Thunder Over Michigan is an amazing experience. I went on Sunday, which happens to be the final day. The event took place at the Detroit Metro Willow Run Airport. There was an incredible line up of military air planes and helicopters.
Of course, they saved the best for last, the United States Navy Blue Angels.
The entire days was chalked full of events to keep you busy and occupied. The total number of aircrafts was jaw-dropping.
To mention a few of the planes: the Heavy Hitter Avro Lancaster, which made its debut in 1942 as the strategic bombing in Europe began during World War 2; The End All Be All Fifi B-29 Superfortress, this was one of the planes to drop nuclear bombs during World War 2 and was also used in active duty during the Korean War; Patrolling the skies Consolidated PB4Y-2 Privateer, which was a patrol bomber for the United States Navy during World War 2 and the Korean War.
They had a number planes on the ground that you could take a tour through, but I wound up skipping out on the plane tours and took a slightly more adventurous experience. I ended up going for a ride in a UH-1 Huey Helicopter.
The tour in the Huey required a signed waiver and $75. It was worth every penny!
I sat in the gunner seat on the outside of the Helicopter. The view, and the entire experience, was incredible. If you’ve never taken a ride in a helicopter, I would highly recommend it. The air show makes for an easy and comfortable environment to give it a try.
The helicopter ride took one thing off the Bucket List; what will I ride in next year!?
As I mentioned, the show was great and the ride was amazing but they saved the best for last; the United States Navy Blue Angels flight demonstration squad.
The Blue Angles makes their home in Pensacola, Florida and they perform across the country throughout the year. They are on the road from the middle of March until late November putting on a showcase in aircraft handling. After November, the Blue Angels head back to Florida for the winter.
The US Navy Blue Angels began in 1946 as a desire to keep the public interested in Naval Aviation. The original Blue Angels team flew a Grumman F6F Hellcat aircraft. The team now flies an F/A 18 Hornet.
Maintenance crews for the Blue Angels fly with them in the US Marine Corps C-130 also known as “Fat Albert.” This year the team is lead by their Flight Leader/ Commanding Officer Captain Tom Frosch, who is from Michigan. Another cool tidbit about the team this year, they now have their first female pilot. Her name is Katie (not me though! I wish!).
The team puts on a highly choreographed, high-octane performance with a lot of stunts. They have the four-plane Diamond Formation and also the six-jet Delta Formation where the planes fly as close together as 2 meters.
Performing with massive machinery with such as eloquent grace is a slight to behold. The Blue Angels keep getting better every time I see them. At the end of their show, the team came out the field where everyone was sitting and talked to the audience and signed autographs. It’s always fun to go and talk to the pilots. They really do put on a high-octane performance in the air and with the fans afterwards.
I have been fortunate enough to experience their demonstrations at the Air Base in Pensacola many times, and would highly recommend this. The Blue Angels are a true marvel in the sky.
Make sure to check out Thunder Over Michigan next year. You won’t be disappointed!
Katie works in the film industry as a camera operator and has worked on films like ‘All You Can Dream’, ‘Set Up’ and a TV show called ‘American Fallen Soldier.’ She loves helping WKTV with the Citizen Journalism team and working as a tech at Amway Grand Plaza Hotel. Katie loves working in the film industry and loves watching movies just as much!