Kalitta Air painting crew finishes new paint job on B-25 Mitchell bomber for Yankee Air Force Museum | News
OSCODA – Yankee Air Museum’s B-25 serial number 33634 was completely repainted in the original colors when it emerged from a North American aviation assembly plant in Kansas City 77 years ago. The plane now reflects his role in American history as a combat veteran flying from Corsica at the Mediterranean Theater of Operations. The repainting project courtesy of Kalitta Air is complete and beautiful.
PROJECT COMPLETED – A B-25 Mitchell bomber used in the Italian theater during World War II rests in a Kalitta Air hangar after being repainted to exactly match what it looked like during World War II.
“It looks amazing,” said Kevin Walsh, President and CEO of the Yankee Air Museum. “I’m really excited to see it outdoors in natural light. The Kalitta Air team delivered a remarkable, authentic paint job. “
Walsh looked back on December 28, when the Yankee Air Museum’s B-25 maintenance crew had worked on the aircraft’s mechanical components all day. They reinstalled ailerons and other panels on the aircraft. These parts were removed and painted separately during the project. The elevators that control aircraft ascent and descent are weighed and balanced prior to being reinstalled on the museum’s Willow Run base.
TAIL – Detail of the tail section of the B-25 Mitchell bomber with “9C” and serial number on the tail
“Just like in World War II, the 9C squadron identification markings on the tail are the last official color to get on the aircraft,” Walsh said. “These have been applied and the painting is complete.”
Walsh said the museum’s mechanics will be returning with the balanced elevators over the next few weeks, reinstalling them, and performing a series of mechanical inspections. He said the plane must have engines running and a test flight before it goes home to Willow Run.
“Our B-25 had no nose art or a name when it was at war,” Walsh said. “We’re going to name it and get an artist to paint time-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 our greatest generation.
“The Yankee Air Museum welcomes Conrad” Connie “Kalitta with great appreciation and thanks everyone at Kalitta Air for making this project possible,” concluded Walsh.
The B-25 repaint project would not have been possible without a crew of museum volunteers who have traveled to Oscoda, stayed a few nights and made time for their families during this holiday season. Like many nonprofits, the Yankee Air Museum couldn’t accomplish its mission without the time, skills, and work donated to it by volunteers. These B-25 project members are recognized with warm appreciation: Paul Hakala, Maintenance Manager; Angel Estrada, B-25 crew chief; and volunteers: Grant Schwartz, Darrel Bazman, Brian Gawronski, Rich Koski, Nick Consiglio, Tim Wedig, Eric Esckelson, Luke Noble, Bob Bailey, Joe Provost, Gene Wedekemper, Justin Walsh and Patrick Trevas. The B-25 pilots for this mission fly without heat in the cockpit: Mike Vetter and Delane Buttacavoli.
Founded in 1981, the Yankee Air Museum is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization. Dedicated to educating individuals about the history of American aviation, the aerospace industry and related technologies, the Yankee Air Museum inspires generations through personal experiences to instill pride in our national accomplishments. The Yankee Air Museum is located at 47884 D Street in Belleville, Michigan, on the grounds of the historic Willow Run Airport. visit www.yankeeairmuseum.org to find out more, or call 734-483-4030.
About Kalitta Air: Kalitta Air is a Michigan limited company owned solely by Conrad “Connie” Kalitta. Mr. Kalitta is the renowned NHRA champion drag racer and team owner. He has a lifelong experience in the aerospace industry that dates back to 1967 when he piloted a twin-engine Cessna 310 and began moving parts for the automotive industry. In 2018, Mr. Kalitta was awarded the prestigious Ronald N. Priddy NACA-CRAF Partners in the Airlift Medal (“Priddy Medal”), awarded by the National Air Carrier Association. In April 2019, Mr. Kalitta was inducted into the Michigan Aviation Hall of Fame.