Sunday, August 21, 2016

Thunder Over Michigan - 2016 - Part I

I went to the Thunder Over Michigan Air Show at Willow Run yesterday.  I'm not sure how many years in a row I am on but ever since I missed the year where they had "Fifi", I haven't missed it since.  They didn't have the Blue Angels or Thunderbirds this year though.  But I'm actually okay with that because the crowds aren't quite as bad.  I do think they made up for it with the quality of the other acts though.
 Every year, they have a ground re-enactment.  This year was no different.  As a part of that, they get a few restored military vehicles.
 A restored Jeep to look like it came from the Vietnam Era.
 Another truck with a mounted 50 caliber machine gun.
 The M-60 Machine Gun on the Jeep from above.  Development for the M-60 Machine Gun began in the 1940's as the Army was looking for a lighter machine gun based on the 7.62 mm NATO bullet.  It was partially based on the German machine guns from World War II.  It was officially adopted by the US Army in 1957 despite there being some better foreign designs.  It served as a squad automatic weapon in the Vietnam War.  It could be carried by hand as well as mounted to vehicles.  It still serves the US Military although it is being phased out in favor of a gun that fires the same round as the M-16.
 A Half Track.
 A White Scout Car.
 Some examples of weapons carried by US Paratroopers during World War II.  From top to bottom:  A sniper rifle version of the M1 Garand, the M1 Garand, the M1 Carbine and the Thompson Submachine Gun.
 The front of a P-8 Poseidon.  Early in the 1980s, the US Navy decided that it needed a replacement for the very effective P-3 Orion which had been in service for over 20 years at that time.  In 1989, Lockheed was given a contract to produce the P-7 which was sort of based on the P-3 design it was replacement.  However, that contract was cancelled in the next year due to the end of the Cold War.  In 2000, the Navy decided to open up the bidding for a replacement.
 The winner of that competition was the P-8 Poseidon which was based on the 737 design from Boeing.  I think it will be up to the task, but it has big shoes to fill.
 A WACO biplane coming for a landing.
 From another angle.
 During the day, the Yankee Air Museum was offering rides on its aircraft.  One of those planes was the B-25 Mitchell named Yankee Warrior.
 As she taxis to the staging area.
 A TA-4 Skyhawk taking off past the old control tower.
 And the ever lovely B-17, the Yankee Lady taxiing in.
 As she turned.  I slowed down the shutter speed to get some blur on the propellors.
 The TA-4 Skyhawk with a TBM Avenger.  The TA-4 Skyhawk is the training version of the A-4 Skyhawk.  I will have to say that is an amazing plane.  The A-4 Skyhawk was developed by Douglas Aircraft Designer Ed Heinemann (a Saginaw native, btw) as a replacement for the Skyraider.  He opted for a minimal design and as a result built one of the Navy's smallest aircraft.  The wingspan was small enough that it could fit on the deck of a carrier without folding wings.  The Skyhawk was in US Military Service from 1956 to 2003 (the Navy still used some as aggressor aircraft).  The Israeli Air Force still used them until last year.  There are still 3,000 aircraft in service around the world.
 Another shot of that pair.  The TBM Avenger came out of a need to replace the early war torpedo bomber.  It was designed by Grumman as the TBF Avenger (the third letter is a designator for the manufacturer).  It first flew in 1941 and saw action in Midway.  The TBM Avenger was built by General Motors as it was decided that Grumman could not keep up with production because of other aircraft needs.
 The pair splits off.
 The Skyhawk continued and put on a heck of  a show.
 Another picture of the Skyhawk.
 The Breitling Jet team is the largest civilian aerobatic team based in Europe.  They were formed out of the ashes of a few previous teams.  They first flew as the Breitling Jet Team in 2003 and are sponsored by the watch company of the same name.
 Before we saw the Breitling Jet Team, we saw a demonstration of the MiG-17 Fresco.  It was developed out of the MiG-15 that was made famous by the Korean War.
 It was a pretty sweet looking plane but I think it was obsolete by the time it was introduced.
 It the first Soviet aircraft to be equipped with an afterburner, however I don't think it could go supersonic.
 here it is riding on the deck.
 The Breitling Team was briefly joined by the MiG.
 And then they started their show.

 I'm not going to name everyone of their formations but apparently, they are named after one of the Breitling watches.
 The pass.
 I thought this looked cool with the smoke trails showing where the planes were.
 They fly the Aero L-39 Albatros which is a Czech design.  It was designed as a trainer aircraft and used by several Soviet client states.  With the collapse of the Eastern bloc, this aircraft found its way in the hands of various groups around the world.
 I will have to say, they are pretty cool looking planes.
While not as fast as the Blue Angels, the Breitling guys were pretty impressive.

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