Aerobatic Teams Fill the Skies at OCIA Open House & Air Show

Special flyover to honor L. Brooks Patterson

The Oakland County International Airport (OCIA) Open House & Air Show returns Aug. 11. All photos are courtesy of Oakland County

The Phillips 66 Aerostars will once again tear into the skies at 250 mph over the Oakland County International Airport (OCIA) Open House & Air Show in four Extra 300L aerobatic planes. They will join other aerial performers at the Sunday, Aug. 11, event as OCIA celebrates its 90th birthday. OCIA is the first airport in U.S. history to be registered by the federal government. Admission is free, thanks to the generosity of Vibe Credit Union, the presenting sponsor. There is a $5 parking fee per vehicle.

As part of the event, a missing man formation flyover will be held to honor L. Brooks Patterson, the longtime county executive who died at age 80 Aug. 3 after a battle with pancreatic cancer.

Other aerial performers include:

  • Bill Stein in his Edge 540, which has a spectacular new look using a paint that continuously changes color based on the constantly varying angles between the spectators and airplane.
  • Kyle Franklin’s Demon Biplane called “Dracula” with its tapering fuselage, speed ring cowling and sloped windshield hearkening back to the racing airplanes of the 1930s. The airbrushed blood in the paint comes straight from the opening scene of a horror movie.
  • The Warbird Heritage Foundation’s P51-D Mustang, “Moonbeam McSwine,” an American long-range single-seat World War II fighter aircraf painted in the markings of Capt. William T. Whisner’s “Moonbeam McSwine.” Capt. Whisner, a triple ace during World War II, belonged to the 487th Fighter Squadron, 352nd Fighter Group based in Bodney, England.
  • The Warbird Heritage Foundation’s Douglas AD-1 Skyraider – Warbird Heritage Foundation, a U.S. single-seat attack bomber of the late 1940s, 1950s, 1960s and early 1970s. It was the backbone of U.S. Navy and Marine Corps strike aircraft sorties in the Korean War. Its weapons load and 10-hour flying time far surpassed the jets that were available at the time.

The air show begins at 2 p.m.

Enthusiasts will encounter World War II bombers on the airport terminal’s ramp area, thanks to ramp sponsor Suburban Ford of Waterford: A B-25 Bomber named “Georgie’s Gal” from the Liberty Aviation Museum of Port Clinton, Ohio, and another B-25 Bomber called the “Yankee Warrior” from the Yankee Air Museum in Belleville. In addition, warbirds such as a Lake Erie Warbirds TBM Avenger, a T-6 Texan and the Tuskegee Motor Gliders will be on display alongside World War II military vehicles.

“There’s something magical about warbirds that captures the imagination,” said J. David VanderVeen, Oakland County’s director of central services who oversees the airport. “The hum of the piston engines and sleek look of the fuselages of vintage World War II aircraft fills your senses.”

Other aircraft on display will include the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office helicopter and hovercraft, the University of Michigan Survival Flight helicopter, Waldo Wright’s Boeing Stearman PT-17/N2S-3 biplane, radio-controlled airplanes, a Boeing 737 cargo jet and a PZL 104 Wilga, a Polish short takeoff and landing civil aviation utility aircraft.

Those who want to take to the sky will be able to purchase 10-minute airplane and helicopter rides for $35 per person. All rides are first come, first served. They begin at 10 a.m. and run until about 1:45 p.m.

Visitors will be able to tour the nation’s first LEED-Gold certified general aviation terminal. There will be a visual history of OCIA on display as part of its 90th anniversary celebration, Michigan Mason’s Child Identification Program, the St. Joseph Mercy Oakland Wellness Clinic and the Lions Club Children’s Vision Testing program. On the ramp area will be a kid’s bounce house and rock wall from Oakland County Parks & Recreation. The OCIA Open House & Air Show Committee thanks sponsors LL Johns & Associates, St. Joseph Mercy Oakland and Oakland Air for making these events possible.

OCIA’s 34th annual open house hours will be from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. For more information, go to and click on the OCIA Open House & Air Show banner. Look it up on Facebook at @OakGovAirport. The airport is located at 6500 Patterson Parkway in Waterford. To learn more about the presenting sponsor, go to Vibe Credit Union  or #VibeCreditUnion.

“It takes a whole team of dedicated individuals to put this event on every year,” said Louis Martin, chair of the OCIA Open House & Air Show Committee. “This event, however, would never get off the ground without our sponsors. We’d like to acknowledge they are the reason over 20,000 people don’t pay admission that day.”

For more information, contact Bill Mullan, Oakland County media and communications officer, at 248-858-1048.