Mars Attracts Celebrity Pilot

Kermit Weeks, left, at Port Alberni Mars base.
Kermit Weeks, left, at Port Alberni Mars base.

Well known vintage aircraft collector Kermit Weeks will be at the controls of the Martin Mars flying boat on its trip to EAA AirVenture this week.

Weeks owns a large collection of aircraft at a museum in Kissimmee, Florida and is reportedly paying $40,000 for the fuel on the eight-hour trip.

“My personal thing here is I truly believe I’m being part of history,”  Weeks told CTV News. “Kind of at the end of the swan song of the airplane’s history, unless it goes to another owner. I have my doubts whether or not the airplane will continue flying.”

The aircraft will be based at the AirVenture seaplane base on Lake Winnebago during the show, which begins next Monday.

Owner Couslon Air Tankers is trying to drum up business for his effort to get well-off pilots to earn type ratings in the huge aircraft.

The company lost a contract with the B.C. government for firefighting in 2014 but the Mars was called into action last year for a major fire near its base in Port Alberni.

Another Mars, painted in U.S. Navy livery, was floated last week in Sproat Lake. Coulson wants to trade that airplane to the Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola, Florida but the deal is tied up in red tape on both sides of the border.