Video: I Got to Fly On the B-25 Bomber ‘Maid In The Shade’ & Earned New Respect for Veterans
As part of the media flight on "Maid In The Shade," a 1944 B-25 bomber is now on display at Lubbock Aero, just north of the Silent Wings Museum. But this plane is anything but silent. In fact, it's loud as hell.
"Maid In The Shade" will be in Lubbock all week, with tours of the plane for all ages starting at $10 per person and $20 for a family of 4. Plus, you can fly on the plane like I did by clicking this link to reserve your seat.
I'm a huge history nerd; I'll admit that any day. So when the opportunity to fly on an actual WWII era B-25 bomber came up, I was so there. And I had the honor of flying with a couple of local WWII veterans as well. They sat right behind me in the waist gunner area of the plane.
One of the greatest moments of this entire opportunity was hearing the veterans reminisce about their past and tell a few stories of their war buddies. One of the veterans was telling the story of a friend of his who lives here in Lubbock at Raider Ranch. This Marine was there on Iwo Jima, and was stationed on a Navy invasion ship off the coast of Japan ready to invade when they dropped the bomb. Listening to these stories of what was one of the most intense periods in American history was a real treasure for me. Even more so was when we boarded the plane and got to go for a ride.
I learned a whole new respect for the vets who served in WWII, especially on one of these bombers or any of the other planes of that era. These things are loud and scary as hell! The sounds they make are horrendous, and the way they shake would be too much for most humans today. If you're a sensitive flyer, you won't like it one bit. But the experience for those who have the guts to do it is so unreal and intense that I would recommend it 100 percent.
To sit in the waist gunner seat next to a huge cannon, right behind the 1,700hp engines screaming and popping at full throttle, and imagining being over enemy territory with others shooting at you in this tin can?! It will make you revere our veterans even more than before.
Here are some stats on the plane itself:
Type: Medium Bomber
Manufacturer: North American Aviation
Maiden Flight: 19 August 1940
Theater of War: World War II
Number Produced: 9,984
Status: Retired 1979 (last country to operate: Indonesia)
Wingspan: 67 ft 6 in
Length: 52 ft 11 in
Height: 17 ft 7 in
Empty Weight: 21,120 lbs
Max Takeoff Weight: 41,800 lbs
Power Plant: (2) Wright R-2600-35 “Cyclone” 14-cylinder radials
Horsepower: 1,700 hp (each)
Maximum Speed: 239 knots (275 mph)
Service Ceiling: 25,000 ft
Rate of Climb: 790 ft/min
Range: 1,170 nm (1,350 mi)
(1) 0.50 in (12.7 mm) machine gun in nose
(4) 0.50 in (12.7 mm) machine guns in “blisters” below cockpit
(2) 0.50 in (12.7 mm) machine guns in dorsal turret
(2) 0.50 in (12.7 mm) machine guns in tail turret
(2) 0.50 in (12.7 mm) machine guns in waist section (one on each side)
(8) 5 in (127 mm) unguided rockets under outer wings
3,000 lbs of bombs