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August 29, 2015 - Thunder Over Michigan - Ypsilanti, MI

Thunder Over Michigan 2015, held once again at Willow Run, was a class act event with a lot of excitement, entertainment, and airplanes; that pretty much sums it up. Detroit Metro Mashup would like to once again thank Herb Gillien for letting us in to photograph and cover this summer-in-Michigan happening air show. Parking went smooth, entrance no problem, lots of room to roam, and things to do and see. After the show, our MicheleK even got hugged by a Blue Angel. Wow.

The world-class civilian aerobatic performer and world renowned Red Bull air racer, Michael Goulian, joined the U.S. Navy Blue Angels at the show again this year. Michael Goulian doesn't just fly an air show; he attacks it. Every roll, pull, and tumble of his flight is a deliberate execution of precision. With his aggressive approach to the air show arena, Michael Goulian has mastered the ability to convey his message of passion through flight.

Michael's performance is the perfect marriage between man and machine. The only airplane capable of delivering a Michael Goulian performance is the EXTRA 330SC. Composed of high-tech, lightweight carbon-fiber and rugged steel construction, the EXTRA 330SC is the world's most high performance aerobatic airplane.

Despite Mike's successes he remains humble and accessible to his air show fans. This rare combination has made Michael Goulian an unforgettable air show favorite!

The United States Air Force sent an F-16 Fighting Falcon to perform a demonstration. The F-16 will only be performing at 15 air shows across North America this year. The USAF F-16 roars across the sky as it rockets by at speeds up to 700 mph, while showing the precision and agility that makes this one of the most versatile and capable fighter aircraft in the world. The F-16 demonstration was flown by Captain Craig "Rocket" Baker and the F-16 demo team is based at Shaw AFB in South Carolina.

Fat Albert Airlines, the all Marine flight crew assigned to the squadron’s Lockheed-Martin C-130 Hercules, which is responsible for transporting road-crew personnel, supplies, and equipment to and from each show throughout the season was on hand at 370 mph.

The Blue Angels name was picked by the original team when they were planning a show in New York in 1946. One of them came across the name of the city’s famous Blue Angel nightclub in the New Yorker Magazine and the name stuck and seems to be a perfect fit for these amazing pilots and their precision machines. As they scream by overhead, one can imagine the wings of the planes being the wings of very intense and stupefying angels.

The Blue Angels did many behind fly-by’s; very low, loud, and heart pounding. The Blue Angels consist of 16 officers, 100 men and women. They serve for 2-3 years as Angels and each November the team trains three new pilots. Not one show in 64 years has ever been canceled due to maintenance problems. The pilots that flew at Willow Run are from the Navy and Marine Corp and included:

Navy Capt. Tom Frosch from Clinton Township, Michigan - Boss
Navy Lt. Matthew Suyderhoud from Honolulu, Hawaii - 2
Navy Lt. Andy Talbot from Sedan, Kansas -3
Navy Lt. Cmdr. Nate Barton from Hummelstown, Pennsylvania -4
Navy Cmdr. Mark Tedrow from Charleroi, Pennsylvaia -5
Navy Lt. Ryan Chamberlain from Bloomington, Illinois -6
Marine Capt. Jeff Kuss from Durango, Colorado -7
Marine Capt. Corrie Mays from Marstons Mills, Massachusetts - 8

Some of the death-defying air acrobatics included plane number five going solo and doing a roll-over with landing gear still extended, but only being there or checking out our photos and videos can describe the actual action; words don’t suffice.

Next year you can see the Blue Angels here: 2016 July 2-4 National Cherry Festival Air Show Traverse City, MI.

Fun Fact - How much does an F/A-18 cost?
The basic acquisition price of a single F/A-18 A Hornet is approximately $21 million. The cost of additional weapons-related equipment varies according to the configuration, and use of each aircraft can significantly increase the total price.

Rain threatened the afternoon, but held off until we all got in our cars ready to leave the airport. We got to see all of the larger planes on display take off. It’s really one of Michigan’s finest; shows don’t miss it!

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