Warbirds and Airshows
By David D Jackson

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Grimes Field B-25 Gathering Warbird Photo Review

B-25s at Urbana, OH Grimes Field - April 15-16, 2017 - Photos taken Saturday and Sunday, April 15-16, 2017.


Gathering to honor the "Final Toast" and the 75th Anniversary of the Doolittle Raid

Sunday Afternoon, April 16, 2017
The photo below is the most important one to be published in this report.  Late Sunday afternoon, I turned around to see Lt. Col. Richard (Dick) Cole (Ret.) on a golf cart talking with some of the aircrews.  Seventy-five years ago, on April 18, 1942, he was sitting in the right seat of the first of 16 B-25s on the deck of the USS Hornet.  Next to him in the left seat was Lt. Col. Jimmy Doolittle.  Dick Cole, Jimmy Doolittle and the rest of the crew were about to do something never done before.  They were going to take off from an aircraft carrier in an Army B-25 twin engine bomber!  They had to be successful, as the whole mission depended on it.  They had practiced short field simulated take-off many times on dry land, but never the real thing.  No doubt many thoughts were racing through the crewmen's' minds, as they sat on a pitching deck, and watched the Pacific Ocean appear and disappear in front of them, as the USS Hornet pitched in rough seas.  Failure was something that they did not even consider.  They launched and made history.

  It was because of what he and 79 other Army Air Force crewmen did 75 years ago on April 18, 1942, that there was this gathering of the B-25s.  He was the reason for the B-25s to once again come to Ohio, to honor Dick Cole and all of the Raiders, and commemorate the Doolittle raid.

The B-25s pictured below came to Urbana, OH to assist in executing Jimmy Doolittle's charge from the first reunion of the Tokyo Raiders.  As the last remaining Doolittle Raider at 101 years of age, Lt. Col. Cole drank one last toast in remembrance of the rest of the deceased Raiders.


Dick Cole.  A true American hero, who not only helped make history, but also helped change the course of World War Two in the Pacific. 

B-25s at Urbana, OH
This is the fourth time since 2010 that B-25s have descended upon Grimes Field at Urbana, OH.  Their ultimate mission each time has been to honor Doolittle Raiders at the National Museum of the United States Air Force.  This is done with a mass formation fly-by and missing man formation over the Museum.  Grimes Field is the staging area for the B-25s before they all depart as a group for arrival at the Museum.  All costs  incurred by the B-25s are paid for by the aircraft owners themselves.  The Museum does not provide any funding for the aircraft costs, which are considerable.  In order to help defray some of the costs, the B-25s spend the weekend giving rides.

Saturday, April 15, 2017
When is a non-airshow better than many airshows?  When the B-25s show up at Urbana, OH Grimes Field in preparation for a Doolittle Raid Commemorative Fly-By at the National Museum of the Air Force in Dayton, OH.  There were seven B-25s giving rides during the day.  Six of the Mitchells did four trips, and a seventh Mitchell did three.  That is 27 take-offs and landings to watch and listen to.  There was also the arrival of three more B-25s  in the afternoon while I was there.  "Champaign Gal," a local B-25, also went up for a formation flight with the P-51 that was giving rides.

The photos below give a snapshot of the all-day B-25 action at Grimes Field.  Hopefully the photos below capture the essence of the day.


The B-25s were operation off of two ramps during the day.  B-25 "Show Me" is taxiing back in to the ramp in front of the hangar of the Champaign Aviation Museum.


From the hangar door I watched "Barbie III" land.


The PBJ was also operating off of the museum ramp.  This is the first time I have seen it.

The PBJ-1J is the only one left of its type.  It has been in restoration since 1993 when it was purchased by the Southern California Wing of the Commemorative Air Force.  It flew on May 5, 2016 for the first time since 1993.  The PBJ-1J came off the North American assembly line at Fairfax, KS on March 20, 1945 as B-25J 44-30988.  It was then transferred to the US Navy and obtained Bu. No. 36857.  It is painted as MB-11, Bu. No. 35243, which was lost in combat on May 30, 1945.

A historical side note. 
Some historians and historical sources claim that the Fairfax, (Kansas City) KS Plant of North American was a Navy plant during WWII to produce PBJs.  This is totally incorrect.  It was an Army plant to make B-25s, of which the US Navy received 407 of the 6,608 B-25s built there.  This was 6.1% of the total production.  Just like the PBJ shown here, they came off the assembly line with Army serial numbers, and were then transferred to the US Navy where they obtained their Navy Bureau Number.


