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September 4, 2013

WW II bomber took 28 years to restore

(Continued)

MT. VERNON — —

Martin said the plane has two right cyclone engines that require regular maintenance.

"They are R2600's, and they develop 1,700 horsepower each. We've had good luck with it. We had to have and engine change and take the bugs out of it when we first started flying it, but it's been a good flier," said Martin, who added it has a 670-gallon fuel capacity and the empty weight is about 18,000 pounds.

"What it was used for is low altitude bombing. When you look at the missions it was on, it was mostly bridges and that type of thing that it bombed. It flew so low that the bombs were equipped with parachutes so the bombs would go down slow and give them time to get out of the way before the bombs exploded," Martin said.

"Maid in the Shade" flies a crew of our, including pilot Spike McLane, co-pilot Ron Smith, load master Jay Calchera and Martin. The load master sits in the back of the plane.

"The reason for that you can't see the back of the engines or the back of the airplane. He's there for safety. You could have something spewing out and you wouldn't know it. He also takes care of passengers. It will haul seven passengers, three in the front and four in the back," Martin said.

"Maid in the Shade" will be joined by the Dixie Wing Commemorative Air Force's Red Nose P-51D later this week.

Martin said this is his first visit to Mt. Vernon, and so far, he likes what he sees.

"I love it. It's clean and the people are great. It's a nice place; I like it here," he said.

The Commemorative Air Force is an all-volunteer organization dedicated to the preservation of the great warplanes from World War II through Vietnam. The Airzona Wing has entrusted with the restoration of the "Maid in the Shade," "Sentimental Journey," and other warbirds.

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