Thunder Over Michigan 2017: The Wonderful World of Flight

Discussion relating to 2017 airshows/fly-ins/exercises/other events. Post news before the event and post your photos afterwards! Please create only one thread per event.
User avatar
RyanS
Posts: 1805
Joined: Wed Feb 08, 2017 4:50 pm
Location: Ann Arbor, MI
Contact:

Re: Thunder Over Michigan 2017: The Wonderful World of Flight

Post by RyanS » Thu Sep 07, 2017 10:02 pm

kalamazookid wrote:
Thu Sep 07, 2017 4:32 pm
Of the five airshows I've been to this year, TOM had the highest daily ticket price for the shortest flying program. Not much in the air this year. Perhaps some of that had to do with the wind, but from a ticket value standpoint, it was a very disappointing show. I doubt there was an hour and a half of actual flying before the Blues took to the air Sunday. Lots of down time with nothing in the air. Getting just a single pass from each C-47 was ... interesting ... for it being the "theme" aircraft. I was surprised that the show didn't even set up the typical double-carousel of warbirds flying during the battle. Even when the lineup has been a bit weaker in the past, that flight has always made up for it ... but nothing doing there this year.

There were still some highlights - seeing the P-40B was fantastic (even though it didn't fly the day I was there). The Heritage Flight was certainly unique, and the Skyraider and P-51C demos were both good pieces of flying. Overall though, the show left a lot to be desired.

Hopefully, next year will bring a more full flying program. I've been to TOM 13 times, and this was the only time I've ever left feeling like I didn't get close to what I paid for. Maybe it was just a "down" year.

Didn't take many pics, but here are a couple of my favorites.
I have to agree with your comments (and also many others who expressed the same) that the show was very much about the Blue Angels plus a few opening acts this year. I was warned at Cleveland that it was a very thin lineup with lots of gaps, and that was pretty true. It was especially disappointing to see only one P-51, no Skyraider demo, no P-40, and no paradrop. Of course none of those (except the Skyraider?) were really within control.

However, it is important to step back and look at it from the show's perspective. They don't care about our feelings, they care about the ticket sales (and the likelihood of future ticket sales).

They seem to be flipping the normal script of a long schedule and cheap tickets, and they are proving that it can be done successfully. Despite what we all know is a short program and probably the highest prices in the country, they had record crowds. I didn't hear any complaints around me about the lack of flying. The main complaints online were about traffic, seating space, and food lines. All of those indicate they were TOO successful if anything.

Given the success of this year I don't see any motivation for them to shift back to a longer program or to lower ticket prices. We as enthusiasts will bitch and moan but at the end of the day they will make more money bt ignoring us because we are a small percentage of the crowd. As much as I want to see a full warbird lineup and a new layout aligned with the runway and lower ticket prices, the market is speaking clearly that those things are not important. All we can really do is hope that more shows don't go in this direction.
0 x
Ryan Sundheimer
www.AirshowStuff.com

kalamazookid
Posts: 362
Joined: Mon Feb 13, 2017 2:15 am
Location: West Lafayette, Ind.
Contact:

Post by kalamazookid » Thu Sep 07, 2017 10:34 pm

I'm not opposed to the idea of the high prices/short flying program if the show is able to pack a lot of thunder (pun not intended) into the lineup. Past Thunder Over Michigan shows have been able to do that in a variety of ways - unique or rare aircraft, the quality of flying, warbirds flying in front of the crowd in multiple patterns, etc. I've attended just about every TOM I've been able to since 2002 - the only shows I missed were 2012-13 (working 600 miles away) and 2016 (the only year I chose not to attend due to the lineup). Prior to this year, I'd always felt that the cost of attending TOM was worth it. This year, it definitely wasn't for me.

The thing that always set Thunder apart from other airshows was the quality of flying and the way in which the theme aircraft were showcased. The signature aircraft have always been given a significant slot in the show and, to me, the signature recurring aspect of the show is the multiple circuits of warbirds flying over the battle. Nothing of that sort this year. Without showcasing the feature or aircraft or the warbird flight, you don't really get much you can't see elsewhere.

