Willow Run Airport

Bob Eccles

It'll be late next summer's Thunder over Michigan airs how before the entire squadron is here, but the Blue Angels' number seven plane touched down at Willow Run airport Monday morning for an advance visit.  

 


Bob Eccles

There were a couple of big celebrations Thursday at Willow Run Airport.  The airport re-dedicated its re-built main runway, and the Yankee Air Museum closed on the purchase of part of the former bomber plant.

After a ceremonial ribbon-cutting, the Yankee Air Museum's B-17G bomber "Yankee Lady" made the inaugural take-off and landing on the runway.

Airport Director Chris Mullin says the runway replaces the original strip, built in 1940. He expects the re-built runway to last 35-40 years.

Bob Eccles

It's an historic day at Willow Run Airport on two fronts Thursday.  The airport is re-dedicating it's re-built runway 5R/23L, and the Yankee Air Museum is closing on its purchase of a section of the former bomber plant for its new home.

Yankee Air Museum Executive Director Kevin Walsh says the re-opening of the runway will mark the first new runway at Willow Run since the airport was built. 

localhangar.com

Ten years ago Thursday the Yankee Air Museum's hangar went up in flames, destroying everything the museum had, except for its three flying aircraft.  And if not for the heroic work of several museum volunteers, the planes might have been lost, as well.

 
Lew Major has served on the crew of the museum's B-25 bomber, the Yankee Warrior, since 1998.  They had just returned from an airs how and were preparing to store the plane in the hangar when they saw smoke. 

afthunderbirds.com

Those red, white and blue jets you'll hear (and if you're quick, maybe see) screaming across the skies in eastern Washtenaw County the next few days belong to the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds demonstration team, in town for this weekend's Baltia Air Lines Thunder over Michigan air show.

Show director Kevin Walsh believes it says good things about the Yankee Air Museum and the volunteers who help make the show possible that the Thunderbirds chose to come here.

baltia.com

The Thunder over Michigan air show has a new title sponsor.

The show is now the Baltia Air Lines Thunder over Michigan Air Show. 

Baltia Air Lines is the country's newest passenger airline, with offices at Willow Run airport.  It plans to start non-stop 747 service between New York and St. Petersburg, Russia after receiving FAA certification in September. 

Baltia Vice President of Finance Barry Clare says the Thunder over Michigan Air Show was a good fit for the airline.

Willow Run Bomber Plant
savethebomberplant.org

Smiling faces abound at the Yankee Air Museum as they are set to clear the first hurdle in saving a portion of the Willow Run bomber plant.  A lot of work however is still needed to achieve their goal.


savethebomberplant.org

The Yankee Air Museum’s fundraising effort has been successful enough to move forward with a purchase agreement for a portion of the former Willow Run bomber plant.

Christy Hoffman

It's official - the 778 people who gathered at the former Willow Run bomber plant set a new world record for the number of people gathered in one place dressed as Rosie the Riveter.

The Yankee Air Museum received a letter from publishers of the Guinness Book of World Records indicating that "you have successfully achieved a new Guinness World Records title for 'largest gathering of people dressed as Rosie the Riveter'". 

The museum still needs to raise about $1.25 million by May 1st to save a portion of the plant to use as its new home.

Thunder Over Michigan Returns This Weekend

Aug 9, 2013

The Thunder Over Michigan air show returns to Willow Run Airport this weekend.

WEMU's Bob Eccles has the details in this report:

Vintage war-birds take to the skies above Willow Run Airport this weekend at the 15th annual Thunder Over Michigan air show.  Show organizers had to do some quick re-scheduling after the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds jet team was grounded due to sequestration-related budget cuts. 

Show Director Kevin Walsh says it wasn't as big a problem for Thunder Over Michigan as it was for some other air shows.

Among the performers scheduled to participate in Thunder Over Michigan this weekend:

  • A rare gathering of six Vietnam-era Skyraider aircract
  • a North American F-100F Super Sabre jet
  • British de Havilland Vampire T-55. 

Thunder Over Michigan takes place Saturday and Sunday at Willow Run Airport.  Tickets can be purchased online or at the gate.  Kids 15 and under are admitted free

The Yankee Air Museum has until August 1st to raise just under $5 million to buy a section of the Willow Run bomber plant for its new home.  As WEMU's Bob Eccles reports, the museum on Wednesday gave donors and members of the media flights on its B-17 bomber to raise awareness of the campaign.

Learn how you can take a once in a lifetime ride on the B-17 Yankee Lady here : 

http://www.yankeeairmuseum.org/yam/fly/

Yankee Air Museum/Thunder over Michigan

With sequestration grounding the U-S Air Force Thunderbirds, the Yankee Air Museum has had to change the dates for its "Thunder over Michigan" air show from Fathers Day weekend to August 10th and 11th. 

Show Director Kevin Walsh says it would have been tough to compete with other events happening that weekend - including a race at Michigan International Speedway without the Thunderbirds. 

He says most of the performers were able to accommodate the date change. 

Bob Eccles

One of the last surviving members of the Tuskegee Airmen visited Willow Run airport this afternoon in advance of this weekend's Thunder over Michigan air show.  WEMU's Bob Eccles has the story.