89.1 WEMU

'Thunder Over Michigan' Air Show At Willow Run Airport This Weekend

Aug 19, 2016

Breitling jet at Willow Run Airport.
Credit Jorge Avellan / WEMU

Over forty thousand people are expected to attend the Thunder Over Michigan air show this weekend.  In addition to providing entertainment, it will also help the local economy.


Eight fighter jets fly over Willow Run Airport in a triangle formation.  The navy blue and white two-seater planes are part of the Breitling team.  

Thunder Over Michigan event director Kevin Walsh says they bring good news with them to Washtenaw County.

"We have about two and half to three million dollars worth of economic impact just in two days related to the region."

One by one, just like cars waiting to get into a parking lot, the jets line up on the runway with their pointy noses after flying in from Wyoming.  Pilot Jacques Bothelin is the team leader.

"We try to bring our European flavor to the show.  We have aerobatics in formation, we have some formation change during the maneuvers, we have crossovers and various maneuvers."

This is the first time the Breitling team has visited Willow Run Airport for a show.  Francois Ponsot flies jet number four.

"We fly about 350 miles an hour.  Altitude is about 25,000 feet around there."

During the show, the planes will also reach speeds of up to seven G-forces.

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— Jorge Avellan is the Ann Arbor beat reporter and anchor for 89.1 WEMU News.  Contact him at 734.487.3363 or email him javellan@emich.edu