Ever been to the Kalamazoo Air Zoo?

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by grampi, Jan 27, 2015.

  1. grampi

    grampi Member

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    I went yesterday for the first time in at least 30 years, and I must say they've really expanded since then! I was very impressed with what they've done over the last 3 decades! Very impressive! It also helps that I know someone who works there and he can give me personal tours. They have an FM-2 Wildcat that was sitting on the bottom of lake Michigan for the last 68 years that they will be restoring...we got a good look at that...I highly recommend that any of you who can go check this place out to do so...you won't be sorry!
     
  2. Balljoint

    Balljoint Member

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    Last there in 96. I was a bit concerned about the "zoo" thing. Good to learn it's still serious.
     
  3. grampi

    grampi Member

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    When you walk in the front door of the main building, there's a pink P-40 Warhawk hanging from the ceiling...it belonged to Sue Parish...she used to practice her landings at the airport in Three Rivers, MI. One summer day in 1976, my late father and the A/C mechanic stood inside the opening of a hanger door (facing the runway) and watched Sue land the P-40 with the landing gear up. She said she just forgot to extend the gear. One of the bent propeller blades from that landing is on display on the 2nd floor near her plane. I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw it yesterday!
     
  4. grampi

    grampi Member

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    If you haven't been there since '96, it's time to go back...they've added a lot since then...
     
  5. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Last visit late 1990s. Small but very nicely done.
     
  6. T Bolt

    T Bolt Well-Known Member

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    I go there quite often. Wonderful museum. I was happened to be there when they brought the wildcat in and took some pictures.
     

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  7. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Looks like it's only good for parts. Are they actually going to restore it to flying condition? 90% of the aircraft would be newly fabricated replacement components.
     
  8. grampi

    grampi Member

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    It will be restored (and I may get to help with that, but that's another story). Notice the guy operating the fork lift in the pic? That's Greg Ward. He's the head A&P mechanic at the museum. He and I went to high school together back in the 70's (yeah I know, I'm old). The Wildcat will be restored for display only, not back to flying condition...
     
  9. snelson

    snelson New Member

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    this thread makes me wonder something. what part of the plane makes it a plane? i mean if they decided to bring that wildcat all the way back to flying condition and they had to make 90% of the from scratch, would it still be a WW2 fighter or a new plane with some old parts.
     
  10. grampi

    grampi Member

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    Believe it or not, most of the original parts are usable on this plane...and it won't be restored to flying condition...
     
  11. snelson

    snelson New Member

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    i guess i was looking for a more all around answer. when they find a FW 190 that crashed in 1944 or pull a P38 out of a glacier or where ever. how much of the original plane do they need to be able to say "this is a WW2 plane".
     
  12. grampi

    grampi Member

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    I can't answer that because I don't know...
     
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