Bomber to visit Boundary Bay Airport

A piece of Second World War history will pay a visit to Boundary Bay Airport next week.

The Commemorative Air Force Airbase Arizona is flying its B-25J bomber Maid in the Shade to the East Ladner airport as part of a summer tour. It will be on display to the public from Monday to Thursday.

Visitors will be able to tour the aircraft, "breathe in the history" and talk with volunteers from the nonprofit organization about the plane.

Flights are also being offered.

"Ride of a life time, views are great, no matter where you sit," says Russ Gilmore, one of CAF Airbase Arizona’s B-25 pilots.

"You can feel all those 1700hp kick in on takeoff, you will get a taste of what our veterans did flying aircraft like our B-25 in combat and the sacrifices they made for the freedom we enjoy today. All gave some and some gave all," he says in an email to the Optimist.

Flight prices are $395 US (waist gunner) and $650 US (flight deck).

Gilmore is a retired commercial airline pilot who volunteers with CAF Airbase Arizona and pilots both Maid in the Shade along with the group’s B-17G Flying Fortress Sentimental Journey.

He says frequently asked questions by visitors include where are the repaired bullet holes and was this the type of aircraft used on Doolittle’s Tokyo Raid.

The B-25 Mitchell was made famous by the Doolittle Raiders on April 18, 1942, states a press release from CAF Airbase

Arizona, noting 16 B-25s took off the deck of the USS Hornet and bombed Tokyo four months after the attack on Pearl Harbor.

"The B-25 served in both theaters of war in many roles from bomber to transport. After the war it continued service best known for its role as a fire bomber," the release states.

The plane visiting Boundary Bay Airport saw action in the Second World War, flying 15 combat missions over Italy between Nov. 4 and Dec. 31, 1944, says Sharon Peterson, PR rep for the B-25 summer tour.

That was also the year it came out of the factory, making the plane 70 years old, she adds.

The bomber was donated to the CAF in 1981 and assigned to Airbase Arizona.

The organization spent close to 30 years restoring the plane to its Second World War condition, Peterson says.

The plane, after so many years of restoration work being done in the shade of the hangar at Falcon Field in Mesa, got the name Maid in the Shade by way of vote, Peterson explains.

The CAF was founded to acquire, restore and preserve in flying condition a complete collection of combat aircraft that were flown by all military services of the United States, and aircraft of other nations, for the education and enjoyment of present and future generations of Americans, the organization’s website states.

The bomber will be at the main terminal of Boundary Bay Airport from Aug. 4 to 7 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. (The plane is expected to arrive at 10 a.m. on Aug. 4.)

For flight reservations, call 780-263-1425 or email b25rc@azcaf.org.

Watch a promotional video for the B17 and B25 below. 

For more stories from the Delta Optimist, click here

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