A piece of Second World War history arrived at Red Deer Airport when the B-25 Bomber Maid in the Shade touched down Monday morning as part of the Flying Legends of Victory Tour.
The tour runs until Sunday at Hangar A and the public can climb aboard or fly in Maid in the Shade, built in 1944. It’s one of only about 34 B-25 planes left in the world still flying.
The U.S. and Canadian summer tour is made possible by volunteers with the non-profit Arizona Commemorative Air Force Museum who tell stories about brave American flyers and want to educate generations about the role of aviation in combat.
“This is not something you can walk down to the local airport to look at. It’s a rare kind of a thing to see a fully restored, vintage, World War II aircraft. It’s a flying museum,” said Ed Campbell with Arizona Commemorative Air Force on Monday.
“It is a World War II veteran. She did, indeed, see action. She also took enemy fire and was hit.”
He said the plane flew 13 combat missions in Italy and two in Yugoslavia.
After the war the plane was purchased, and during its civilian life, it was used for bombing fire ants in Texas, among other tasks.
“By the time we got it, it was time to tear it completely apart. The restoration took about 28 years from start to finish. We stripped it all the way down.
“Because of the type of airplane that it is, it was important to us to restore it to World War II glory as much as we could. The only thing that’s different about the aircraft compared to its World War II service is the nose art on it. That’s ours.”
Used in America’s first large-scale bombing offensives in the Philippines, the bomber is one of the most iconic airplanes from the Second World War.
“This particular kind of airplane, the B-25 Mitchell, is the kind of plane that flew off the carrier deck of the USS Hornet six months after Pearl Harbor and flew a raid against Tokyo, Japan. Every crew member on those planes knew it was a one-way ride. They went into Japan. They bombed Japan. They were suppose to make for China. A lot of them crash landed. The crews, some were captured. some made it to freedom, some were captured and executed.”
Tour hours are 2 to 6 p.m. on Monday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday; and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday to Thursday. Tours are $10 US per person and $20 US per family of four.
Ride hours are 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday to Sunday. Flights are limited to seven people per flight. Seats are $325 US per waist gunner compartment seat or $650 US for flight deck jump seat.
For more information and to book a flight visit www.azcaf.org/location/springbrook-ab-tour-stop.