This year’s Thunder Over Michigan was held this last weekend; the first in September which made it Labor Day weekend and the first three day event I remember them doing.
As always, there were some familiar acts, and a few new things I hadn’t seen before. My one small complaint is the length of the show, given that cost goes up every year I wish they would do more than a 3 1/2 hour show. Add an act or two and get it up over four hours; that’s more what I expect for an airshow regardless of admission.
But overall it was a terrific show. For me, the biggest highlight was paratrooper reenactors. 50+ troopers jumped from 5 C-47s on Saturday. I didn’t see Sunday; but Monday they had six C-47s joined by a C-46, unfortunately, due to high winds, there was no jump on Monday. The fickle nature of such things…
This was at least the third time Sherman tanks were promised for the land battle part, and the first time I’ve actually seen them deliver. It was awesome to see two Shermans on the battlefield opposing a Hetzer, a Lynx light tank and a 222 armored car.
For flying demos we were treated to a Curtiss Hawk 81 this year. That’s an early P-40, or Tomahawk for RAF fans. For years there have been no shortage of later Warhawks or Kittyhawks (mainly E and N models). But its a recent thing to have an airworthy B or C model (I think there are two now flying?). For all the movies and reenactments I’ve seen that try to do Pearl Harbor or Flying Tigers, the Hawk 81 is most appropriate. It is sleeker looking than the later models, and first impression I would say its quieter than the later models (I believe it had no supercharger, or it might just be that this example was particularly well tuned!)
We also had aerobatic displays with a Stearman (with wingwalker), Twin Beech (an unlikely type to see doing a loop!) and a Bearcat. The Blue Angels were the headliners, and put on a terrific show as always. Due to weather they did their low show on Saturday (louder, but less vertical) and the high show on Sunday and Monday.