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  B-25J-30/32-NC Mitchell Serial Number 44-86791  
USAAF

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Brian Bennett 1980s

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Justin Taylan 2004

Aircraft History
Built by North American Aviation (NAA) at Air Force Plant NC at Fairfax Field near Kansas City, KS. During July 1945 assigned to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-25J-30/32-NC Mitchell serial number 44-86791.

Post War
During 1957 this B-25 was placed into storage at Davis Montham AFB for two years. Afterwards, registered to Merrill & Richard Wien as N8196H. Next flown as an air tanker through the 1960s in Alaska owned by a number of different Alaskan companies including Merric Inc, Frontier Flying Service, RJD Company and Aero Retardant.

In 1977 sold to Pacific Alaska Airlines. During 1979 sold to Donald Gilbertson and painted in the markings of a U. S. Navy (USN) PBJ Mitchell with the nickname "Tite Pussy". In 1979 it appeared in the TV movie "Young Joe: The Forgotten Kennedy" and was stored at Aero Nostalgia at the Stockton, California.

Kevin Arditto adds:
"I suppose you could say I kind of discovered the aircraft in February 1982 when I was posted to the Boeing factory at Everett, WA, by my employer Ansett Airlines at the start of their B767 program. There was a civil aviation side to the field known as Paine Field, and there was some interesting stuff there we didn't see Down Under. Some weekends I would have a wander around, and one day a chap advised me there was a B-25 parked outside sort of out of clear sight, and directed me to it."

Next, sold to Aero Heritage Inc. and flown across the Pacific to Brisbane arriving in December 1983 and sold to the Australian War Memorial (AWM), grounded the aircraft from flying. Flown to Canberra where the uter wings were removed and placed into storage and was not on display. Later, registered as VH-XXV and painted in the markings of a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) B-25J Mitchell with code KO-P. Painted on the nose was "prepared and maintained for the Australian War Memorial (AWM) by Winrye Aviation Bankstown." 

Later, this B-25 was offered for sale and the auction was won by a "foreign organization" that proved to be an American buyer. Sold to Yanks Air Museum. Since early 1999 registered in the United States as B-25J Mitchell N6116X. On May 22, 2002 registered to Charles F. Nichols Trustee of Baldwin Park, CA with airworthy date of May 25, 2003. This aircraft still painted in RAAF markings was displayed at Yanks Air Museum. The registration renewed on January 29, 2020.

References
USAF Serial Number Search Results - B-25J-30/32-NC Mitchell 44-86791
"86791 (TB-25J, MSN 108-47545) as Australian war memorial, Canberra. Restored Stockton CA as N8196H in 1982/83. Two years as VH-XXV "A47-31", then to Canberra War Memorial. Imported back into US in 1999. Registration N6116X allocated May 2002. Noted in restoration area at Yanks Air Museum, Chino, CA Nov 2002"
Warbird Resource Group B-25 44-86791
Classic Wings Issue 21
Regarding B-25J 44-86791 (updating our February 1999 news item):
The Australian War Memorial has announced in a press release, the sale of the North American B-25J (c/n 108-47545) known locally as VH-XXV. The sale, which became a source of confusion to many, was to be effected by auction, but then was changed at the last minute to a tender. According to one of the bidders, by the time of the tender date closing, a Sydney based group had placed the highest bid, but an extension allowed a later bid by a foreign organization, which was slightly higher. A subsequent higher bid by the Sydney group was allegedly dismissed in favour of the overseas based interest. Two other Australian based bidders were involved, both representing potentially good homes for the aircraft. The outcome could not be described as anything but disappointing for local interests, and the fact that people are questioning the perceived image of Australian War Memorial as a bastion of patriotism is hardly surprising. AWM spokespeople are quick to point out that the B-25 has no historical value to Australia, and in terms of military service this is true, however in considering recent history, the arrival of the B-25 was of huge significance to Australia's young warbird restoration movement when it arrived in 1983. Since the aeronautical component of the AWM, and the vintage/warbird industry are part of the same historic aircraft preservation community, the apparent distain (sic) shown by the AWM towards the industry is difficult to comprehend."
Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Registry - N6116X
Thanks to Kevin Arditto for additional information

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Last Updated
January 31, 2020

 

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