On March 30th 2024, after more than two years of negotiations and hard work by both the British Columbia Aviation Museum (BCAM) and Coulson Aviation, the BCAM announced the acquisition of the famous Martin Hawaii Mars flying boat. Operated by Coulson Aviation Group, the Hawaii Mars flew from 1961 to 2015 in North America fighting over 4,000 wildfires with its massive water-dropping ability that could end a huge blaze in a single pass.

[Photo via Coulson Aviation]

On June 14th, Wayne Coulson during a radio interview mentioned that August 10th might be the day the day the Hawaii Mars is slated to depart the Alberni Valley for the last time. However this date might shift slightly, as Coulson explained, because the BCAM is arranging for the Snowbirds to accompany the bomber for part of its final flight.

A serene giant, the Hawaii Mars floats on Sproat Lake. The proud aerial fire-fighter set for museum display in Canada after more than five decades of faithful service. [Photo by Rob Frolic]

The Hawaii Mars will return to its Sproat Lake anchorage on July 2nd and will be seen and heard conducting readiness flights around town throughout July. Coulson mentioned that the 80-year-old aircraft will fly over many communities it has served over the past 50 years as it heads to its final destination at the BCAM in Victoria, British Columbia.

Hawaii Mars entering the water to begin preparations its trip to Oshkosh, Wisconsin for EAA AirVenture 2016. [Photo by Rob Frolic]

“We’ve been working with Transport Canada, and they’ve been quite flexible. If we wanted to take it up to Campbell River and do a bit of a fly-around the island, I know the crew would love that. People could see it overhead and bid farewell,” he said. “We’d post the flight plan and times so people could schedule to watch it fly overhead at 500 feet. We’ll likely take it up to Campbell River, Courtenay, Nanaimo, and Duncan, flying up the coast over the communities.”

Coulson Aviation has been inundated with requests from people wanting to cruise the lake on the world’s largest flying boat for $5,000 a seat. They will also offer tours of the plane at a lower cost before it departs.

A distant view of Hawaii Mars framed by the wing of sistership Philippine Mars (itself destined for the Pima Air and Space Museum in the U.S.) on Sproat Lake. [Photo by Rob Frolic]

The BC Aviation Museum is kindly asking for donations to help fund its Hawaii Mars water bomber rescue project. Costs include getting the aircraft from the donor to the museum, documenting the process for sharing, and finally setting up the Mars as a wonderful permanent display for the public to enjoy exploring up close and personal.

The only other surviving Martin JRM of seven produced, Philippine Mars, is destined for future display at the Pima Air and Space museum in Tucson, AZ as previously reported by Vintage Aviation News.

To support the British Columbia Aviation Museum and help save the Mars, click HERE.