Besides the Blue Angels, you may have also seen a B-25 WWII bomber flying in La Crosse.
On Wednesday, May 28, News 8’s Martha Boehm and John Schmidt got an opportunity to take a ride with a replica of the original Miss Mitchell that did 150 combat missions during World War II.
“This particular aircraft was built in 1944 out of the Kansas City North American Plant,” said Jim Gilmore, a pilot of the Miss Mitchell and member of the Commemorative Air Force Minnesota Wing.
They’re one of 80 wings in the Commemorative Air Force that restore war birds like the Miss Mitchell and travel across the United States to teach about the history of the aircraft.
“Our mission is to educate the public and to honor all the men and women, servicemen that built, flew and took care of these aircraft in World War II,” Gilmore said.
The B-25 Miss Mitchell will be part of the Deke Slayton Airfest on Saturday, May 30 and Sunday, May 31. The pilots will give a flying demonstration at Airfest to show the performance of the aircraft.
“It’s going to give you a WWII B-25 kind of a combat experience,” Gilmore said. “And back in the war, what most people don’t realize is most of the kids flying these were 20-year-old kids. Some of them were just coming off of the farm. Some didn’t even have a driver’s license. They put them in training and they were smart and could train fast and within a year they were flying combat missions overseas.”
Ground tours of the plane will also be available as part of Airfest and people can schedule a flight. There is a tax-deductible fee ranging from $400 to $600 to go on a flight. If you’re interested, call Jim Gilmore at (612) 685-4506.