Warbirds and Airshows
By David D Jackson

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2011 Airshows
Tyndall AFB, FL    NAS Fort Worth JRB, TX     Indianapolis Regional, IN    Terre Haute, IN Open House   Monticello, IN Open House   Reading, PA WWII Weekend    Cincinnati, OH B-29 Appearance    Hamilton, ONT    Kokomo, IN    Indianapolis Metropolitan, IN     Polk City, FL    Willow Run, MI    Indianapolis Regional, IN    Indianapolis Executive, IN    Grissom Aeroplex Huey Homecoming, IN    Selfridge ANGB, MI    Mattoon, IL     Marion, IN    Waukegan, IL    Janesville, WI    NAS Oceana, VA    Watervliet, MI

Thunder over Michigan 2011 Air Show Photo Review
Warbirds at Willow Run Airport - July 22-24, 2011 (Photos taken on Sunday, July 24.)

Thunder over Michigan has over the years been building a reputation as being one of the best Warbird Shows in the country.  On a consistent basis each year Mike Luther, who is responsible for procuring the warbirds for the event, has put together shows that feature one type aircraft or theme, such as B-17s twice in the past ten years, (17) TBMs another, Skyraiders, Spitfires and Hurricanes along with aircraft in years past.  This year, being the 100th Anniversary of US Naval Aviation, the easy decision was to feature US Navy aircraft with the emphasis on the Vought Corsair.  There were six at the show along with other great Navy warbirds which included C-1A, SNV, SNJ, PBY, PV-2, TBM, FM-2, F8F, SB2C, SBD, and A-4.  With the exception of one Corsair and the A-4 that flew in later sequences in the show all of the previous named Naval Warbirds were all flown at the same time with lots of passes for the crowd.  Later two real (not replica) Japanese Zeros flew together.  The only other show I know where this has happened is at Chino, so this was a very rare and significant event.

Based on what I have seen over the years at Thunder over Michigan including this year's showing, it is my estimate that Thunder is the best warbird airshow east of Chino, CA.


 C-1A 136778 "Mudflap Girl" owned by Dan Serrato.  Note the nice blue sky at 9:15 AM.


CAF P-51 Red Nose making a low level pass.  Red Nose was the first aircraft purchased by Confederate Air Force, now Commemorative Air Force, in the late 50's.


P-51 "Man O War" made its first appearance at Thunder.  The Mustangs were flying at 10:30 in support of the US ground troops in the WWII battle re-enactment.  There was still some sun out.


P-51 "Gentleman Jim".


With today's electronic cameras one does not need to worry about taking too many photos.  Here I just started shooting at the tower in continuous mode until 'Gentleman Jim" came by.  By focusing on the tower the P-51 is out of focus as it moves through the frame.  But it does give a prospective of how low the Mustangs were flying as ground support aircraft for the WWII re-enactment.


Blue Angel #1 Bearcat with Blue Angel F-18 #1and #2 in the background.  I would like to say I planned this but I did not realize I had this combination until I edited the photos.  It is now become overcast and cloudy.


CAF SB2C, The "Beast", taxis out.  This is the only Helldiver still flying and we are always glad to see it at an air show.


The FM-2 taxis out.


Tom Buck's TBM stands out even in over cast weather with this paint job.


The CAF SBD is operated out of Atlanta so it is seen at many of the east coast warbird shows.


Note the tail hook on David Hall's SNJ-5C.  The tail hook was added to some SNJ-5s so they could train pilots to land on carriers.  The rear end of the fuselage was strengthened in the conversion.


Bruce Koch brought his SNV in from Goodrich, MI.




"Marines Dream" making a pass.


Flight of three Corsairs.


The world's only flyable Curtiss SB2C Helldiver which is operated by the Commemorative Air Force out of Midland, TX.


One of only two, soon to be three, PV-2 Harpoons flying the air show circuit.  This great looking Harpoon is owned and operated by The American Military Heritage Foundation of Indianapolis and is named "Hot Stuff".


