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Thunder Over Ypsilanti - Part II

By Kevin Moore, Contributing Editor & Photographer
Watford, Ontario, Canada

(For Part I of Thunder Over Ypsilanti, click here).

Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum B-25 Mitchell, "Hot Gen," over Ypsilanti, MI.

Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum also brought their fabulous B-25 Mitchell wearing the markings of No 98 Squadron, RAF, honouring the Canadians who flew with that squadron during World War II in 1944-45. More than 10,000 B-25s were built, flying in every theatre of World War II with more than 160 serving with the RCAF in roles such as recon, transport, navigation & photo and, of course, light bombing and served with the Canadian military until as late as 1962.

The Yankee Air Museum, based at Willow Run Airport, flew several passenger flights in both their B-25 Mitchell "Yankee Warrior," left, and their B-17 "Yankee Lady" right.

The Yankee Air Museum B-25D "Yankee Warrior" and B-17 "Yankee Lady" both flew passenger flights throughout much of the weekend. These two fabulous aircraft from the Yankee Air Museum at Willow Run Airport are beautifully maintained and lovingly flown by pilots and crew. Anyone interested in flying in these stunning examples of two of the most iconic of the American bombers should visit their website and book an upcoming flight near you.

P-51D Mustang, "Baby Duck," and a USAF F-16 performed
several passes as the Heritage Flight.

Performing the Heritage Flight at Thunder was USAF F-16 with P-51D Mustang "Baby Duck" from the Warbird Heritage Museum. Watching and listening to the powerful F-16 flying in formation with the Mustang, an aircraft decades younger and from a completely different generation of aircraft, gave one chills. Despite the difference in power, speed and total performance, seeing these two generations apart aircraft in the air together is a wonderful way to honour not only both these historic aircraft, but all those who designed, built, maintained and flew these aeroplanes. Baby Duck was also displayed in a beautiful and graceful solo aerobatic display, showing off the agility and power of the Mustang.

Rick Volker put his Canadian built Harvard Mk IV through its paces during the show, performing a series of heart-stopping aerobatics.

New to Thunder was Rick Volker in his beautiful Canadian built Harvard Mk IV performing a dazzling aerobatic display in this 70 year old, former RCAF, training aircraft. Rick has impressed airshow crowds for many years flying his Sukhoi SU-26M as well as flying the former Russell Air Group Supermarine Spitfire Mk IX, Hawker Hurricane Mk XII and Messerschmitt Bf109E. His unique flying opportunities and experience have put him in a league few others are in and his abilities are well proven in his flying displays.

One of the most effective German fighter aircraft was the Focke-Wulf Fw-190. This one flies with the Military Air Museum and is one of 3 Fw-190s in their inventory.

One of the rarest aircraft to perform at the airshow was the Focke-Wulf Fw-190 from the Military Air Museum. This is one of 3 FW 190s the museum has in its fleet of aircraft and it's an aircraft many at the airshow had never seen before. The 190 was one of the Luftwaffes top fighter aircraft and rival to the RAF Spitfire and other Allied fighters. The 190 was also one of 2 former German Luftwaffe aircraft to fly at the show.

The lumbering Junkers Ju-52, used during World War II by the Luftwaffe for troop and cargo transport, was a popular aircraft both in the air and when along the static line.

The other former Luftwaffe aircraft to fly during the airshow was the Junkers Ju-52, a trimotor aircraft used by the Luftwaffe for troop & cargo transport and, for a short time, as the Luftwaffes first bomber aircraft during the Spanish Civil War in 1936 and during the bombing of Warsaw during the invasion of Poland in 1939. The Ju-52 was first produced in 1931 and production continued until 1952. Junkers Ju-52s flew in both military and civil roles into the 1980s.

Mike Goulian always puts on a great display with his powerful and agile Extra 330.

One of the more modern aircraft displays was that of aerobatic performer and pilot Mike Goulian in his Extra 330. Mike throws this speedy and agile aircraft around the sky, doing things aeroplanes and pilots were never designed or built to do and he does with ease and grace. The Extra 330 wears a powerful Lycoming 350hp Thunderbolt IO-580 engine giving it a top speed of 260mph and an impressive roll rate of 380 degrees per second.

The Blue Angels C-130T, "Fat Albert," puts on an impressive display with the aircrew putting the aeroplane through its paces.

The US Navy Blue Angels rounded out the show with two impressive displays. The first was their support aircraft, the C-130T "Fat Albert," which the flight crew put through its paces, impressing the crowd. If you've never seen a C-130 Hercules tossed around the sky the way the Blue Angels team does with Fat Albert, it's a sight to see, from high speed passes, max performance climbs and impressive approach and landings, this large four engine transport has some spectacular capabilities.

