Greetings from The Aero Experience Team


The Aero Experience is a celebration of Midwest aviation and aerospace achievement. We invite you to join us as we explore the treasures of Midwest aviation through first-hand experiences. Our contributors take turns flying lead, and we are always looking for new destinations. Check in with The Aero Experience frequently to see where we will land today, and then go out and have your own aero experiences!

Blue skies,

Carmelo Turdo, Mark Nankivil and Fred Harl - The Aero Experience Team

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2014: North American B-25 Mitchell First Flight Anniversary

Fred Harl and Carmelo Turdo Aero Experience begins our first feature story from EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2014 by marking the 74th anniversary of the first flight of the North American B-25 Mitchell medium bomber of World War II fame.  On Augist 19, 1940, B-25 40-2165 (North American Model 62 pre-production ship) first took to the air with test pilot Vance Breese and Engineer Roy Ferren aboard.  The aircraft was ordered into production, but there were still some flight control issues to resolve.  The aircraft had a tendency to "Dutch Roll," which occurs when a yawing motion causes a roll as the wing lifts in the direction of the yaw.  This was significant due to the dihedral of the wings found on the first 10 aircraft.  The cure for this was to design the "cranked" wing section near the engine mount, and that is the wing shape used on the production aircraft.  The first B-25 was kept by North American and flown until damaged in an incident January 8, 1945.

Nicknamed "Mitchell" after military aviation pioneer Brig. Gen. William "Billy" Mitchell, the aircraft went on to great success by the USAAF, USN, USMC and Allied Forces in World War II as a medium bomber, attack aircraft, reconnaissance aircraft, patrol bomber, trainer, and otherwise jack of all trades squadron hack until 1960.  A medium bomber of the era was expected to carry a 4,000 bomb load up to 1500miles.  The B-25 met those requirements (varying on fuel load and weapons load), and it served in all major theaters of the war.  It was made immortal following the use of 16 B-25Bs commanded by Lt.Col. Jimmy Doolittle on a daring attack on Tokyo April 18, 1942.  The aircraft were launched from the aircraft carrier USS Hornet and flown on a one-way mission to the Japanese capital.  The actual damage was minimal, but the mission provided a great morale boost for U.S. forces.  A description of the various B-25 models can be found here.   

There were several B-25s (late model B-25Js and Ns) present at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2014 in representative paint schemes of the World War II era.  Here is our tribute to the B-25 Mitchell with gratitude to those who "Keep 'em flying!"

Devil Dog from the Commemorative Air Force Devil Dog Squadron of Georgetown, Texas

Lady Luck from Blaine, MN

Miss Mitchell from the Commemorative Air Force Minnesota Wing

Panchito from Ragwings and Radials in Mardela Springs, Maryland

Paper Doll from Fagen Fighters at Granite Falls, Minnesota

Russian to Get Ya from Lewis Air Legends of San Antonio, Texas 

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