Close up of Flak-Bait nose art on the fuselage

Preservation

The history, provenance, and state of preservation of the Museum's Martin B-26B-25-MA Marauder Flak-Bait make it an exceptionally rare and significant World War II artifact. With the exception of work performed on the forward fuselage section in the 1970s, it has received no treatment of any kind since the end of World War II. Because Flak-Bait is widely regarded as a "time capsule," we have the unique opportunity to display this artifact just as it looked when it was disassembled, exhibiting all of the accrued wear and tear from combat operations.

Flak-Bait exhibits a full range of physical conditions and levels of decay, but the overriding theme of the treatment will be the preservation of the artifact. Overall, the treatment approach will require the preservation, conservation, stabilization, rehabilitation, and, when warranted, restoration of the artifact's structural, mechanical, and cosmetic features. We understand that this will be the last opportunity to provide a thorough technical evaluation of the artifact and the required preservation treatments for many decades to come. With this perspective, our plan is to perform thorough, in-depth treatments aimed at providing optimal long-term protection for the aircraft while disturbing as little original material as possible.

The project's completion will mark the first time Flak-Bait will be fully assembled since the end of World War II. The Mary Baker Engen Restoration Hangar, Emil Buehler Conservation Laboratory, and the vast space of the Boeing Aviation Hangar of the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center make it possible to treat Flak-Bait and put it on display as a complete airplane. To our knowledge, there will be no other aircraft from this era exhibited anywhere in the world with this level of authenticity.