The 2015 Thunder Over Michigan Air Show

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Photography by Frank Ertl Ypsilanti, Michigan has a great yearly warbird air show, known as Thunder Over Michigan.  The 2015 version didn’t disappoint.  One of the best parts of this show happens behind the scenes, and offers four chances to get different and uncluttered photos of your favorite warbirds.  These special photo passes, which afford great vantage points from the Photo Pit and along a taxiway on Friday, and/or early access to the static ramps on the weekend mornings before the gates open to the general public, give you different air show venues to choose from. There are a limited amount of these, and sell out quickly each year. However, you don’t need any special passes to see and photograph the awesome collection of warbirds that attend.

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The airport that hosts this show is itself a special place.  Ypsilanti’s Willow Run Airport was built up by the Ford Motor Company to contain its B-24 Liberator plant during World War II, and is now home to the Yankee Air Museum.  One of the Museum’s planes, an early version of the B-25 Mitchell bomber, is a standout, and contributor Frank Ertl found some information about this “Yankee Warrior”, a B-25D.  Originally, s/n 43-3634 was delivered on December 8 1943 at Kansas City, Kansas.  Known as “Ellen E. & Son”, it served with the 12th Air Force’s 57th Bomb Wing. Assigned to the 340th Bomb Group, 489th Bomb Squadron, it was stationed at Alesan Air Base on the island of Corsica where it took part in at least 7 combat missions. It flew with nose art of a French Joker playing card, along with the name “Ellen E.& Son”, which was Captain Charles Barnett’s mother’s name. The Yankee Air Museum purchased 43-3634 October 18, 1988 and it is now flown as “Yankee Warrior”.

Here is a collection of Frank Ertl’s photos from this year’s event, showcasing the scope of this great gathering of warbirds.

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