The world’s most accurately restored World War II B-25J Bomber plane, which was recently added to the Flying Heritage Collection of investor and philanthropist Paul Allen, will take part in its first public Fly Day this Saturday.
Built in 1944, the plane has a rich history, used by the US Army Air Forces, Air Transport Command, Air Material Command and the Royal Canadian Air Force. Although it never saw overseas combat, it was design to be a ground attack plane.
“Flying Heritage Collection is Paul G. Allen’s private collection of planes that he shares with the public through a nonprofit organization,” explained Adrian Hunt, executive director of Flying Heritage Collection. “Our goal is to not only restore these planes to their original immaculate condition, but also to operate them and share them with the public.”
Located at the south end of Paine Field in Everett, the Flying Heritage Collection operates a museum in a 50,000 square foot hanger, and has more than a dozen vintage planes, as well as artifacts such as nose sections and a Hetzer tank. As a way to show off the planes to the public, the organization hosts free Fly Days about every two weeks during the summer. This Saturday will be the first Fly Day for the B-25J Bomber.
“This was a really successful plane from WWII that was originally designed as a bomber but it served all kinds of roles,” Hunt said. “The version we have is a ground attack version. It was meant for going after targets on the ground such as airfields, ships and bridges.”
The aircraft is painted in the wartime colors of the 490th Bomb Squadron, a tribute to Arnold Spielberg, the father of Allen’s good friend Steven Spielberg. The elder Spielberg served as a member of the 490th Squadron during WWII.
“There are several bombers of different kinds flying in this country,” Hunt said. “But no one has ever tried to restore one to its original condition. Everything from the guns to the life rafts is in its original condition. It’s very exciting.”
Fly Day starts at noon on Saturday and is free to the public. The museum cost is between $8 and $12.