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2007 B-25 NEWS
B-25 News Archive
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We're including these pages as an update point for B-25 news. We'll post information garnered from any variety of sources, and notate that source at the end of the item. If anyone has anything they'd like to add, please let us know.
- A DVD documentary was released in May 2007 entitled The Bomber Reef by Australia's Seawest Productions. The documentary is the story of a B-25D bomber, 41-30118, that was shot down in 1943. The remains of that B-25 remain submerged in 60 feet of water near Madang in Papua New Guinea. I haven't seen the DVD yet but understand there is some incredible underwater photography of the B-25 as well as some other sunken airplane wrecks filmed by videographer Walt Deas, who has contributed material to this website on ocassion. Coming in at 52 minutes in length, it is available here for $39.95 including shipping. PayPal is an option and there is more information, including some detailed reviews, at the website. There is also a good review of the DVD on this page on the Pacific Wrecks website. Check it out!
Walt advises that the correct address for ordering (and not shown on the websites above) is: 20 Robinsville Crescent, Thirroul, New South Wales, 2515, Australia.
- Pat Carry sent in this nice Roger Cain photo of B-25N 44-30832 (N3155G) that now flies as Take Off Time, a fairly new name for the Mitchell that used to fly as Buck You. Corrected from original posting The B-25 is based at Millville, NJ, and is owned by Tom Duffy. (Thanks to Jeff Funk for politely correcting my error about this airplane. The B-25-O-Meter was running low, boys!)
- B-25 For Sale #1: news comes that B-25H 43-4106 (N5548N), operated by the Weary Warriors Squadron at Aurora, Illinois, is for sale. The aircraft is offered by Team Air, Inc. without a listed price. This is a "Make Offer" deal. This B-25H is the only "H" model currently flying. It's history is contained in detail in B-25 Mitchell in Civil Service but it was transferred from the RFC to a technical school in Oklahoma in 1945 and then went back to the federal government in 1951. It then went to the Bendix Corp. and sed as test bed until 1967. It went through several civil owners until it was obtained by the Weary Warriors in 1981. It underwent a decades-long restoration and rebuilding effort. It is finished in 1st Air Commando Group colors and flies as Barbie III. Distinctive about the airplane is the stubby cannon nose mounted, the only B-25 flying as such. The airplane is currently located at Falcon Field at Mesa, Arizona.
- B-25 For Sale #2: B-25J 44-30456 (N125PF) remains for sale by Provenance Fighter Sales at a "new reduced price" of $575,000. Rumor has this airplane coming out of Tilamook, Oregon, for Chino and, possibly, some mechanical work at Aero Trader, before heading to the company's base at Murietta, California.
- Update to an item noted below in the September 2007 items: Jeff Daly of Australia provided more information about the video that followed the preparation of a trans-Pacific flight of B-25J 44-86791 (N8196H) by Aero Nostalgia at Stockton, California. Jeff provides the information that the video was named Ghosts of the Sky by Video City Productions and released in 1985. It is a 90 minute video and did, in fact, feature actor Glenn Ford as one of the narrators. The other narrator was Australian actor Peter Sumner. It may be available ocassionally on ebay or other online sources, though a quick search revealed none available right now. As a special treat, Jeff sent in a copy of the cover:
- Another B-25 having problems: A local Georgetown, Texas, TV station reported here (for as long as it remains linked) that CAF B-25J 44-86758 (N9643C) is in need of an engine change and will remain grounded until the funds can be secured to pay for it. The news items suggest the rebuild of the Wright R-2600 could cost in the vicinity of $50,000. The B-25K flies as Devil Dog in USMC PB-1J markings, and the Devil Dog Squadron's website is located here.
- Dik Shepherd sent in a number of old photos of civil B-17s and B-25s, and here is one of them:
This was taken at Buckeye, Arizona, in the early 1970s of B-25K 44-86873, then marked as N87Z. This aircraft was sold as surplus in 1958 for $1,700, first becoming N9639C. It became N87Z shortly afterwards and went through a series of owners through the 1960s and 1970s. In 1980, while owned by one Marcelo Ortiz of Miami, it crashed near Long Island in the Bahamas with the loss of all three aboard. At the time this photo was taken, the airplane was owned by the Global Aeronautical Museum of Phoenix, AZ.
