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The Story of B-25 Mitchell SN 44-30734

The Story of B-25 Mitchell SN 44-30734

The North American B-25 Mitchell was the most versatile aircraft of WWII.  The medium bomber is perhaps best known for the famous “Doolittle Raid” on Tokyo in response to the attack on Pearl Harbor.  The 8 nose gun ground attack version was the most heavily armed plane in the world at the time.  Produced from 1939 to 1945, nearly 10,000 were built.  The Mitchell flew with 23 other Air Forces around the world.  The rugged airframes flew on for many years, with the last Mitchell in military service not retired until 1979 by Indonesia.  Numerous surplus B-25’s were converted for civilian use.  The aircraft made an exceptional aerial firefighting platform. Many B-25’s went on to “water bomb” forest fires, continuing their invaluable service.

 

Bristol Watch Company was fortunate to obtain some original material from B-25 S/N 44-30734.  We have included an original artifact from this aircraft in each of our B-25 Tribute Chronographs.  This aircraft, known as ‘Panchito” is still flying at airshows around the country today, thanks to the efforts of Larry Kelly and the Delaware Aviation Museum.  The aircraft is a tribute to the original "Panchito" which flew with the 41st Bombardment Group during WWII.  You can learn more and support their efforts to preserve this and other historic aircraft at https://www.delawareaviationmuseum.org/.   

Timeline for B-25J, S/N 44-30734

Manufactured by North American Aviation, Kansas City KS and delivered to the USAAF on 16 Feb 1945.

Feb 1945  -  Garden City AP KS

Apr 1945  -  4168th AAF Base Unit (Air Technical Service Command), South Plains AAF TX (storage)

Jul 1947  -  4141st AF Base Unit (Air Materiel Command), Pyote AFB TX (storage)

Nov 1948  -  3575th Pilot Training Wing (Air Training Command), Enid AFB, OK (to TB-25J)

Jun 1950  -  Base changed name to Vance AFB

Dec 1952  -  3560th Basic Training Wing (ATC), James Connally AFB TX

Mar 1954  -  102nd Radar Calibration Flight (Air National Guard), Westchester MAP NY (converted by Hayes, to TB-25N)

Jul 1956 -  137th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron (ANG), Westchester MAP (deployment to Charleston AFB SC)

Sep 1957 -  115th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron (ANG), Van Nuys MAP CA

May 1958  -  Arizona Aircraft Storage Branch (AMC), Davis-Monthan AFB, AZ.

Dec 1959 -  Dropped from inventory as surplus

1960  -  Sold to the first civilian owner who converted it to a fire bomber.  The aircraft was modified for firebombing and later insect control

1978  -  The aircraft was donated to an aviation museum in Florida in very poor condition.  And was subsequently acquired and fully restored by renowned aircraft restoration expert Tom Reilly.

1986  -  With restoration complete, the aircraft was operated by owners in Texas and New York.

1992 -  The aircraft was acquired by its current owner, pilot and caretaker Larry Kelly.  Thanks to his dedication, this plane can still be seen gracing the skies at airshows across the country.  The aircraft carries the marking of the original “Panchito” which flew combat with the 41st Bombardment Group in WWII.

 

Specifications

Crew: 5 (one pilot, navigator/bombardier, turret gunner/engineer, radio operator/waist gunner, tail gunner)
Length: 52 ft 11 in (16.13 m)
Wingspan: 67 ft 7 in (20.60 m)
Height: 16 ft 4 in (4.98 m)
Wing area: 618 sq ft (57.4 m2)
Airfoil: root: NACA 23017; tip: NACA 4409R[47]
Empty weight: 19,480 lb (8,836 kg)
Max takeoff weight: 35,000 lb (15,876 kg)
Powerplant: 2 × Wright R-2600-92 Twin Cyclone 14-cylinder two-row air-cooled radial piston engines, 1,700 hp (1,300 kW) each
Performance
Maximum speed: 272 mph (438 km/h; 236 kn) at 13,000 ft (4,000 m)
Cruise speed: 230 mph (370 km/h; 200 kn)
Range: 1,350 mi (1,173 nmi; 2,173 km)
Service ceiling: 24,200 ft (7,400 m)
Armament
Guns: 12–18 × .50 in (12.7 mm) machine guns and 75 mm (2.95 in) T13E1 cannon
Hardpoints: 2,000 lb (900 kg) ventral shackles to hold one external Mark 13 torpedo[48]
Rockets: racks for eight 5 in (127 mm) high velocity aircraft rockets (HVAR)
Bombs: 3,000 lb (1,360 kg) bombs




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