The Champaign Aviation Museum will honor the country and veterans by flying its B-25 Champaign Gal over the nation’s capital during the military aircraft flyovers at the Salute to America celebration in Washington, D.C. on July 4.
Pilot-in-command of this flight will be 747 pilot (ret.) Bill Clark, and second-in-command will be Navy pilot (ret.) Bill Weidenhammer. Joining them in the aircraft will be Crew Chief Randy Kemp and Assistant Crew Chief Tom Printz.
“I’ve been flying since 1968 and it’s an honor to be flying in support of the July 4 celebration. I’m proud to represent the Champaign Aviation Museum and all that they do to honor our veterans,” said Clark.
“It’s a great honor, especially in light of the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II. This is a very special event to celebrate the 4th of July, and it will showcase what’s great about our country,” said Weidenhammer.
Used in all theaters of WWII, the B-25 was a medium bomber made famous by the Doolittle Raid five months after the attack on Pearl Harbor. The museum’s Champaign Gal was built in 1944 as a B-25J, then converted to an “N” model used for navigator training. It didn’t see action during the war, and it entered civilian service in the late 1950s as a fire-fighting aircraft. Restored by others in the late 1990s and early 2000s, the B-25 Champaign Gal was purchased by the Champaign Aviation Museum in 2007.
The Champaign Aviation Museum is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization established in 2007 and its mission is “Touching Lives by Restoring History.” The museum is home to the Champaign Lady B-17 Project and is one of the few organizations in the world actively restoring a B-17 Flying Fortress back to flying condition. The museum exhibits WWII artifacts, stories, and experiences of veterans and their families, and seeks to educate the public about the experiences of past generations that flew in combat. Building its reputation as a center of excellence for the restoration and maintenance of WWII era aircraft, the Champaign Aviation Museum is grateful for the opportunity to show its support for the country and its veterans on this important day.
Submitted by the Champaign Aviation Museum.