B-25J Briefing Time
Scale: 1/41 scale model
Wing Span: 19.75 inches
Length: 15.75 inches
The North American B-25 "Mitchell" Bomber was one of the most versatile and widely used aircraft and considered the best medium bomber of the Second World War. Over 11,000 were produced with a wide number of variations and armament configurations.
The short-field takeoff and landing characteristics of the B-25, its ruggedness, ease of maintenance under primitive combat conditions, and the ease with which field modifications could be made to meet each combat-group’s unique needs, resulted in the B-25 eventually replacing the Martin B-26 Marauder as the standard medium bomber in the Pacific. Many U.S. allies around the world ordered the B-25J. With all of these attributes, it is not surprising that the B-25 remained in service for many years after the war, serving both military and civilian needs.
After becoming surplus in 1959 the B-25J that would one day become the Mid-Atlantic Air Museum's crowd-pleasing medium bomber was owned by Tallmantz Studios, famous for supplying aircraft and stunt pilots to the movie industry. It served as support aircraft for Around the World in 80 Days and other movies. But our girl was not just a workhorse. She was a movie star in her own right, appearing as tail # 6C in Catch 22, and appearing in six other motion pictures. The plane's last movie role was in the TV mini-series War & Remembrance.
The plane was donated to MAAM in 1981.
Our "Mitchell" is restored as 'Briefing Time', a B-25J built at North American's Kansas City plant. The plane was delivered to the 489th Bomb Squadron, 57th Bomb Wing, 340th Bomb Group of the 12th Air Force, and served in the Italian campaign.
The crew names that appear on the fuselage are those of the crew that flew its first 60 missions. Along with the painted bombs that represent the bomber's sorties, Briefing Time sports a depiction of a ship on its nose, representing partial credit for the sinking of the Italian cruiser, Taranto.
'Briefing Time' has been recognized as one of only three flying B-25s in the world restored to this level of completeness and authenticity. Making this achievement unique is that all the work was done by the staff and volunteers of the Mid-Atlantic Air Museum at our own facility, rather than by a specialist contractor. Many of the original aircraft parts, which are no longer available, were fabricated in-house.
The restoration is complete with the famous Norden bombsight, as well as a working bomb bay loaded with six rare, real 250-pound bombs. The bomber sports a complete set of original WW II radio equipment and even a rarely seen, full suit of armor plate, which along with the 1500 pounds of iron bombs on its racks makes 'Briefing Time' the heaviest B-25 flying in the world today.
Although 'Briefing Time' may not have won an 'Oscar' for its acting, the plane has won numerous awards, including "Best Bomber" by the Experimental Aircraft Association at Oshkosh in 1982.