Picture of Aircraft at the Air Zoo in Michigan

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(besides aircraft and space artifacts)

We always have fun and exciting things to share with you.  Please check back often for exhibit information and openings, event details, special Air Zoo visitors, educationand  program announcements and soooo much more!

Media contact:
Nikki Statler, Director of Marketing
nstatler@airzoo.org  |  269.350.2811

Category: restoration

The Air Zoo's Fund Your Favorite restoration campaign soars toward the finish line with announcement of two major gifts

In April, the Air Zoo announced a massive fundraising competition to complete the restoration of the Douglas SBD-2P Dauntless (Bu. No. 2173) and the F-117 Nighthawk Shaba (tail number 817) in 2021. In just two short months, the museum’s donors stepped up to the challenge and raised nearly $10,000 towards the completion of the restoration of these historic aircraft.   Fueled by the energy in the community, the Tyler Little Family Foundation joined in the cause and pledged an... Read More
Posted by Nikki Statler at Thursday, Jun 10, 2021
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The Air Zoo launches competition, nationally, to raise $100,000 for completion of the SBD-2P & F-117 Nighthawk restorations in 2021

April 21, 2021 Portage, MI – Excitement is building at the Air Zoo as they announce a competition of mass proportions to complete the restoration of the Douglas SBD-2P Dauntless (Bu. No. 2173) and the F-117 Nighthawk Shaba (tail number 817) in 2021. Anyone who has visited the Air Zoo, or follows them on social media, knows that one of their most inspiring experiences is housed in the Air Zoo’s Flight Discovery Center. Since 2013, the Air Zoo has proudly boasted one of the... Read More
Posted by Nikki Statler at Wednesday, Apr 21, 2021
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Meet Shaba

In 2019, the Air Zoo was notified that it will be the proud recipient of one of the first F- 117 Nighthawks released for public display at a non- government institution. The highly decorated Shaba (817) is one of 15 Nighthawks with over 5,000 flight hours. This incredible aircraft is one of 10 Nighthawks to fly at least 50 combat sorties; one of 7 that flew in at least three of the four significant campaigns in which Nighthawks were used; and one of only 5 that fit all three categories. ... Read More
Posted by Nikki Statler at Tuesday, Mar 2, 2021
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SBD-2P Recovery and Restoration

Taken from original 2016 Press Release: The Douglas Dauntless Dive-Bomber Bureau Number SBD-2P 2173, an historic World War II Navy aircraft built by Douglas Aircraft Company 1 and once thought lost forever in Lake Michigan, will soon begin a very important phase of her long history. This aircraft will soon be transferred to the Kalamazoo Aviation History Museum 2 to undergo a full expert restoration over the next several years. This rescue effort that was begun by Mr. Fred Turner 3 ,... Read More
Posted by Nikki Statler at Monday, Mar 1, 2021
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The Story of our FM-2 Wildcat

IT WAS A COLD DAY OVER LAKE MICHIGAN On December 28, 1944, it was just 15 degrees in Michigan when the FM-2 Wildcat fighter plane that currently calls the Air Zoo’s East Campus Restoration Center home crashed into the icy waters of Lake Michigan. One of the US Navy’s most successful fighters in early WWII, this particular Wildcat was being used to train pilots for aircraft carrier landing and takeoff over Lake Michigan. After completing two take offs and landings that fateful day,... Read More
Posted by Abby Sample at Tuesday, Dec 10, 2019
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The man behind the Air Zoo's SBD-2P “Dauntless” dive bomber

John Henry Lendo One of four children of Polish immigrant Gabryel and Anna Lendo, John Henry Lendo was born July 26, 1918, in Gardner, Massachusetts. An exceptional athlete in high school, John was accepted at Dartmouth College and played on the Ivy League school’s baseball and basketball teams. A member of Dartmouth’s Naval Aviation Cadet Training Program, he enlisted as a pilot in the United States Navy immediately following his graduation in June, 1941.  The next month... Read More
Posted by Nikki Statler at Monday, Jul 15, 2019
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Director of the Naval History and Heritage Command visited the Air Zoo!

The Air Zoo had a very special visitor on Thursday, June 6th.  Rear Admiral Samuel J. Cox, U.S. Navy (Retired) serves as the director of the Naval History and Heritage Command and Curator of the Navy.  He is responsible for the Navy's museums, art and artifact collections, the research library, 150 million pages of archives, and for collecting and interpreting U.S. Naval history throughout the world. Admiral Cox spent the day at our Flight Discovery Center with the... Read More
Posted by Nikki Statler at Monday, Jun 10, 2019
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