THE RUMBLE OF THUNDER OVER MICHIGAN 2018

IMG_7219 (2) (1000x373) The Ypsilanti MI based Yankee Air Museum hosts the annual Thunder Over Michigan Air Show at the Willow Run International Airport. We just took a look at the aircraft that brought the “Thunder” to the 2018 airshow, we now turn our attention to the Radials of the 2018 show. Thunder Over Michigan 2018 brought together its usual compliment of piston powered aircraft to Willow Run. While it was the United States Air Force Thunderbirds that brought the “Thunder”, there were also several other fighters, bombers and warbirds that brought there own rumble to the skies over Ypsilanti.

Several different United States Navy and United States Army Air Corps fighters descended on the 2018 show. Five North American P-51 Mustangs were on hand. Several Regular attenders included P-51B “Old Crow” and P-51D “Gentlemen Jim” both owned by NASCAR legend Jack Roush. Scott “Scooter” Yoak brought his beautiful P-51D “Quick Silver to Ypsilanti. Tony Buechler’s P-51D “Petie 2nd” and the Commemorative Air Force’s P-51C “Tuskegee Airman” were present. The Commemorative Air Force also had single examples of the Goodyear FG-1D Corsair and a Bell P-63A King Cobra. Noteworthy attendee was a 1944 built Republic P-47A Thunderbolt “Hun Hunter XVI” Melton Neal is the owner of this P-47 and is based at the Tennessee Museum of Aviation.

Several different carrier borne and land based medium and heavy bombers were at the 2018 show. The Commemorative Air Force brought the world’s only flyable Curtiss SB2C-5 Helldiver. The Helldiver was on static display and also flew in the airshow. Expertly and meticulously restored Grumman TBM-3E Avenger owned by Brad Deckert was also on static display and flew in the airshow. This Avenger is also a World War II combat veteran serving onboard the U.S.S. Vella Gulf during the battle of Okinawa. Three different North American B-25 Mitchell’s were on hand including the locally based B-25C “Yankee Warrior” as well as B-25J’s “Super Rabbit” and “Georgie’s Gal”. A pair of B-17 Flying Fortresses were in the static display and also flew in the afternoon airshow. The Commemorative Air Force brought B-17G “Texas Raiders” to Ypsilanti, this B-17 was actually a Long Beach Douglas built aircraft and not built by Boeing. The other B-17G was the locally based “Yankee Lady” which was actually built by the Vega Division of Lockheed Aircraft. Both of these aircraft flew several spirited passes in the afternoon airshow. Boeing B-29 Super Fortress “DOC” was also present and flew in the afternoon airshow. DOC was built in 1944 at the Boeing plant in Wichita Kansas and is one of two flyable B-29’s left in the world.

Several other Observation, Trainers and Transport aircraft were also at Thunder 2018 in the static display, these included Cessna’s , Stinson’s, and Texan’s. Locally based C-47D Skytrain, 44-76716 formally known as Yankee Doodle Dandy was on hand after being recently repainted. This C-47 no wears a paint scheme from the China, Burma, India theater and wears “Hairless Joe” titles. The original “Hairless Joe” was a C-47D that the Legendary Lieutenant Colonel Dick Cole flew after being part of the Doolittle Raid in April 1942.

Not to be forgotten about in the static display was Lockheed EC-121K Warning Star, Bureau number 141311. This EC-121K still wears the markings of Airborne Early Warning Squadron Thirteen (VW-13) when it was delivered in 1956. The EC-121 was used by the United States Navy in the 1950’s as a Airborne Warning and Control Aircraft and was originally designated the WV-2. This particular aircraft was re designated as the EC-121 in 1962, and was officially retired in 1979. The Chanute Aerospace Museum acquired the aircraft in 1983, and upon its closure was transferred to the Yankee Air Museum in 2016 and is under restoration.

This annual airshow is always a resounding success with 2018 being no different. If you have never attended this show, consider it, you will not be disappointed. Until next time, “Blue Skies To All!”.
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