If there’s such a thing as aviation swagger, military and history enthusiasts at the Belleville-based Yankee Air Museum celebrate it this weekend under the beloved name Yankee Warrior. The museum’s high-performance World War II bomber, a B-25 Mitchell, recently turned 75. And starting May 11, excursions aboard the historic aircraft will re-open to the public.
The Yankee Warrior belongs to the museum’s Air Adventure program, which provides guests with the opportunity to ride in and explore a historical American aircraft. Taking off at nearby Willow Run Airport in Ypsilanti, adventures aboard Yankee Warrior include a 25-minute flight that seats up to seven passengers. After liftoff, guests can explore the plane, visiting the nose, cockpit, waist, and tail sections while taking photos, video, or live streaming their experience.
The museum distinguishes the Yankee Warrior warplane as one of only two flyable B-25Ds left in the world. The B-25 bomber is characterized by its twin tail and commanding twin engine roar. It is most famous for its role in the April 1942 Doolittle Raid in Tokyo. The Yankee Warrior flew eight combat missions. The British, the Royal Canadian Air Force, and a local aviation enthusiast owned the plane before the museum purchased it.
The Air Adventure program, which runs through October with limited availability, also boasts a second World War II bomber, a World War II military transport aircraft, and a 1920s open-cockpit biplane. Those interested in riding upon one of the planes can book a reservation at yankeeairmuseum.org.
Through proceeds from these excursions, the museum seeks to transform the old Willow Run Bomber Plant into a newly renovated Yankee Air Museum. When complete, it will house a growing aircraft collection, a research center, and an education center.