This summer, guests at the Air Zoo in Kalamazoo, Mich., have the chance to take flight in a Cessna T-41 Mescalero (pictured), North American T-6 Texan and Vultee BT-13 Valiant, courtesy of Aviation Adventures and Michigan Warbirds.
All three of these historic aircraft were used as trainers in the armed forces. The T-41 was used to train Air Force pilots beginning in 1964. During World War II, the T-6 was used as an advanced trainer in the U.S. Army Air Forces and Navy. The BT-13 was also used during the war as a basic trainer by the U.S. Army Air Forces.
Guests can experience these aircraft with an array of flight packages including:
- T-41 Flight Experience by Aviation Adventures: Passengers will get a bird’s-eye view of the greater Kalamazoo area. This flight experience lasts 20 minutes and costs $75 for the first passenger. Each additional passenger costs $25. The T-41 can hold up to three passengers.
- T-41 Pilot Experience by Aviation Adventures: Passengers will learn about aerodynamics and how to pilot the plane by using the flight controls. The passenger-pilot will have the chance to try basic flight maneuvers such as turns, climbs and descents. At the end of the experience, the passenger-pilot will be awarded a certificate of logged pilot time that may be used towards private pilot training. This 30-minute experience costs $109 for the first passenger and $25 for each additional passenger.
- World War II Flight Experience by Michigan Warbirds: Experience the thrill of flying in the T-6 or BT-13 with the World War II Flight Experience. This familiarization ride will begin with a briefing from the pilot. After the aircraft is in the air, the pilot will let the guest take the controls and experience flight firsthand. This 30-minute experience costs $200 and is limited to one passenger.
Flights from Aviation Adventures are offered Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. and noon to 5 p.m. on Sundays. Michigan Warbirds flights are offered on Fridays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Height and weight limitations may apply. Tickets and gift certificates are available for purchase at the Air Zoo. To schedule a flight or for more information: 269-382-6555.