The Suburbanite
  • Postcard from ... Green: B-26 bomber to be dedicated at MAPS museum

  • One of seven remaining B-26 Marauder bombers — about to go on its wheels and receive its engines — will be dedicated Sunday at MAPS Air Museum.

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  • One of seven remaining B-26 Marauder bombers — about to go on its wheels and receive its engines — will be dedicated Sunday at MAPS Air Museum.
    The public can view the World War II bomber, which was loaned to the museum in the 1990s and has been undergoing restoration, during a dedication event Sunday from 2 to 4 p.m.
    “The guys have taken it from a shell and rebuilt the ribbing and re-skinned the fuselage. They built parts where they needed them,” said Kim Kovesci, executive director at the museum. “It’s been years and years of work. It’s almost representative of MAPS because it’s been here for so long.”
    One of the key workers on the restoration effort is MAPS member Dave Pawski of Cuyahoga Falls, who has labored to piece the plane back together — machining parts in the process — for more than 15 years.
    “In August 1994, it came all in damaged pieces with a lot of parts missing,” said Pawski, who estimates more than 20 people have helped in the restoration, including fellow volunteer Ray Hanlin. “We’ve had to make them all from scratch.
    “The fuselage has been on display two years. The left wing, we brought in last year, and the right wing, this spring. This summer, we put the wings on. We have two engines coming very soon. First, we’re going to stand the whole thing up and put it on its wheels, probably this fall.”
    The medium-range bomber, serial number 40-1459, was one of the first 201 initially built, said Pawski. More than 5,100 eventually were built.
    “When they were ordered, there was no prototype,” he explained. “The first 201 built sort of served as prototypes. This one was number 99.”
    The MAPS plane crash-landed in bad weather with two other B-26s in British Columbia, Canada, on Jan. 16, 1942, en route to Alaska. The planes were recovered in 1970 by a team led by David Tallichet. Helicopters and trucks were used to recover the bombers in pieces.
    Two of the planes, including the one at MAPS, were cannibalized for parts to make the third plane airworthy. That “sister” bomber, presently in Florida, is now the only surviving
    B-26 capable of flight, Pawski said, although it has not flown for years.
    When Tallichet, who died in 2007, loaned the plane to MAPS — he had loaned or donated others to the museum — its condition was wrecked and, in pieces, pretty much unrecognizable as a warplane. Its restoration has come a long way, but work remains, notes Pawski.
    “We’re making flaps for it now. We’ve got most of those done,” he said. “The wing tips we have to make, the horizontal tail stabilizers we have to make.”
    Glass bubbles over the seats where the navigator/bombardier and tail gunner were stationed still is missing, offering a good view into the nose and tail of the bomber. Pawski fashioned cockpit seats — appropriate because MAPS Air Museum has a member who sat in such a seat in a B-26 bomber.
    Page 2 of 2 - “Don Block flew the B-26 in the war,” Kovesci said. “That’s part of why we think this is going to be such a cool exhibit. It’s representative of MAPS, and we have a personal connection to it.”
    WHAT B-26 Marauder Dedication
    WHERE MAPS Air Museum, 2260 International Parkway, North Canton
    WHEN 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday Sept. 9
    WHY To dedicate the museum’s restored B-26 bomber
    WHO A ceremony will honor World War II veterans, women pilots, and “Rosie the Riveters”
    HOW Admission is free for honorees and spouses, $5 for others, including museum members. Register at MAPS or call 330-896-6332 by Wednesday.
    For information, visit www.mapsairmusum.org.

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