Letters

Museum wants Wayne's planes

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To the Editor,

Re: Bring back our bomber, July 24.

In 2007 Rollie Back, president and CEO of the BC Aviation Council, Gil Pascal, board chair of the Glenn L. Martin Maryland Aviation Museum and I had the resources to create two museums featuring the Martin Mars waterbombers.

We were going to cross-market one another. One was going to be located in Port Alberni and the other in Maryland, in the community where the planes were built.

Jimmy Buffet was on board to help raise funds. Articles appeared in the New York Times and Washington Post. People from all over North America were flying high with excitement.

Both museums would have been known worldwide as destinations for this historic aircraft. Evergreen Aviation in McMinnville, Oregon offered to share corporate knowledge on all their successes with their aviation displays that include the famous Spruce Goose. Experts were utilized to help prove that this was the best possible option for the Mars waterbombers.

Some time back in history the Mars were put at the bottom of the call out list for Forest Service managed fires. Conair and many other smaller heli and airplane operators were called out or even put on retainers to be available. Not the Mars.

In fact, in the days when they did regular fire patrol flights either with the Mars or the Goose, even when they discovered a new fire that they could have immediately extinguished, if it wasn’t on their property, they had to call the Forest Service and they would call out the competition. I offered facts on how the technology was being phased out, and how the aircraft were being made obsolete by the US government.

It’s all still happening today. My motivation then was fear our community would end up losing the Mars forever, as it appears will happen, so the least Coulson should do is offer what he can to the Glenn L. Martin Aviation Museum who would appreciate the aircraft forever.

Stacey Gaiga,

Port Alberni

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