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Posted on Sun, Aug 11, 2013 : 1:26 p.m.

Historic and unique airplanes part of Thunder Over Michigan air show

By Lisa Carolin

The sight of a small plane diving and twirling to the ground is unnerving to the uninformed but an exciting stunt for visitors to Thunder Over Michigan, the two-day air show at Willow Run Airport that runs Saturday and Sunday.

Watching the WWII aircraft rumble by overhead felt like a visit to the past.

"I love the WWII part of the air show," said Bob Galysh, who came from Cleveland. "There's nothing like the music of a round engine."

"We're lifers here," said his wife Nanette Galysh. They're members of the Yankee Air Museum, which is sponsoring the weekend event.

Thunder Over Michigan comes at a time when the museum is conducting a special fundraising drive to save part of the former Willow Run Bomber Plant and make it the museum's new home.

The deadline for saving the bomber plant was extended until Oct. 1. More than $4.5 million has been raised so far toward the $8 million cost of preserving the plant, which was built by Henry Ford in 1941 to produce B-24 Liberator bombers for WWII. More than 42,000 were employed at the plant.

Among the variety of acts this weekend is Sean Tucker, one of the world's top civilian aerobatic pilots. Tucker's airplane is the Oracle Challenger III biplane, a high performance aerobatic aircraft that packs more than 400 horsepower and weighs just over 1200 pounds.

Michael Goulian is another one of the world's top civilian aerobatic performers and is performing this weekend in his Extra 330SC single-seat monoplane.

The North American F-100F Super Sabre, the first jet fighter capable of supersonic speed in level flight, is also part of Thunder Over Michigan as well as the Douglas A-4B Skyhawk, a U.S. attack aircraft from the 1950s.

"I like the Mustang," said 11-year-old Connor Bach from Lapeer, Michigan, referring to the North American Aviation P-51 B Mustang named "Old Crow."

"This is a tradition and I bring the boys here every year," said his dad Terrell Bach.

For Glen Sucharski of Dearborn, his 5-year-old son Jacob is the reason the family came to the air show.

"Jacob is always looking at airplanes," said Sucharski. "I used to come here when I was little."

If you're overcome by the need to fly, the Yankee Air Museum's B-17 Flying Fortress "Yankee Lady" is offering rides through the weekend for a donation.

For more information on Thunder Over Michigan, go to

Lisa Carolin is a freelance reporter.


Jenn McKee

Mon, Aug 12, 2013 : 6:20 p.m.

Seeing images of these planes in the air, flying again, is such a profoundly different experience from seeing them in a museum. You really get a more visceral sense of history.

haulin donkey

Mon, Aug 12, 2013 : 6:08 a.m.

Can you imagine what the skies looked and sounded like in the 1940s. I had the chance to watch the B27,the Yankee lady [ probably spelled it wrong] do a run up on the tarmac after an engine change. It still gives me goose bumps thinking about those four huge radial engines. when this plane flies over my house it still captures my attention.

Hugh Giariola

Mon, Aug 12, 2013 : 1:32 p.m.

Yankee Lady is a B17


Sun, Aug 11, 2013 : 8:31 p.m.

What exactly is a Gourd troop?