Thursday, January 7, 2021

Air borne

Renovations to historic World

War II plane nearly completed

The new paint job on the Yankee Air Museum B-25 aircraft was recently completed at the Kalitta Air Hangar in Oscoda, above, while below, officials and volunteers watch as the work progesses. 
A bit of history has been revisited at the Yankee Air Museum in Belleville.

The treasured B-25 is fully repainted to the original colors it wore when it emerged from a North American Aviation assembly plant in Kansas City 77 years ago.  The plane now reflects the role the aircraft played in American in history as a combat veteran flying out of Corsica in the Mediterranean Theater of Operations.  The re-paint project, courtesy of Kalitta Air, begun in December is now complete, museum officials said.

“It looks fantastic,” said Kevin Walsh, president and CEO of Yankee Air Museum. “I am very anxious to see it outdoors, in natural light.  The Kalitta Air team has delivered a remarkable, authentic paint job.”

Walsh looked back to Monday, Dec. 28 when the Yankee Air Museum's B-25 maintenance crew had been working on mechanical components of the plane throughout the day.  They reinstalled ailerons and other panels on the plane.  These parts were removed and painted separately during the project.  The elevators, which control the planes ascent and descent will be weighed and balanced at the Willow Run air base before being reinstalled.

“Just like in World War II, the last official paint to go on the plane, are the '9C' squadron identification markings on the tail, said Walsh.  “These were applied, and the paint job is complete.”

Walsh said that over the next couple of weeks museum mechanics will return with the balanced elevators, reinstall them and complete a series of mechanical inspections.  He said the plane will need to have engine runs and a test flight before it ferries home, to Willow Run.

“Our B-25 did not have any nose art, or a name when it was in the war,” said Walsh.  “We will name it and get an artist to paint period correct nose art later this year.”   

Walsh said the B-25 will honor history, and fly to air shows this summer to educate people about the gallantry of the Greatest Generation.

“Yankee Air Museum salutes Conrad “Connie” Kalitta with great appreciation and thanks everyone at Kalitta Air for making this project possible,” concluded Walsh.