On Saturday, July 4 and Sunday, July 5 at 1:30 pm the National Cherry Festival presents the 2015 Airshow with the US Air Force Thunderbirds and many other thrilling air demonstrations in Traverse City over Grand Traverse Bay!  Commentary is aired on WTCM 580 AM.

U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds

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 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. 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.

Airshow Flight Deck at The Open Space – Saturday July 4, 2015 @ 1:15PM

Open Space Park North Traverse City, MI

This year the National Cherry Festival ‘Flight Deck’ will give festival goers wings! Those visiting Traverse City’s Open Space ‘Flight Deck’ will enjoy boneless chicken wings or mini corn dogs from Buffalo Wild Wings Restaurant and a sampling of Sweet Potato Chips from Bagger Dave’s – Burger Tavern.  Tickets are available on the National Cherry Festival website. Kids are $15, Adults are $30

U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City Rescue Demo & Open Ramp Event

Local heroes, US Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City will perform a rescue demonstration on Grand Traverse Bay. When one is in distress on the water, the US Coast Guard is a welcome sight in the sky. Since 1995, Air Station Traverse City has controlled and manned air facilities throughout southern Lake Michigan, keeping all of Lake Michigan and a greater part of Lake Superior and Lake Huron safer.

National Cherry Festival 2015 Airshow “Open Ramp” Hosted by the US Coast Guard

U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City is once again hosting the National Cherry Festival Airshow aerial demonstration teams, including the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, John Klatt Airshows, Kevin Copeland, and others, at an Open Ramp Event, Friday July 3rd from 4:30-7:00 pm. The public is invited to come out and meet members of our local Coast Guard, ‘Piper’ the Cherry Capital Airport Wildlife K9, and the other featured aerial demonstration teams participating in this year’s National Cherry Festival Airshow.

Parking is available near the base of the control tower thanks to our friends at Cherry Capital Airport Operations, but still expect traffic along all entry points to the north side of the airport and limited parking. Carpooling and biking are recommended. Admission is free and the event is open to the public and handicapped accessible. Increased security measures will be in place. U.S. photo IDs will be required for admittance, and people, vehicles and bags will be subject to search. See our “official” press release, or visit US Coast Guard Air Station Facebook page for more information.

John Klatt Air Shows

Lt. Col. John Klatt is one of the top aerobatic performance pilots in America.  He has thrilled millions of airshow spectators for the past decade, with his own unique blend of precision, power and performance.  He has served in the Air National Guard for more than 20 years – flying combat, air support and humanitarian missions throughout the world in the F-16 “Fighting Falcon” and the C-130 “Hercules” aircraft.

Kevin Copeland

KC Aerosports, LLC is based in the Traverse City, MI area, operated by Kevin Copeland, that offers upset maneuver recovery training, spin training, scenic air tours, basic and precision aerobatic lessons for pilots, and adrenaline pumping aerobatic thrill rides for non-pilots all flown over the beautiful Grand Traverse Bay area.

The Vanguard Squadron

The Vanguard Squadron flies a dazzling four ship formation aerobatic airshow powered by ethanol, a renewable fuel. The Vanguard Squadron has been ethanol powered since the team began flying together in 1993. Ethanol adds power and performance to the Squadron’s aircraft without any major engine modifications and the team has more than 3,000 flight hours.

Dave Dacy Air Shows

Pilot Dave Dacy will fly his Boeing Stearman Model 75 over West Grand Traverse Bay while his wing walking co-performer Tony Kazian will wow spectators as he walks carefully yet boldly on the wings of the vintage Stearman. With no parachute, no ropes and no cables, Tony’s freestyle performance on and about the wings of Dave Dacy’s Super Stearman is awe-inspiring and is guaranteed to capture the attention of all!

The Boeing Stearman, Model 75, produced by the Lloyd Stearman Company (a Kansas based subsidiary of Boeing) was used as a training aircraft during World War II. Following the war many of the Stearman Aircraft were used as crop dusters.

Chuck Coleman

Chuck Coleman is an airshow performer and a certified flight instructor with over 35000 hours in the Extra 300 aircraft series.  He has performed in hundreds of airshows and has given 2500+ rides in airshow aircraft. Chuck has been deployed around the world in aircraft such as the Burt Rutan Proteus used for specific research. Chuck has an Aerospace/Mechanical Degree from the University of Michigan. Chuck has built and restored multiple aircraft as well as provided maintenance and test pilot support to the aviation community.

Other National Cherry Festival 2015 Airshow News & Noise

From the U.S. Coast Guard Facebook pages, we have the following information about aircraft arrivals, practices and best viewing areas:
The Sound of Freedom (aka: jet noise): Expect aircraft noise to ramp up around the city beginning on Thursday (July 2nd) afternoon, tentatively around the 3-4 pm, as the full Thunderbirds team arrives from Las Vegas and perform their non-aerobatic survey flights over the airshow box and run-ins around the city. These flights are vital for aircrew and spectator safety, as it allows the team to gather ground checkpoints and test timing. Again, these are non-aerobatic maneuvers, but it will be loud. A single Thunderbirds F-16 is slated for arrival Wednesday evening to prep for the full team’s arrival.

In addition we are expecting the Thunderbirds logistics aircraft (a large military transport, C-17A Globemaster) and a F/A-18 Hornet to arrive Thursday afternoon/evening.

Practice Airshow: Airshow performers will practice routines, verify checkpoints, and adjust timing to their performances on Friday afternoon around 1:30 pm. Keep in mind that this performance is not the polished version you will see on Saturday and Sunday and is used to practice, polish, and repeat maneuvers in prep for the weekend’s shows. For pilots and boaters, the airspace and surface security areas will be active so please plan accordingly.

Airport Viewing: The best spot on Cherry Capital Airport property for viewing aircraft arrivals and departures throughout the week is the Boon Street viewing area. Located at the intersection of both runways, the “official” viewing area has plenty of parking and a local remote transmitter that allows you to dial up 1610 AM in your vehicle to listen LIVE to Air Traffic Control communications at the airport. If you choose to view elsewhere around the airport, please be mindful of the no parking signs, and stay off the grass for our friends at Airport Operations. These areas will be enforced throughout the week. Park and view friendly!