B-25 Mitchell bomber to land at Butler County airport this weekend: How to go

The "Champaign Gal" a B-25 bomber that's on display at the Champaign Aviation Museum in Urbana Wednesday. BILL LACKEY/STAFF
The "Champaign Gal" a B-25 bomber that's on display at the Champaign Aviation Museum in Urbana Wednesday. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

A small fleet of World War II-era planes will be on display at the Butler County Regional Airport Friday and Saturday, including one model made famous by the Doolittle Raid in 1942.

The Hogan Field Fly-In at the Butler County Regional Airport in Hamilton is a free event on Friday, starting at 3 p.m.and admission is $10 when gates open at 10 a.m. Saturday. It will feature the military aircraft and rides in a B-25 Mitchell, a twin-engine medium bomber flown by allied air forces in every World War II theater, and a T-6 Texan, an advanced trainer that pilots had to master before being sent on war missions.

A P-51 Mustang, which also flew during the Korean War, and TBM Avenger, the type of plane flown by former President George H.W. Bush during combat missions in 1945, will also be at Hogan Field.

“I think there’s a lot of interest to see these old aircraft again,” said Terry Senger, a retired Marine Corps colonel and volunteer at the Champaign museum. He helped organize the fly-in and said restoring and showing off the old wartime aircraft builds awareness and educates the public.

“The most heartfelt reason to operate these old aircraft and to go out to airshows is basically to honor the WWII veterans.”

Senger, who is a pilot, said his father , Randall Senger, was in training to be a B-25 flight engineer when World War II ended in the summer of 1945.

Champaign Aircraft Museum Development Manager Jessica Henry said the COVID-19 pandemic forced everything to be canceled last year, but it was able to take the B-25 to the Butler County Regional Airport last year for an aviation exploration class for Butler Tech students.

It usually does a handful of events every year, including air shows like the Hogan Field Fly-In or flyover events for veterans organizations. It also does the Living History Flight Experience, at which people can come to the museum to learn and, for a few times a year, go on a flight.

Henry said the importance of maintaining these warbirds is education.

“It’s very important to us because our missions actually touching lives by restoring history,” she said. “So the more we can share the history of our veterans and the aircraft of students of all ages, the better. We want to share this history with future generations to come.”

The Champaign Aviation Museum is also doing a restoration project on a B-17 bomber, a project that started in 2006. The B-17 is a four-engine heavy bomber is known as the Flying Fortress.

Limited rides are available for the B-25 Mitchell, and can be purchased online. The flight on the historic plane goes for $495 in the jump seat, which is behind the cockpit, and $425 for the remaining six seats.

The T-6 Texan will also take on limited riders, and reservations can be made at www.kwbirds.com or by calling 937-830-9799, walk-up signups are also available but not guaranteed. A 15-minute flight is $275. For 30 minutes it’s $500 and for 60 minutes it’s $815. Patrons purchasing the 30- and 60-minute flights will sit in the pilot’s seat.

IF YOU GO

Here is the schedule of events for the Hogan Field Fly-In:

Friday

The event starts at 3 p.m. with an invited media flight on the B-25.

Scheduled ride flights for the B-25 are at 5:30 and 7 p.m. on Friday. Reservations are online at www.champaignaviationmuseum.org.

The T-6 Texan will also sell flights. Reservations can be made at www.kwbirds.com or by calling 937-830-9799. Walk-up signups on Friday are also available but not guaranteed.

Saturday

The event opens at 10 a.m. and will feature the P-51 Mustang and TBM Avenger

Ride flights for the B-25 take off at 11 a.m. (this ride is full).

B-25 Cockpit tours are from noon until 4 p.m.

The B-25 will have two more ride flights at 4 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.