Mike Doyle flew the B-25 in to Logan-Cache Airport on Monday 6, 2022. He is a commercial pilot for American Airlines when he is not volunteering for the Flying Legends Tour.
LOGAN – Two of WWII’s most ferocious bombers flew into Logan-Cache Airport Thursday. A B-17 Flying Fortress and a B-25 Mitchell touched down Monday at the Logan-Cache Airport as part of Flying Legends of Victory Tour from the Airbase Arizona Flying Museum.
The iconic vintage warbirds will be on display in front of Leading Edge Aviation located at 2500 North Airport Drive, Suite 2. B-25 Mitchell ‘Maid in the Shade’ will be on public exhibition Tuesday – Sunday.
The WWII bombers stand out at the Logan airfield with their shinny, silver polished metal exteriors among all the small private airplanes lined up in rows.
Mike Mueller, the load master on the B-17, said the Flying Fortress Sentimental Journey is a big attraction on the Flying Legends of Victory Tour. They added the B-25 Mitchell “Made in the Shade” to enlarge their footprint this year.
“The B-17 was an aircraft that was built ahead of it’s time,” he said. “Most aircraft during the war used hydraulics. The B-17 was all electronic and the four engines were a new concept.”
There are only five of the 12,431 B-17’s produced still flying. There are about 45 B-25’s still airworthy in the U.S. of the 10,00o built.
“Only about half of the B-17 planes survived World War II,” he said. The B-17 could fly even when they were heavily damaged in combat. The B-25 was a short distance bomber with a 300-mile maximum flying distance.
“They were carried on aircraft carriers and bombed Tokyo after Peral Harbor,” Mueller said. “After they flew their mission the airplanes made it to China and crashed and the crews parachuted to safety. Some did not make it.”
The bomb bay doors on the two bombers at the Logan-Cache Airport have signatures of people who flew or worked on B-17s during WWII and visited them during their tours around the country.
“We fly about 15 trips a year in the B-17 and another 15 in a B-25,” he said. “We are losing a generation of men and women who flew these planes and sacrificed their lives for our freedom.”
When people fly in the airplane, they take them up to about 10,000 to 15,000 feet at about 150 miles per hour. He said during the war the plane’s top speed was about 260 miles an hour and they generally flew at an altitude of somewhere around 30,000 feet, sometimes at a temperature of 60 below zero.
The B-17 was used to fight forest fires before being rescued and the B-25 was used to spray fire ants before being restored. It took 28 years to take the B-25 apart and then put it back together.
Mueller said they add more signatures with every tour. The crew members and gunners who flew in the Flying Fortress during the war were only 18 to 21 years old at the time.
“If anyone out there has a personal connection to the two airplanes they should come sign the bomb bay,” he said. “The pilots that fly these volunteer missions are commercial pilots and add their expertise to the mission.”
He trusts the pilots and the airplane more than any commercial airline flight.
“We fly about 120 to 140 hours a year doing the tours,” Mueller said. “The purpose of the tour and the reason they do the tours is to educate, honor and inspire people.”
Right now, we are in the third generation away from those who fought in that war and there are few of them out there.
“We can’t let the heroes of that generation and what they did be forgotten,” he said.
Susan Hawkes, from Franklin, Idaho, came down to the Logan-Cache Airport to get a close look at the B-25.
“I had an uncle, Glen Bodrero, that was a gunner in a B-25. He went out on a mission during the war and never made it home,” she said. “We don’t know where he was when his plane went down.”
He has a grave marker in the Wellsville Cemetery for him and another uncle, Jack Bodrero, who was a trainer. He trained pilots how to fly the B-17.
“I wanted to get a close up look at this airplane,” she said. “I wanted to get a feel for what it was like for him.”
Both aircraft will be open to the public for ground tours Tuesday through Thursday from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Friday to Sunday from 2–6 p.m. The public can experience a Living History Flight in the fully restored B-17 or B-25 Bomber on Friday, Saturday and Sunday,
Friday, Saturday and Sunday the public can experience a flight in the airplanes from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. and can be scheduled by going to their website www.azcaf.org/tour or by calling (480) 462-2992.
The money collected from charges associated with flights and tours is used to directly service and maintain the aircraft, Mueller said. The planes aren’t as roomy as the ones people see on television. It’s pretty tight inside.