Freebie File

What’s That In the Sky? A B-25 Bomber?

Flying Heritage Collection holds Free Fly Days all summer. Just look up—way up.

By Allyson Marrs May 13, 2011


Maintenance has never looked so good. Each summer, Flying Heritage Collection’s team of pilots takes to the sky to keep the trove of vintage aircraft running as smoothly as in its glory days of the 1930s and ’40s. The planes of Free Fly Days have earned their spot in history, logging time during WWII, and hail from all over the world: Germany, Russia, Britain, Japan, and the good ol’ U. S. of A.

Newest to the fleet is the German Focke-Wulf FW 190D-13 Dora and the U.S. Army North American B-25 Mitchell medium bomber. Or, for those of you who don’t speak History channel, a heavily armed “Butcher Bird” (superior to what the Brits were flying those days) and a popular Allied forces twin-engine, respectively. Star factor: The German FW 190 is the only original of its kind flying in the world today.

Each aircraft is exceedingly rare and requires special attention—they’re over 60 and have been through battle—so Free Fly Days isn’t as much about putting on an air show as it is about taking the planes out for a test drive. Most of the pilots during Fly Days are ex-military or airline pilots who have clocked hours in the sky at air races, air shows, and in the movies. Imagine if they let Tom Cruise fly his own plane in Top Gun —scary thought.

History buffs unite during the nine free Saturday shows taking off on May 21. A schedule of featured planes can be found at The German FW 190 debuts June 18 and the North American B-25’s flies on July 16.

The Flying Heritage Collection is Paul Allen’s private collection of restored WWII aircraft, based in Everett, Washington.

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