Abandoned 404 Martin Passenger Plane Found Near Paris, TX

While looking through my flickr contact’s pictures I came a across an image of an abandoned 404 Martin Passenger Plane west of Paris Texas. The photographer  even gave some directions on how to find the old abandoned Museum where the old bird now rests and has been there since 1991.

North Texas Road Trip–Abandoned 404 Martin Passenger Plane Paris Texas

I did a little research and found the air plane sitting just outside of Paris, Texas about 8 miles west of town on Highway 82.  When I realized that it was only a few hours a way I decided that would be the direction of my road trip. I decided that I would take HWY 121 East from Anna Texas, up through Bonham, Texas and then shoot over to HWY 82. If I had time, I would stop at a few places in Bonham and in Paris that were favorite abandoned places that the local photographers love to shoot.

From Bonham to Paris, there wasn’t that many places to stop. I found a few potential places and decided to scout them out on the way home and then do a little research before spending more time at those places.Abandoned 404 Martin Passenger Plane Found Near Paris, TX

Abandoned 404 Martin Passenger Plane Tail Number 4255S History

Before going into detail about the current state of the Abandoned 404 Martin Passenger Plane, tail number N255S, I want to share some of the research/history I found on the plane.

The plane was built in 1952 and was put into service for several different airlines including, Southern Airlines, Florida Airlines, and ending its commercial career with Pro-Air. The plane still wears her Pro-Air colors and logo proudly as she is ignored by everyone except by photographers and those just curious as to why its sitting abandoned in a field outside of Paris, Texas.404 Martin Passenger Plane Tail Number 4244S Still Sporting is Pro-Air Colors and Logs

The Abandoned 404 Martin Passenger Plane 4255S Current Resting Spot

The plane now rests on the old Flying Tiger Airport & Flight Museum, just west of Paris Texas, and is owned and registered to a stunt pilot who has been on several popular movies and TV shows. From several different sources the plane may have been here since 1991.

I couldn’t find any history on the plane for the 80s. Noel Kerns source says the plane was in service with Pro-Air until 1997. This is something I will have to verify next time I can get up to Paris and talk with the owner. 404 Martin Passenger Plane 4255S Current Resting Spot

The Flying Tiger Airport & Flight Museum

There isn’t much left of the old museum, just the old 404 resting out front of an old hangar and a few  old planes including what looks like an old Piper Cub rotting and other plan with missing parts both in   old hangars. Out back in the weeds you can find some old stripped down Cessna fuselages that have seen better days. Abandoned Air Plane Sitting Abandoned Hangar

From what I found during my research the museum had some incredible retired war birds that were restored and on display for the public. A few the plans I found they had were a B-17 Flying Fortress (bomber WWII), P-51 Mustang (WWII), F-86 Sabre, and a F4U Corsair.

I am not sure why this place was shut down or what happened to the old birds that made their home at the Flying Tiger Museum, I do plan on visiting the place and see if I can find the owner. I love to get access to the 404 and get some history on the plane and the Flying Tiger. 404 Martin Passenger Plane Tail Number 4255S History

When I visited the place, the owner was around, but he was busy working on something and I didn’t want to bother the man. Plus I didn’t have my DSLR and I wasn’t ready to access the plane if I could have gotten permission.

For images of the Abandoned 404 Martin Passenger Plane, check out my Abandoned Air Plane Set on Flickr

About James

James spends most of his free time using social media and loves to teach others about design, web development, CSS, SEO, and social media. He is addicted to Wordpress, social media, and technology. You can reach him on his personal website, Evolutionary Designs Blog, Do not forget to follow him on Twitter @element321

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Comments

  1. It’s a shame that these planes have been abandoned, but then on the positive side, it has broughyt you to them with you camera and some rather tasty shots.

    What camera are you using by the way?
    Karen Woodham recently posted..Twitter Impersonation: What To Do And How To Contact TwitterMy Profile

  2. Jason Banks says:

    I have driven by the plane on Highway 82 many times both as a child and as an adult while traveling to and from my home in Oklahoma. I finally stopped in one day in I believe 2002 or 2003 and got to talk to the owner. He was a very nice man and was happy to tell me about the plane. He said that he was a stunt pilot and flew in a few movies including “Its a mad mad mad mad world” in 1963. Now this was 10+ years ago so I dont remember exactly but I believe he said that he was the pilot who flew through the billboard in that movie. I also think I remember him saying that he flew the plane in about 10 years prior. He was even more than happy to let me climb into the plane and look around for a bit. The plane was originally on the side of the highway infront of what looked like an old gas station/store or something though. I am making another trip back to Oklahoma in a few days to visit my family so I will take that route and check it out again if I can.

  3. Doc Walton says:

    Lots of controversy over that airport at Paris, Texas. It was used as a training field during World War two. It’s said that the first air postal was flown into that airport around that time for Lamar county. Paris also had a training field north of Paris on 271 north. During the late 1960 into the 1970s the airport was still functional even putting on airshows from time totime. A local contractor and funeral home were caught bringing drugs in coffins by Texas Rangers and local law enforcement. Soon after this the airport seemed to fade away into time alot forgetting the history behind it. Plus the role it played in our freedom during World War two.

