Alasdair Goes to Battle Creek

My friend Janice lives in Ann Arbor (Go Blue!) which is about an hour away from Battle Creek. There they have an annual balloon festival which usually also features an air show of some kind. This year they had the
Snowbirds and USAF Thunderbirds as their main attractions, and I thought it made for an excellent excuse for a road trip. Also, those same two teams were supposed to perform at the National Capital Air Show, but didn't because the whole thing was a wet soggy mess.

[ The Thunderbirds ]

Here we have the Thunderbirds aircraft all lined up. They use six F-16 jets in their show. One neat detail which I would zoom in on for you if I wasn't too lazy, is the blackened tip of the middle jet's tail. It gets that way from sticking up directly into the exhaust trail of the lead jet right in front of it in formation. That's some seriously close flying.

[ The Snowbirds ]

The Snowbirds fly nine small, underpowered Tutor jets in their show, and bring a few extras along as well (there is usually yet another marked up as Snowbird 12) because unlike all the American teams, the Snowbirds don't get a support aircraft to haul all their personnel and gear around. They take only what they can pack into their Tutor jets.

[ Snowbirds in the air ]

Here we see some nice formation flying from the Snowbirds. The truck at the bottom looks like a Purolator van but was in fact a SWAT team van. (There's an armoured car right next to it.) Police were very evident at the air show but security wasn't that tight -- we were not at all searched on the way in the gate, even though we had a backpack and a suspicious electronic device (a scanner, for listening to the teams' radios).

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