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National Cherry Festival Welcomes the United States Air Force Thunderbirds to the 2019 National Cherry Festival


U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds will take to the skies opening weekend June 29thand 30th.The Festival Air Shows are presented by Northern Michigan Toyota Dealers, and co-sponsored by Blarney Castle Oil, Cherry Capital Airport, Spectrum, Northwestern Michigan College Aviation Department, Avflight, Sam's Club, WTCM AM and U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City.The Festival Airshows are FREE both days. A full practice show will be held Friday, June 28th in the heart of Traverse City, Michigan.

The Thunderbirds squadron is an Air Combat Command unit composed of eight pilots (including six demonstration pilots), four support officers, four civilians and more than 100 enlisted personnel performing in almost 30 job specialties.

A Thunderbirds air demonstration is a mix of formation flying and solo routines. The four-jet diamond formation demonstrates the training and precision of Air Force pilots, while the lead and opposing solo aircraft highlight some of the maximum capabilities of the F-16 Fighting Falcon.

The pilots perform approximately 40 maneuvers in a demonstration. The entire show, including the ground show and air demonstration, lasts about 75 minutes. The season typically starts in March and ends in November, with the winter months used to train new members. Officers serve a two-year assignment with the squadron, while enlisted personnel serve three to four.

The squadron performs no more than 80 air demonstrations each year and has never canceled a demonstration due to maintenance difficulty. More than 280 million people in all 50 states and 57 foreign countries have seen the red, white and blue Thunderbirds jets in more than 3,500 aerial demonstrations.

Matt Younkin

The Beech 18 Matt performs (serial number 4383) in was built in 1943 by the Beechcraft Corporation at Wichita, KS. Designated an AT-7C, the airplane was bought new by the United States Army Air Corps and spent the duration of the war as a navigation trainer based at Houston’s Ellington Army Air Field. In 1945, the Army transferred ownership to the Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) which would later become the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Redesignated a C-18S and registered as N52, the airplane served with the CAA until 1949. The airplane was then reregistered as N59 and served as a VIP transport for the United States Department of Commerce until 1959. The airplane was then reregistered as N9109R and went through several owners including a drop zone and a university before being purchased by Bobby Younkin Airshows, Inc. in 2000. After a complete restoration, N9109R was pressed into airshow service as a replacement for N9729H, Bobby’s original aerobatic Beech 18. After Bobby’s untimely death in July of 2005, the Beech spent two years in retirement as a static display in Tullahoma, TN. Matt debuted his rendition of Bobby’s airshow routine in the famous Beech at Sun-n-Fun 2007. Matt debuted his original night show in the Beech at Sun-n-Fun 2008 and has been performing in the airplane ever since. The Beech 18 is the flagship of Matt’s airshow fleet. Matt considers this airplane the most special of the three that he performs in. Bobby first gained national notoriety in his airshow Beech in 1990 and continued performing aerobatics in Beeches for 15 years. Look for airshow appearances in the Beech 18 for many years to come.

Redline Air Shows

Redline is an exciting formation aerobatic flight team that thrills crowds with a display of skill, nerve, and showmanship.

About the Air Craft:
  • Redline aircraft are Van’s RV-8s. They are 2 seat, tandem aircraft. There are more than 8000 Van's series aircraft flying worldwide.
  • The RV-8 is an extremely versatile aircraft, capable of speeds up to 230 miles per hour and can land short as slow as 50 miles per hour enabling them to access almost any airport.
  • The Redline planes have a 200 hp engine, and are equipped with Hartzell Advanced Structural Composite propellers.
These Redline airplanes have been to the Dominican Republic, Acapulco Mexico, all the way to Alaska and just about everywhere in between

Mike Terfehr L-39

The Czechoslovakian L-39 Albatros was built starting in 1972 as the successor to their earlier trainer, the L-29 Delfin. The idea of the design was to marry an efficient, powerful turbofan engine to a sleek, streamlined fuselage, resulting in a strong, economical performer which would become the next standard jet trainer for the Warsaw Pact.

Mike Terfehr is a resident of Traverse City, MI. He spends much of his spare time doing aeronautical activities. He is the President of 45 North Aviation based in Traverse City, MI.

F 22 Raptor Demonstration Team

The Air Combat Command F-22 Demonstration Team at Langley Air Force Base performs precision aerial maneuvers to demonstrate the unique capabilities of the fifth-generation fighter aircraft. The team also teams up with Air Force Heritage flight exhibiting the professional qualities the Air Force develops in the people who fly, maintain and support these aircraft.

F18 Super Hornet Demonstration

Air shows are the best place to see a VFA-122 Super Hornet in action. The Tactical Demonstration, or "Tac Demo" team flies the single-seat F/A-18E and two-seat F/A-18F as close to the "edge of the envelope" as safety and prudence allow. The routine highlights the Rhino's maneuverability and slow-speed handling characteristics and has been very well received around the country.
In addition to high-performance demonstrations with a single aircraft, VFA-122 also participates in "Legacy" shows in which Super Hornets fly in formation with classic warbirds like the F-4U Corsair and F6F Hellcat. Legacy shows provide a unique comparison between where the past and present and provide some great photo opportunities.

AV-8B II+ Harrier Demonstration

The Great American Bulldogs of Marine Attack Squadron 223 are proud to showcase their AV-8B Harrier II+ with a unique V/STOL (Vertical/Short Takeoff and Landing) aerial performance. The Harrier is a premier ground attack jet currently in service with the Marine Corps and forward deployed around the world, both afloat and ashore. During this flight demonstration, the pilot will conduct high-speed passes at speeds exceeding 600 mph, followed by the aircraft decelerating into a steady hover. From the hover, the pilot will continue to demonstrate the unique handling of the Harrier as
the Rolls Royce Pegasus engine produces a fountain of jet exhaust from which the aircraft will hover atop. This will be an excellent photo opportunity to capture one of the world's more unique military jets.

US Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City

Thank you to our Air Show Sponsors!

Northern Michigan Toyota Dealers
Blarney Castle Oil
Cherry Capital Airport
NMC Aviation Division
AV Flight
Sam's Club
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