Photo Albums Uploaded: Thunder Over Michigan 2015, Abbotsford Int’l Airshow 2015, and Battle Creek Airshow 2015

posted in: Airshows, AirshowStuff, Event Recap | 2

New photo albums have gone up in our photo gallery! Check out a preview of each below and then be sure to follow the links to view the full albums.

Thunder Over Michigan Airshow 2015 – Ryan Sundheimer

View full photo album: Thunder Over Michigan Airshow 2015 – Ryan Sundheimer
Thunder Over Michigan Airshow 2015 – Ryan Sundheimer

Abbotsford International Airshow 2015 – Anthony Richards

View full photo album: Abbotsford International Airshow 2015 – Anthony Richards
Abbotsford International Airshow 2015 – Anthony Richards

Battle Creek Airshow 2015 – Ryan Sundheimer

View full photo album: Battle Creek Airshow 2015 – Ryan Sundheimer
Battle Creek Airshow 2015 – Ryan Sundheimer

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

Step Into History With This Rare Footage Of A Spectacular 1945 Airshow

What do you get when you mix the jubilation of ending the Second World War and an Army Air Forces (AAF) with captured enemy aircraft and technology? One of the coolest airshows a warbird buff could possibly imagine! Check out this footage of the Freeman Field Airshow held in September of 1945, 70 years ago.

Some of the highlights you’ll see in this incredible footage are a flying Junkers Ju 290 A-4 (which was a frequent performer at airshows at the field), a mass formation of B-25 Mitchells, low and fast passes by P-47 Thunderbolts, and a fantastic static lineup with a Ju-88, Me-163, V-1 and V-2, and even a Fairchild C-82 Packet on display. Certainly this was one of the coolest shows one could catch in the 20th Century, but how did it come to be and whatever happened to those aircraft?

The end of the war effort meant that it was time to start collecting and shipping home the captured enemy vehicles and materials. An effort was made to evaluate these captured technologies in the form of Operation Lusty, of which General of the US Army Air Forces Henry “Hap” Arnold ordered one of each type of enemy aircraft operated preserved. When the aircraft were shipped to the US, they were split between the US Navy and Army Air Forces. The AAF began storing their captured aircraft at Wright Field until there was no longer space left for the remaining examples. The surplus aircraft were sent to Freeman Field near Seymour, Indiana as it had ample space for the remaining aircraft.

From June of 1945 to December of 1946, Freeman Field was the new Foreign Aircraft Evaluation Center for the AAF where Axis aircraft were evaluated, cataloged, and stored in preparation for the planned AAF museum. When the field was closed, most of the aircraft had been sent away for disposal. The larger aircraft were sent to Davis-Monthan Field (now Davis-Monthan Air Force Base) and the fighters to the Special Depot III, Park Ridge (now O’Hare International Airport). Sadly, a small number of aircraft were destroyed at the field prior to shutdown. There are a small number of survivors of Operation Lusty like the Arado Ar 234, Dornier Do 335, and Heinkel He 219, which are now apart of the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum.

Though today we may never see the same scale of variety and examples of rare aircraft on display again at modern airshows, we can’t give up too much hope, as there are several groups that are tracing the burial pits of those destroyed aircraft at Freeman Field in search of what might be inside them. Regardless, this footage is truly remarkable to watch again and again.

Avro Lancaster Suffers In-Flight Engine Fire In UK; All Safe After Emergency Landing

posted in: Warbirds | 1
BBMF Avro Lancaster Bomber Engine Fire
Photo by Karl Melson

All crew members are safe after an Avro Lancaster bomber made an emergency landing at its home base of RAF Coningsby Thursday afternoon. The Lancaster, which belongs to the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, was flying over Lincolnshire, UK when a fire broke out in the engine compartment and forced the emergency landing.

Squadron Leader Emma Watkins told reporters they are working to determine the extent of the damage. At this time, there is no estimate on the financial cost to repair or if the engine is repairable.

The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight is part of the Royal Air Force No 1 Group, operating from RAF Coningsby. Their mission is to commemorate World War II by participating in airshows and other events.

Massive Arsenal Of Democracy Formation Flyover Set For Friday – Watch It Live Online!

posted in: Flyovers, Warbirds | 2

B-25 Mitchell, F4U Corsair, P-51 Mustang Formation - Arsenal of Democracy Flyover in Washington DC

Hopefully by now you are aware of the Arsenal of Democracy flyover scheduled for Friday, May 8th. This massive undertaking will see scores of WWII aircraft, ranging from a Piper Cub to a B-29 Superfortress, parading over Washington DC to celebrate WWII veterans on the 70th anniversary of VE (Victory in Europe) Day. The aircraft have been assembling in Culpeper and Manassas, VA in recent days and weeks from all over the country. Each is participating on a volunteer basis. The crews are making the most of their visit, with many practices and media flights taking place in the last few days.

The flyover will begin at 12:10 Eastern time and last for approximately 40 minutes. Fifteen formations have been arranged to reflect major events of the war in chronological order. The aircraft will fly West to East over Independence Ave at the southern edge of the National Mall, using the Potomac River as their route into and out of the area. Narration and commentary will be provided at the WWII memorial on the Mall by famed airshow announcer Rob Reider. After the Friday flyover, some of the aircraft will fly into nearby Dulles International Airport for a one day exhibition at the National Air and Space Museum’s Udvar-Hazy Center.

Luckily those of us who cannot make it to DC will be able to witness this historic event from anywhere, as a live stream will be available online at http://events.dacast.com/?webcast_id=9 as well as on CSPAN (check your local listings). Be sure to tune in, and then check back here as we will have some on board video from at least one of the formations!

LIVE STREAM LINK: CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE

Fan Submissions: Theme Week 17 – P-51 Mustang

posted in: Community, Warbirds | 1

Thank you to all of our fans for submitting to our P-51 Mustang theme week! Another week with over 100 submissions and some of the best pictures we’ve seen from our fans yet! We posted some of our favorite P-51 Mustang photos throughout the week, and asked you to share some of your own shots to be featured right here on our blog. Check out just a sampling of the submissions in the slideshow below!

Do you have some photos you’d like to share? This week’s theme is Harriers! Got a great shot of an AV-8B or a Sea Harrier? If you would like to contribute to our next theme week, go to our Facebook page, like the page, and upload your photos to our wall!

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