Sunday, July 24, 2011

Wandering Around Willow Run Air Show

As per my last post, I was at the Thunder Over Michigan Air Show at Willow Run. It wasn't too bad of a day temperature wise but it was a little on the muggy side. It was pretty cloudy, so the sun wasn't too beating down on us.

My first air show was at Wurtsmith Air Force Base in the mid-80's. My dad and I went up there and it was pretty cool. There was this group there called the Yankee Air Force. So I asked them about it and they told me that they were a group dedicated to the restoration of Warbirds. In particular, they were looking for a B-24 built at Willow Run.

My next air show wouldn't be for a few years later when I was a freshman at Eastern Michigan. Some folks in my dorm were going and that was the first time I saw the Blue Angels. It would take a couple more years for my dad and I to go down to Dayton for that Air Show. That particular one was right after Desert Storm, so they had aircraft from that conflict. Ever since then I've been going to air shows fairly regularly.

Six years ago, the Yankee Air Force's hangar caught on fire. They were able to save the three flying aircraft that they had (B-17, B-25, and C-47) however they lost many of the documents that were in their museum. I believe there were other issues. Ever since then, they have been holding these air shows to raise money for the museum. I missed the first year they did this but I've been to every one since. And the shows have been pretty cool.

Since this year is the 100th Anniversary of Naval Aviation, they decided to have a show featuring Naval Aircraft...including the Blue Angels. Given that I love Navy planes...I couldn't miss this one.

With the exception of one year, they have been combining the air show with a ground re-enactment. This year they had a European Theater Re-enactment in the morning and a Pacific one in the afternoon. We missed the morning show. This was one of the vehicles from that.This was another vehicle from the ground demonstration.The cockpit of a PBY Catalina. I will go into more details later.A C-2 Greyhound. This is the cargo version of the E-2 Hawkeye. This is used for bringing cargo and passengers on aircraft carriers.One of many Corsairs that were at the show. Again, I will go into more detail later.This is an E-6 Mercury, also known as TACAMO which stands for Take Charge and Move Out. Originally it was used to communicate with ballistic missile subs in the event of a nuclear war. It has sense been expanded to replace the Air Force's similar aircraft. Fortunately, we've I believe this is an S-2 Tracker. This is the tail of an F-16 Fighting Falcon.Another view of the F-16.Looking straight at the F-16.Another view.

The show started with the Star Spangled Banner. These guys were in front of the F-16, so I had to get their picture.

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