Sunday, August 11, 2013

Thunder Over Michigan - 2013 Part I

I went to Thunder Over Michigan with my dad yesterday.  Thunder Over Michigan is the annual air show that is put on by the Yankee Air Force out of Willow Run.  They started it in earnest after the hangar fire they had in 2004.  Part of it is to raise funds for the continued operation of their museum and aircraft.  The main focus is on warbirds but every so often they get the Blue Angels.  This year, they were supposed to get the Thunderbirds but that got killed by the sequestration.

In the interest of not having over 100 pictures on one post, I'm going to break this up into 3 or 4 posts (haven't decided yet).  This first post will be the static display aircraft.
 First up is a replica of a P-51 flown by the Tuskegee Airmen.  It is an earlier model of the P-51 and was built before the addition of the bubble canopy.
 The Tuskegee Airmen painted their tails with a very distinctive red color.  During the war it is said that none of the bomber groups they escorted lost a plane to enemy aircraft.
 Next up is the De Havilland Vampire.  It was one of the earliest jet fighters and was built by the British towards the end of World War II.  It was introduced too late to be used during the War though.  The final plane was retired in 1979 by the Rhodesian Air Force.
 The AC-47 Spooky Gunship.  Early in the Vietnam War, it was determined that the United States would need a gunship.  They modified a DC-3 to act in this role.  2 Miniguns a few other things were added to the aircraft.  It was a pretty effective design.
 We didn't arrive in time to see the World War II demonstration but we did manage to catch some of the vehicles as they were leaving.  I believe this is a Stuart Light Tank (don't know the designation).  It was basically used as a reconaissance tank.  It's 37mm was more than enough for light skinned vehicles but not for the larger tanks.
 This is a German Hetzer self propelled gun.  It was used in an anti-tank role.
 A picture of a World War II tank helmet.  If I remember correctly, they were made by the same company that made old style football helmets and they kind of resemble that.
 They were allowing people to on the Spooky, so I took that opportunity.  Looking down the side of Spooky, you can see the two Miniguns.  Later versions were equipped with heavier weapons.
 Spooky's Cockpit.  There is something about old cockpits.
 Looking at the front of Spooky.
 The group that currently owns the Willow Run Plant would like to tear it down to make room for more modern facilities.  In the process, they are allowing the Yankee Air Musuem to buy a portion of it.  They need to raise 8 million dollars in order to do so.  If you would like donate, go here.
 A P-51B that is owned by Jack Roush.
 A P-51D that is also owned by Jack Roush.  Not sure if you can tell, but this one has a bubble canopy, this gave the pilot pretty good visibility all around.
 This is an N3N Yellow Peril and was used as a primary trainer by the Navy.  It was built by the Naval Aircraft Factory and was introduced in 1936.
 The nose of a B-25.  This picture almost represents my trifecta as far as pictures go - a ship, train and plane in the same picture.  This is probably the closest I will come to ever acheiving that.
 A shot from the front of that B-25.
 The Yankee Air Force's B-52 Stratofortress.  I think this is a D Model and if so it is possible this one flew over me while I lived on Guam.
 And a shot of the Yankee Lady which is the Yankee Air Force's B-17.  I didn't get a chance to get many pictures of her flying though.  I tried to get a picture with some motion blur for the propellors, this was probably the best of the bunch.
 Another shot of the Yankee Lady.  I liked the reflection of the runway markings under her tail.
 This is a PB4Y which is the Navy's version of the B-24.  Instead of the twin tail, it has a single tail.  If I recall, this one was built at Willow Run.
 Another angle of the PB4Y, but there were too many people to get a decent shot of it.
 One of the airport authority's bomb dogs.
 Looking up at the B-52's tail.
 Another shot of Yankee Lady.
And she gets ready to taxi.

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