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  B-25J-30/32-NC Mitchell Serial Number 44-86791  

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Brian Bennett 1980s

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Justin Taylan 2004

Aircraft History
Built by North American during July 1945. Constructors number 108-47545. Assigned to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-25J-30/32-NC Mitchell serial number 44-86791.

Post War
Between 1957 to 1959 this B-25 was stored at Davis Montham AFB. Register in USA as N8196H to Merrill & Richard Wien. Next flown by as as an Alaskan air tanker through the 1960s owned by a number of Alaskan companies including: Merric Inc, Frontier Flying Service, RJD Company, Aero Retardant.

In 1977 to Pacific Alaska Airlines and in 1979 to Donald Gilbertson. Painted as "Tite Pussy" in US Navy markings. In 1979 it appeared in the TV movie "Young Joe: The Forgotten Kennedy" and Aero Nostalgia at the Stockton, California.

Kevin Arditto adds:
"I suppose you could say I kind of discovered the aircraft in February 1982 when I was posted to the Boeing factory at Everett, WA, by my employer Ansett Airlines at the start of their B767 program. There was a civil aviation side to the field known as Paine Field, and there was some interesting stuff there we didn't see Down Under. Some weekends I would have a wander around, and one day a chap advised me there was a B-25 parked outside sort of out of clear sight, and directed me to it."

Sold to Aero Heritage Inc. and flown to Brisbane in December 1983.

Aero Heritage sold to the Australian War Memorial (AWM), but their board had the right to ground the aircraft. The aircraft was flown to Canberra, the outer wings removed, and stored out of public sight in a storage building.

This B-25J, last registered in Australia as VH-XXV and restored with tail code KO-P. The nose says: "prepared and maintained for the Australian War Memorial (AWM) by Winrye Aviation Bankstown."  In 1996 it was sold to owners in New Zealand (?).

From Classic Wings Issue 21:
"Regarding B-25J 44-86791 (updating our February 1999 news item):
The Australian War Memorial has announced in a press release, the sale of the North American B-25J (c/n 108-47545) known locally as VH-XXV. The sale, which became a source of confusion to many, was to be effected by auction, but then was changed at the last minute to a tender. According to one of the bidders, by the time of the tender date closing, a Sydney based group had placed the highest bid, but an extension allowed a later bid by a foreign organization, which was slightly higher. A subsequent higher bid by the Sydney group was allegedly dismissed in favour of the overseas based interest. Two other Australian based bidders were involved, both representing potentially good homes for the aircraft. The outcome could not be described as anything but disappointing for local interests, and the fact that people are questioning the perceived image of Australian War Memorial as a bastion of patriotism is hardly surprising. AWM spokespeople are quick to point out that the B-25 has no historical value to Australia, and in terms of military service this is true, however in considering recent history, the arrival of the B-25 was of huge significance to Australia's young warbird restoration movement when it arrived in 1983. Since the aeronautical component of the AWM, and the vintage/warbird industry are part of the same historic aircraft preservation community, the apparent distain (sic) shown by the AWM towards the industry is difficult to comprehend."

The B-25 was offered for public tender.

Currently on display at Yanks Air Museum compound at Chino, CA since early 1999, assigned N6116X and registered to Charles Nichols on May 22, 2002.

USAF Serial Number Search Results - B-25J-30/32-NC Mitchell 44-86791
"86791 (TB-25J, MSN 108-47545) as Australian war memorial, Canberra. Restored Stockton CA as N8196H in 1982/83. Two years as VH-XXV "A47-31", then to Canberra War Memorial. Imported back into US in 1999. Registration N6116X allocated May 2002. Noted in restoration area at Yanks Air Museum, Chino, CA Nov 2002"
Warbird Resource Group B-25 44-86791
Classic Wings 21 (January/February 1999)
Thanks to Kevin Arditto for additional information

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Last Updated
October 23, 2019


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