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Mock-up Bomber is a Young Pilot Portal

By Frederick A. Johnsen

  • Mock-up bomber is a young pilot portal
    Looking almost ready for flight, this scale mock-up B-25J forward fuselage prokmises to bring the world of flight to students.
July 21, 2015 - What started as one family’s treehouse project in Colorado has evolved into a burgeoning B-25 bomber mock-up that will take youthful enthusiasts on simulated flights.

The B-25 project can be seen at KidVenture on Pioneer Airport this week. This is only its second outing.

The Young Aviators Mile High Chapter 43, associated with the EAA chapter of the same number in Denver, took over the finishing of the scaled bomber effigy. Using plans for a real B-25, but making some internal structural members out of wood, the result is a realistic replication of this famous World War II bomber. Its natural metal skin gleams in the light. Replica rivet heads lay out a convincing grid on the surface.

A mock-up Bendix top turret swings in azimuth; real seats taken from a B-25 grace the flight deck.     

But as much fun as it may sound to clamber around inside this re-created warplane, there’s more in the works. Eric Serani of the Young Aviators Chapter says, “This is just the very beginning vision.”

On a table beside the bogus bomber, two laptops connect to detailed replica engine instruments that respond to throttle inputs from the cockpit. An inspired fusion of 3-D printing and software genius by one of the group’s adult mentors created the lifelike instruments.

A seven-minute encapsulation of a real B-25 bombing mission from World War II is the basis for adventures youthful aviators can have in this time machine. Crew positions will be assigned by a lottery. Serani explains this is because “everyone’s going to want to be the pilot or the gunner.”

The B-25 cockpit rides on a trailer and stows lower than its operating position to enable transit down the highway.

A visitor to the cockpit at KidVenture on Pioneer Airport is likely to find adults and youths scrambling as they continue to install equipment and tweak the bomber experience. Serani is pleased to see the group’s younger members taking such an active role. “The kids are going to be the ones teaching other kids,” he explains.

The vision for the future includes the use of video monitors placed in front of the windscreen to enhance the mission experience.
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