New Photo Album – Thunder Over Michigan 2017

posted in: Airshows, AirshowStuff, Event Recap | 0

C-47/DC-3 Gathering - Thunder Over Michigan 2017

A new album is now available in our photo gallery! Check it out here:
Thunder Over Michigan 2017 – Ryan Sundheimer

US Navy Blue Angels F/A-18 Hornets and F8F Bearcat - Thunder Over Michigan 2017WWII Reenactment - Thunder Over Michigan 2017

Thunder Over Michigan 2017 To Host North American Airshow Debut Of German A400M Atlas

posted in: Airshows | 0
Airbus A400M Atlas
Photo courtesy of Airbus

Fans at Thunder Over Michigan will have a special opportunity to see Europe’s newest cargo aircraft this summer. The German Air Force (Luftwaffe) will be bringing an Airbus A400M Atlas in for static display at the show. It will be the first North American airshow appearance for the aircraft, which has been in service since only 2014. The show has hosted a German C-160 Transall, which is being replaced by the A400M, in the past.

Thunder Over Michigan is an annual airshow organized to support the Yankee Air Museum. It is held at Willow Run airport near Detroit, MI, and typically boasts one of the strongest warbird lineups in the country. This year’s show will be held on Labor Day weekend, Sept. 2-4, and will feature the US Navy Blue Angels as the headline act. Warbirds and other performers are still in the works.

F-100 Super Sabre Added To 2016 Thunder Over Michigan Lineup

posted in: Airshows | 2

F-100 Super Sabre

The Thunder Over Michigan airshow, which will take place next weekend, has added the rare F-100 Super Sabre to the flying lineup. The jet, owned and flown by Dean “Cutter” Cutshall, is based out of Fort Wayne, IN and has been seen at several Midwest airshows in the last year, including Thunder Over Michigan and EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh. It joins a lineup featuring far more jets than usual for TOM, including the USAF F-22 Raptor and US Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet demonstration teams. The Breitling Jet Team will also perform. Aside from the jets, the theme of the show is “Helotown USA”, a celebration of various helicopters including a Russian Mi-24 “Hind” gunship.

Follow AirshowStuff on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, and here on our blog for coverage of this year’s show!

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

Yankee Air Museum Reclaims Rosie The Riveter World Record

posted in: Miscellaneous, Museums | 0
Rosie the Riveter World Record - Yankee Air Museum
Source – Yankee Air Museum Facebook Page

The Yankee Air Museum has reclaimed the Guinness World Record for the largest gathering of Rosie the Riveters this weekend. A total of 2,096 women and girls dressed up as the famous WWII icon, wearing her signature blue coveralls with a red and white polka-dotted bandana. The group included 44 women who actually worked in the factories during the war. The museum originally took the record with a gathering of 776 Rosies in 2014, but it was later trumped by a gathering of 1,084 Rosies in Richmond, CA.

The Yankee Air Museum, host of the well known Thunder Over Michigan airshow, recently saved a portion of the historic Willow Run bomber plant from demolition after a large Save the Bomber Plant campaign. The organization is now continuing to raise funds to renovate the structure in order to move in before transitioning its identity from the Yankee Air Museum to the National Museum of Aviation and Technology at Historic Willow Run.

A New Home and New Name for the Yankee Air Museum

posted in: Airshows, Museums, Warbirds | 2

Yankee Air Museum

Exciting changes are in store for the Yankee Air Museum near Detroit! After a long campaign to “Save the Bomber Plant”, YAM has finalized the purchase of a portion of the former Willow Run Bomber Plant to act as the museum’s new home. The plant was used by Ford to produce thousands of B-24 Liberator bombers during World War II, and was later converted into an auto plant for General Motors. The museum has always triumphed the historical nature of the plant, and when it was condemned to demolition they saw an opportunity to preserve at least a portion of it while also securing the museum’s future accomodations. At the same time, the museum announced that it will no longer be known as Yankee Air Museum and will instead be called the National Museum of Aviation and Technology at Historic Willow Run. The identity changeover will occur once the museum moves into the new space, expected to happen a few years from now.

The new location, an 18-acre parcel located on the West side of the Willow Run Airport, will bring some incredible new opportunities to the museum. All of the aircraft that currently reside in the outdoor static display park on the opposite side of the airport will be moved indoors, including the gigantic B-52 Stratofortress bomber. This decision is very encouraging, especially as some other museums around the country are opting to destroy their outdoor exhibit aircraft once they fall into disrepair rather than invest in preserving them.

The mission of the museum will be updated to become a bit more defined, yet broader at the same time. The core mission will remain one of honoring veterans and preserving vintage military aircraft, but the evolution of aviation technology will also be put on display through the exhibits. One unique point of emphasis for the new museum will be explaining Detroit’s role in supporting the war efforts of WWII and other conflicts. “More and more, we’re becoming an educational institution,” says Kevin Walsh, the museum’s Executive Director, “but for the aviation lovers, we’re not going anywhere.”

The money raised so far will cover not only the actual purchase of the building, but also required improvements to the structure and the outfitting of utilities. The museum won’t be able to move in, however, until additional money is raised to pay for finishing the interior. A new concrete floor will need to be put down, offices and classrooms will need to be created, and exhibits will need to be built and installed.

B-25 Mitchell "Yankee Warrior" - Yankee Air MuseumB-17 Flying Fortress "Yankee Lady" - Yankee Air Museum

One thing the museum is not looking to put into the plant currently is support for their “flyables”, the B-17, B-25, and C-47 aircraft that are the crown jewels of the museum. These aircraft will continue to be housed in a hangar leased from the airport, as they have been since the museum’s original hangar burned to the ground in 2004. This arrangement will prevent the museum from having to install $2.5 million worth of infrastructure, such as a foam fire suppression system and fire wall, into the bomber plant building. Luckily, the museum has been given permission to build a connecting tunnel between the bomber plant and the nearby county hangar to allow visitors to see the flyable aircraft. Contingency plans are also being factored into the bomber plant renovation so that it can be upgraded to house flying aircraft should the need arise in the future.

As the final move in date nears, the museum will sell off its current home, a building purchased to act as the museum’s headquarters after the 2004 hangar fire. The Robertson Education Center, a 1938 school house that was relocated to be near the headqaurters building, will be moved again and placed inside the new hangar where it can be protected from the elements. Along with the removal of the static aircraft park, this will eliminate the museum’s presence on the Eastern half of the airport.

Thunder Over MichiganWWII Reenactment - Thunder Over Michigan

The museum’s popular Thunder Over Michigan airshow, however, will retain its traditional layout on the East ramp rather than being held on the much busier and logistically challenging West ramp adjacent to the new museum. Although the prospect of having the sun in your face all afternoon is a frustrating one for photographers, this ensures that the unique WWII battle reenactments will be able to take place during the airshow.

If you would like to help the Yankee Air Museum/National Museum of Aviation and Technology in this fantastic endeavor, you can donate directly at SaveTheBomberPlant.org.

Be sure to check out our photos from this year’s Thunder Over Michigan airshow in our photo gallery!