- I've enjoyed a series of emails with B-25 researcher Gary Lewis about another CAF B-25, this one being B-25N 43-27868 (N25YR) that flies as the Yellow Rose with the Yellow Rose Squadron based at San Marcos, Texas. Gary sent along this USAF photo believed to depict the airplane before 1954 when Hayes Aircraft upgraded the airplane from a B-25J to a TB-25N (note the air intake above the engines are the original style vs. the higher intakes of the Hayes-moded aircraft).
There is some question about the actual identity of this airplane, as only the last three digits of its AAF serial are visible. This narrows the possible identity of the airplane to six possible B-25Js (43-27868; 44-28868; 44-29868; 44-30868; 44-86868; and 45-8868). Several can be ruled out immediately and the others don't suggest assignment to a training squadron. Excellent chance this airplane now flies as Yellow Rose.
Gary sent in a second photo of the airplane that now flies as Yellow Rose, this one taken in 1974 while the airplane flew as N9077Z with Dothan Aviation in Alabama. Based at Wheelless Airport near Dothan, the company operated a large number of aircraft now called warbirds, including several B-17s and B-25s, primarily on fire ant contracts spraying pesticides in low level missions. Seeing these B-25s as working, money-earning airplanes suggests a time not that long ago but one that seems so remote from how the airplanes are now held.
N9077Z was sold by Dothan Aviation in 1975 to John Stokes and then, two years later, to three individuals who held formed the Yellow Rose Squadron and they eventually sold the airplane to the CAF. It has been restored and operated out of San Marcos since then. It was re-registered as N25YR in 1991.
As an aside, there is a great amount of information available at the Abandoned and Little Known Airfields site, and this researcher heartily encourages others to wade through the detailed information available there. Check out the page on Hugh Wheelless, Wheelless Airport, and Dothan Aviation. Good reading and much thanks to Paul Freeman for his fine website.
- Finally, late breaking news courtesy of Coert Munk that indicates the possibility that Tallichet B-25N 44-30324 (N3161G) is now parked at the South County Airport in south Santa Clara County southeast of San Jose, California. There are reports that this airplane may have been sold to a new owner from Morgan Hill and the airplane will now be based at that airport. We await a local and current photo.
Even later update with breaking news: Roger Cain provided a great photo of this airplane taken just a week ago. Roger indicates that the airplane was purchased by Ken McBride. The airplane will be based at South County Airport and will be restored to "air show condition." Ken is looking for some volunteer help (and looks like he will need some). Thanks, Roger and Coert, for the update.
- And, as long as Roger was sending me photos, he sent along a few taken at the Thunder Over Michigan show last summer at Ypsilanti. Old news, old news, I know, but that's okay because I said so. Besides, they are great photos so here are two of them:
- Finally, Trae Spencer saw that I was lacking a current photo of the Lone Star Flight Museum's B-25N, 44-86734 (N333RW), with it's new paint scheme. This view shows the airplane in April 2007 shortly before the Doolittle Reunion held at San Antonio.
- First off, we've broken the B-25 News page down into multiple pages by years so it won't take so long to load. You can also search through the various pages for specific information using the Yahoo! search engine.
- Jean Louis Delattre in France asked about this B-25D, 43-3517, shown here as Ole John Silver:
Bob Haney came through with some information on this airplane. We thank him much for the following (edited slightly for readability):
I show it going to the MTO in January 1944 and was it eventually assigned to the 340BG/489BS and had the squadron tail code of 9L. Its last reported mission was in December 1944 and it was salvaged overseas as best I can tell. It likely filled out the 489BS after they lost so many aircraft on the Vesuvius eruption in March 1944 or after the German attack on the 340BG base in May 1944. Many of the B-25s in the model group only survived a short time in the MTO as just as they came on the scene the newer J models were also being received and many of these (the B-25Ds) came back to the U.S. This one stayed on the books until 1948 or so and was probably used for transport or staff duties until well after the war. The lack of armament in the photo indicates this was likely after December 1944 when it was withdrawn from combat.