They clearly did well on ticket sales. I heard Saturday was possibly a record crowd for the show. If it works and makes them the most money possible, there's no reason for them to change their approach. Ultimately, the show has to make money and if they've found a model that's profitable for them, there's no reason to blow it up.

The show seems to count on the enthusiast spending the extra money on the photo pit, early photography access, chalets, etc. to get the full experience. I'm just not into that. I go to watch airplanes fly and see the static displays, not shoot photos (although getting a few pics is always nice). The layout has never been great for people who want to be close to the aircraft when they start up, taxi, etc. (aspects of attending an airshow I really value) unless you want to pay extra to be in the photo pit. The quality of the flying in the past has made up for it - again, just not this year.

It was by no means a "bad" airshow. Just not what I'm accustomed to seeing from TOM.
0 x
Matt

alexp2805+
Posts: 51
Joined: Sat Jul 29, 2017 6:54 pm
Location: Ypsilanti Michigan

Post by alexp2805+ » Thu Sep 07, 2017 10:57 pm

kalamazookid wrote:
Thu Sep 07, 2017 10:34 pm
I'm not opposed to the idea of the high prices/short flying program if the show is able to pack a lot of thunder (pun not intended) into the lineup. Past Thunder Over Michigan shows have been able to do that in a variety of ways - unique or rare aircraft, the quality of flying, warbirds flying in front of the crowd in multiple patterns, etc. I've attended just about every TOM I've been able to since 2002 - the only shows I missed were 2012-13 (working 600 miles away) and 2016 (the only year I chose not to attend due to the lineup). Prior to this year, I'd always felt that the cost of attending TOM was worth it. This year, it definitely wasn't for me.

The thing that always set Thunder apart from other airshows was the quality of flying and the way in which the theme aircraft were showcased. The signature aircraft have always been given a significant slot in the show and, to me, the signature recurring aspect of the show is the multiple circuits of warbirds flying over the battle. Nothing of that sort this year. Without showcasing the feature or aircraft or the warbird flight, you don't really get much you can't see elsewhere.

They clearly did well on ticket sales. I heard Saturday was possibly a record crowd for the show. If it works and makes them the most money possible, there's no reason for them to change their approach. Ultimately, the show has to make money and if they've found a model that's profitable for them, there's no reason to blow it up.

The show seems to count on the enthusiast spending the extra money on the photo pit, early photography access, chalets, etc. to get the full experience. I'm just not into that. I go to watch airplanes fly and see the static displays, not shoot photos (although getting a few pics is always nice). The layout has never been great for people who want to be close to the aircraft when they start up, taxi, etc. (aspects of attending an airshow I really value) unless you want to pay extra to be in the photo pit. The quality of the flying in the past has made up for it - again, just not this year.

It was by no means a "bad" airshow. Just not what I'm accustomed to seeing from TOM.
I agree.
0 x

Stinger11
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Sep 08, 2017 1:01 pm

Post by Stinger11 » Fri Sep 08, 2017 1:16 pm

Here are a few shots of some of the other aircraft at Thunder this year.
030.JPG
030.JPG (304.84 KiB) Viewed 6386 times
031.JPG
031.JPG (297.51 KiB) Viewed 6386 times
039.JPG
039.JPG (277.65 KiB) Viewed 6386 times
043.JPG
043.JPG (266.63 KiB) Viewed 6386 times
045.JPG
045.JPG (256.14 KiB) Viewed 6386 times
0 x

AGMore
Posts: 7
Joined: Sun Apr 30, 2017 11:51 pm
Contact:

Post by AGMore » Tue Sep 12, 2017 11:44 pm

2017 Thunder Over Michigan Airshow, 02Sept17
https://photo01aviation.smugmug.com/SE/TOM-02Sept17/

Image
0 x

Diehart2010
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Sep 17, 2017 8:05 pm

Post by Diehart2010 » Sun Sep 17, 2017 9:16 pm

Finally signed up today and I decided this would be my first post.
DSC_4942.jpg
DSC_4942.jpg (71.44 KiB) Viewed 6207 times
0 x

