By Phil Buckley
Reevers Warbirds, in Adelaide, Australia, moved its NAA B-25J Mitchell s/n 44-31508 from its long term storage in Port Adelaide to a new secure hangar at Parafield Airport in northern Adelaide over several weeks in October 2016. The aircraft fuselage, wings, engines, tail and other components were transported by Reevers using a Ute and for the larger sections a truck was hired. The first major airframe repair task that Reevers undertook was another clean-up of the interior and exterior of the fuselage.
Warbirds News readers might remember the story of “Lucky Lady.” For more than a decade, a forlorn B-25J Mitchell 44-31508 has sat more or less abandoned and exposed to nature at an airfield in Franklin, Virginia. Many have tried in vain to do something positive to help the aircraft, but a complicated legal dispute has made doing so next to impossible for a very long time. And so the tired bomber has sat, slowly returning to the elements as the squabbling continued. Happily though, an Australian husband and wife team, whose warbird collection is known mysteriously as Reevers, has stepped in to give the tired warhorse, known ironically as “Lucky Lady.“ Click HERE to read our first article.
The noseart “Lucky Lady” was removed and by November, Reevers had the forward and mid fuselage and inner wing sections all rejoined so that the bomber could stand on its landing gear again. By mid-January 2017, the right hand engine has been installed with work progressing on the reattachment of the left engine as well as the rear fuselage and tail. Reevers is looking to fit out the cockpit with necessary components along with sourcing of new Perspex to replace that currently installed in the nose and cockpit areas.
Reevers plans to repaint the aircraft in the colors worn by the Netherlands East Indies Air Force while operated by the Dutch 18 Squadron B-25 Mitchells, which flew out of Australia during WW2. Reevers wants to have the aircraft completed by early April 2017, to showcase the aircraft for a special invitation event, where surviving veterans from 18 Squadron and their families, dignitaries, and current military members from both Holland and Australia, as well as media may attend.
Reenactors are scheduled to attend the event to add a flavor of period era dressed aircrew. This will be followed on the Sunday 9th April 2017 with a general public open day for the people of Adelaide and others who may wish to visit from around the world to come view the vintage bomber.