Bombers Soar At Thunder Over Michigan 2015

posted in: Airshows, Event Recap | 0

B-29 Superfortress, Avro Lancaster, and B-17 Flying Fortress - Thunder Over Michigan 2015

The heavy metal was out in force at this year’s Thunder Over Michigan airshow, organized by the Yankee Air Museum and held at the historic Willow Run airport in Ypsilanti, MI. The theme for the 2015 show was “Bombertown, USA”, no doubt in celebration of the preservation of the airport’s special role in WWII B-24 Liberator production. The show, known widely for arranging incredible gatherings of rare warbirds, certainly lived up to the theme by bringing 10 bombers (plus YAM’s own B-17 and B-25, which only flew to give rides during the show) together on one ramp. But the show is not known for static gatherings; organizer Kevin Walsh and his staff usually find a way to get a lot of the aircraft in the skies together. In this case, simultaneous race track patterns of bomber flybys and a grand finale formation flyover!

P-51 Mustangs in Formation - Thunder Over Michigan 2015de Havilland Mosquito - Thunder Over Michigan 2015

The 2015 edition of Thunder Over Michigan was also special because the typically warbird-only show hosted the US Navy’s Blue Angels for the third time ever. After a disappointing showing by the USAF Thunderbirds in 2014, it was nice to see the Blues fly along the proper showline. The USAF F-16 Fighting Falcon demo team “Viper East” also performed at the show for the first time in several years.

Despite the unusual modern military presence, which always irritates warbird purists but draws in a ton of very important money for the museum at the same time, the warbirds were still the heart of the show. Aside from the bombers, there was a segment featuring a WWII fighter formation of three P-51 Mustangs, an F4U (FG-1D) Corsair, and a Spitfire. Rick Volker flew an impressively nimble Harvard routine, and the unique WWII battle reenactments, held twice daily, had simulated strafing runs and dogfights overhead. On the static ramp, the museum even pulled out some of its bomber display aircraft including a B-57 Canberra and PB4Y-2 Privateer, which was parked next to her flying sister ship for an incredibly rare sight.

WWII Battle Reenactment - Thunder Over Michigan 2015PB4Y-2 Privateers - Thunder Over Michigan 2015

It was a very good weekend, but there were some concerns in the crowd about the sky high ticket prices along with the confusing and overly oppressive entry restrictions. However, the Blue Angels drew in enough people to pack the place each day in less than ideal weather. Hopefully the experience was pleasant enough that the spectators will return next year to support the museum and these incredible aircraft!

B-29 Superfortress and WWII Bombers - Thunder Over Michigan 2015USAF F-16 Fighting Falcon and P-51 Mustang Heritage Flight - Thunder Over Michigan 2015
WWII Bomber Static Displays - Thunder Over Michigan 2015WWII Bomber Static Displays - Thunder Over Michigan 2015
SNJ - Thunder Over Michigan 2015US Navy Blue Angels - Thunder Over Michigan 2015
V for Victory - Thunder Over Michigan 2015Blue Angel Autographs - Thunder Over Michigan 2015

Seen Last Weekend: Incredible And Rare Bomber Formations At Barksdale And Dyess

posted in: Airshows, Event Recap, Military, Warbirds | 0

B-1B Lancer Bomber

It was a great weekend for bomber fans, as both Barksdale AFB in Louisiana and Dyess AFB in Texas hosted airshows that included some very special and often wished-for sights! Luckily for those of us who couldn’t make it, our friends at CAVU Images have posted video of these moments from the Dyess show. Watch below as a B-1B Lancer, a B-52 Stratofortress, and a B-2 Spirit stealth bomber fly by in an incredibly rare formation. Seeing just one of these aircraft at an airshow would be a certain highlight, but seeing them in the air together is incredible! These same three aircraft actually performed at both shows, flying by one and then transiting to the other.

The second video shows a bomber heritage flight; a B-1B in formation with a WWII-era A-26 Invader. Similar flights have been seen before, such as the B-17 Flying Fortress/B-52 flight at Barksdale AFB a few years ago, but they are very rare.