Join the Coulson Crew in a journey through aviation history via our two unique VIP experiences. Witness firsthand the majesty of the Mars and gain insights into the aircraft’s storied past and its role in aerial firefighting. 


Coulson Aviation is offering two, unique options to get up close and personal with this iconic aircraft. The last flight for both of our gentle giants – the Hawaii and Philippine Mars – will be later in 2024 and the Coulson Crew has decided to offer a limited experience in aviation… the opportunity to be a part of this epic, final journey.


This experience will consist of a detailed walk around the airplane and participation in the daily inspection with the maintenance team.

Once signed off for the day, this experience will allow a small group to stay onboard the aircraft for a 40 minute taxi around Sproat Lake, at both low and high speeds.

There will be several opportunities for photos and all participants will be provided with an authentic Martin Mars flight suit and other limited memorabilia.

The duration for this adventure is approximately half a day.


This is for our hardcore aviation enthusiasts who dream of getting behind the controls of a 100,000 pound, 10,000 horsepower behemoth.

This experience will allow a select group of people to participate in a half day ground school session to learn about the systems and emergency procedures of the aircraft, followed by a detailed daily inspection, and end with a journey around Sproat Lake.

Participants will get the opportunity to test their skills at handling the Mars on the water, at both low and high speeds, and while the aircraft will not go airborne, you’ll still experience the thrill of piloting the Mars.

There will be several opportunities for photos and all participants will be provided with an authentic Martin Mars flight suit and other limited memorabilia.

The duration for this adventure is a full day and includes the water taxi experience.


In just 3 days, the Hawaii Martin Mars Water Taxi and Pilot Recurrency experiences have sold out!

However, for those who weren’t able to secure an Experience there still might be an opportunity. As we refine our maintenance and departure schedule, additional spots are likely to become available.

Special Offer for Port Alberni Residents: We are offering a reduced-price Water Taxi Experience for $1,000 CAD (proof of address required). If interested, please email us at:

To be added to the Water Taxi Experience waitlist ($5,000 USD), please email:

To be added to the Pilot Recurrency Experience waitlist ($15,000 USD), please email:

Due to the overwhelming interest and support, names will be chosen at random. Selected individuals will be contacted directly with available dates and payment details.

Thank you for your continued interest and enthusiasm for the Martin Mars.


Please note that each Martin Mars VIP experience is a paid event and not a contest or giveaway. Pricing information will be available as details are finalized. Please follow our social pages for updates. 

By submitting your information for the VIP Martin Mars Aircraft Experience, you agree to the following terms and conditions: 

  • Eligibility: Participants must be 18 years of age or older to partake in the VIP experiences.
  • Purchase and Validity: Experience purchases are final and non-refundable.
  • Health and Safety: All participants must comply with safety regulations and instructions provided by the staff. The organizers reserve the right to deny access to anyone who poses a safety risk or fails to comply with regulations.
  • Liability: The organizers are not liable for any personal injury, loss, or damage to personal property during the experience.
  • Changes and Cancellations: The organizers reserve the right to modify or cancel the experience due to unforeseen circumstances, such as weather conditions or technical issues. In such cases, alternative dates or refunds may be offered.


After a prestigious history with the United States Navy and aerial firefighting, the two remaining Martin JRM Mars aircraft will fly to their final resting destinations where the history of these amazing machines will be preserved forever to share with future generations and aviation enthusiasts alike.


Coulson Aviation purchased the Hawaii and Philippine Mars in 2007.  These aircraft were pivotal in our company’s history as it signaled the start of our first fixed-wing air tanker operations in aerial wildfire support.

These iconic aircraft served the Province of British Columbia from 1960 to 2015 and over the span of 55 years, dropped over 50 million gallons each which is more water on fires than any other single firefighting aircraft in history anywhere in the world.

Learn more about each aircraft via the buttons below.


While the Coulson Crew acknowledges the disappointment around retiring the world’s greatest waterbomber, we are excited to preserve and spotlight the aircraft and its dedication to crucial missions and efforts across the history of aviation.

We are pleased to donate each aircraft to a forever home that will honor the legacy of the Martin JRM Mars.


The Hawaii Mars will be donated to the British Columbia Aviation Museum located in Sidney, British Columbia, Canada.

This museum is dedicated to preserving and showcasing the rich aviation heritage of the region and features an impressive collection of aircraft as well as a variety of aviation artifacts and exhibits.

Visitors can explore the history of aviation through interactive displays, guided tours, and educational programs.

The museum also offers restoration projects, giving enthusiasts a chance to see firsthand how historic aircraft are preserved and maintained.


The Philippine Mars will be donated to the Pima Air & Space Museum in Tucson, Arizona, one of the largest aerospace museums in the world, offering a comprehensive exploration of aviation history.

Spanning over 80 acres, the museum features more than 350 aircraft and spacecraft, including historic military planes, commercial airliners, unique prototypes, as well as collections of aviation memorabilia, artifacts, and interactive displays.

With its expansive outdoor display area and well-curated indoor galleries, the Pima Air & Space Museum provides an educational and inspiring experience for visitors of all ages.