SWAJim
Posts: 16
Joined: Sun Jul 16, 2017 10:01 pm

Post by SWAJim » Mon Sep 18, 2017 2:39 am

This was the first time in 6 years I've skipped TOM and it was because I'm not paying those prices for what looked like a very mediocre show. If this is the way of the future for them i'll be skipping them more which is sad because i always have looked forward to TOM.
0 x

alexp2805+
Posts: 51
Joined: Sat Jul 29, 2017 6:54 pm
Location: Ypsilanti Michigan

Post by alexp2805+ » Sun Oct 01, 2017 1:34 am

Here are some pictures I took from TOM this year. These are just off my phone.
The attachment 20170903_120250.jpg is no longer available
20170903_095612.jpg
20170903_095612.jpg (244.75 KiB) Viewed 6078 times
20170903_094936.jpg
20170903_094936.jpg (236.3 KiB) Viewed 6078 times
Attachments
20170903_120250.jpg
20170903_120250.jpg (244.91 KiB) Viewed 6078 times
Last edited by alexp2805+ on Sun Oct 01, 2017 1:36 am, edited 3 times in total.
0 x

alexp2805+
Posts: 51
Joined: Sat Jul 29, 2017 6:54 pm
Location: Ypsilanti Michigan

Post by alexp2805+ » Sun Oct 01, 2017 8:50 pm

So apparently Thunder was trying to get a Red Tail F-16 Fighting Falcon to come to the show. I hear if they got it they would have flew it with the Red Tail P-51 Mustang they had attending this year. It would have been so cool to see this rare formation but it obviously didn't work out.
0 x

Bretten Bailey
Posts: 248
Joined: Thu Feb 09, 2017 9:18 pm
Location: Kalamazoo, MI

Post by Bretten Bailey » Wed Oct 18, 2017 1:50 pm

It was definitely an interesting year!

In terms of World War II Warbirds, this was bit of an off-year, granted there were a bunch of C-47s and the rare P-40B featured. The ramp was still filled with them. The Blue Angels performed a terrific show, as always. The North American Heritage Flight with the Skyraider, Sabre & Mustang is also a rare sight not seen very often and was a unique way to open the show.

Greg & Ashley Shelton also wowed the crowd with their Stearman Wingwalking barnstorming show! Matt Younkin, as always, was a hit with the crowd in the Beech 18.

The featured aircraft, however, would be the ones that faced the difficulties. The rare P-40B was supposed to fly more on Saturday, but faced radiator issues. The time he spent circling out over Ecorse before landing was for diagnostics. Thankfully the plane landed safely. However, it was a major part in question and the P-40B didn't fly Sunday or Monday (and, if no one noticed, there was a big puddle of fluid underneath the aircraft when it was just sitting on the ramp). As for the C-47s and the Worlds Largest Paratrooper Drop out of WWII Aircraft since the War itself. We were down a C-47 on Saturday (Tico Belle couldn't make it in due to weather) and the C-46 also didn't participate. The paratrooper drop got off safely and the World Record was set. The C-47s performed some nice passes and all was well. The record was supposed to be broken again on Sunday, this time with Tico Belle participating (was able to arrive) and the C-46. Off the bat, the C-46 taxied out and had to turn around and come back in due to maintenance. All the C-47s launched and got airborne, but the wind was just to high. The jump had to be called. It had to be called on Monday too due to wind and approaching thunderstorms. Thankfully the thunderstorms themselves held off until the show ended, but the rain started squeaking in towards the end.

Attendance for this year's show was amazing...setting records! Of course, that did bring about some downsides, such as the numerous complaints you can see about the bathrooms, traffic & food vendor lines. The traffic issue was fixed for Sunday & Monday (worked out with local police). Potentially larger crowds will be planned for more in the future. While there were a ton of pre-sale tickets, there were also a lot of tickets sold at the gate. Outside of the upgraded seating areas, General Admission is not for a specific day. It just happened to be that a lot showed up on Saturday. Things were a tad lighter on Sunday and Monday.

The 2018 show will be August 25th & 26th and will feature the United States Air Force Thunderbirds. In addition, the theme will help return the show to its roots and bring out an AMAZING World War II warbird lineup in addition to many other classic and present military aircraft. The theme will celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the Air Show and is aptly dubbed "20 Years of Thunder".
0 x
Bretten Bailey - Aerial Actions Airshows & Ballooning

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 6 guests