EAA Takes On B-25 Restoration
Inspired by the sight of two flying B-29s at Boeing Plaza this week, EAA said it’s ready to launch another bomber-restoration project, for the North American B-25 Mitchell in its museum collection, the Berlin Express. The aircraft, built in 1943, served during World War II, and later flew as an executive transport. In 1970, it appeared in the film Catch-22, then was bought by a collector. When the collector died a year later, the B-25 was donated to EAA. It was restored in 1975 and flew for several years, till it was damaged after a gear failure during a landing. Since then, it’s been a non-flying part of the EAA Aviation Museum collection.
A volunteer crew has been working on the airplane since January 2015, EAA says, stripping paint, repairing and fabricating parts and replacing all the airplane’s glass. There’s still a long way to go to first flight, and to boost the project along, EAA launched a new fundraising campaign this week at AirVenture. The ultimate goal is to not only get the B-25 flying again, but also to send it on tour, offering flight experiences to the public. Ken Strmiska, EAA’s vice president of philanthropy, said he hopes to raise $400,000 by December, which would put the project on track to fly by next summer. “This project really embodies the spirit of EAA,” Strmiska said. “We’ve already benefited from people giving thousands of hours of their time toward the restoration, and now they’re giving financial contributions to get Berlin Express back in the air.”