WWII bomber open for tours at Kalamazoo Air Zoo

Kalamazoo and Battle Creek

PORTAGE, Mich. (WOOD) — Families will be able to check out a restored World War II bomber at the Kalamazoo Air Zoo this week.

The Commemorative Air Force’s B-17 Flying Fortress, nicknamed the Texas Raider, arrived at the Kalamazoo/Battle Creek International Airport Monday.

About 13,000 B-17 bombers were created in the mid-1940s. The one at the Air Zoo is among nine that still fly. One of the last off the assembly line in 1945, the bomber did not fly during World War II, but it saw action in the Korean War.

It has been in the Commemorative Air Force for 50 years. It was the first B-17 to be restored for educational purposes as a flying museum. Volunteers take it around the country to display, give tours and fly in front of crowds.

“America lives at a very high standard compared to the rest of the world. The reason for that standard is the sacrifice that the World War II generation made. Typically, World War II isn’t taught from the perspective of the sacrifice that America made to help free not only the United States and its allies, but the rest of the world. It’s up to us to help teach the non-World War II generation what the World War II generation did for us,” Howard Quoyeser, a Texas Raiders crew member, said.

The Flying Fortress will be on display at the Air Zoo until Thursday and will be accompanied by the Curtiss SB2C Helldiver bomb-diver.

The B-17 Texas Raiders is a charity organization, so if you pay for a tour of the plane, you can claim a tax deduction up to 75 percent of the cost.

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