North American Aviation
B-25J/TB-25N "Mitchell"

Serial Number: 18
Markings: 1944 US
Museum Condition: Flying

"Maid in the Shade" fully restored and taking off for the first time in over 28 years!

Named after Gen. Billy Mitchell, the Army Air Corps' most famous figure of the 1920s and 1930s, the North American TB-25N proved to be one of the best American weapons of World War II. The TB-25N Mitchell, a twin-engine bomber that became standard equipment for the Allied Air Forces in World War II, was perhaps the most versatile aircraft of the war. It became the most heavily armed airplane in the world, was used for high-and low-level bombing, strafing, photo reconnaissance, submarine patrol and even as a fighter, and was distinguished as the aircraft that completed the historic raid over Tokyo in 1942. Subsequently, it saw duty in every combat area being flown by the Dutch, British, Chinese, Russians and Australians in addition to our own U.S. forces. Although the airplane was originally intended for level bombing from medium altitudes, it was used extensively in the Pacific area for bombing Japanese airfields from treetop level and for strafing and skip bombing enemy shipping.

More than 9,800 B-25s were built during WW II. Basically, it was a twin-tail, mid-wing land monoplane powered by two 1,700-hp Wright Cyclone engines. Normal bomb capacity was 5,000 pounds. Some versions carried 75 mm cannon, machine guns and added firepower of 13 .50-caliber guns in the conventional bombardier's compartment. One version carried eight .50-caliber guns in the nose in an arrangement that provided 14 forward-firing guns.

This plane was manufactured at the North American Aviation plant in Kansas City and delivered to the U.S. Army Air Force on June 9, 1944. It then was flown to Hunter Field, Savannah, Georgia on June 24 then onto Morrison Field, Florida where it was readied for deployment to the Mediterranean Theatre of Operation.

On July 7, 1944, this aircraft departed Morrison Field and followed the southern route through Brazil, then across the Atlantic to Africa where it was delivered to the 3rd Air Facility Depot. Later that fall it was picked up by the 319th Bomb Group, 437th Squadron at Serraggia Airbase, Corsica. There it was assigned Battle Number 18. The plane then proceeded to fly 15 combat missions over Italy between November 4 and December 31, 1944. The majority of the targets were railroad bridges.

15 Combat Missions of Maid in the Shade

Mission Number Date Target
418 November 4, 1944 Piazzola RR Bridge, Italy
434 November 10, 1944 Casale Monferrato RR Bridge, Italy
443 November 14, 1944 San Michele RR Bridge, Italy
445 November 17, 1944 Tomba RR Bridge, Italy
450 November 19, 1944 Obedisca RR Bridge, Yugoslavia
451 November 27, 1944 Faenza Defense Area #1, Italy
461 November 28, 1944 Casale Monferrato RR Bridge, Italy
465 December 2, 1944 Nervesa RR Bridge, Italy
467 December 3, 1944 Obedisca RR Bridge, Yugoslavia
469 December 19, 1944 San Ambrogio Rail Block, Brenner
476 December 22, 1944 Potetidone RR Bridge, Italy
478 December 26, 1944 San Ambrogio Rail Block, Brenner
480 December 27, 1944 Chiusaforte RR Bridge, Italy
484 December 28, 1944 Chiusaforte RR Bridge, Italy
492 December 31, 1944 Chiusaforte RR Bridge, Italy

The plane was then returned to the depot and flown back to the U.S. the following summer. It then preformed utility and transport duties within the U.S. until the spring of 1958 when it was placed in storage at Davis Monthan AFB, Tucson, AZ. In early 1960 the military sold the plane to a smelter operator in Phoenix, AZ who, some 8 months later, sold it to Dothan Aviation in Dothan, Alabama, where it joined two other B-25s as agricultural bug sprayers. By the early 1970s Dothan Aviation sold the plane to a war bird collector, after which it was bought and sold to a series of different war bird collectors before ending up being bought by 3 individuals in the St. Paul - Bloomington, Minnesota, area in mid 1979.

These three individuals, in 1981, then decided to donate the plane to the CAF. The plane, through the work of AZ Wing member Jim Orton, was then assigned to the AZ Wing. The plane was in pretty bad shape in that during its ferry flight to Mesa, in 1981, it had to make several stops as its engines burned and leaked lots of oil. Upon arrival at the AZ Wing in Mesa it was hangared in a rented hangar on Falcon Field where members began to take the plane apart. Just about every nut and bolt was taken off, so much so it was barely recognized as a B-25.

Over the next 27 years members worked to restore the plane. It was a very slow process as work was prioritized between the B-17 Sentimental Journey, other aircraft, and the B-25. But over time the B-25 was put back together and restored to the way it was when it served during World War II in Corsica, which was the goal of the Arizona Wing. The plane's name, Maid in the Shade, and nose art, a girl laying on an island with palm trees and Serraggia, Corsica 1944 written above it, was selected by votes from AZ Wing members in the fall of 2002 and spring of 2003 respectively. It was also painted as it was when it served in Corsica with Battle Number 18 on her tail.

By winter of 2007-08 the restoration work was completed and the plane, after 27 years, was ready to for the FAA to certify the paperwork for flight. The Arizona Wing's B-25 is the only World War II combat plane of the 57th Bomb Wing that has been fully restored back to flying status. Lots of thanks has to be given to all those Arizona Wing members, past and present, who, over the past 27 years, worked on this once sorry looking B-25J to bring it back to an excellent looking fully restored World War II plane and is flying once again.

B-25 Specifications:




General Characteristics
Type Medium Bomber
Manufacturer North American Aviation
Maiden Flight 19 August 1940
Introduced 1941
Theatre of War World War II
Number Produced 9,984
Status Retired 1979 (last country to Operate: Indonesia)
Crew 6
Engineer/Turret Gunner
Radio Operator/Waist Gunner
Tail Gunner
Wingspan 67 ft 6 in
Length 52 ft 11 in
Height 17 ft 7 in
Empty Weight 21,120 lbs
Max Takeoff Weight 41,800 lbs
Power Plant (2) Wright R-2600-35 "Cyclone" 14 cylinder radials
Horsepower 1,700 hp (each)
Maximum Speed 239 knots (275 mph)
Service Ceiling 25,000 ft
Rate of Climb 790 ft/min
Range 1,170 nm (1,350 mi)
Guns (1) 0.50 in (12.7 mm) machine gun in nose
(4) 0.50 in (12.7 mm) machine guns in "blisters" below cockpit
(2) 0.50 in (12.7 mm) machine guns in dorsal turret
(2) 0.50 in (12.7 mm) machine guns in tail turret
(2) 0.50 in (12.7 mm) machine guns in waist section (one on each side)
Rockets (Optional) (8) 5 in (127 mm) unguided rockets under outer wings
Payload 3,000 lbs of bombs (internally)