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B-25 moves to Doolittle Foundation
Tuesday, 07 January 2014 00:00

North American B-25J 44-28932/N3476G Tondelayo seen at New Smyrna Beach before being ferried to Nut Tree Airport at Vacaville, Northern California. Mike ShreveNorth American B-25J 44-28932/N3476G Tondelayo seen at New Smyrna Beach before being ferried to Nut Tree Airport at Vacaville, Northern California. Mike Shreve

North American B-25J Mitchell 44-28932 Tondelayo has been leased by the Collings Foundation to the Jimmy Doolittle Air and Space Museum Education Foundation (DASMF) at Vacaville’s Nut Tree Airport, near Sacramento in Northern California, reports Mike Shreeve. The aeroplane, N3476G, which has been inactive for much of the past five years at the Collings Foundation’s maintenance facility at American Aero Services in New Smyrna Beach, Florida, is now being used by the DASMF on passenger pleasure flights over the San Francisco Bay area to raise funds for construction of the Jimmy Doolittle Air and Space Center. The lease agreement also includes an option for the DASMF to purchase the B-25.

Up until 2008, Tondelayo was toured across the USA alongside the Collings Foundation Boeing B-17 Nine-o-nine and Consolidated B-24 Liberator Witchcraft. The B-25 was on the tour that year after Collings acquired the dual-control North American TP-51C Mustang Betty Jane.

The DASMF plans to set up a new state-of-the art museum at Nut Tree, to be known as the Doolittle Center, and to also look after exhibits at the nearby Travis Air Force Base Heritage Center, formerly known as the Travis Air Museum. In addition to preserved aircraft and interactive displays, an archive of original documents and photographs associated with Jimmy Doolittle and held by the Foundation will be displayed. Doolittle was born locally, at Alameda in the San Francisco Bay area.

Tragically, just a couple of days after delivering the B-25 to Nut Tree, Fred Lewis, the leading light and president of the Doolittle Foundation, was killed while flying a pipeline surveillance mission in a Citabria over northern California.

Meanwhile, due to the generosity of a major donor, the Collings Foundation has acquired Curtiss P-40B, 41-13297/G-CDWH from The Fighter Collection. The machine will leave Duxford for Collings main operating base at Stow, Massachusetts early in the New Year.