Saturday, August 9, 2014

The Willow Run Air Show - 2014

So this is the weekend of the Willow Run Airshow, which they call "Thunder over Michigan".  The main feature is the US Air Force Thunderbirds who were supposed to appear last year but because of sequestration, they didn't.  That unpleasantness ended and now the demonstration teams are back.  I am glad that this is the case.  That's my bit of the aircraft.
 As we walked in, we were passing the Yankee Air Museum so we decided to step in for a bit.  It looks like they've repainted the F-4 Phantom and gave it some logos.
 Since there were a few people hanging around, I tried for a wierd angle shot.
 One of the other traditions is that they have some sort of ground demonstration.  This year, it was a World War II one.  This vehicle was parked in the encampment.
 This represents the gear that would be carried by a US Airborne soldier during World War II.
 This would represent his loadout during the Normandy Drop.
 One of the groups there was offering rides in their Hueys.  So these were going all day and I'll tell you, it was tempting to take a ride in one.
 Some of the German soldiers after the re-enactment.  Sadly, there wasn't a good place to view the re-enactment, so this was mostly what I got.
 That group also was offereing rides in a Huey Cobra gunship but that was quite a bit more expensive.
 A group of American soldiers on a Jeep.
 Another view of the Huey.
 The Stuart tanks as they were leaving after the battle.
 For some reason, I liked this guy's pose.  He looked so casual.
 One more shot of the Huey.  Sadly, the illusion is ruined by someone in civillian clothes.
 One of the cool things about the Willow Run Airshow is that they try to get a group of a certain plane every year.  This year it was the AT-6 Texans turn.  This aircraft was built by North American Aircraft (now Rockwell) and first flew in 1935.  It was designed to be used an advanced trainer and over 15,000 of them were built. 
 It was used by several of our allies and all of the Armed Services of the United States except for the Coast Guard.
 Because of it's similarities, it was often used as a Japanse Aircraft during many war movies.  Because they didn't see combat, there are still quite a few of them around.
 Even though, they aren't as sexy as some of the other warbirds, it is still pretty cool to see a formation of aircraft like this.
 Some of our Allies during World War II being represented.
 And a formation of all twelve planes they had there.
 Next up was the F-84 Sabre Jet.  This is the aircraft that helped us win the air war during the Korean War.    It wasn't as maneuverable as the MiG-15 that it faced during that war but the pilots were better trained.    It was pretty cool to see but unfortunately, this was my best picture.
 The Army's Golden Knights also made an appearance.  The Golden Knights are the Army's answer to the Thunderbirds or Blue Angels.  This is their version of the bomb burst.
 And it was amazing to watch them as they hit thier targets.
 A P-51 Mustang is always pretty cool to watch.
 A formation of warbirds is even cooler.
 The bigger group.
 This is the B-25 Mitchell owned by the Yankee Air Force.  Her name is the Yankee Warrior.
 A P-38 Lightning named "Ruff Stuff".    This plane was nicknamed the "Fork Tailed Devil" by the Germans but it wasn't particularly successful against them.  The supercharger had issues in the cooler European weather.  However, this aircraft was a beast in the Pacific Theater.  In fact, it was the plane used to down Admiral Yammamoto.
 The Yankee Air Force's C-47.
 And of course they had their B-17 up in the air.
 This is AT-11 Kansan.  I believe this was used as an advanced trainer for bombardiers and navigators.
 The C-60 Lodestar.
 The P-47 Thunderbolt was also a beast.  While it wasn't quite as maneuverable as the P-51, it could hold it's own in the air to ground role.
 The P-63 King Cobra was the improvement upon the P-39 Airacobra.  The design wasn't well liked by the US Army Air Force but the Soviet Air Force loved it.   I'm sure the 37mm cannon it had in the nose helped.
 An observer plane during the ground battle. 
 This was probably the best view I could get during the ground battle. 
 I liked this one a little better.
 This plane was pretty neat.  It had a jet engine as well as a propellor.  That enabled it to do many things that some planes can't.
 The Diamond Lil is a B-24 Liberator.  This particular aircraft was the 25th plane built by the Consolidated Aircraft Company.  This aircraft was supposed to go over to England but there was an accident, so it stayed stateside.  It would have been cool if they could get one that was built here though.
 The main attraction for most of the people there was the Thunderbirds.  It was difficult getting a pass though because that was behind some of the tents they had set up.  I ended up finding a spot where I could get it though.
 The diamond formation is always impressive.
 I wish the flag were a little more  in focus.  That would have made this a killer picture.
 One of the solo Thunderbirds climbing.
 A shot of the five plane formation.
 The solo plane peeling off.
 The delta formation.
 The airshow was put on by Baltia Airlines.  They are hoping to become an airline.  They are finishing up the requirements to get FAA certified.
 I think this plane used to be a P-3 Orion.  Not sure what it is used for now.
 This the C-160 Transall which was a joint venture between Germany and France.  It first flew in 1967.
 The cockpit of a C-54 Skymaster.
 This particular aircraft is being used to commemorate the Berlin Airlift.
 A shot from the outside.
 The AT-11 Kansan.
 A training plane.  I am wondering if one of these was supposed to go up too but didn't.
And I leave you with a P-47 Thunderbolt.

The air show was pretty fun and the weather was beautiful today.  I may have been a bit on the windy side, so I don't think I saw the full Thunderbirds show.  But that's fine I guess.

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