It took more than two decades, but the B-25 was finally refurbished and ready to fly. CBS2’s Greg Mills reported the story and confirmed that it took nearly that long to fix a plane that saw air time during World War II.
“It has been 71 years since I have been inside one of those aircraft,” said Verne Horton, a WWII veteran. He was not about to miss the opportunity to do so now. During his time in war he flew 43 missions in the B-25 patrols with the Marine Corps. Horton was overwhelmed by the experience of watching the plane come down the runway, and grateful to Marc and the crew.
Marc Russell and his wife are employed as United Airline pilots.
Back in 1993, the plane was ferried to the Camarillo Airport Museum from Midland Airport. Russell assembled a crew and took the lead on restoring the plane enough to make it ready to fly once again. It took 23 years to complete the restoration process. Russell said there were some team members that personally put in 15-20 years of work.
On Sunday, a large crowd showed up to see the refurbished plane make its inaugural flight. Fittingly, Russell was the crew chief on board. The plane was scheduled to take a 30-minute flight. It headed out of Camarillo, out to the ocean and back. When the plane returned with a safe landing, Russell and his crew were welcomed back by the enthusiastic onlookers.
About 800 of the B-25s were made for the Navy and the Marines. This is the only one that still remains. The next step for the refurbished plane will be appearances in air shows. On top of that, the public will have the option to buy tickets in order to experience a thirty-minute flight. Verne Horton will gladly be one of those customers.