One of the most iconic airplanes from World War II is coming to the Red Deer Airport as it tours over 50 cities this summer.
The B-25 Mitchell “Maid in the Shade” bomber will be accessible to the public to view both inside and out. Seats for flights are available for sale as well.
Only 34 of the B-25 Bombers are still in flight around the world. The one coming to Red Deer was used in the first large-scale WWII bombing by America in the Philippines.
The Arizona Commemorative Air Force Museum (AZCAF) is comprised of 500 volunteer members and seven flyable “warbirds” that tour often. The B-25 Bomber is maintained and housed in the museum's facility in Phoenix.
Gary Hillman, vice-president of the Harvard Historical Aviation Society (HHAS), said a visit like this from the AZCAF is a remarkable one.
“This is an example of what we used to pay the price for the freedoms we enjoy today. This is one of the tools used and it’s always been our contention that it’s not just airplanes or jeeps or whatever else, it’s people, it’s lives, it’s stories.”
Hillman said the society has worked on restoring planes previously and currently has two project planes on the go, including a 1930’s Tiger Moth and a plane used in WWII called the Airspeed Oxford.
The HHAS’s mission is to preserve the history of the Penhold military base as well as the Red Deer Airport.
Hillman said it’s important for people to come out even just to tour the plane and see the history and hear the stories. He added that while the pilots on sight may not have flown in the war, they’ve heard the stories and they know the background of the B-25 bomber.
“These (planes) were nothing if they hadn’t been at the hands of these men who said they were willing to pay the price for everyone else’s freedoms.”
The Red Deer Airport has previously seen visits from antique and classic airplanes, including a few years ago during the 100th anniversary of aviation in Canada.
The AZCAF has also been through Red Deer area previously with a B-17 bomber, but Hillman said the visit from the B-25 has a little bit of a special meaning to the history buffs in the area.
“Again with the war, during the lend-lease program where the United States was providing some equipment to Russia, the B-25’s flew right through here on their way to Alaska where they were handed over to Russia.”
Hillman said those thinking about taking a tour or going for a flight in the B-25 should definitely do so as it’s a unique plane with what would have been state-of-the-art equipment in the ‘40’s.
“It does have a bomb bay and it has the two large radial engines and twin tail booms. So there’s what I like to call elephant ear rudders on it one on each side of the horizontal stabilizer.”
From August 7 - 13 the public can tour the plane at Red Deer Airport between 2 p.m. - 6 p.m. Monday, Friday and Sunday, and from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Rides will be offered Friday through Sunday between 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Anyone looking for more information or to book a flight tour visit www.azcaf.org/tour.
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