Ottawa shoots down plans to ship historic warplane to U.S.
A B.C. forestry company is in a dogfight with the federal government over the fate of a historic warplane.
Coulson Flying Tankers CEO Wayne Coulson wants to ship his Second World War-era water bomber to the National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola, Fla., but Heritage Canada wants to keep the historic aircraft grounded on Canadian soil.
The Martin Mars water bomber is one of a handful left over from the Second World War. Dubbed the Philippine Mars, the aircraft was repurposed after the Korean War to fight forest fires in B.C.
Coulson took the plane out of service a few years ago and repainted it with its original military markings for its museum debut, but the federal government has blocked his efforts to move it to Florida.
"We were notified by the Canadian government that they wanted access to the Philippine Mars," Coulson told CTV Vancouver Island on Tuesday.
Conservative MP John Duncan for Vancouver Island North says Heritage Canada would prefer to trade a few aging Hercules-class aircraft to the U.S. museum, in exchange for keeping the Philippine Mars in Canada.
Coulson says his Philippine Mars aircraft would help the National Aviation Museum complete its water bomber collection. "They're excited to get the airplane," he said.
However, he is open to compromise.
"If the Canadian government feels they want to retain this heritage, then so be it, and we'll work with them on a resolution," Coulson said.
Coulson's company also owns the Hawaii Mars, a sister aircraft to the Philippine Mars.
Only seven of the aircraft were ever made.