Owner/pilot Dan Serrato brings the C-1A COD by in a high speed pass.


Tom Buck making a low pass.


Always a welcome site to downed airmen in WWII the Consolidated PBY from the Military Aviation Museum in Virginia Beach, VA.


John O'Conner flying his Grumman Bearcat.


This Eastern Aircraft FM-2 Wildcat came from Champaign, IL and is owned by Rudy Frasca.


The Douglas SBD down low.


Bruce Koch in the SNV and David Hall in the SNJ-5C form up for a trainer fly-by.


Four great Corsairs trying to catch the Grumman C-1A Trader.  Note the landing light that is lit in the nose of the C-1A.


Air Boss George Cline did a great keeping the great warbirds in front of the crowd.  Actually there were two race track patterns of Navy warbirds.  The one at the 500 foot line currently has the slower aircraft trainers, PBY and others in it and loops around behind the crowd.  Concurrently at probably the 1,200 foot line the faster racetrack pattern with the Corsairs and other fast Navy aircraft are flying in the loop that then flies its pattern away from the crowd as can be seen by the Harpoon in the background.  Earlier the positions were reversed allowing both groups to fly close to the audience.


The A-4B and Mig-17 get ready for the jet act.


Warbird Heritage Museum brought in its newly restored A-4B Skyhawk.  This is based out of Waukegan, IL.


Will Ward taxis out in his Mig-17.


Texas Flying Legends Museum A6M2.  This is the first time I have seen this as it appears to be a brand new restoration.


CAF A6M3.  This is based out of the San Diego, CA. area.


Paul Wood in the Warbird Heritage Foundation Douglas A-4B Skyhawk.


Sometimes a little over cast helps to accentuate the burner on Will Ward's Mig-17.


CAF FG-1D down low for a nice photo pass. 


Texas Flying Legends Museum A6M2 down low.


 


Zeros coming around the corner.  Two real Mitsubishi Zeros at the same air show is extremely rare.  Great job by Mike Luther of Thunder in procuring both rare aircraft.


Flight of two Mitsubishi A6M2 and A6M3 Zeros from the Texas Flying Legends Museum and the Commemorative Air Force


The Show after the Show from the Tim Horton's parking lot as we stocked up on donuts for the drive home.  When the warbirds stop flying, it is time to hit the road.

Tyndall AFB, FL    NAS Fort Worth JRB, TX     Indianapolis Regional, IN    Terre Haute, IN Open House   Monticello, IN Open House   Reading, PA WWII Weekend    Cincinnati, OH B-29 Appearance    Hamilton, ONT    Kokomo, IN    Indianapolis Metropolitan, IN     Polk City, FL    Willow Run, MI    Indianapolis Regional, IN    Indianapolis Executive, IN    Grissom Aeroplex Huey Homecoming, IN    Selfridge ANGB, MI    Mattoon, IL     Marion, IN    Waukegan, IL    Janesville, WI    NAS Oceana, VA    Watervliet, MI
 

 


 
Home  Indiana Museums    Indiana Tanks on Outside Display   The Beginning    Revisions   First Flight of P-38F Glacier Girl  
USS Theodore Roosevelt    WWII Aircraft Manufacturing Sites    Gateguards
 2007 Airshows   2008 Airshows  22009 Airshows   2010 Airshows    2011 Airshows    2012 Airshows   2013 Airshows   2014 Airshows    2015 Airshows  2016 Airshows  
Aviation Museums of the Pacific Northwest
   Display Helicopter Locations   CAL FIRE   PV-2 Harpoon Photos     F6F Hellcat Photos
   Warbird Sightings   WWII US Air-Air Victories   Guest Photos    Indiana Warbirds   Featured Photos  Other Items   Links

Historic Sites   Historic Forts   Historic Texas Independence Sites   Pre-Historic Sites   Historic Manhattan Project Sites   GM Heritage Center


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