Sunday, July 24, 2011

Thunder Over Michigan - Navy Version

This years theme for TOM is the The Centennial of Naval Aviation, featuring a multitude of naval aircraft spanning the 100 years.
After last years B-17 theme, I figured I had to check out the airshow outside of Detroit again this year.
Driving down friday to stay over night allowed for an early start to the airshow day. But again, as was traditional, Friday saw a military parade down the main st of Belleville.

As the parade approached, Havards from the Canadian Harvard Aircraft Association
flew down the length of the street.

The parade was led by an honour guard from the Police,

with the re-enacters from WW2

along with vehicles, like this Stuart tank following behind.

As they reached the end of the route, a Mig 21 began to make passes over town.

Then everyone looked out to the lake, to watch 4 LVT's demonstrating there ship like abilities. These were used through out the pacific campaign during WW2.

During the airshow, all 4 were involved in a reenactment of a pacific battle.

The next day, bright and early, it was time to head to the show at the airport. The first thing that greets you is the same reenactors in there camp. Lots of soldiers, from allied and axis armies, were on hand,

along with some representing the women of the time, like these ladies!

Then it was onto the aircraft. They ranged from the origins of the navy, a replica of the Curtis Pusher, the first aircraft the navy used on a ship,

to the most modern of aircraft, like the B1 Bone;

the B2 Spirit of Michigan;

and the MV-22B Osprey.

Another 70's generation aircraft, the f-16, showed that it still has the right stuff to battle in the sky.

I also thought it was unusual to see an fF16 with a hornet tail marking, as thats the standard image for a F18 Hornet!

Other periods including the Vietnam era, where an A-4 Skyhawk

battled a Mig 17 over the airport;

while a WW2 battle involving Japanese Zero's

and US Corsairs also took place.

It was amazing to see two real Japanese Zero's, a first for me. They were very capable, and you could understand how the dominated the battle, until one was discovered by the US and flight tested to learn its weakness, which was negative g's and rolling to the right!

Also on hand for a Legacy flight including aircraft like the PBY-5A Catalina

SB2C-5 Helldiver

TBM-3E Avenger

This one is done up like that used by George Bush in WW2
SBD-5 Dauntless

grumman c-1a trader

The show had two battles, which included a american attack on a german strong point, as well as a pacific island battle with Marines and Japanese soldiers.

Strafing runs by the aircraft represented attacks on ground targets. This is where the skill of the pilots was really on display! Simulating ground attacks, the pilots put the planes down as low as your going to see at any airshow!

And the stars of that battle were the Mustangs, a beautiful aircraft that ended up dominating the sky's above Europe.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Andretti Party

My brother James was involved with Dr Pepper, via his TGPT blog. We received a pace car ride, a pit walkthrough, a private garage tour, a meeting with Marco Andretti, and the highlight, we got to attend a VIP part with the entire Andretti racing team.
Held at the Thompson Hotel, the building itself was pretty impressive. Located at Wellington and Bathurst, we were greeted by a lovely bunch of women,

who directed us to our name tags, and then up to the rooftop of the building.
On the roof was an amazing edge of the building pool,

as well as great views of the city.

Inside, the guest mingled about

with a chance to talk with entire Andretti racing team of (left to right) Danica Patrick, Marco Andretti, Mike Conway and Ryan Hunter-Reay. Also on hand was Nascar Canadian Tire Driver JR Fitzpatrick.

And of course, Michael Andretti was also on hand.

Marco Andretti (Right) and Mike Connway (apparently thinks he's number 11!):

JR Fitzpatrick:

And as it was such a swanky event, I felt lucky to know someone at the party, Joel Robinson, who does the Nascar Canadian Tire Series TV show on TSN.

A highlight was when each of the drivers were asked a question by the crowd. When it got to JR Fitzpatrick, it was Danica who asked the question!

She asked about the upcoming Montreal Nationwid race, and more specifically, should she use her fenders! JR first indicated he was impressed at how well the Indy drivers did without fenders, but definately said to use those fenders!