Owners of the Martin Mars Water Bombers are offering aviation enthusiasts the chance to fly the Hawaii Mars.
Wayne Coulson is still as passionate about the Martin Mars water bombers as he was nine years ago when he purchased them.
He has spent millions of dollars maintaining and upgrading the plans but now with their fire fighting days most likely finished, Coulson is looking forward to sharing his passion with others.
“Well we’ve been talking about it for a couple of years. We thought it would be a great opportunity to give aviators a chance to actually get in the airplane to actually get their hands on the wheel and enjoy flying the airplane” said Coulson, owner of Coulson Flying Tankers.
He has created a program called The Ultimate Flying Experience aimed at aviation enthusiasts around the world.
“This was the largest airplane built during World War two, the largest sea plane in the world next to the Spruce Goose so with anyone wanting to say they’ve flown the Martin Mars we’re giving people that opportunity” he added.
But the opportunity will not come cheap. A chance to sit in the cockpit, with hands on the controls in the air will cost $25,000 US.
“Day one we’re going to be doing some water taxiing, so get the feel of the airplane on the water, how we dock the airplane, doing some high speed runs and then day two we’ll actually get behind the wheel and go fly it around Port Alberni for an hour” added Coulson.
They will be flying the Hawaii Mars with its updated avionics onboard.
However the Philippine Mars is also still at the base on Sproat Lake.
It was supposed to be going to a museum in Pensacola, Florida but that deal has fallen through.
Either way, both planes have been kept in impeccable shape over the years.
“Being an older airplane maybe a little more maintenance but it’s been very well maintained over the years and we’ve done a lot of major projects on it so she’s in pristine condition” said Director of Maintenance Roy Copeland.
The first customer, a man from Florida is coming to fly the Mars in early July.