B-25 bomber visits Visalia
VISALIA – Don’t just get a look at an historical military plane – fly in one! Not everyone can visit the Airbase Arizona Museum for an up-close and personal inspection of its thrilling warbirds, so in the summer, the museum takes its World War II planes to the public to fulfill its mission of educating generations about the role of aviation in combat history. The traveling air exhibit, the “Flying Legends of Victory Tour,” starts in June and ends in October when three of its seven flying warbirds travel to approximately 50 cities.
The museum’s historical arsenal includes C-47/DC-3 Combat Legend “Old Number 30,” B-25 “Maid in the Shade,” and B-17 “Sentimental Journey.” Built in 1944, the B-25 “Maid in the Shade” was developed by North American Aviation and used mainly as a low altitude strafe and skip bomber. Nearly 10,000 B-25s were produced and the B-25 Mitchell “Maid in the Shade” is one of 34 still flying today.
Maid in the Shade will be offering ground tours and rides Sept. 3-8 at the Visalia Airport. Ground tours will be held from 2-6 p.m. on Sept. 3, 6, 7, and 8 and from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sept. 4 and 5. Ground tour tickets can be purchased the day of the event and no reservation is required. Airplane rides will only be held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sept. 6-7 and must be reserved in advance. To reserve a ride, visit www.azcaf.org.
This summer’s tour is made possible by volunteer Commemorative Air Force members who attend ground school in the spring and give up anywhere from one to three weeks at a time of their summer and/or fall to go on location with the planes. These members put in long hours on-site, but they do so with smiles on their faces to bring joy — and history — to others. They answer questions, coordinate rides, give tours of the aircraft and sell souvenirs, among other things. These volunteers have a passion for keeping history alive.