Detroit Willow Run Airport (IATA: YIP, ICAO: KYIP) is an airport located in Van Buren Charter Township and in Ypsilanti Township, near Ypsilanti, Michigan, that serves freight, corporate, and general aviation clients. No commercial passenger services are available at the airport.
Opened in 1942, Willow Run Airport was synonymous with the American industrial effort that contributed so much to the Allied victory in World War II. Operated by the Ford Motor Company, the Ford Willow Run manufacturing plant produced 8,685 B-24 Liberator heavy bombers upon its closure in April 1945, the largest number at any B-24 facility in the country. After the war, the airfield at Willow Run was converted into a passenger terminal. Commercial passenger traffic was moved from Detroit City Airport, making Willow Run Detroit's primary airport. In 1946 Warren Avis founded Avis Airlines Rent a Car Systems at Willow Run Airport. It was the first rental car operation at an airport location.
The federal government sold the airport to the University of Michigan in 1947 for $1.00. Terms of the sale required that the university operate the airport as a research facility, and the Michigan Aeronautical Research Center (later renamed Willow Run Research Center) was founded. For a time, the university housed part of its student population in the apartments previously used by plant workers. Many of the buildings at the airport were used by University of Michigan physicists and engineers engaged in research for national defense, including advanced remote sensing capabilities, at a facility which would become The Environmental Research Institute of Michigan (ERIM).
The bomber plant was sold to the Kaiser-Frazer automobile company which, combined with the Graham-Paige Motor Company, used it to produce 739,000 cars from 1947 through 1953. Kaiser-Fraser also built the C-119 Flying Boxcar at Willow Run under license from Fairchild Aircraft. An estimated 88 C-119s where built there between 1951 and 1953. Kaiser-Fraser also built C-123 Providers, the last aircraft built at Willow Run. When Kaiser-Frazier moved its manufacturing operations to Ohio and Argentina (in 1953), the General Motors Corporation bought the former bomber plant and began producing automobile transmissions there, under the division name of "Hydramatic." The entire facility was finally shut, and the few remaining personnel re-assigned, in 2010.
The airport has four runways (the fifth runway, 9R/27L, was recently closed and re-designated to taxiway H), a continuously staffed FAA control tower, and US Customs operations. Willow Run Airport is one of two facilities operated by Wayne County Airport Authority, the other being Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport, which replaced Willow Run as the major commercial airport for the region during the late 1950s and 1960s. Major worldwide cargo airlines Kalitta Air and National Airlines are based at Willow Run Airport. Today, the Yankee Air Museum has a large collection of vintage aircraft. Then, as now, this airport occupies a central role in U.S. aviation history.
One of the main cargo operators at Willow Run airport was Zantop International Airlines.
Zantop International Airlines, Inc., (IATA: VK, ICAO: ZAN, Call sign: Zantop) was incorporated in May, 1972 as a Michigan (USA) corporation, the stock of which was 100% owned by the Zantop family. The same persons had formerly operated Zantop Flying Service and Zantop Air Transport.
Zantop traces its origins to 1946 when the Zantop family set up Zantop Flying Service. In 1952 it was granted a license for commercial flying: The name was changed to Zantop Air Transport and the company operated as a freight airline for the auto industry. In 1962 Zantop took over Coastal Airlines and through the purchase acquired a license to carry passengers as well as freight.
Aircraft like the piston-engine Curtis C-46 Commando launched Zantop's fleet. Later, in the 1960s, the Dart Turboprop Powered Argosy and the DC-6 were added to the C-46 freighters, developing the original Zantop Airlines fleet under Duane Zantop.In 1967 the Zantop family sold the airline and it became Universal Airlines. This venture went bankrupt in 1972 and the Zantop family restarted operations under Zantop International Airlines, based at Willow Run Airport near Detroit. Zantop International Airlines had contracts with the United States Military, including domestic USAF Log Air and USN Quick Trans; there was another military contract that involved overseas flights, as well. ZIA had an oversized cargo hub at Ypsilanti, Michigan; it was fed by DC-8 jets, L-188C turboprops, Convair turboprops, and piston-engine DC-6 freighters. The YIP hub served major cities throughout America on a weeknight basis.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
|My Detroit Willow Run airport Aircraft Log (June 1994)|
|Convair 580||N51255 (383)||ERIM|
|Convair 580||N51211 (489)||ERIM|
|Douglas DC-9||N112PS||Kitty Hawk Cargo|
|Douglas C-54||N9013V (27352)||Lynch Air Cargo|
|Zantop – Kalita ramp:|
|Lockheed L188C||N282F (1084)|
|Lockheed L188C||N284F (1104)|
|Lockheed L188C||N341HA (1035)|
|Lockheed L188C||N340HA (1109)|
|Lockheed L188C||N346HA (1043)|
|Lockheed L188C||N286F (1146)|
|Lockheed L188C||N281F (1072)|
|Lockheed L188C||N5522 (1033)|
|Lockheed L188C||N287F (1048)|
|Lockheed L188C||N285F (1107)|
|Lockheed L188C||N5510L (1014)|
|Lockheed L188C||N5512 (1017)|
|Lockheed L188C||N290F (1133)|
|Convair 640||N640R (332)|
|Convair 640||N7529U (58)|
|Convair 640||N5511K (171)|
|Convair 640||N5510K (76)|
|Convair 640||N5512K (134)|
|Convair 640||N5509K (66)|
|Convair 640||N5515K (133)|
|Convair 640||N73137 (88)|
|Convair 640||N3420 (64)|
|Convair 640||N3410 (27)|
|Zantop – Kalita maintenance ramp/dump:|
|DC-8||N804CK||a/c under going painting|
|DC-8||N817E||fuselage + wings only|
|DC-8||N8487A||nose section cut off on the side|
|DC-8||……….. ex Maldives airlines|
|Beech 18 variants: N331FD, N900TH, N16TM & HB-GFT stored/dumped|
|Douglas DC-6||N616SE (44070)||all white|
|Douglas DC-6||N6586C (45222)||Trans Continental|
|Douglas DC-6||N615SE (43296)||Trans Continental|
|Douglas DC-6||N515TY (44175)||Trans Continental|
|Douglas DC-6||N111AP (45218)||Zantop|
|Convair 440||N94CF (394)||Trans Continental|
|Convair 440||N69CF||Trans Continental|
|Convair 440||N323CF (323)||Trans Continental|