Thunder Over Michigan – 2022

I’m running a little late on this one for this year. The one drawback to getting my wife’s help with taking better pictures than I could ever do, is then we need to find time to sort through and save the right ones! But I do have some good ones to share this year from the Air Show on July 16 and 17.
A couple things to mention about the show, it is held at Willow Run Airport every year and proceeds go to support the Yankee Air Museum. They have gotten much better in recent years about having a more “packed” event. Once the flying starts, it really goes non-stop through the end of the show. Food service seemed better organized this year than it has been. That’s all good.
They also stuck with the “drive-in” format. This is more mixed. I love having our vehicle right there with us the whole time. Its so much easier to bring along everything we might need or want during the day. No drama walking back to, and locating your car after. Especially when rain is in the forecast, its just better in almost every way. But I am very unhappy with the price points. The show is broken into two halves, two shows a day of about 2 1/2 hours each, at over $200 for each. The whole day is close to $500 for one carload. As I figure it, you’d need six people to make that a bargain. And some people do! But we didn’t, and even though I had a ton of fun I’m not sure I can justify this every year. Seriously its cheaper for me to drive to Dayton or Battle Creek for their shows. Now the good news is, Yankee Air Museum is a good cause, and the people are easy to work with. One of my tickets was “free” this year because of a short show I went to earlier this year that was completely rained out (tickets say such recompense will not be made, so bonus!). But I can’t really believe its even that profitable for them. The first show in particular (with no Blue Angels, but an F-16 demo instead) had A LOT of empty parking spots. I would guess over half empty. I know last year there were a lot of empty slots, even as the Museum boasted “sold out”; so I would guess they had corporate sponsors picking up the unsold tickets. Not sure if they can count on that every year? I hope they review this process before next year and consider some more affordable options.

The day started with this M18 Hellcat racing up and down the display area flying the Flag for the National Anthem. This is a compact tank destroyer, the fastest AFV of World War II. The drivers manual includes the warning “may be difficult to control above 60 mph on paved surfaces”. Dang. Now I want another Hellcat…
Also during the opening, Navy “Leap Frogs” jumped from a Sea Dragon helicopter to enter with the flag.
The first big act of the day was a performance by Collings Foundation’s F-100D Super Sabre. They boast as the only flyable Super Sabre in the World. It was fun to see this Cold Warrior. First airshow I ever saw as a kid had the Thunderbirds in this type (used through 1968).
Hurricane Mk XII put on a nice demo.
As did a Kittyhawk Mk III. I don’t recall seeing the colorful Kiwi South Pacific scheme on a warbird before.
The two then joined up and gave us some more low passes.
Climax of the morning show was an F-16 demo. Time for some serious noise!
Yankee Lady, Yankee Air Museum’s own B-17G was up on and off all day.
Nice flying demo by Spitfire Mk IX.
Quartet of warbirds flew together for a while. First time I’ve seen a Bf 109G in flight. Except it sort of isn’t. It was built in Spain as an Ha 1112. Then rebuilt to have a correct “G” model’s cowling. No Db 605 engines were available so its powered by an Allison V-1710. The Fw 190F is a new build, completed in 2019 and powered by an R-2800 (BMW 801s are also in short supply!)
“Georgie’s Gal” is a beautiful B-25J belonging to Liberty Aviation Museum in Port Clinton, Ohio.
Different artwork on the two sides of the nose.
deHavilland Vampire put on a nice show! First time I’ve ever seen one fly. This is a first generation jet fighter, the second in RAF service and was being readied for service as WWII ended.
Blue Angels always put on a terrific show.
My favorite picture of the day!

About atcDave

I'm 5o-something years old and live in Ypsilanti, Michigan. I'm happily married to Jodie. I was an air traffic controller for 33 years and recently retired; grew up in the Chicago area, and am still a fanatic for pizza and the Chicago Bears. My main interest is military history, and my related hobbies include scale model building and strategy games.
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4 Responses to Thunder Over Michigan – 2022

  1. Thanks for sharing these terrific photos, especially the quartet of WWII warbirds. Ken

  2. jfwknifton says:

    An excellent set of photographs, especially the Vampire. I was unaware that there were any still flying as I’ve only seen them in museums.

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