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Barnstormers Logo ISSUE 439 - July 2016
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Thunder Commeth!
By Kevin Moore, Contributing Editor & Photographer
Watford, Ontario, Canada
You never know what you'll see flying at the Thunder Over Michigan Airshow such as the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum Avro Lancaster, which flew in the 2015 show.
The ever popular Thunder Over Michigan Airshow is set to return August 25 & 26, 2016 at Willow Run Airport, Belleville, Michigan. With many assorted warbirds, jet aircraft and other aeroplanes, Thunder never disappoints with airshow-goers, pilots and crews. There is always something for everyone, for every like and for every child whether big or small!
This year the theme at Thunder is the helicopter and you'll have the opportunity to see several different types of 'copter including the Cobra, left, and a Chinook, right.
This year's Thunder theme is helicopters. From the venerable Huey to the deadly Cobra and the workhourse Chinook, among others, there will be a wide assortment of helicopters attending the show this year. In past years, rides have been made available in the Huey and the Cobra so make sure you arrive at the show early and book yourself a seat in one of these iconic choppers.
The Yankee Air Museum and their beautiful B-17 bomber.
The Yankee Air Museum will have their fabulous Boeing B-17, "Yankee Lady," at the show. This big 4 engine World War II bomber is also available for rides and it's an experience you'll never forgot, whether sitting in the glass nose or in the fuselage standing at the waist gunner position, a flight in Yankee Lady is an extraordinary flight opportunity.
The Yankee Air Museum will also show off their B-25 Mitchell.
The Yankee Air Museum will also have their iconic North American B-25 Mitchell, "Yankee Warrior," gracing the skies. Flights in the B-25 are also available and a ride in this very speedy and agile twin engine bomber is an experience not to be forgotten. Your flight out of Willow Run Airport will last approximately 20-25 minutes offering you an insight as to what it may have been like for bomber crews on raids such as the Doolittle Raid to Tokyo during the Pacific War, World War II.
The lovely lines of the A-26 Invader, "Silver Dragon," at Thunder in 2015.
Returning to Thunder will be the beautiful Douglas A-26B Invader, " Silver Dragon." This A-26 has spent the past couple of years on the airshow circuit after having been "rescued" from sitting in a state of disrepair at Geneseo Airport for many years in a sort of limbo. New owner Tim Savage has done a wonderful job ensuring the ongoing restoration happens between airshow seasons, keeping this magnificent aircraft in the air.
P-51D Mustang, "Ain't Misbehavin'" returns to Thunder for this year's show, left, and seen in formation with P-51 Mustangs "Gentleman Jim" and Old Crowe" at the 2015 airshow, right.
Also expected at the airshow are an assortment of P-51D Mustangs including the return of P-51 "Ain't Misbehavin'" along with two other Mustangs. At the 2015 Airshow "Ain't Misbehavin'" appeared with "Gentleman Jim" & "Old Crowe" showing off their lines in a nice 3 ship formation. Let's hope we'll see a similar formation at the 2016 show in August!
The Stearman is always a popular aeroplane at airshows across
North America and two will attend Thunder this year.
The ever popular PT-17 Stearman will also grace the skies with 2 of the type taking part in the show. The Stearman was considered a primary training aircraft which was utilised by the US Army Air Force, US Navy and the RCAF. There were over 10,000 of the type built for use as trainers with many entering the civilian market as surplus aircraft post-war. The Stearman remains a very popular warbird today and can be seen across North America just as these two pictured at the Geneseo Airshow in past years.
A Vultee SNV Valiant, similar to this but in a different livery,
will make an appearance at Thunder.
Bruce Koch is expected in his Vultee SNV Valiant, a similar aircraft to this one pictured wearing US Army markings. The Valiant was an American designed & built 2-seat, tandem World War II training aircraft used by the US Army Air Corps and then by the US Army Air Force. Pilots would initially train on primary training aircraft such as the PT-13, PT-17 and/or PT-19 before moving on to the Vultee, which was considered a more complex aircraft with a more powerful engine that was also faster than the primary trainers.
Though these two C-130 Hercules are specialty Hercs, they are otherwise similar to the Lockheed HC-130P/N Hercules that will appear at Thunder this year.
A Lockheed HC-130P/N Hercules from the New York Air National Guard will attend the airshow. The Hercules has been a mainstay transport and support aircraft of the US Military for more than 60 years and is put to use in many different roles including troop and armament transport, air-to-air refueler, search & rescue, gun platform and more. The Hercules is also used by many air forces around the world.
The Breitling Jet Team will fly their L-39 Albatros jet aircraft, similar to these two shown here, and will perform their high speed, high energy show above the skies of Willow Run.
The Breitling Jet Team will attend the show with their L-39 jet aircraft, a similar aircraft to the ones pictured here. The Breitling Jet Team flies a formation of 7 L-39C Albatros, Czech made two seat military jet training aircraft that were used throughout most of the former Soviet bloc countries, designed in the 1960s & built by Aero Vodochody. L-39s have flown with more than 30 air forces around the world and is considered the most widely jet training aircraft in the world, still utilised by many air forces today.
The Breitling Jet Team will fly their L-39 Albatros jet aircraft, similar to these two shown here, and will perform their high speed, high energy show above the skies of Willow Run.
The Yankee Air Museum will also have their C-47D Skytrain, "Yankee Doodle Dandy," at the show, another aircraft you can book a ride in. The C-47 was a workhorse of an aircraft utilised by several different air forces during, and after, World War II including the USAAF, US Navy, RCAF, RAF, RAAF and others. Known as the DC-3 in the civilian world and the Dakota in the Commonwealth, these venerable transport aircraft moved troops, material, VIPs and towed gliders full of troops, jeeps and more from Great Britain into France during D-Day. It is one of the most historically significant aircraft of World War II.
You never know what you'll see at Thunder from year to year, including the Stinson L-16 Sentinel, left, and the Lockheed C-60 Lodestar, right, which both appeared at the 2014 airshow.
Thunder Over Michigan Airshow 2016 is ramping up to be a spectacular show with many other aircraft expected to be there such as the Super Hornet, Skymaster, the Lockheed Orion, the Boeing Poseidon, two Grumman Avengers, T-6 Texan, Stinson L-5 Sentinel and the MiG 23 Flogger. It's going to be busy in the skies above Willow Run. Get your tickets online today before they sell out!
The B-52 Stratofortress of the Yankee Air Museum.

For more information on the TOM Airshow 2016:

One of the most beautiful B-17s still gracing the skies of North American,
the Yankee Air Museum's Yankee Lady.

Book your flight in a YAM aircraft:

In the past, TOM has hosted the US Air Force Thunderbirds.......
..... and the US Navy Blue Angels.
Showing off the underside of the A-26 Invader, "Silver Dragon."
Probably the most high tech & advanced aircraft that will be performing
at Thunder is the F-22 Raptor (Photo courtesy, Andrew Semon)
By Kevin Moore, Contributing Editor & Photographer
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