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The Other Side of Thunder 2016

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Scott talks about warbirds and classic freightliners at Willow Run, MI present during the 2016's Thunder Over Michigan The Skies over Detroit’s Willow Run International Airport (KYIP) are devoid once again of High Performance Fighters of today and yesterday once again. Thunder Over Michigan 2016 is in the rear view mirror and in the History Books. Thunder 2016 had it all, Mustangs to Migs, Hueys to Hornets, and A10’s to Avenger’s. The highlights were many from High Performance Fighters such as the FA-18E/F Super Hornet to the F-22A Raptor flying maneuvers that are hard to believe possible. The Breitling Jet Team put on a dazzling display of aerial artistry flying the highly maneuverable L-39 Albatross. If these were not enough add in the F-100 Super Sabre, Mig-17 Fresco, and the TA-4J Skyhawk kept the intensity and noise level very high. Not to be forgotten were the Yankee Air Museum B-25 Mitchell and B-17 Flying Fortress Bombers that graced the skies on a daily basis.

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Many a story will be written, many a photo posted, and many a video watched but there is also a different type of Thunder that goes relatively unnoticed. It is this type of Thunder that draws me to Willow Run year after year. In between the all of the Warbird and Fast Jet action several other Classic Aircraft also come and go. They were once the Workhorses that flew Passengers around the world in their heyday. Their Passenger flying days now over they fulfill an even greater need today. They keep American Production lines and Factories running. I am referring to the Freighters and the Airlines that fly them. These are not your common household Airline names such as American, Delta, and United. Read more »

Flying with the GEICO Skytypers

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Since 2006, the GEICO Skytypers have been a crowd favorite performing at fifteen air show sites annually. The Long Island, NY based team has thrilled audiences with precise close-formation maneuvers in their six SNJ-2 WWII trainer aircraft as far west as Oshkosh, WI; with most shows taking place east of Chicago, north to Maine and south to Florida. At the recent New York air show where the Skytypers were performing; a young teenager commented to his friend, “These are a bunch of old guys flying really old airplanes.” Those within ear-shot offered no response, seemingly to agree with the youth’s assessment. Following the Stewart AFB Newburg, NY air show, the GEICO Skytypers moved onto their next show site - NAS Oceana, VA - where four of us were offered a media-photo ride with the team. On Oceana’s ramp, we gathered inside the GEICO air-conditioned travel trailer, which provided a welcome relief from the hot humidity. The trailer resembled a modern office with carpeting, recessed lighting, cabinets, countertops and a wood-paneled briefing room with a long boardroom table, leather desk chairs and modern electronic media devices. The outside rear of the trailer housed a full service, well stocked workbench and machine shop. Read more »

RAAF Museum’s Newest Addition, A Spitfire MK VIII LF Replica

DSC_1554 Last Friday, the 16th of September, I witnessed the unveiling of the RAAF Museum’s newest addition -  a Spitfire MK VIII LF replica, A58 –492. Gifted by the Friends of the RAAF Museum, the Spitfire replica is on display outside the Museum to represent a Mk VIII Spitfire operated by Number 79 Squadron in the South West Pacific Area of Operations during World War II. The Chief of Air Force, Air Marshal Leo Davies, thanked those who made the new display possible and said it was both a fitting tribute and an important addition representing an important era in military aviation. “The display is the result of great support by the Friends of the RAAF Museum and corporate donors. It will take pride of place outside of the RAAF Museum where Air Force personal and visitors can acknowledge the achievements by 79 Squadron,” Air Marshal Davies said. Read more »

Gate Guards Over Long Island

IMG_0730 If you happen to be driving around Eastern Long Island and feel the urgent need to see an F-14A Tomcat, we have the place for you! Drive out on the Long Island Expressway (LIE or I-495) and exit at Route 25. Then back taxi west to the Grumman Memorial Park - about four miles to the west. There is a beautiful F-14A on a hard stand previously owned by the VF-101 "Grim Reapers". If you drive further west for about a mile and turn south on to Burman Avenue, you will enter the old Grumman Plant and Airport where the final assembly and flight testing of the F-14 took place. On some maps it is called "Calverton Naval Weapons Industrial Reserve Airport". It is now open to the public. Drive in, look around! It is hard to believe that this is where all those wonderful F-14 Tomcats were built!!

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But before you leave the Grumman Memorial Park, walk over to the beautifully restored A-6E Intruder strike bomber. It's hard to believe that so many fantastic fighter planes were built and tested out here in Long Island; now there is no aircraft industry remaining at all!