The US Navy Blue Angels, flying their F/A-18 Hornets, put on a spectacular display of precision aerobatics, with lots of smoke and noise!

The final performers, of course, were the US Navy Blue Angels demonstration team flying their six US Navy F/A-18 Hornets. These powerful military jet aircraft offer an impressive sight as they rip up the sky during their loud and powerful aerobatic displays. Of course, it's not just about the flying but also about the ground crews that ready the aircraft and the pilots. The entire display by these remarkable Navy personnel shows just how proud they are to be part of an exemplary team who do their best to show the public what they're all about. The Blue Angels have been performing for their public since they were first formed in 1946 flying their Grumman F6F-5 Hellcats and in 1947, their famous diamond formation was first introduced flying their 'new' aircraft, the Grumman F8F-1 Bearcat.

From their classic diamond formation to their opposing solo passes and all the manoeuvres they perform, the Blue Angels impress every time!
Since their first displays, the Blue Angels have flown a wide variety of Naval aircraft including those previously listed as well as the Grumman F9F- Panther, the Grumman F9F-8 Cougar, the Grumman F11F-1 Tiger, the McDonnell Douglas F-4J Phantom II, the Douglas A-4F Skyhawk II and their current aircraft, the McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet, the first multi-role fighter/attack aircraft.

Some of the many supporters of the Rosie campaign with the Yankee Air Museum, dressed up in similar, period costume, helping to raise awareness and funds for the museum.

The Yankee Air Museum is located at Willow Run Airport in Ypsilanti, MI which is the former World War II home of the B-24 Liberator Bomber Plant. YAM has managed to raise enough money to purchase 144,000+ square feet of the original plant however, it is currently nothing more than a shell. The museum is in need of funds and part of their fund raising has been their Rosie the Riveter campaign. Intrigued? Visit their website below to find out more and how you can help YAM to restore their section of the old bomber plant in order to make it a viable and historic hangar & museum for future generations.

There were many aircraft along the static line, allowing airshow patrons the opportunity to walk around and, with some aircraft, look or tour inside.

There were many fabulous aircraft displayed at the 2015 Thunder Over Michigan Airshow and the 2016 show is starting to line up as something you won't want to miss this year. Pay a visit to Willow Run Airport in Ypsilanti, Michigan for the next Thunder Over Michigan Airshow and don't forget to take in the Yankee Air Museum. It's worth the visit for both!

Two non-flying aircraft along the static line were the B-57 Canberra, left,
and the Lockheed PV-2 Harpoon, right.


From the ANG, 127 Wing, the KC-135 Stratotanker was probably the largest aircraft in the static line up and was a popular aircraft with airshow patrons.
There was plenty of nose art around the airport including B-25s "Hot Gen" (left)
and "Briefing Time," (right).
An unusual aircraft in the static line up was the
Beechcraft AT-11 Kansan bomber & gunnery trainer.

Make plans to get to Willow Run Airport in Ypsilanti, MI for the 2016 Thunder Over Michigan Airshow, August 20 & 21. Visit the Yankee Air Museum and take a flight in their B-17, "Yankee Lady."


For more information about the Boeing B-29 SuperFortress, "FiFi," visit their website.

Boeing B-29 SuperFortress FiFi:

You can flying in an Avro Lancaster and for more information on how to do that,
visit the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum website.

Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum:

For more information on Rick Volker and his beautiful
RCAF Harvard Mk IV, visit his website.

Rick Volker:

For more information on the FG-1D Corsair from
the Cavanaugh Flight Museum, visit their website.

Cavanaugh Flight Museum:

If you like spectacular, heart-stopping aerobatics, Mike Goulian does it all.

Mike Goulian:

For more information on the Focke Wulf Fw-190
and the Military Air Museum, visit their website.

Military Air Museum:

Visit the Yankee Air Museum and you can see the C-47 and many other aircraft
as well as learn more about the Rosie the Riveter Campaign.

Yankee Air Museum:
Rosie the Riveter Campaign:

For more information on the US Navy Blue Angels
and their entire team, visit their website.


P-51D Mustang "Gentleman Jim"

The Junkers Ju-52 over Ypsilanti, MI


The US Navy Blue Angels C-130T "Fat Albert" in a max performance climb

US Navy Blue Angels:

The Fock Wulf Fw190, left, and the P-51D Mustang "Ain't Misbehavin'," right.

The stunningly beautiful de Havilland Mosquito!


The Yankee Air Museum B-25 "Yankee Warrior.


By Kevin Moore, Contributing Editor & Photographer

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