- Barry Maxfield sent in these photos he took in the summer of 1980 at Fairbanks, Alaska. The two past-derelict B-25s had originally been slated for conversion to air tankers but it's not known if that was ever completed.
N9936Z was TB-25N 44-30756 that was mustered out of the USAF in July 1959. After several civil owners, it was purchased by Colco Aviation at Anchorage. It ended up at Fairbanks by 1980 as seen here, and after it went through a few more owners it is not in storage at Borrego Springs with Aero Trader.
N9444Z was a TB-25N that was sold as surplus in February 1959. It also went through several owners and ended up with colco Aviation after May 1961. It ended up in Fairbanks and then, like its stablemate, went through several owners and ended up being stored in the desert by Aero Trader.
The last vestiges of its USAF datablock show on the weathered aluminum alloy skin. At this point, the applied serial is 44-29943A.
- Does anybody remember a TV documentary, possibly narrated by actor Glenn Ford, that covered the restoration of B-25J 44-86791 (N8196H) by Aero Nostalgia at Stockton, California. This TB-25J went to Australia in December 1983 and then went on to New Zealand. It's currently back in the U.S. and is at Chino with Yanks Air Force. Lloyd Parenti remembers the documentary and is trying to locate a copy or at least find someone who remembers it.
Flash! Update on August 20 from George Yarusavage via email:
"Please let Lloyd Parenti know that at least one other history buff saw the mid-1980's documentary he's looking for. I distinctly remember watching a tape I had made of this show before 1988 (don't get excited, the tape is long gone). It had to have been broadcast in early 1988 or earlier, and I believe it was a PBS documentary, as I don't recall watching the History Channel at that time - I'm not sure if the History Channel even existed then. The narrator sounded to be either British or Australian (or perhaps from New Zealand?). This might have been a BBC or ABC (Australian Broadcasting Company) documentary run on PBS, but this is speculation as I don't recall any of the credits.
Thanks, George, for that interesting bit of information.
The beginning of the story is lost to memory, but I do know that: (1) on it's way across the Pacific, the B-25 made a fueling stop at Henderson Field on
Guadalcanal, and (2) I saw the show before making my own pilgrimage to that island in August of 1988."
- Coincidently, Dan Gilbertson sent a photo along of the same airplane, 44-86791 (N8196H) taken a few years earlier than the above restoration effort at Stockton. This TB-25H was used in the filming of Young Joe: The Forgotten Kennedy in 1977. The B-25 was used along with a B-24 to depict the last mission of Kennedy when he was killed in August 1944 while flying an explosive-laden Navy PB4Y-1 in England during a test program. Dan notes that this photo was taken an airport north of Paine Field in Washington. My guess would be Arlington but there are others. In any event, this is Frank Tallman and Don Gilbertson (Dan's father) in front of N8196H.
Dan also remembers that Tallman had gone to Gilbertson in 1968 or so to try and buy the two air tankers he owned for use in Catch-22. Gilbertson was using them on BLM fire contracts in Alaska so he would not sell them.
- Rumors swirling about that B-25J 44-30456 (N125PF), better known as The Silver Lady, late of the Tillamook Air Museum and more recently of Provenance Fighter Sales of Murrietta, California, had been sold to a new owner in the U.K. The attendance of the airplane at a U.K. airshow was even announced. It appears to have been a giant hoax, for what purpose may only belong in the mind of a strange person or persons. The airplane was still at Tillamook as of late July. Now, the airplane is either still at Tillamook or is at Murietta, or somewhere's between How's that for nailing it down. You read it here first, folks, the airplane is somewhere. (Thanks to Sean O'Brien and Coert Munk for some good information.)
