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CAF Gulf Coast Wing Launches Fundraiser For B-17

Iconic Bomber Will Need A New Engine

The Gulf Coast Wing of the Commemorative Air Force is launching a fundraising campaign on behalf of their iconic bomber, the CAF B-17 Flying Fortress, Texas Raiders, which resides at Conroe-North Houston Regional Airport.

Fondly known as “TR” by her volunteer crew, the big bomber suffered a performance issue on one engine while in transit on September 4, and out of an abundance of caution the decision was made to land the aircraft in Texarkana. Upon further inspection it became apparent that an engine change would be needed.

The iconic aircraft had to be left on the ramp at Texarkana while the aircrew made their way home to prepare for the engine change. It’s a tough enough task to change an 1,100 pound engine, not to mention having to do it away from home. And the task will be expensive. The local unit needs your help to get the big bomber back in the air and back home to Conroe.

The project will run in two phases. The first step includes the recovery and transport of the failed engine, and the disassembly of its accessories such as exhaust, oil cooler, and carburetor. That work will be followed by the inspection, cleaning, and refurbishment or replacement of accessories as needed, followed by the installation of the newly prepared engine and test flying, all of which will cost approximately $10,000.

The second phase of this process is the very expensive piece: the actual diagnosis and rebuild by our engine rebuild partner for the engine that failed. The damaged engine will be shipped to our rebuilder, and the expected total to rebuild is $50,000.

The US built 12,731 B-17s, and today only five are actively flying. Texas Raiders was the first B-17 acquired solely for the purpose of education and use as a flying museum, and has lived in the greater Houston area since 1972, delivering the CAF mission at airshows, barnstorming stops and civic events. This aircraft matters to the people of Montgomery County and southeast Texas as much as it matters to her crew -- because those who meet her say so. She allows the public to truly put their hands on history, and to keep alive the memory of those who flew and supported the iconic bombers in World War II.

FMI: www.B17TexasRaiders.org, www.commemorativeairforce.org

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