B-25D 'Grumpy' retraces WWII flight path

September 1, 2009

The route across Canada and the North Atlantic that World War II ferry pilots used to supply the Allies with aircraft and supplies is active once again: A B-25D Mitchell restored to airworthy condition in Duxford, England, is retracing the North Atlantic Air Ferry Route to arrive at its new home in Everett, Wash.

The nonprofit Historic Flight Foundation will add the aircraft to its collection of important aircraft produced between 1927 and 1957, housed at hangar Kilo 6 at Paine Field in Everett, Wash. The flight, which began Aug. 29, is expected to last five to six days.

“First-class seats, heat, good food, and in-flight entertainment systems are over-rated when compared to the inspiration provided by historic aircraft,” said John T. Sessions, founder of the Historic Flight Foundation and a pilot on the flight. "The cold of the flight deck will be nothing when I see the ocean break over the nose of the B-25.”

On the way from Duxford to Paine Field, the flight has planned stops at airports that played an important role in the ferrying of aircraft from U.S. factories to the United Kingdom during World War II; B-25s were delivered as part of Lend-Lease agreements. Pilots of the aircraft, which is named Grumpy, will be detailing their thoughts during the flight in a blog.

The aircraft is carrying a Royal Air Force commemorative Wilkinson sword honoring flight crews unable to complete their missions. The sword will be presented at ceremonies in Washington, D.C., at the home of the British Ambassador to the United States.

Grumpy will be flown during the Vintage Aircraft Weekend at Paine Field Sept. 25 through 27.