Fortress"

The Memphis Belle, a Boeing B-17 "Flying Fortress," is displayed for private viewing at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, Wednesday, May 16,

The Memphis Belle, a Boeing B-17 "Flying Fortress," is displayed for private viewing at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, Wednesday, May 16,

DAYTON, Ohio (AP) — Hundreds of visitors turned out to at the Air Force Museum to see the World War II bomber Memphis Belle, and the legendary aircraft rarely has looked better.

The plane went on public display at the museum near Dayton, Ohio, for the first time on Thursday morning after a restoration project that required 13 years and 55,000 hours of work.

After a brief ceremony, visitors crowded around the plane trying to get the best photos with their phones.

The B-17 "Flying Fortress" will anchor an extensive exhibit in the museum's World War II gallery, paying tribute to the thousands of men who served on B-17s on daylight bombing missions over Nazi-occupied Europe.

The plane was celebrated for being the first B-17 to survive 25 missions and return to the U.S.