This past weekend I was up in Missoula looking for a plane that i thought would be in the neighborhood. The B-25J “Maid in the Shade” that stopped Bozeman is still on tour up in the north and made a stop in Helena last week and starting this previous Monday in Missoula. Well being one day early i missed getting a chance to see those guys again but found time to spend at a museum i didn’t know about. The Museum of Mountain Flying located at the Missoula International Airport has some pretty darn cool history too it.
Missoula is known for many things one of which is having the Smoke Jumping Academy which plays a huge role in forest fires throughout the country. The Museum there is partly dedicated to the academy and has a wide collection of planes and history about forest fire management. One of the really cool planes they have is a DC-3 “Mann Gulch” which was used for dropping smoke jumpers into hot spots. It was named after a 1949 jump into a hotspot where 15 men were dropped into Mann Gulch and 12 were killed. Sadly the plane is not flying yet but it is a great piece to the collection of Fire Fighting aircraft. Also is a TBM, part of Johnson’s Flying Circus, also on the way to being air worthy.
I didn’t get a good shot of either aircraft, so in case you were wondering this is a shot of 4 DC-3’s from Oshkosh 2011.