Yankee Air Musem Burns to the Ground! "Yankee Lady"

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Oct 9, 2004
The Yankee Air Museum in Bellvue, Michigan burned Saturday night. The reports I've seen indicate that ALL of the flying aircraft were in the hanger at the time and that all were essentially destroyed by the fire. I've seen a single picture on the web site of the Detroit Free Press www.freep.com and it shows the hanger fully engulfed.

The YAM is the home to the beautifully restored B-17, "The Yankee Lady," the WWII combat vet B-25 "Yankee Warrior" and a prize winning C-47. These were all flying aircraft.

Ironically, the non-flyable aircraft on static display apparently survived.

I'm a former member of YAM and I'm literally sick to my stomach over this. All that work by everyone involved, gone.
lesofprimus said:
If it wasnt an accident, it was probably some disrespectful, uneducated, and downright moronic teenagers....

Alot of those here in America....

Sadly, you're absolutely right :(
but not as many as there are in america..............

and that's awfull, i wonder if they knew exactily what they were destroying, can they be given the death sentence for that??
The hangar at YAM was all wooden and they have been saying for years that they should get a sprinkler system in. Sadly, that didn't get done. I heard the bad news this morning while I was working in our musuem. One of our member called in to give us the bad news. I was busy buffing out the canopy on a Yak-3 (Yes one of only 2 left) when I heard. Made me REALLY glad that our hangar is metal and we have a full sprinkler system.

A real shame about YAM. My thoughts go out to those guys. I know how much time, energy, blood, sweat and love went into those airplanes. Old warbirds like that are sometimes treated better than family members.
Latest press release:

October 10,2004

The Yankee Air Museum at Willow Run Airport suffered a disastrous fire last night that destroyed the historic hangar that housed the museum. The museum staff was able to move the historic B-17, C-47 and B-25 aircraft out of the building, thus saving the heart of the collection. In addition, all the historic aircraft on display outside of the main building were untouched by the fire. While many irreplaceable artifacts, photos and books were lost in the fire, the Volunteers at the museum are thankful that the aircraft collection remains largely intact. Only a small number of non-flyable aircraft that were in restoration inside the hangar were lost.

The Yankee Air Museum members, staff and volunteers are determined to rebuild the museum facilities and continue the great work that was begun in 1981 by a small group of visionaries who were dedicated to preserving this important piece of aviation and Southeastern Michigan history.

The Michigan Aerospace Foundation, the sister organization of the museum which was formed to plan and fund future expansion of the museum facilities, will now be working hard to raise the necessary funds to re-build the museum as soon as possible. Working with Willow Run Airport and the Yankee Air Museum, the Foundation will be seeking funding and other help from Foundations, Corporations and Individuals as it works to replace what has been lost.

The Yankee Air Museum and the Michigan Aerospace Foundation would like to ask that anyone with an interest in helping to rebuild the museum, please contact the Foundation.

A help hotline can be reached at 734-483-4030
If you recieve a busy signal please keep trying.

The following people can be contacted to offer your support:

For the Museum, contact:
Yankee Air Museum President, Jon Stevens 734-637-2117
Yankee Air Museum Vice President, Dick Stewart 734-637-8878

For the Foundation, contact:
Michigan Aerospace Foundation President, Dennis Norton 734-971-2750
Michigan Aerospace Foundation Treasurer, Gary Brown, 734-316-2216

Donations may be sent directly to the Michigan Aerospace Foundation:

Michigan Aerospace Foundation
Yankee Air Museum Recovery Fund
P.O. Box 8282
Ann Arbor MI, 48107-8282

Thank you for your help,
Dennis Norton
President Michigan Aerospace Foundation
The Michigan Aerospace Foundation, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization.

So it looks like they at least saved the C-47, B-25 and B-17. Four or five aircraft were not saved and their entire library is gone.

Their website is http://www.yankeeairmuseum.org/
Sorry for the bad info in the first post. The first reports I received were that ALL the flying aircraft were destroyed. Turns out that was wrong. Pure chance played a role though. The B-25 had just returned from a flight when the fire started and the B-25 crew were able to hand push the C-47 out and were also able to get the B-25 and B-17 out. This all happened during the fire.

The museum building was an old WWII hanger originally built as part of the Ford B-24 production line at Willow Run airport. The hanger did NOT meet current codes and they have been written up for violations in the recent past. They had been raising money to make the needed repairs and upgrades, but it looks like they just ran out of time.

The loss of the museum and artifacts is irreplacable, but at the three flying jewels of the collection were saved.
great its hard as it is to find a WW2.flying planes is allmost impossibul to find. and now all those butyful planes are ash. :mad: :mad: :mad: :mad:


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Depends on the justice given out.... I think justice would be served by pouring gasoline over them (redousing every 20 minutes) and put them in a eternal circle of fire thats 15 feet tall.... No food or water or bathroom facilities.... Sooner or later they gotta jump through...

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