Sunday, July 19, 2009

Thunder Over Michigan

This was a pretty good weekend for me. I think I mentioned somewhere else on this blog that I am a huge aviation fan. There was the Dayton Air Show and Thunder Over Michigan which is held at Willow Run Airport (technically in Ypsilanti). As you saw from the Dayton pictures, they had the Thunderbirds. At Willow Run, they had the Blue Angels.

Willow Run airport was formed because Henry Ford was asked to build B-24 bombers for World War II. As a result it is a pretty nice airport. Right now it is being used for cargo aircraft and general aviation (both of which keep it busy). The bomber factory is currently being used by GM Hydramatic. It's actually a pretty impressive stretch of land.

The Yankee Air Force was formed over 20 years ago. Their goal is to get a B-24 that was built in the Ypsilanti plant and given that there are very few B-24's left in existence, this is probably not likely (they do have a Navy version though). A couple years ago, thier hanger caught on fire but they were able to salvage their flying aircraft but they lost a bunch of pictures from the plant and various other bits of World War II items that were donated to them. As a result, they have been trying to raise money to build their facility.

The Thunder Over Michigan Air Shows started a few years ago when they had a gathering of bombers. Every year they have a different theme. This year, they had a bunch of C-130 Transports and some Vietnam aircraft. It's usually a pretty impressive show, although the Blue Angels bring the crowds.

This is a Heritage Flight with a P-51 and F-16. It's still pretty impressive to watch. The P-51 was a World War II aircraft and the F-16 is a modern aircraft, so this shot pretty much spans the history of the Air Force.

This is from another angle.

This is a Hawker Hurricane, the workhorse of the Battle of Britain. It has a V-12 engine.

This is the Avro Lancaster. This particular one is the only one that still flies in North America. The Avro Lancaster is famous as the plane that dropped the skip bombs on the dams in the movie "The Dam Busters" (this was based on a true story).

This is a Corsair in British Regalia.

Another angle of the Hurricane.

This is a Supermarine Spitfire, the thoroughbread of the Battle of Britain.

Another angle of the Lancaster.

Another Hurricane.

Another Spitfire. Because of this angle, you can see the distinctive wing shape.

This is what they called a victory formation. It has the Lancaster, Spitfires, Corsair and Hurricanes.

The UH-1 Huey, the workhorse of the Vietnam War. This particular one is marked like a Medevac Helicopter.

This is a shot of the Huey as it was dropping off troops during a Vietnam Re-enactment.

The A-1 Skyraider in Marine Markings.

The A-1 Skyraider in Navy Markings.

The A-1 Skyraider in Air Force markings.

This is the AC-47 Gunship.

This is a MiG-17.

This is a shot as they were doing a simulated dogfight between the F-4 and MiG-17. The F-4 is closing and turning on the MiG.

As shot of the F-4 Phantom. This one is the only one that is owned a flown by a civillian group.

Another shot.

The is the C-130 that is used by the Blue Angels to carry the maintenance crew and parts.

Another shot.

This is part of the pre-flight show by the Blue Angels. They are heading to their planes.

Another shot just before the flight.

A shot of the Blue Angels Diamond.

Another shot. Amazingly, there is only 18" between the canopy of one plane and the wingtip of another.

This is a shot of a high speed pass. The first I ever got that looked this good. I finally figured out the rapid shot capability of my camera and just panned one of the planes until this shot.

Another shot of a Blue Angels Formation.

A shot of one plane up and one plane down. Note that the landing gear is down on both of them. Also note that the aircraft have tailhooks, this is so they can land on an aircraft carrier.

A shot of the diamond with landing gear down.

A shot of the diamond where two planes are up and two are down.

A shot of what's known as an echelon formation.

Another pass. This one wasn't as good though.

A shot as the diamond is breaking up.

Another shot of a formation breaking up.

The Blue Angels Delta.

Another shot of it.

And a shot as the formation is breaking up. Normally this would be done at a higher altitude, but as you can see there was a low ceiling.

I want to thank the Van Buren Township and Michigan State Police for making the exit from the airshow fairly painless. They kept the traffic going very well.


Bigasshammm said...

Awesome shots. Wish I had gone this year.

Anonymous said...

wow these are awesome shots!!!