This year’s GM River Days celebration will also include the return of the airshow over the Detroit River. Three performances are scheduled: 1 p.m. on Friday and 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. The show is being staged by the Tuskegee Airmen National Historical Museum. Scheduled to appear are aerobatic pilots flying upside down and sideways, jets from the World Heritage Air Museum, an airplane flown by the Tuskegee Airmen in World War II, several racing airplanes, and a demonstration of precision formation flying by the museum’s own four-aircraft demo team. The airshow will also feature emcees at all festival stages. This is one of the very few airshows in all of North America that features mostly local performers. It’s a show by Detroit, for Detroit.
The Tuskegee Airmen National Historical Museum is located in Historic Fort Wayne and it operates four aircraft from Detroit City Airport. More information is available at www.tuskegeemuseum.org.
Some of the performers scheduled to appear follow.
Billy Werth – Aerobatics
Billy is an airline pilot, a major in the USAF Reserve, and an airshow pilot. Flying a red, white, and blue star-spangled Pitts S-2C, Billy specializes in high-speed, low altitude noise and excitement.
Brett Hunter – Aerobatics
Brett is a corporate and airshow pilot, as well as an aerobatic competitor. He finished 5th at the US Nationals in Unlimited (the highest category) and is a part of the US National Aerobatic Team slated to compete at Châteauroux-Déols in France to compete in the World Aerobatic Championships. The performance is slated to feature the MXS aircraft, the model in which Brett competed at Nationals.
Dr. Brian Smith
Dr. Brian Smith is the son of an original Tuskegee Airman and the president of the Tuskegee Airmen National Historical Museum. He will be flying passes in a North American T-6G, an advanced trainer from World War II that flew at Tuskegee Army Airfield.
Tuskegee Airmen Glider Demo Team
The Tuskegee Airmen National Historical Museum operates three of only six TG-7A Motorgliders still in operation in the world. The aircraft were used at the United States Air Force Academy from 1983 to 2003 to give initial training to some of the best pilots in the world. The TG-7As fly in close formation and the museum’s pilots are the only formation-qualified glider pilots in the world. When these aircraft are not flying airshow demonstrations, you can see them in the skies of Detroit giving kids age 8 to 17 their first flight experiences.
The lineup of performers is subject to change.