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Martin Mars finds new home at North Saanich’s BC Aviation Museum

The B.C. government provided a $250,000 grant for the plane to ‘protect and preserve’ it
Richard Mosdell, Save the Mars project lead, said the Hawaii Martin Mars will be a welcome addition to the BC Aviation Museum as the plane was a crucial asset in the battle against wildfires. (News Staff/ Thomas Eley)

The Hawaii Martin Mars, famous for putting out fires with a single flyover, will find its new home at North Saanich’s BC Aviation Museum in the fall.

“You can see the DNA of the Mars story runs through this Island,” said Richard Mosdell, Save the Mars project lead.

The 60-by-36-metre Martin Mars will fly down the east coast of the Island before it arrives at the Victoria Airport for its final resting place.

“It is going to do plane yoga around all the buildings, across the airport runway in the middle of the night,” he said.

On Thursday (March 28), the B.C. government provided a $250,000 grant to “protect and preserve” the plane that had been instrumental in protecting the forests of the West Coast. The water bomber’s final flight to the Saanich Inlet beside Victoria International Airport from Coulson Aviation Tanker Base on Sproat Lake in Port Alberni is expected to take place in October 2024.

Initially, the plane was used to carry troops over the Pacific Islands to the Korean War, before finding its next role as a water bomber.

“It dropped a massive amount of water, more water than has ever been dropped before. And then they retired in 2015.”

Mosdell said he had fallen in love with the plane and that seeing the plane overhead always gave him a sense of safety.

“My dad and I connected over our love of this aircraft.”

The water bomber was the biggest operational flying boat in the world, according to the museum’s president Steve Nichol.

“It is now obsolete, and it needed a new home – and the BC Aviation Musem will provide that new home,” he said.

Although the exhibit is not yet open to the public, Nichol said it will be accessible at its new location, allowing people to see the Hawaii Martin Mars up close.

The plane, Mosdell said, is the same size as a Boeing 747, and many groups have tried to bring it to the museum but have found it too difficult.

“The best puzzles in the world to figure out are the hardest. And we figured it out.”

READ MORE: Historic B.C. Martin Mars water bomber will fly one last time

About the Author: Thomas Eley

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