Yankee Air Museum’s C-47 to Offer Rides at Air Zoo

The Douglas C-47 “Hairless Joe” cargo plane will visit the Air Zoo’s Flight Discovery Center on Saturday, August 15, 2020.  The plane and crew will be arriving around 9am and plan to offer Air Adventure rides to those interested in booking a seat for flights scheduled that morning.

“We are elated to have an opportunity to offer the community an exciting distraction. Whether folks want to book a ride or just enjoy the sounds and sights of a take-off or landing of an iconic WWII plane, we are thrilled to have the opportunity to host this mighty aircraft” states Air Zoo President and CEO, Troy Thrash.

The original ‘Hairless Joe’ was flown by the late Lt.Col Dick Cole who also was the last surviving member of Doolittle’s Raiders. (photo by A.Kevin Grantham)

The C-47 “Hairless Joe,” owned and operated by the Yankee Air Museum, was formerly known as “Yankee Doodle Dandy.” Based at historic Willow Run Airport in Ypsilanti, Michigan this plane pays homage to the heroic crews operating in the China-Burma-India (CBI) theater of World War Two and especially the 1st Air Commando Group.

Among the most prolific operations the 1st Air Commando Group performed was that of flying missions over the Himalayas, commonly called the “Hump.”  The Burma Road was the major supply route into China. When the Japanese cut off the road as a supply line, the only way to get the vital supplies into China was over the Hump.  The Air Commandos began their operations with 13 C-47s and 100 CG-4A Waco Gliders for transport operations, both of which are available for preview on the Air Zoo’s exhibit floor.  The venerable C-47 Skytrain stood out as the workhorse of the CBI.

Lt.Col. Cole standing beside the tail of “Hairless Joe”. (Photo via Dave Callanan – Yankee Air Museum)

An Air Adventure ride is a 30-minute experience and costs $195. To order a C-47 Air Adventure visit www.yankeeairmuseum.org and click on “Fly With Us.”  C-47 flights will give riders an exciting sightseeing experience over some of Kalamazoo’s most interesting and familiar areas. Flights are currently available at 10am and 11am, and seating is limited.  Additional flight times may be added as customer demand warrants.

The Air Zoo, and Yankee Air Museum have been working hard to make sure your visit is safe. Please check both organizations’ websites for COVID safety measures, policies and procedures.

About Yankee Air Museum:  Established in 1981 the Yankee Air Museum is a non-profit 501 (c) (3) organization.  The Yankee Air Museum dedicates itself to educating individuals through the history of American aeronautics, aerospace industry and its associated technologies while inspiring generations through personal experiences to instill pride in our national accomplishments. Yankee Air Museum, located at 47884 D Street, Belleville, Michigan on the grounds of historic Willow Run Airport. Visit  www.yankeeairmuseum.org to discover more or call 734-483-4030.

About the Air Zoo: Located at 6151 Portage Rd., Portage, MI 49002, the Air Zoo is a Smithsonian-affiliated aerospace & science experience with over 100 rare air & space craft, inspiring interactive exhibits, indoor amusement park rides, full-motion flight simulators, hands-on science-based education programs, and more.  The Air Zoo is a not-for-profit organization and is open 360+ days per year. For hours, tickets and info, visit airzoo.org.

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