Warbirds and Airshows
By David D Jackson

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 2012 Airshows
Titusville (Tico), FL   Urbana, OH B-25 Gathering   B-25 Fly-Over at Doolittle Reunion, Dayton, OH   MCAS Cherry Point, NC   Shaw AFB, Sumter, SC   Whiteman AFB, Knob Noster, MO   Boeing Field, Seattle, WA   Kokomo Air Show, Kokomo, IN   CWH Airshow, Hamilton ON   Indianapolis Air Show, Greenfield, IN   Indianapolis Executive B-17 Texas Raiders   Thunder over Michigan, Belleville, MI   Gratiot Community Airshow, Alma, MI   Marion Fly-In/Drive-In, Marion, IN   Fort Wayne Air Show, Fort Wayne, IN   Waukegan, IL   Glendale Airport, Kokomo, IN   Indianapolis Regional Airport, IN   Indianapolis Metropolitan Airport, IN

Gratiot Community Air Show 2012 Warbird Photo Review
Warbirds at Gratiot Airport, Alma, MI - August 25-26, 2012 (Photos taken Saturday August 25, 2012)  
The Best Little Airshow in the Middle of Nowhere!!

  Every once in a while I run across an airshow that is an unexpected gem of an event, or a diamond in the rough.  The Gratiot Community Air Show 2012 was one of these and I was glad I could attend.

The Warbirds:  B-17G Yankee Lady, Mike Gillian's FM-2, Fighters & Legends F4U-5, Vlado Lenoch's P-51D and T-33,  Ron Stanley's L-29 and along with a whole host of T-6/SNJs, T-28s, PT-17s and BT-13's on display or flying.

The Civilian Aerobatic Acts:  Matt Younkin (Actually a warbird act as this is a former USAAF AT-7), Kyle Franklin, John Mohr (Another warbird act with a stock PT-17 from WWII), Gene Soucy and Teresa Stokes, The Misty Blues, Bob Carlton, and Bob Richards.  All first class.

Two amazing facts:  At show time Saturday morning the show was basically sponsored and the costs covered based on a conversation that I had with the event organizers.  What makes the sponsoring fact even more amazing is that according to the 2010 US Census, Gratiot County in Michigan has a population of 42,145 persons.  There are many larger airshows in densely populated areas that can't put on a show of this magnitude due to lack of adequate sponsorship and support.  Many airshows have more people attend their event than Gratiot County has population that would give their eye teeth to put on something this good!

Superior planning, sponsoring and execution made this "Show out in the middle of nowhere one of the best of the year!"  This was sort of like the little book we all read when we were in grade school, " The Little Engine that Could".  This was the Little Airshow that Did!!

Unfortunately this was a one time event. 


I was greeted by a static ramp filled with lots of North American T-6s and T-28s, Vultee BT-13s and Boeing/Stearman PT-17s. All of the static and flying warbirds in the show, except one, were made in the USA. 


Vultee SNV California Girl was there.


Bower Aviation from Watervliet, MI had its T-28 on display.


Dave Folk had SNJ Gitmo Baby on the static ramp. 


 


B-17 Yankee Lady warming up the engines before a pre show flight.


Moonbeam McSwine, Vlado Lenoch's P-51D Mustang. 


Vlado's Lockheed T-33.


It is nice to see the T-33 marked up as a Selfridge, MI airbase aircraft.


The big Corsair on display owned by Fighters and Legends.


Mike Gillian's Eastern Aircraft FM-2.

 
Another Michigan marked warbird.


Marshall Aviation brought in this SNJ for the show.


Bob Pingston's T-6 ready to fly later in the day.


Ron Stanley from Brighton, MI is getting ready to take the young lady in the back seat up for a ride.


SNV Bounc'n "B".


Dan Mills from Manchester, MI had T-6G "Oily Boid" on display.




David Groh from Mason, MI had his PT-17 on display.


Over on the grass Ralph Lutes from Shipshewana, IN had his PT-17 on display.


Matt Younkin taking off in his AT-7 with The Misty Blues for the flag jump.


Show Time!!  Flag Jump by The Misty Blues!


Matt gave us all a high speed teaser pass as he came back down from being the jump plane.  Note that Matt is wearing a red shirt to match the red on the aircraft and the passenger door has been removed for the jumpers.


