Three vintage airplanes will be available for people to see at the upcoming Aerospace Day April 19 in Hot Springs. Along with a B-25 Mitchell Bomber ( nicknamed “Show Me”) and a TBM-3 Avenger Torpedo Bomber ( both made an appearance at the event last year) will be a 1941 US Army Aeronca L-3E “Defender” observation aircraft nicknamed “Lil Show-Me.” All three of the planes belong to the Commemorative Air Force Missouri Wing (CAF), a non-profit that preserves World War II military aviation history. Aerospace Day takes place at Hot Springs Memorial Field Airport at 525 Airport Road.
“Lil Show-Me” has quite an impressive history. According to a news release by the city of Hot Springs about the plane, it ‘fulfilled various roles throughout World War II, including observation of enemy troop movements, directing artillery fire and liaison duties. Because of its ability to land and take-off on rough terrain, the pilots and plane became known as “Grasshoppers.”’
The other airplanes have impressive stories too. “Show Me,” the B-25, ‘proved itself in World War II to be a formidable ground attack weapon in addition to its primary mission as bomber, over land or sea. It was made famous by the legendary Doolittle Raid on Tokyo four months after the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Also of note, if you have ever wanted to see the inside of a WWII bomber plane from up in the sky, for a fee rides on the B-25 can be reserved (by calling the CAF at 314-486-1205) and will be offered Thursday afternoon through Sunday morning. Be sure to call ahead if you are interested as the rides fill up fast.
Aerospace Day, which is a free event, will have demonstrations, displays and representatives from aerospace industries on hand to discuss opportunities for those interested in aerospace careers.
Also on the agenda: Henderson State University will bring a flight simulator and training aircraft display and Western Pilot, Inc. will give an air tanker water drop demonstration. Other vintage airplanes will also be on display. For more information visit the Missouri Wing’s website at cafmo.org.