- Pat Carry noticed that the B-25L, 44-30456 (N43BA), otherwise known as the Silver Lady and formerly displayed at the Tillamook Air Museum is being carried for sale by the Provenance Fighter Sales at Murietta, California. The sales price is $795,000 and, for that, you get a nice B-25 with two freshly overhauled R-2600 engines and eight seats. This airplane, N43BA since 1983 when Bill Arnot owned it, has had the registration of N125PF reserved for it by its new, albeit temporary owner: Provenance Fighter Sales. That reservation for the number was made on April 26, 2007. Here is a recent photo of the airplane, presumably at Murietta. Click on the photo or here for a link to the Provenance website.
This particular B-25 was accepted by the AAF in May 1945 and placed into storage until 1952. It was then modified as a radar trainer by Hughes Aircraft and redesignated as a TB-25L. It was used by the USAF until 1959 when it was sold as surplus. It was initially registered as N3512G and modified with a borate tank for use as an air tanker. Not utilized for long, if at all, as a tanker, by 1967 it had a cargo door added and was operated in Texas. Robert Diemert bought the airplane, and it had the Canadian registration of C-GTTS reserved but that apparently was not assigned. It went to Northwestern Air Lease in the late seventies, but apparently not operated. It came back to the U.S. in 1982, purchase by Bob Arnot, who had the airplane rebuilt at Breckenridge, Texas. It was long a staple at air shows around the country. It went to Jack Erickson in 1994 and displayed at the Tillamook Air Museum until this recent transfer.
- Mike Renck, a sponser of B-25J 43-27868 (N25YR), flying with the CAF as the Yellow Rose with the Yellow Rose Squadron out of San Marcos, Texas, passed along some comments to the saving of B-25J 44-30925 as included in our July 2006 update (see below). Mike adds some interesting information about that airplane:
"I'm glad to learn that someone has saved 44-30925 from the scrap heap. I knew her when she was owned by the late warbird collector John J. Stokes, Sr. At the time, he had five B-25's on the field in San Marcos, TX. I later learned that he had bought and sold many, many more B-25's that we never saw in San Marcos.
"Looking at the photo when she was still in storage in the UK, I see her Laden Maiden nose art showing through the Hollywood paint job and nose art of Gorgeous George-Ann. That's the name she wore in the movie Hanover Street. When we watched the movie we knew it was her because of a plexiglass crack and the desert tan paint showing up as they taxied out with flaps down. For the movie the planes received a quick O.D. paint job, but they apparently didn't lower the flaps when painting.
"John bought the Laden Maiden after it was used in Catch 22. The largely blessed girl was not on the side at the time. She had been removed prior to the sale. John said that people who recognized the plane from the movie kept coming up to him, asking what happened to the big-breasted, not too attractive girl on the side, so he found a still from the movie and had her painted back on. Apparently she was painted on by a crew member from the movie, and that person wasn't much of an artist.
"My first flight on a B-25 was on the Laden Maiden, sitting in one of the student seats behind the pilots, going into Bergstrom AFB (in Austin, TX) back in the summer of 1977. In the seat next to me was someone for whom it wasn't his first B-25 ride, but I didn't know it at the time. My fellow passenger was Hank Potter, Jimmy Doolittle's navigator on the first plane off of the Hornet on April 18, 1942! Hank became a good friend over the years, and I really miss him.
"I remember hearing from the mechanics at CenTex Aviation (John's aircraft maintenance business in San Marcos) that the Laden Maiden had some corrosion problems, so I guess that being a static is the best thing for her.
"A note about another B-25 you have a photo of on your site: The B-25 on the parade grounds at Lackland AFB (44-29835) was donated to the USAF by the (then) Confederate Air Force. It was one of the two original planes that flew with the newly formed Bomb Wing of the CAF. The other was an A-26 owned by Connie Edwards. This B-25 was eventually grounded for terminal corrosion. When with the CAF it was named Rowdy's Raider and had the CAF Bomb Wing markings to include a checkerboard tail, Star and Bar with a Rebel Flag taking the place of the star, and a "Milkyway" on the nose."
I appreciate the comments from Mike and always find such insight very interesting from individuals who have some special knowledge about such events.
