Heritage, Legacy Flights to debut planes in Thunder Over Michigan

Aircraft from different eras to celebrate U.S. Air Force

Author: Derick Hutchinson, ClickOnDetroit.com
Published On: Aug 02 2013 04:27:03 PM EDT
YPSILANTI, Mich. -

With less than a week before performers start roaring into town, Thunder Over Michigan Air Show officials are eagerly awaiting a blockbuster performer lineup stacked with rare classic military aircraft and the world's most celebrated civilian performers.

Known internationally as one of the top air shows in the world for demonstrations of classic military aircraft, this year's Thunder Over Michigan will be a show filled with several first-ever appearances.

The 2013 Thunder Over Michigan Air Show will take to the skies August 10 and 11 at Willow Run Airport in Ypsilanti, MI. Thunder Over Michigan is produced by the Yankee Air Museum. Proceeds from the event help support the museum and many other charitable organizations.

Perhaps the rarest and loudest aircraft in the Thunder lineup will be the North American Aviation F-100 Super Sabre. This plane brings the speed and sound of a top-line fighter aircraft to the performer lineup. The F-100 is a supersonic jet fighter that served with the United States Air Force from 1954 to 1971 and with the Air National Guard until 1979. It was the first-ever U.S.A.F. fighter capable of supersonic speed in level flight.

The F-100 appears at very few air shows and military aviation enthusiasts throughout the country are abuzz about the U.S. Air Force Heritage flight that will take place at this year's Thunder Over Michigan. The Heritage Flight is a popular concept that combines aircraft from different eras in formation flight in a moving celebration of the United States Air Force. In a first-ever appearance at an air show anywhere in the world, the Air Force Heritage Flight at Thunder Over Michigan will feature the F-100 along with the Korean War-era F-86 Sabre, and the WWII iconic fighter aircraft, the P-51 Mustang.

Not to be outdone, the U.S. Navy Legacy flight that will appear at Thunder Over Michigan will be the first time that the participating aircraft will have flown together in formation flight. The Legacy Flight, similar to the Heritage Flight, combines Navy aircraft in a tribute to Naval aviation. This year's Legacy flight will combine the Vietnam-era A-4 Skyhawk, with the AD-1 Skyraider, a workhorse during both the Korean and Vietnam conflicts, and the celebrated F-4U Corsair that was the Navy's top fighter aircraft during WWII. The A-4 Skyhawk will also show off its speed and agility in an aggressive solo demonstration.

In another first-ever category, the show will have two of the biggest civilian aerobatic flying legends in the world performing for the first-time at Thunder Over Michigan. Sean D. Tucker is one of the most decorated civilian pilots in the world.  A National Aviation Hall of Fame inductee, Tucker is known as much for his breathtaking flying as he is for his super-sized personality. Former Red Bull Air Racer Michael Goulian is known for his precision and skill and has been recognized repeatedly as one of the top air show performers in the world.

One of the most popular performances each year at Thunder Over Michigan is the WWII Battle Reenactment, and this year's should not disappoint. The Battle Reenactment uses realistic historical re-enactors, restored vintage aircraft, tanks, half-tracks and other equipment to allow spectators to experience the sights and sounds of a WWII battle. This year the show has added a Vietnam battle reenactment that will include six AD-1's in a Skyraider reunion that will provide air support along with the UH-1 Huey Helicopter, the AC-47 "Spooky" gunship among other air assets.

Also scheduled to perform at this year's show is the Scream'n Rebels Formation Team, which will demonstrate formation flying in five T-6 Texan aircraft, and the Misty Blues all-women skydiving team, performing the opening ceremony flag jump. The show will also feature a WWII Air Power Parade that will present more than a dozen WWII-era aircraft flying together, including the legendary B-17 Flying Fortress, three B-25 Mitchell bombers and other historic aircraft.

The excitement won't just be in the sky. The show will have more than 50 aircraft on static display and there will be many other fun, interactive ground displays. One of the most popular ground displays is bound to be the RISE ABOVE exhibit, which is an inspiring and educational attraction about the history and accomplishments of the Tuskegee Airmen and includes an air conditioned 160-degree curved panoramic theater and the P-51 Mustang "Tuskegee Airmen." Kids will love the Kidz' Zone play area that features huge inflatables, climbing walls, interactive games and other recreational equipment.

"We couldn't be more pleased about how this year's Thunder lineup came together," said Kevin Walsh, Executive Director of the Yankee Air Museum and Director of Thunder Over Michigan. "Fast moving, loud jets, rare classic military aircraft, legendary civilian aerobatic pilots, massive battle reenactments, unique ground displays; we've got them all!"

Tickets are now on sale for a discounted price if purchased online through Sunday, August 11 at noon. General Admission tickets for guests 16 and older are now $30 and kids 15 and under are admitted at no charge. There are also a limited number of premium seating tickets still available in advance online for a discounted rate.  Tickets, sponsorship opportunities and additional information are available at www.yankeeairmuseum.org/airshow. Fans can receive performer updates via social media on Facebook.com/ThunderOverMichigan and Twitter.com/ThunderOverMI or by signing up online for the behind the scenes e-mail list.

The mission of the Yankee Air Museum, a non-profit 501c3 organization, is to preserve Southeast Michigan’s rich history of aviation and to educate the public about that history. The museum, featuring aviation displays, historic aircraft, meeting rooms and a gift shop, is open every Tuesday through Saturday from 10 am – 4 pm. Additional information about the Yankee Air Museum is available at www.yankeeairmuseum.org.

High resolution images and b-roll for Thunder Over Michigan are available upon request from Herb Gillen Agency.