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Hawaii Mars will take its final flight to Victoria sooner than anticipated

The waterbomber's final flight to Patricia Bay will be Aug. 10, 2024 if all goes well: Coulson Aviation
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A Coulson Aviation technician watches from the nose of the Hawaii Mars as the aircraft is hauled out of the water in 2016 at Sproat Lake.

The Hawaii Mars waterbomber will be leaving the Alberni Valley on its final flight months earlier than anticipated.

"We're ahead of schedule," said Britt Coulson, president and chief operating officer for Coulson Aviation. Technicians have already had the Martin Mars engines running in anticipation of flying the aircraft one last time to Patricia Bay outside of Victoria. The aircraft will then be towed out of the water and to a temporary area while a new exhibit on aerial firefighting is built at the B.C. Aviation Museum. Coulson anticipates the flight will happen around Aug. 10, 2024.

Britt Coulson said the company's technicians have been doing "an excellent job" with getting the engines of the Hawaii Mars back to airworthiness. The aircraft will likely be launched into the water at Sproat Lake in early July and commence taxiing throughout the month.

"(People) will probably be tired of that at the end," he quipped.

Coulson Aviation is planning an open house for the public the weekend before the Hawaii Mars leaves. The Sproat Lake Community Association is also planning an open house on Saturday, July 27.

Coulson Aviation is also offering paid VIP experiences with the Martin Mars leading up to its departure. More details can be found at martinmars.com.

While technicians have been seen testing the drop doors, officials with B.C. Aviation Museum said the aircraft will not be making any water drops on its final flight to Victoria.

The museum spokesperson also said the final route between destinations is unknown.

No concrete plans have been released for transporting the Philippine Mars, painted in its original dark blue navy colours, to its eventual home at an aviation museum in Arizona.



Susie Quinn

About the Author: Susie Quinn

A journalist since 1987, I have been the Alberni Valley News editor since August 2006.
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