Thunder Over Michigan roars back with Blue Angels, F-16 Viper Demo Team

Maureen Feighan
The Detroit News

Move over, "Top Gun: Maverick." The real deal will be in Ypsilanti this weekend.

Thunder Over Michigan returns Saturday and Sunday to Ypsilanti's Willow Run Airport for four shows, two featuring the U.S. Navy Blue Angels and two with the U.S. Air Force's F-16 Demo Team. 

The F-16 Demo Team has participated in Thunder Over Michigan in the past, said Thunder Over Michigan Spokesman Scott Buie, but this year's show will be the first time the F-16 "Viper" Demo Team will perform with female pilot, Captain Aimee "Rebel" Fiedler in the cockpit. The same team just performed July 2-3 at the National Cherry Festival in Traverse City. 

Thousands flock to see Thunder Over Michigan every year, an annual fundraiser for the Yankee Air Museum in Ypsilanti. Approximately 30,000 are expected to attend.

After being canceled in 2020 because of COVID, the beloved air show returned last year but with a drive-up format where patrons purchased tickets per car rather than per person and can spread out on the grass around their car. That format will continue this year with $225 car passes, up from $185 last year.

And while capacity was capped at 1,800 cars last year, that won't be the case this weekend. Buie said they're expecting 7,000 vehicles this weekend.

And leading the F-16 Viper Demo Team will be Feidler, who was installed as the team's commander and pilot in early March. The team, which will perform morning shows Saturday and Sunday, has been crisscrossing the country for its 2022 show schedule since March. After Ypsilanti, it'll do shows in Dayton and Cleveland.

U.S. Navy Blue Angels' Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornets during a practice session, a preview for the upcoming Thunder Over Michigan air show.

The Blue Angels, meanwhile, who started in 1946, will perform Saturday and Sunday afternoon. Gates open at 1 p.m. each day for a 2:30 p.m. show. Separate tickets are required for each show.

Besides the high-flying acrobatics at Thunder Over Michigan, there will also be displays, a chance to meet Warbird pilots, Huey helicopter rides, and a special KidZone area. There will be food on site.

Thunder Over Michigan

Saturday and Sunday at Willow Run Airport.

Two morning shows, two afternoon shows. 

Drive-In Car Passes are $225.

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