The Maid in the Shade takes flight over North Idaho | Arts & Culture
It's not the biggest plane sitting at Pappy Boyington Field, but it's one of the oldest. The Maid in the Shade, built in 1943, saw 15 missions out of Corsica, Italy during World War II. It routinely bombed targets in northern Italy including bridges and caves used for the transport of German goods. For two of those missions, it flew over Yugoslavia to bomb rail lines.
The Maid in the Shade retired early after its 15 missions. Most aircraft during the war could make 40-120 missions before they were retired, except for the thousands that were damaged and went down over sea and land.
Dave Baker, co-pilot, is flying with the aircraft for the next few weeks. It's his vacation. He's actually a retired test pilot for Boeing rotorcraft. He's volunteering with the Arizona Wing of the Commemorative Air Force to tour the Maid in the Shade across the country, stopping in 60-cities. He's one of many volunteers whose backgrounds include federal beef inspectors, bank tellers, doctors and a lot of current and retired aviation focused individuals.
"My wife gave me a ride in the B-17 seven years ago and I was hooked," Baker said. He continued, "I started flying in the mid 60s. I was a helicopter pilot with the U.S. Army, flew in Vietnam. I left the army after four years. I realized my passion was flying so I got airplane license, but I stayed with helicopters and did EMS and bush work in Alaska."
He'll be flying with the plane for two more weeks. More volunteers will be stepping in to pilot and maintain the aircraft until it dispatches for its home base in mid-October.
The Maid in the Shade is flying out of Pappy Boyington Field until August 10th offering rides and tours. For more information about pricing and flight information visit their website at AZCAF.
The WWII bombers are maintained and operated as a flying museum and memorial to all our veterans by the all-volunteer non-profit Commemorative Air Force, Arizona Wing Aviation Museum based in Mesa, AZ at Falcon Field Airport.
The B-25 Mitchell Bomber ‘Maid in the Shade’ is a veteran aircraft with 15 combat missions flying out of Corsica during WWII. The restoration to bring “Maid in the Shade” back to flying condition took 28 years and was completed May 2009. The Arizona Wing Aviation Museum and its restored aircraft and artifacts span over 90 years of aviation history.
Photo Gallery: A tour of the plane both inside and out as it flys over North Idaho is featured here including shots of Coeur d'Alene landmarks from the air.