Victoria airport welcomes Maid in the Shade

Check, contact Flight crew polish up the Maid in the Shade B-25 bomber following a short flight over the Saanich Peninsula Monday afternoon. The aircraft is at the Victoria airport this week, offering static displays and flights on the weekend. For more photos, turn to page 3. (Steven Heywood/News staff)
Pilot Norman McLane gives the thumbs up from the cockpit of the 1943 B-25 bomber. (Steven Heywood/News staff)
Ken Martin of the Maid in the Shade’s flight crew plugs a few holes following Monday’s flight. It’s been said that if a rotary engine isn’t leaking, there’s no oil in it. More photos and video can be found at peninsulanewsrevieww.com. (Steven Heywood/News staff)

For an aircraft built in 1944, the Maid in the Shade handles well and flies smoothly over the Saanich Peninsula.

The B-25 Mitchell bomber, built in Kansas during the Second World War, flew into the Victoria International Airport Monday and the crew with the Arizona-based Commemorative Air Force hosted a media flight that afternoon. It’s in town as part of the organization’s regular Flying Legends Victory Tour, which brings vintage military aircraft to airports across North America. Most recently, they had a B-17 bomber at the Victoria airport last year.

People can visit the aircraft all this week through the Victoria Flying Club, off Canso Road in North Saanich. There will be tours of the aircraft every day and flights for paying customers Friday to Sunday.

Monday’s flight saw some Second World War veterans sit up front and experience first-hand how the aircraft moves and feels — and must have felt, for the many air crews who served in the U.S. Air Force.

Maid in the Shade itself is one of 34 in the world still flying. The plane was used in the American large-scale bombing offensive in the Philippines during the war, as well as missions over Italy and Yugoslavia. It was used following the war in Texas as a duster — spraying to combat red ants — before it came to the Commemorative Air Force, where it was restored. It’s now part of the organization’s collection — used to teach people about the aircraft the crews who flew them, and maintained them, during the war.

To learn more about the organization, and to get your seat on the bomber at the Victoria airport this week, visit commemorative air force or flying legends tour.

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