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Thunder Over Michigan - B-17 Formation Flight (Part 2)

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Uploaded on May 25, 2011

The second part of my HD film showing the gathering of B-17 Flying Fortresses at Willow Run, Detroit, Michigan in August 2011.

I was fortunate enough to participate in the largest gathering/formation of B-17 Flying Fortresses in private ownership to fly together probably since WWII. In August last year the Yankee Air Museum based at Detroit, Michigan, hosted their annual 'Thunder Over Michigan' airshow. The theme of the event was 75 years of Boeing's legendary Flying Fortress with eight operational B-17's and one B-24 Liberator in attendance. All the USAAF Heavy Bombers were painted as Eighth Air Force machines and when they all flew in loose formation towards the crowd, it was the nearest thing to watching a Squadron of US heavy bombers returning to their East Anglian airfield in England in the summer of 1944 as one could imagine.

I shot all the HD film on my Panasonic Lumix GH1 under somewhat trying conditions - The air was very lumpy and bumpy at low altitude, we were flying in tight formation doing many repeating circular banking maneuvers for the camera ships to get the best shots and It was over 90 degree's onboard the aircraft! I was also dressed exactly at the combat flyers of WWII would have been in full flying clothing, parachute harness, parachute, mae west life jacket, fleece-lined boots and leather jacket. I wanted the experience to be as close to the real thing (in practical terms) as it possibly could be, having travelled across from Suffolk England especially to participate in the experience - It certainly did not disappoint.

The film is split into two sections so that YouTube could accommodate the edited film in its entirety. All the contemporary photographs used in the film are from my own collection of WWII material and images and although many are in the public domain, many have been donated to me by the Eighth Air Force Veterans who flew aboard these aircraft in WWII.

No part of this film may be reproduced, copied of shown publicly without my prior consent.

Clive D Stevens, Suffolk, England

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