Vintage CAF Bomber Loses Its Houston Hangar
Only 12 B-17 Bombers from World War II are still capable of
flight... and Aero-News has learned one of these rare warbirds may
not be calling Houston home much longer. Texas Raiders, a member of
the Commemorative Air Force (CAF), is in danger of being
The owner of the hangar that houses Texas Raiders has opted to
terminate the lease effective November 30, 2008... leaving the $3.5
million asset without a home.
This historic bomber and its caregivers, the CAF Gulf Coast
Wing, have been ordered to vacate the currently leased hangar by
the end of the day November 30. At present, the vintage bomber is
not flightworthy and a hangar is needed to complete the restoration
The CAF Gulf Coast Wing is now seeking a facility that is
available immediately and able to accommodate this large and unique
aircraft. The wing is interested in a standard lease or donation
agreement that would allow the bomber to remain in Houston.
Without a hangar, Texas Raiders may have to be transported to
the Commemorative Air Force Headquarters in Midland, TX. For this
to occur, the near-complete bomber will have to be partially
dismantled... nullifying six years of work completed by the group
of volunteers of the Gulf Coast Wing to make the bomber airworthy
"We are desperately seeking assistance from an individual or
corporation, which will allow this restoration to be completed in a
protected environment," said CAF President Stephan Brown. "The CAF
Gulf Coast Wing volunteers have spent thousands of hours and
hundreds of thousands of dollars to return this historic hero of
World War II to the skies above Houston. We are hopeful that
someone will step forward to help us realize this dream. All we
need is the space, we'll do the rest."
Texas Raiders was delivered to the US Army Air Force July 12,
1945, and became a member of the Commemorative Air Force Ghost
Squadron in September of 1967. Its last flying mission was in
November 2001, celebrating the opening of the National D-day Museum
in New Orleans, LA.
An airworthiness directive (AD) brought the flying fortress down
for inspection in early 2002. After a six-year, $500,000
AD-compliance and corrosion repair process, members of the CAF Gulf
Coast Wing have brought the vintage aircraft to within a nine-month
window of completion.
Collecting, restoring and flying warbirds for more than half a
century, the Commemorative Air Force ranks as one of the largest
private air forces in the world. The CAF is dedicated to Honoring
American Military Aviation through flight, exhibition and
remembrance with a flying museum of classic military aircraft.
(Photos of 'Texas Raiders' in happier times courtesy of Tom