By Mo Cranker on July 16, 2017.
Medicine Hat News
An important piece of World War Two aviation history is spending a week in Medicine Hat.
From July 17-23, one of the most iconic airplanes from the Second World War, the Maid in the Shade B-25 Mitchell Bomber, will be stationed in the city, and Hatters can purchase tickets online to take a ride in the historic bomber.
“This really could be a once-in-a-lifetime thing for a lot of people,” said pilot in command Richard Petty. “We’re on a pretty long tour across North America just showing off a great piece of history from one of the greatest generations.”
Petty says the bomber, which is one of just 34 left in the world that can still fly, has been its fair share of the battlefield.
“The Maid in the Shade is a true combat veteran,” he said. “It did 15 bombing missions out of the island of Corsica in 1944. It was built in Kansas then it flew out, bombing Italy 13 times and Yugoslavia twice. What it was mainly used for was bombing railroad yards and stationing areas to deny the Nazi’s their supply trains.”
After the airplane arrived back in the United States, it was declared surplus by the government. It was briefly used for agricultural purposes, then was abandoned. Years later the airplane was taken in and restored, which took 28 years to do and it has been back in the air since 2009.
Petty says the bomber generally flies at 180 knots and hour and can burn up to 150 gallons of fuel an hour.
While in the air, Petty says people can expect to hear a very distinct noise both in the plane and on the ground.
“It’s quite loud,” he said. “This has a distinctive sound like no other airplane. People walking or driving around will hear this in the sky whenever it is up. It has an individual exhaust on each of the 14 cylinder engines, you can hear each individual pulse as they fire.”
Though it is now a piece of American war history, Petty says the airplane was a top-of-the-line machine back in its day.
“This was ahead of its time back in the day,” he said. “The B-25 bomber was the first bomber to have a nose wheel instead of a tail wheel. It’s also a much better airplane in the crosswinds than what was out there, making it a bit less demanding on pilots in windy conditions.”
Though it is not as big as its B-17 and B-24 counterparts, the plane carried 3,000 pounds of explosives during the Second World War.
For more information, or to buy tickets to ride the bomber, click here.
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