Built by North American during July 1945. Constructors number 108-47545. Assigned to the U. S. Army as serial number 44-86791.
During 1957 - 1959, 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
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 (?).
Classic Wings Issue 21:
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
(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,
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
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
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.
Thanks to Kevin Arditto for additional information
Warbird Resource Group B-25 44-86791
Classic Wings 21 (January/February 1999)
Are you a relative or associated with any person mentioned?
Do you have photos or additional information to add?
January 9, 2018