"Miss Mitchell" taxiing back in on the grass to the south ramp.


The PBJ is at the end of the runway waiting for "Pancito" to land.


 


During the day there was the constant movement of the B-25s taxiing, landing, and taking off.  It was a busy place!


The south ramp in the afternoon.  It is difficult to see but startup smoke is coming from the #1 engine of "Devil Dog" on the end of the row. 


"Devil Dog" has left.  "Panchito" is getting ready to start.


"Panchito" start.


As "Panchito" taxies back in "Miss Mitchell" starts.


The display by the Brighton, MI Warbirds of Glory Museum was a welcome surprise.  I was unaware of this warbird museum's ongoing B-25 restoration.  The museum members went to Alaska and on July 5, 2013 removed B-25 44-40733 from a sandbar near Fairbanks.  The restoration is known as the "Sandbar Mitchell."


I spent a considerable amount of time talking with the members of the museum and learning more about the restoration.  This photo does not reflect the volume of traffic this display drew during the weekend.  It had considerable attention from the visitors.  After several times walking over to the display, I was finally able to get this clear shot of the nose section of the "Sandbar Mitchell" B-25.  The restoration is superb.


The B-25s "Betty's Dream" and "God and Country" arrived in formation late on Saturday afternoon.


"God and Country" in the fighter break as the B-25s enter the landing pattern.

 


Between the landings of "God and Country," and "Betty's Dream", a P-51 and B-25 "Champaign Gal" made a formation pass.


As "Betty's Dream" taxied in, "Champaign Gal" was on the roll-out.


"Champaign Gal."


Sometimes there were lulls between aircraft take-offs and landings.  At other times there was all sorts of activity going on at the field. 


Talk about lack of situational awareness!!  I was so busy watching all of the activity in front of me on the taxiways and runway that I missed the fact that "God and Country" had been moved to just behind me.  I heard all of the sounds of the children, and when I turned around to see was going on, there was the B-25.


I didn't miss "Betty's Dream" being towed into place behind me.

Sunday, April 16, 2017
Sunday was a pretty much a repeat of Saturday, except that it was not as busy due to it being Easter Sunday.  There were not as many persons purchasing rides, but it still was a good warbird day at the airport.


I went back to the Champaign Aviation Museum on Sunday to get this photo.  I wanted to see a startup of the PBJ.  Due to its home base in Southern California, I am not sure when I would see it again.


Several of the B-25s entered their downwind for landing by coming across the center of Grimes Field.  The PBJ came right over me on this mid-field overhead pass.


"Devil Dog" on the take-of Sunday afternoon.


Sunday did have its unique and exciting times.  Here "God and Country" sets up for a high speed, low pass.  She treated the spectators to this several times Sunday afternoon.


To get back to its parking place, "God and Country" had to taxi across the grass right in front of me. 


Looking south from the middle of the south ramp at the end of the day on Sunday.  At the far end of the taxiway is "Miss Hap," then "Georgie's Gal," "God and Country," and "Betty's Dream."


Looking north from the same position, "Panchito" is on the right.  At the far end of the ramp are "Yankee Warrior," then "Devil Dog," "Barbie III," and "Miss Mitchell."  B-25s "Show Me," "Champaign Gal," and the PBJ were on the museum ramp in the far background.  These 12 B-25s were the ones that were scheduled to fly to the National Museum of the United States Air Force the next morning for display, and then a fly-by on Tuesday afternoon.  On Monday morning "God and Country" did not make the trip to the museum.



 

 


 
Home  Indiana Museums    Indiana Tanks on Outside Display   The Beginning    Revisions   First Flight of P-38F Glacier Girl  
USS Theodore Roosevelt    WWII Aircraft Manufacturing Sites    Gateguards
 2007 Airshows   2008 Airshows  22009 Airshows   2010 Airshows    2011 Airshows    2012 Airshows   2013 Airshows   2014 Airshows    2015 Airshows  2016 Airshows    2017 Airshows 
Aviation Museums of the Pacific Northwest
   Display Helicopter Locations   CAL FIRE   PV-2 Harpoon Photos     F6F Hellcat Photos
   Warbird Sightings   WWII US Air-Air Victories   Guest Photos    Indiana Warbirds   Featured Photos  Other Items   Links

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