    • Johnnie Girard says:

      My Grandaddy and junior were best of friends he done a better part of 10 years in federal prison and was one of the best pilots there .

  4. i to live in paris that old plane was retired way before 97 always wondered why the owner never did anything with it

  5. you can find the owner he lives in that house next to the air field

  6. Bruce Deville says:

    Hi Folks,
    Yesterday (May 1, 2015) I drove by “Junior” Burchinal’s Flying Tiger Airport. The Martin 404 is still resting peacefully. Back in the 80’s I would occasionally drop and visit with Junior. I always found him to be personable willing to take all the time to answer my endless questions. According to IMDB Junior dies in Jan of 2008 at age 79. His death is probably the reason for the downfall of the museum and to a certain extent the airport itself.

    With reference to Doc Watson’s comment, I think (I may be wrong) you are actually referring to the city run airport located on the other side of town. It was a WWII field.

    Bruce Deville

  7. Virgil Mitchell says:

    The story of Mr. Burchinal an the Flying Tiger Field is movie material. I talked with him on many occasions years ago. The old station was a truckstop .I have seen some very cool old planes there. old tales an stories ttold with very little prodding. If you wanted to listen. My view an memory of things may be skewed but i remember him as a man with a very full past. good and bad. My Dad often spoke of him(Burchinal) with stories . I will try to add more of the story if interested.

    • Johnnie Girard says:

      Id love to hear more stories as I spent a lot of time hear as a kid waking up early and hitting the skies.

    • Therese Anita Bur says:

      We stopped by and visited Mr Burchinal a few years before he died. The back stairs to the plane was down and he said he would let us tour it if we could identify it. My partner identified it as a Martin 202. Must have been close enough because he showed us all around. In his day he was a double for Gregory Peck in Twelve O’Clock High. He also flew as double for John Wayne in a few of his movies. The plane was in front of that old building and his autographed movie posters were in there too. We dreamed of winning the lottery and buying it. My partner has photos of the cockpit and all the radios and instruments at the flight engineer stations.

  8. Tim Nelson says:

    I have some pics of the old warplanes somewhere, seems like I remember a B17, B25, and a Corsair. I was a pre-teen when I visited the place, my Dad was a WW 2 veteran (Army), he loved looking at the planes and telling me about them. I think this as probably in the mid to late 1970’s. If I can locate the pictures I will scan and post them here. I took pics of all the planes, hope to find them.

  9. Johnnie Girard says:

    My Grandpa was a pilot there with Jr. I spent a lot of time there as a kid staying in a Winnebago off the strip .

  10. Cliff Ellis says:

    I was involved in trying to get that plane to the Martin Aviation Museum in Baltimore, Maryland.
    This plane was part of a group of three owned by two brothers in the west somewhere.
    They had intended to make them tankers and winter hay trucks.
    Planned on lowering the stairs and dispersing hay over winter ranches.
    They were killed in a crash of one of the plane’s.
    Junior Birchinal accepted a large deposit with the promise of delivering the plane, which never happened.
    He was quite the character and was fun to listen to.
    I didn’t know that plane was still there!
    Was told a bank has a lien on it back then.
    Guess they wrote it off.
    Cliff Ellis

  11. There’s no secret that the “downfall of the museum” started when Burchinal was sent for about ten years to the slammer In early 1980′ for selling airplanes to be used in drug running! He was known for padding his movie resume a lot the last years of his life. For some reason he was claiming Franks Tallman’s famous stunt, flying a Beech 18 trough the Coca Cola billboard in the movie “It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World”! It’s off course bullsh*t, there are numerous pictures of Tallman doing that, including some with him pointing out the damage on the airplane after! Burchinal was not involved in that movie at all! It is however confirmed that he flew his B-25 in “Catch 22”, his Corsair in the TV-serie “Black Sheep Squadron”, his A-26 Invader in “Badlands” and if I remember correctly a Wildcat in the awful movie “Midway”. There are no records of him flying anything in “12 O’clock High” but it wouldn’t surprise me if he told people that he performed Paul Mantz’s (later Frank Tallman’s partner) belly landing with a B-17 in that movie! Consequently, I don’t believe for a second that he flew as a “double” for John Wayne (who btw was a real life pilot himself) in any of his movies! Sorry!

    • Therese Bur says:

      Thanks for responding to my comments regarding the Martin near Paris, Texas. I had heard from another pilot about Burchinal’s involvement in drug smuggling. The pilot said that Burchinal claimed the were taking used furniture and stuff to Mexico. He smelled something fishy and passed on the opportunity. He was glad that he had not flown with them, because that was when Burchinal got popped for drug running!

    • First of all get your facts right because Mr. Burchinal had no idea what the planes were being used for. It is a family business to buy broken down airplanes and restoring them to sell again. Has anyone ever heard innocent people going to jail for a crime they never committed? He was also never involved in any drug smuggling!!..so I would really appreciate it if people didn’t bad about him without knowing the truth and quite believing people that were not the family or close to it.

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