A storied warplane that was in the air for nearly 20 years has finally landed.
The B-25D aircraft, which had been suspended from the ceiling of the Yorktown at Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum in Mount Pleasant, is back on the carrier’s hangar deck and in preparation for its next tour of duty.
Patriots Point officials decided to ground the Mitchell Bomber so it can be used as part of a future World War II history exhibit and possibly allow visitors to climb inside for a close-up look. The plane has been described as a Pacific and European workhorse for the allied forces.
It cost Patriots Point about $10,000 to cut the bomber loose and gently lower it back to earth, said Mac Burdette, executive director. The delicate moving job was orchestrated this week by North Charleston-based Parker Rigging.
After some restoration work, the aircraft will become part of a new exhibit to help tell the story about the famous 1942 Jimmy Doolittle Raid on Tokyo. Sixteen slightly different versions of the B-25 were flown during that attack.
The raid has a direct tie to South Carolina in that the crews were trained in Columbia, Burdette said.
The B-25 at Patriots Point was built in 1942 in Kansas City, Kan., and weighs about 24,000 pounds. The state-owned visitors attraction acquired it in 1981.
Chris Hauff, spokesman for Patriots Point, said the bomber will “be the star” of the new historical display.
“At this point we are still discussing plans for the future exhibit; our hope is that she could be open for people to walk through sometime in the next several months,” Hauff said.
The first piece of heavy lifting is done.
“Now that’s she’s down, we can start that planning process,” he said.
There are about 76 B-25s left in the United States, according to Patriots Point. Some are still airworthy.
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