Air Zoo pits planes against one another in fundraising game

Kalamazoo County

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — The Kalamazoo Air Zoo Aerospace & Science Museum has launched a new fundraising campaign in which the public can help decide which aircraft restoration project will be completed first.  

The Fund Your Favorite campaign looks to stir up some friendly competition in an effort to raise the money needed to complete the restoration of two airplanes. While making a donation, you will get to choose which project your money will help fund, bringing that aircraft one step closer to completion. 

The two planes racing to completion are the Douglas SBD-2P Dauntless and the Lockheed F-117 Nighthawk Shaba

The Douglas SBD-2P Dauntless is a historic World War II aircraft that sat at the bottom of Lake Michigan for 65 years.

Crews move a Douglas SBD-2P Dauntless that was recovered from the bottom of Lake Michigan. (Courtesy the Kalamazoo Air Zoo Aerospace & Science Museum)

The Lockheed F-117 Nighthawk Shaba is one of the first planes of its kind to be released for public display at a nongovernment institution. According to the organization, “this plane represents the U.S. Air Force’s first active military stealth aircraft.”

A mid-restoration Lockheed F-117 Nighthawk Shaba at the Kalamazoo Air Zoo Aerospace & Science Museum. (Courtesy Air Zoo)

Regardless of which plane you pick, Air Zoo President and CEO Troy Thrash said every dollar donated will help bring an iconic aircraft closer to completion.  

“We’re at a critical shortage of funds that we need in order to restore these aircrafts so, we decided to put this fundraising opportunity out to the community,” Thrash said. “We want to know what your favorite aircraft is and we want to give you the opportunity to help us complete the restoration by providing funding of any amount. It could be $5 or $10…” 

Ultimately, each aircraft needs to raise $50,000 in order to be fully restored by the end of the year. Click here to get in on the fundraising challenge.  

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