July 13, 2024

British Columbia Aviation Museum Secures Historic Hawaii Mars Acquisition

In a momentous announcement, the British Columbia Aviation Museum proudly revealed the acquisition of the legendary Hawaii Mars, a significant milestone achieved after more than two years of dedicated negotiations and collaboration between museum volunteers and Coulson Aviation – Next Gen Firefighting.


Photo Source: https://globalnews.ca/

The Hawaii Mars, operated by Coulson Aviation Group from 1961 to 2015, holds a storied legacy of combating wildfires across North America, having extinguished over 4,000 blazes with its remarkable water-dropping capabilities. Renowned for its ability to swiftly quell massive infernos in a single pass, these iconic red and white aircraft have long held a special place in the hearts of British Columbians for their invaluable service in preserving the province’s forests.

Following the retirement of the Mars fleet by Coulson Aviation Group, discussions commenced between the BC Aviation Museum and the owners, culminating in the decision to integrate the iconic aircraft into the museum’s burgeoning British Columbia wildfire aviation exhibit. As negotiations progress, the museum anticipates exciting upgrades to enrich the visitor experience and further showcase the Mars’ illustrious history.

According to reports by the Time Colonist, Lana Popham, minister of tourism, and Josie Osborne, MLA for Mid Island-Pacific Rim, will join representatives from the BC Aviation Museum and Coulson Aviation to commemorate the acquisition and tour the Hawaii Martin Mars water bomber. The announcement is slated to include plans for restoring the aircraft to airworthiness and logistical arrangements for its relocation.

Photo source: https://robbreport.com/

Tentative plans envision the Hawaii Mars embarking on its final flight in the fall, tracing a path from Sproat Lake down the east coast of the island. A meticulously orchestrated flight plan will afford thousands of spectators the opportunity to witness the aircraft’s journey and its historic landing on the waters of Patricia Bay on the Saanich Peninsula.

In a gesture of support, the provincial government has allocated $250,000 to facilitate the aircraft’s transition to the B.C. Aviation Museum. The process will involve transporting the Hawaii Mars via a ramp at Canadian Coast Guard Base Patricia Bay, followed by mounting it on a trailer equipped with a swiveling cradle for safe transport across Victoria International Airport runways.

Anticipation mounts as the museum endeavors to construct a new hangar to house the Martin Mars Hawaii and other firefighting aircraft, with land generously donated by the Victoria Airport Authority. Envisioned as an interactive exhibit, visitors will have the opportunity to explore the aircraft’s features up close, offering a captivating journey through the past, present, and future of British Columbia aviation.

At the British Columbia Aviation Museum, visitors of all ages are invited to marvel at one of Canada’s most extensive aviation collections, where immersive experiences await.

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