Vlado sucking the gear up on Moonbeam McSwine as he starts his climb out. 


Yankee Air Museum B-17G Yankee Lady on the take-off roll.


Vlado lines up for a photo pass with a Stearman crop duster in the foreground.


I think Vlado is looking at all of us.  This was part of his aerobatic routine.


The is the fun part of being an airshow narrator, and I have done that once or twice over years, when you can say, "Now Ladies and Gentleman, please look over your left shoulders and get your cameras ready!"  And then everyone obeys you!  Of course it helps that a rare formation of a B-17 and P-51 served up by the Gratiot Community Airshow is coming in over the trees.  The un-fun part of being an airshow announcer is standing out in the hot sun all day trying to keep the crowd interested and informed, especially when there is "dead time" and nothing is flying. Announcer Larry Rutt did not have that problem at Gratiot as Air Boss Dave Folk kept the show on time and moving right along, and there was always something in the air to talk about.


Everyone seems to have gotten with the program except the lady in the green hat and maybe the lady in blue.  I am not sure what was out in front that would be more important than this great B-17 and P-51 formation low pass.


Big Friend, Little Friend!


Vlado broke away and turned around quickly to come back in for a photo pass.


No one has ever accused Vlado of not flying low enough!!


It took Yankee Lady just a little bit more space to turn back around for her solo pass.




Next up was Gene Soucy in the Showcat.  While not a warbird this is a former Grumman Ag Cat with a big radial engine and supersonic prop tips that is a great act to watch and listen to.


Working Girl!  This stock Stearman continues to make her living as crop duster.


Note the sun cover over the pilot and cockpit.


Once again Matt Younkin roars down the runway to gain airspeed.  No one every accused Matt of not flying low enough either.


WWWBS?  (What would Walter Beech say?)


Don't Roll the Twin Beech on take-off!!!. 


All of the maneuvers Matt does in the former USAAF AT-7 are with positive Gs.  Here he has just gone out and done one of his signature turns, with smoke on, for everyone to see.




Something I had never seen in all my years of airshow attendance and participation, is this simulated T-6 Air Race.  Here the race starter has called the start of the race and pulls out of the way of the other 5 aircraft.


John Mohr did his normal great act while waving at the crowd during this pass.


Next up was Mike Gillian in his great FM-2 restoration.  The Wildcat gets off the ground in no time at all and here Mike would be hand cranking up the gear.


During his aerobatic routine he made this photo pass.


Michael Schiffer retracting the gear on the Fighters & Legends F4U Corsair.




Michael and Mike teamed up for this very nice formation fly-by.


Michael then took the Corsair into an aerobatic routine and here he is setting up for a photo pass as the L-39 taxies out.


A very rare formation of warbirds:  F4U, L-39 and T-33.


Not only did Vlado Lenoch do an aerobatic routine in the P-51, but he also did aerobatics in his Lockheed T-33.


Finishing up the show in grand fashion was the AeroShell Team.  

 
The clear blue skies of central Michigan made a great background for the four Texans that used a lot of smoke oil, stayed in front of the crowd while the making lots of great round engine and super sonic propeller tip noise, the signature sound of the T-6.


Precision warbird team aerobatics at its finest.

I have been informed since the show that the event cleared expenses and made some money.

One could take this four hour show and it would be a success in any bigger airshow market with the quality of acts, warbirds and presentation it had.

The Little Airshow that did!!
 

Titusville (Tico), FL   Urbana, OH B-25 Gathering   B-25 Fly-Over at Doolittle Reunion, Dayton, OH   MCAS Cherry Point, NC   Shaw AFB, Sumter, SC   Whiteman AFB, Knob Noster, MO   Boeing Field, Seattle, WA   Kokomo Air Show, Kokomo, IN   CWH Airshow, Hamilton ON   Indianapolis Air Show, Greenfield, IN   Indianapolis Executive B-17 Texas Raiders   Thunder over Michigan, Belleville, MI   Gratiot Community Airshow, Alma, MI   Marion Fly-In/Drive-In, Marion, IN   Fort Wayne Air Show, Fort Wayne, IN   Waukegan, IL   Glendale Airport, Kokomo, IN   Indianapolis Regional Airport, IN   Indianapolis Metropolitan Airport, IN
 

 


 
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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