The Warbirds of Glory Museum has released a video showing its progress on the restoration of a B-25 bomber that crashed in 1969 while operating for the fire service, but which was recovered in 2013 near the Tanana River and has become known as the "Sandbar Mitchell." Museum founders Patrick Mihalek and Todd Trainor spearheaded efforts to remove the plane from the its remote location and have since been working with a group of volunteers to restore it in their shop in Brighton, Mich.While the video highlights some of the hands-on work accomplished since the aircraft was transported to the Lower 48, Mihalek stressed in a recent phone conversation that even more significantly, the museum now has tax exempt status as a 501(c)(3) public charity. That means donations are tax-deductible, which he hopes will spur contributors to help fund their efforts."Our biggest challenge is fundraising," explains Mihalek, "which is crucial because our current location can not accommodate the rebuild of a B-25 and we will have to relocate the museum soon."There is a larger airport nearby that will suit the aircraft's space requirements both for the current rebuild and future flight. It will also allow the museum to be open to the public throughout the restoration process, which is a significant part of Mihalek's vision. Though they are currently also working on a recently donated World War II Link Trainer for display, there isn't adequate room to allow many visitors. The museum needs a solid endowment to finance the transition to a fully open and working facility that highlights the bomber, which will soon be undergoing the first steps to return it to its original condition."Our next job is to rebuild the top section," said Mihalek. He believes the original section was removed by scavengers sometime in the 1990s and his frustration over the damage done by this removal is palpable."If they had only cut it a little higher we wouldn't have the problems we have now putting the new section in place," he said. The new section comes from another B-25, but some metal fabrication will have to be done to bring the two parts together. Because the museum is determined to bring the Sandbar Mitchell back to airworthy status, that fabrication, like every other facet of the restoration, won't be cheap."The project has taken off in ways I never dreamed of," said Mihalek, whose plans for the Mitchell and the museum to showcase it stretch back more than 10 years. "So many young people have become involved and are such a valuable part of what we are trying to do here. It's amazing."All of those young people came to the museum after finding about it on their own, and have proven critical to the disassembly process, he said. Of the 14 volunteers in the video, 10 are under the age of 20, a fact that is especially impressive in the midst of so many doomsayer articles from the aviation industry about the aging population of pilots and mechanics."We just want to keep working on the plane and the museum and have this project be as open to the public as possible," Mihalek said. "There are only about twenty B-25s flying in the U.S. today; the Sandbar Mitchell is an important part of Alaska and aviation history and we look forward in continuing to get it back in the air."Keep up with the Warbirds of Glory Museum's efforts to fly the Sandbar Mitchell again at its website. Patrick Mihalek is also happy to speak with anyone about the project and their efforts to save this legendary aircraft.Contact Colleen Mondor at colleen[at]alaskadispatch.com.