Warbirds to soar over New Richmond on Saturday
The New Richmond Regional Airport is celebrating its 50th anniversary from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 9, by showing off a variety of old war planes for visitors to see up-close, and even take a flight in.
The Commemorative Air Force Minnesota Wing based at Fleming Field in South St. Paul, Minn., will offer flights in a PT-22 Recruit, a BT-13 Valiant and a B-25 Mitchell Bomber.
The bomber is the same model plane used in the famous Doolittle Raid in which 16 of the bombers took off from an aircraft carrier and bombed Tokyo in April 1942 in the first attack on the Japanese home islands after the Pearl Harbor attack.
Airport manager Mike Demulling said he originally hoped to put on a full-scale air show to celebrate the airport’s 50th year, but there just wasn’t enough money in the budget.
“This is the first time we’ve done something like this,” Demulling said. “It’s free and it’s family-friendly. People are welcome to come out to look at the airplanes up close, and we’ll have food and drink available for sale.”
Pairing the Fleming Field warbirds with static displays of unusual aircraft based locally will still be a great experience. Among the displays will be a Learjet and the Fairey Gannet, a Cold War-era British aircraft, and other warbirds.
“The event starts at 9, and people will be able to hear the arrival of the B-25 beforehand,” Demulling said. “It should get here around 8:15 or so on Saturday morning.”
Delta Air Lines pilot Pat Anderson of New Richmond is a volunteer with the Commemorative Air Force and serves as one of the B-25 pilots. He said the bomber is sure to make an impression on people who see it for the first time.
“It’s loud,” Anderson said. “There’s no creature comfort in it. There’s no insulation. It’s cold in the winter and hot in the summer. People will see the dummy bombs we have up in there. It was made for one purpose, and that was to go to war.”
Those who pony up the cash for a flight can expect a nice, long ride.
“We can take about eight people at a time, and we’ll go up for a 30- to 40-minute ride,” Peterson said.
A ride in the PT-22 is $150, and a ride in the BT-13 is $200 while a ride in the B-25 will cost $450. Reservations are required for the B-25. Rides in the other two planes will be first-come, first-served. According to Thompson, the cost of the ride can be considered a tax-deductible donation to the Commemorative Air Force, which is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.
The fees charged go to pay for fuel, appearance fees and other expenses at air shows around the country to continue the organization’s mission.
Demulling is hoping the event will draw local residents and visitors to the airport and showcase a bit of what it offers the area.
“One of the nice things about the airport is that we’re self-sustaining,” Demulling said. “We pay our own way, so it doesn’t really cost the taxpayers anything. And that’s fairly unique around the state, and around the country really. We have a fairly significant economic impact on the area. We have a lot of businesses using the airport, and that really helps out the economy. In addition to the business aircraft based here, the airport is open to recreational users as well.”
If you go
What: An aviation event featuring World War II era warbirds and a variety of other aircraft
When: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 9
Where: New Richmond Regional Airport, use the north entrance off Wall Street
Cost: Admission to the viewing area is free; donations ranging from $150 to $450 are required to take a flight in the warbirds