B-25 TO FLY IN ARGENTINA

PROJECT UPDATE

B-25J Mitchell 44-31173/LV-GXH with a stylised World War Two version of the Huaira Bajo name it wore as a freighter in the early 1970s and Betty Boop nose art.

At General Rodríguez airfield, west of Buenos Aires, Argentina, a former aerial survey North American B-25J Mitchell, 44-31173/ LV-GXH, is six years into a restoration to fly with the Proyecto B-25 Mitchell Huaira Bajo group. The machine was acquired by owner Gustavo M. Passano in 2010 from Santiago del Estero Airport in northern Argentina, where it had gone on display as a gate guard in 1975. It subsequently lapsed into dereliction before Passano had it moved the 614 miles south-east by road to General Rodríguez.

Originally delivered to the US Army Air Forces in 1945, the B-25 was used for training before going into storage at Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona, in December 1958. It was exported to Argentina in 1961 and went into service as a freighter with the name Huaira Bajo, before being impounded for smuggling liquor from Paraguay in August 1969. It then spent six years flying on aerial survey duties at Santiago del Estero.

In late 2018 the B-25 was fitted with a pair of freshly overhauled, 1,600hp Wright R-2600 Twin Cyclones in the hangar that was purpose-built to house the Mitchell. The popular General Rodríguez airfield is the home base of the Experimental Aircraft Association of Argentina.