Martin Mars Movements – The Ultimate Flying Experience!

A distant view of Hawaii Mars framed by the wing of Philippine Mars on Sproat Lake. (photo by Rob Frolic)
Philippine Mars floating on Sproat Lake for the first time in years. She is nearly airworthy but currently inhibited, awaiting the outcome of a deal to take her to the National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola, Florida. (photo by Rob Frolic)
Philippine Mars floating on Sproat Lake for the first time in years. She is nearly airworthy but currently inhibited, awaiting the outcome of a deal to take her to the National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola, Florida. (photo by Rob Frolic)

Martin Mars Movements – The Ultimate Flying Experience!

by Richard Mallory Allnutt

The last remaining Martin JRM Mars flying boats may be approaching the end of their operational days, but Coulson Aviation who owns the two behemoths in Port Alberni, British Columbia, is offering a unique opportunity for members of the public to receive training and fly one of the aircraft. Dubbed the Ultimate Flying Experience, active pilots with $25,000 burning a hole in their pockets will go through a two day course which culminates in their sitting behind the controls of the Mars during a one hour flight. The program currently has a lot of interest, although exclusively so far from those with extensive seasoning flying large aircraft such as the Boeing 747. The flights will all be in the aircraft known as Hawaii Mars, which is still fitted as an aerial fire fighter and currently the only Mars flying, although Philippine Mars is well on her way back to airworthiness. Coulson expects to run one Ultimate Flying Experience session for four people in the week before Hawaii Mars flies to Oshkosh to take part in EAA AirVenture 2016 in late July. They will probably hold at least one further session upon her return.

Hawaii Mars entering the water yesterday to begin preparations for the Ultimate Flying Experience as well as her upcoming trip to Oshkosh, Wisconsin for EAA AirVenture 2016. (photo by Rob Frolic)
Hawaii Mars entering the water yesterday to begin preparations for the Ultimate Flying Experience as well as her upcoming trip to Oshkosh, Wisconsin for EAA AirVenture 2016. (photo by Rob Frolic)
Philippine Mars rolling down the flying boat ramp at Sproat Lake. (photo by Rob Frolic)
Philippine Mars rolling down the flying boat ramp at Sproat Lake. (photo by Rob Frolic)
Philippine Mars rolling down the flying boat ramp at Sproat Lake. (photo by Rob Frolic)
Philippine Mars rolling down the flying boat ramp at Sproat Lake. (photo by Rob Frolic)
Philippine Mars entering the waters at Sproat Lake for a photo-op with her sister ship, Hawaii Mars. (photo by Rob Frolic)
Philippine Mars entering the waters at Sproat Lake for a photo-op with her sister ship, Hawaii Mars. (photo by Rob Frolic)

Well known and prolific warbird collector, Kermit Weeks, is currently at Coulson Aviation’s base at Sproat Lake in Port Alberni getting acquainted with Hawaii Mars as he will be part of the flight crew that takes her to Oshkosh. Weeks has long expressed an interest in acquiring a Mars for his museum in Polk City, Florida, so it will be interesting to see what unfolds in the coming months.

Kermit Weeks filming Philippine Mars going into the waters at Sproat Lake. A spare forward fuselage is seen in the background. (photo by Rob Frolic)
Kermit Weeks filming Philippine Mars going into the waters at Sproat Lake. A spare forward fuselage is seen in the background. (photo by Rob Frolic)
Kermit Weeks (far left) on a boat beneath the giant hull of Hawaii Mars on Sproat Lake. (photo by Rob Frolic)
Kermit Weeks (far left) on a boat beneath the giant hull of Hawaii Mars on Sproat Lake yesterday. (photo by Rob Frolic)

Meanwhile, the longtime earth-bound Philippine Mars was set to be traded to the National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola, Florida, but that deal has apparently been put on hold by the US Navy for at least a year due to uncertainties over what will happen following the American Presidential election this November. Coulson Aviation has expressed considerable frustration with this situation as they have been working on this effort for the past five years and expended considerable resources in bringing Philippine Mars back into flying condition, not to mention repainting the massive aircraft into its former military colors. They have stated publicly that if a better opportunity arises with another party in the near term, they may opt to make that choice and back out of the Navy deal. Time will tell, but the Ultimate Flying Experience program and taking the Hawaii Mars to Oshkosh are part of a campaign to drive up interest in Philippine Mars and may indeed see a different owner taking the prize home. WarbirdsNews will bring our readers further details as they arise.

A serene giant, the Hawaii Mars floats on Sproat Lake. The proud aerial fire-fighter is possibly nearing the end of her flying days, but she still has great potential for further operations. (photo by Rob Frolic)
A serene giant, the Hawaii Mars floats on Sproat Lake. The proud aerial fire-fighter is possibly nearing the end of her flying days, but she still has great potential for further operations. (photo by Rob Frolic)

A distant view of Hawaii Mars framed by the wing of Philippine Mars on Sproat Lake. (photo by Rob Frolic)
A distant view of Hawaii Mars framed by the wing of Philippine Mars on Sproat Lake. (photo by Rob Frolic)

———————————————-

Many thanks to Rob Frolic for allowing us to use his beautiful images taken for us just yesterday!

4 Comments

  1. It would be a big good new if finally Mr. Weeks makes a deal with Wayne Coulson about this great plane. It’s wonderfull air museum, Fantasy of Flight, would be a perfect place for one of the remaining Martin Mars still living and in flight condition. I cross my fingers… ;o)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*