- A little bit of information showed up recently on the Aero Vintage forum page about B-25J 44-28834 (N9865C). An inquiry was made asking aobout a Mitchell named Love Machine and where it ended up. "Three In The Green" quickly responded with a comment that his father had owned the airplane in the early 1980s, and provided this photo:
This B-25 is currently displayed at Grand Forks AFB, North Dakota. Anyone have any current photos?
- From Jean Louis Delattre in France comes an inquiry about this B-25D, 43-3517, shown here as Ole John Silver:
Now, his message to me was in French and then I just found out I can't read French. That came as a bit of a surprise but, fortunately, I have the inside track with someone who knows some French. It seems Jean Louis is asking for any information about this B-25D that he believes was photographed at the Istres airfield in France in 1944 or 1945. Given that the B-25 was not generally assigned to the European Theater, it does beg the question. If anyone has further information, please let us know and we'll pass it along.
- Pat Carry also reminded us (well, actually me; there really is no 'us') that B-25N 44-86797 (N3438G), once operated as Old Grey Mare, is now based at the Lauridsen Air Museum at Glendale, Arizona. However, 'us' made a low pass along the runway at Glendale in early May in a Lear 60 (all in the line of business) and, no, no B-25 was on the ramp. It may actually still be over at nearby Mesa, where it had been undergoing some maintenance. Check the museum website here.
- The Yellow Rose Squadron of the CAF hosted the 65th Doolittle Raiders reunion on April 18th-21st. Sounded like it would be a good event but have not had any first hand accounts yet. Here's a link to the squadron website.
- Chris Brame passed along to me a bunch of video captures from some movies featuring B-25s. I am hoping to dedicate a page to B-25 Movies in the near future, as soon as some other priorities are completed. But, just as a teaser, here is a shot from the takeoff scene in Catch-22. It this doesn't cause your heart to beat just a bit faster, you are either dead or maybe not really a B-25 guy and should go elsewhere. That was such a great film sequence, apparently the end results of numerous takeoffs made over the span of a week, each one involving 17 B-25s taking off from the runway at Guaymas, Mexico, at the same time. You're just not going to see something like this again.
If you haven't seen the movie, it is well worth getting it just for the takeoff scene. You might scratch your head about the rest of the film but don't take too much time thinking about it. It was, after all, made in 1969.
- Carl Scholl passed along some photos of the B-25 Aero Trader put together for the Pacific Air Museum. That museum, which opened its doors in December, displays what appears to be Doolittle Raider B-25B s/n 40-2261. Typically, Aero Trader did an incredible job on the airframe, which is actually a composite of three B-25Js: s/n 44-30077 (cockpit and tail), 44-30627 (wings), and the center section from the static B-25 used in the crash scene in Forever Young which I think is s/n 44-30090 (not sure about that).
Notice the attention to detail in the tail gun area, the cowlings (collector ring vs. ejectors as on the B-25J, turret placement, and changed fuselage windows to bring it to a "B" configuration.
The museum got this Aero Trader effort in part for the exchange of the corroded B-25J 44-31504, the remains of which are sitting on the Aero Trader ramp at Chino but about to be moved down to their storage yard in the desert near Ocotillo Wells.
- Coert Munk passes along the notice that B-25J 45-8811 (HB-RDE) is for sale. This B-25 operates as Russel's Raiders out of Sion, Switzerland, and was purchased by its current owners in January 2005. This aircraft is listed at $850,000, a record for B-25s as far as I know, and more information can be gleaned here.
- Finally, not news but information and photos on the three Tallmantz B-25 located on the newest addition to the Aero Vintage website: a section dedicated to Tallmantz Aviation.
Coert Munk passes along a website with what appear to be fairly recent photos of B-25J 44-31173 (LV-GXH) at the airport at Santiago del Estero in Argentina. The history and fate of this airplane is obscure, but it seems that it does remain as an intact airplane. It was surplus from U.S. stocks in 1958 and went to Argentina in 1961. It was operated for two decades, though its use is unknown. It has reportedly been parked at the airport since 1983. Here is a photos from that website taken by Livio Mostrini.
