In order to generate more money, Van Nuys Airport in Southern California, has been forcing propeller planes off the property by allowing leaseholders to raise hangar rents to amounts that only business jet and charter companies can afford. This is happening to San Fernando Valleyís beloved WWII B-25J Mitchell Bomber, Heavenly Body.
This historic B-25 has been stationed at Van Nuys Airport for 35 years.
She is an icon and a cherished War-Bird that has been serving the community as a living museum, offering free tours and educating the public since 1972.
VNY is a General Aviation airport, but by awarding all its property to leaseholders who are solely interested in building expensive jet facilities, LAWA (Los Angeles World Airports) is discriminating against propeller planes and their owners. This is a direct violation of the FAA Sponsorship Agreements, which is a set of rules put forth by the FAA in exchange for federal funding.
The reason why Heavenly Body and her crew are in dire straits is that even though the smaller, privately owned prop planes can move to different airports, the B-25 cannot be properly housed at other airstrips due to shorter runways, limited space, unfavorable conditions, and of course distance would be a major factor for the all-volunteer crew. Kicking Heavenly Body out of VNY would mean her demise.
Van Nuys Airport and leaseholders will be evicting Heavenly Body in order to destroy her hangar and replace it with a jet-worthy one. But at this point, her crew is not just fighting to preserve their home at VNY — they are now wrestling with LAWA and politicians for a museum to be built there. They have been offered large collections of vintage aircraft, military vehicles, and an extensive array of wartime memorabilia from various donors and veteransí associations in Los Angeles. The historical Air National Guard hangars, and ramp, would be a perfect venue for the museum but it is currently being parceled off to leaseholders, and will be scheduled for demolition.
Heavenly Body and her crew have been broadcast on various local television news programs and have been featured in many newspaper articles. Their website is www.b25.net; please log-on to see the petition to save her home at Van Nuys Airport.
WWII B-25, Heavenly Body