Martin Mars Deal Stymied?

Philippine Mars back during her service days. Coulson have repainted her in these markings for the eventual transfer to the Navy Museum. (photo via Wikipedia)
Philippine Mars back during her service days. Coulson have repainted her  in these markings for the eventual transfer to the Navy Museum. (photo via Wikipedia)
Philippine Mars back during her service days. Coulson has repainted her in these markings for the eventual transfer to the Navy Museum. (photo via Wikipedia)

In a rather controversial move, the Canadian Heritage Minister, Shelly Glover, has attempted to put a hold on the planned deal between The Coulson Group and the National Naval Aviation Museum which was supposed to see one of Coulson’s two remaining Martin JRM Mars flying boats heading from its base at Sproat Lake in British Columbia to the Pensacola, Florida museum. According to an article posted by the Canadian Broadcasting Company HERE, “officials under Shelly Glover, the Canadian Heritage minister, have told Coulson that the plane may be “cultural property” of importance to Canada, and he must convince a panel to give him a special export permit under the Cultural Property Export and Import Act.” The reasoning behind this action stems from the type having served the Canadian people for the past half century. However, considering that the aircraft in question, Bu.76820 Philippine Mars, is now painted to represent her days in the US Navy, it seems more like a power-play to secure the remaining operational Mars in Coulson’s fleet for Canada, Bu.76823 Hawaii Mars II, as she is still in her civilian colors and thus more appropriate for a Canadian museum. According to the CBC article, Canadian MP John Duncan, is indeed making that suggestion to help settle the situation; offering to swap Hawaii Mars for a pair of retired RCAF C-130 Hercules transports which Coulson could convert into air tankers for his fleet. The proposal would then see Hawaii Mars join the Canada Aviation & Space Museum in Ottawa, Ontario. While it is justifiable that Canada retain a Mars for their national collection, it is an extremely heavy-handed approach for doing so. Judging by previous failed efforts to prevent a Canadian-based Lockheed Constellation leaving for the Museum of Flight in Seattle, it seems an approach unlikely to succeed, and perhaps almost guarantees that Coulson will be predisposed to disfavor any government proposal. We shall see of course, and report any news as it arises.

Hawaii Mars beached in the foreground a few years ago during winter maintenance, with Philippine Mars to the rear, much as they look today, with the exception that Philippine now sports a beautiful, post-war gloss navy blue paint scheme. (photo via Wikipedia)
Hawaii Mars beached in the foreground a few years ago during winter maintenance, with Philippine Mars to the rear, much as they look today, with the exception that Philippine now sports a beautiful, post-war gloss navy blue paint scheme. (photo via Wikipedia)

15 Comments

  1. I have been to the Pensacola Naval Air Museum twice and I am utterly impressed completely by their operation. As a Canadian I would be proud to see the Philippine Mars located at this fine museum that is open to the public free of charge.
    With that said I would like to see the Hawaii Mars located at one of our fine Canadian air museums, either Hamilton or Ottawa.

    • Thanks for your comment. I live in Pensacola and have watched this museum grow from its infancy to the massive gem it has become today. Acquiring this aircraft would bring the museum very close to its goal of representing every single aircraft ever commissioned by the U.S. Navy. Each aircraft is painstakingly restored often down to the rivets.

    • Why in the world would putting it in Ottawa be appropriate the plane is historically part of the BC forest industry something in which Ottawa was involved in destroying if I belongs anywhere it belongs in port alberni

  2. I’d just like to see the Hawaii Mars back in the air fighting forest fires in the West. It’s a magnificent plane that is being underutilized. Let the Philippine Mars go home to the US Navy, but retain all of the spare parts so that the Hawaii can remain operational for years to come.

  3. Agree totally with Will Page. Was lucky to see Hawaii Mars taking off from Sproat lake on a trip to Canada prior to the Americas Cup. It is a stunning sight and should be part of Canadian Aircraft heritage. In an Aussie visitors humble opinion.

  4. The flying boat runway at the Honolulu Airport is now a hard runway….years ago the tower was on the seaside of the Tarmac and “ran” land and water runways. Watching the MARs take off was super….starting at Pearl Harbor and heading east MARs would hit the JATO bottles around even with the tower….8 miles down the coast they’d, if lightly loaded, might have gotten to 1,500 ft.(:<}

  5. I flew in the Mars from Alameda, CA to Barber’s Point, HI in 1955. My dad was load master on the Mars at the time. Took 14 hrs to get there & was an overnight flight. While I was only 5 yrs old, I still remember the trip. Got to see it again a few years ago while it came down to Lake Elsinore, CA to help with the fires. Also got to meet Mr. Coulson & got a picture of him & I with the Mars in the background. I vote for Pensacola 😉

  6. We need the Mars Hawaii OPERATIONAL NOW. The jet water bombers are too slow to fill, don’t have near the payload and can’t go as low and slow as the Mars. F the museum. Eastern Washington is burning.

  7. I also flew on one of the Mars, my mother believes the Carolina, in November of 1953 from Barbers Point, HI to San Francisco at about 6 weeks old. I would love to see the Phillipine Mars go to Pensacola so I could visit and see one of those great planes and the Naval Aviation Museum. My mother is still living and it would be a great trip for her.

  8. My dad was navigator and pilot during WWII stationed at Alameda. He flew the Hawaii, Phillipines and Carolina? Mars between San Fancisco and Pearl Harbor and beyond to the Pacific Coast. He brought in fresh soldiers and supplies and took wounded soldiers back to Navy hospitals. I have an awesome pic of he and his crew with the Phillipines Mars taken ca. 1945-1947 if anyone would like to see if can recognize a family member. My husband and I visited the planes at Sprout Lake and they fired up the engines for me and let me sit in the pilot’s seat. These planes are family and would love to see them do their duty as long as safe and then retired for all to enjoy. Rich history to preserve for both USA and Canada.

    • Thanks very much for writing in Dianne… sounds like a fascinating story of your father’s service, and also your experiences with the Mars as well. We’d love to see and share the photograph!

  9. I would love to see the Philippine Mars at the Pensacola Naval Museum. I flew on it as a Navy dependent in 1952 when I was 6 years old from California to Hawaii . My 91 year old mom and my siblings would be blown away to see it again, I hope it makes it to the museum.

  10. The Phillipine Mars needs to come back home to Pensacola. I have been to the Naval Aviation Museum many time as my brothers WWII PB2Y “Coronado” is there completely refurbished and being the only one in the world today. This is the finest air museum in the US, in my estimation. The “Mars” would complete a fleet of WWII flying boats that every history loving American would be able to see and touch. Such aircraft will never be built again.

  11. My father was CDR William F. Mc Sharry . He was also a pilot on the Hawaii Mars . I might have been on the same flight as some of you in the early 50’s .The way he used to talk about the flight between N A S Alameda and Barbers Point H I ” I made that flight so many times , I wore a rut in the Pacific Ocean ” I think I still have the newspaper clippings of the nonstop flight from Barbers Point HI to Chicago ILL . and of the hay drop .

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*