- Grant Lannon passes along that the Yellow Rose Squadron of the Commemerative Air Force, based at San Antonio, TX, will be the sponsor organization for 2007 Doolittle Raider's Reunion, to be held April 17-21, 2007. He notes that there will be B-25 activities te weekend prior at San Marcos, Texas. The stated goal is to get sixteen B-25s to the reunion, and that the event has the backing of the USAF as it celebrates its 60th anniversery also. Expected to attend are 8-9 of the 15 surviving Raiders. For more information, check out the Yellow Rose site.
- From Warbird Digest, courtesy of Pat Carry, comes word that the sale of TB-25N 44-30832 (N3155G), noted below in the September 2006 news item, was made to Tom Duffy who will operate the Mitchell from Millville, New Jersey. As per the FAA registry website, N3155G is officially owned by Claire Aviation, Inc. of Wilmington, Deleware, with the registration issued on December 15, 2006.
- The Yankee Air Force has announced the theme of the 2007 Thunder Over Michigan and it just happens to be Mitchell Madness. The show is scheduled for earlier this year, as in July 7-8, at the Ypsilanti airport, or the Willow Run Airport, if you want to be exact, near Detroit. As of the beginning of the year, a remarkable eighteen B-25s are scheduled to attend! It sounds like all B-25, all the time, but no, there are many other airplanes scheduled to attend. Oh, the Navy Blue Angels are also going to grace the airshow; we just hope they stay out of the way of the good stuff and let the big boys show them how it is done. There is also, by the way, a rising crescendo of demand for the author of B-25 Mitchell in Civil Service to make a personal appearance to sell and sign books and get some B-25 flight time if, by rising crescendo, the number of intersted parties has risen from zero to one (that's at least 1000% by my calculations). All that aside, check out the Thunder website early and often. It should be a good show.
- Dan Newcomb of the Southern California Wing of the CAF wrote in to update the status of the CAF B-25J 44-30988 (N5865V). First, Dan makes the point that this aircraft is actually PBJ-1J Mitchell BuNo 35857 and is, in fact, the sole remaining genuine Navy PBJ. He further suggests that it should be listed on this website as such which is a good suggestion. My thinking is, though, that it was built on an AAF contract as a B-25J and flowed through the Army paperwork on its way to the Navy, so I'm content to leave it as such. Otherwise, the precedent would be set and before long the CAF would be demanding that their B-17 be listed as a Navy PB-1W, which it was (Texas Raiders, that is) and just where would the madness stop!? That's what I want to know. Sorry, Dan, but I'll have to leave it as is with the little addition of a remark to the locator listing. But back to the update, Dan notes that the B-25J, err... PBJ, is being restored to...
"...its original Navy/Marine configuration complete with wingtip radar pod and rocket launchers. Her new name is Semper Fi. She will also display MB 11 on her right nose. She will be painted Sea Blue, Medium Blue and Insignia White. She will honor VMB 611."
Check out this website for more information.
- Greg Witmer sent in some recent photos of two B-25s we didn't have posted photos of. Here is B-25H 43-4999 (N3970C) displayed as Dog Daize at the New England Air Museum located near Hartford, Connecticut. This is the B-25 restored by Tom Reilly in the 1980s in exchange for the museum's B-17G after both were severely damaged by a 1979 tornado.
Also sent in by Greg is this photo of TB-25N 44-28834 (N9865C) taken recently at Grand Forks AFB, North Dakota. This airplane started its civil service as an air tanker, then went through a succession of owners until it was traded to the USAF in the late 1980s. It is marked as a 321st Bomb Group B-25 carrying the name of Flo.
And, by the way, here is a photo of the same airplane taken during its tanker days, while operated by Western Air Industries (later Aero Union) in the early 1960s. Of course, the complete histories of these airplanes is contained in B-25 Mitchell in Civil Service (hint hint!).
- Finally, Chris Brame has been feeding me video captures from B-25 and B-17 movies for eventual incorporation in this website. Here's one from Catch-22 that needs to be posted. Any B-25 guy has to see this movie if only for the takeoff scene this was captured from. Nothing like 17 B-25s taking off at the same time to make a memorable movie. Thank you Frank Tallman and Tallmantz Aviation.
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