The B-25 became synonymous with the crushing power of aerial bombing after Lieutenant Colonel James Doolittle led a squadron of 16 of the medium bombers in one of the most courageous raids of the war, over mainland Japan. They flew 800 miles from the deck of an aircraft carrier and successfully bombed Tokyo and five other cities without a loss of airmen or aircraft, until 15 planes were forced to ditch short of the recovery bases, out of fuel or lost in the low visibility. The pounding given to the Japanese Imperial City just four months after the bombing of Pearl Harbor provided a much-needed morale boost for American troops and sailors. Named for General Billy Mitchell, the father of the U.S. Air Force, the B-25 entered service on the first day of the war and served until well after. Around 10,000 were built in several configurations. Early on, their strafing power and low-level bombing capabilities had the Mitchells virtually encrusted with as many as 18 machine guns. The B-25J, the last production model of the bomber, was conventionally equipped with a transparent nose. Rod Lewis’ B-25J became a member of the Lewis Air Legends Collection in 2008.
|Registration Number||Date of Manufacture|
|Bomber||“Russian Ta Get Ya”|
|North American B-25J “Mitchell”||67 feet 7 inches|
|Overall length:||Empty weight:|
|52 feet 11 inches||19,480 pounds|
|Gross weight:||Fuel capacity:|
|35,000 pounds||990 Gal.|
|Oil capacity||Engine type:|
|Two 1700 hp Wright R2600-92 Cyclone radial piston engines|
|Propeller type:||Max Speed|
|Hamilton Standard||272 mph|
|Rate of Climb||Cruise Speed|
|Service Ceiling||Number of Crew|
|24,200 feet||8 Crew Members|
|Twelve 18 x .50 cal. machine guns||6000 lbs bombs|
|Number Built||Number Surviving|
When Rod Lewis purchased the B-25J Mitchell back in 2008, known then as the ‘Silver Lady,’ she was already airworthy and in good condition. However, Lewis had a different idea for the bomber’s look before debuting the aircraft as part of the Lewis Air Legends Collection. Aero Trader, located in Chino, California, completed the original restoration of the Lewis Air Legends B-25. The restoration took a total of 18 months and included a complete interior overhaul with new instruments and interior refurbishment, along with the new paint scheme, bringing the plane to excellent condition. The final touch and icing on the cake was the one-of-a-kind Greg Hildebrant, Soviet inspired nose art. ‘Russian Ta Get Ya,’ is not only beautiful but historically accurate as well. Nearly 900 B-25s were sent to the Russians in WWII under the Lend/Lease program, as were many others to allies in Europe, Asia and South America.
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