This former military airfield at Ypsilanti, outside Detroit, Michigan became the hub of the automotive industry's airfreight network.
Each day tons of automotive spare parts, from large panels to small boxes, are distributed from the factories around Detroit.
I visited Willow Run in September 1979 when jet freighters were just beginning to replace the big fleets of prop transports

Sights and sounds to stir the heart of any propliner enthusiast - rows of prop freighters at Willow Run, waiting for their next load
of automotive spare parts to deliver to automotive dealers across the USA

Zantop International Airlines was the largest freight operator at Willow Run, with a fleet of fifty DC-6s, Electras and Convair 640s.
Their first jets, DC-8 freighters, were being introduced. N1281 was a DC-6A built in 1954 for Flying Tiger Line.

DC-6B N41840

DC-6B N3549H

DC-6B N4061K

Convair 640s were powered by RR Dart turbines with 4 blade propellers

Zantop's Convair 640 N5511K was originally a CV-340 with Ansett Airways in Australia as VH-BZE

N281F was one of 17 Electras in service with Zantop in 1979

Douglas DC-8-33 N713UA was among the first six jet freighters introduced by Zantop International

DC-8-33 N421AJ of Rosenbalm Aviation at Medford, Oregon - they also operated fire bombers

Another Electra operator was Fleming International Airways from Miami, Florida

Trans Continental Airlines was based at Willow Run with ten DC-6s.  N45001 was a USAF disposals C-118

Trans Continental Airlines DC-6B N6586C was in freight service while waiting for repaint into the new yellow & black scheme

Jet Way Inc at Willow Run was an executive jet operator which moved into the air freight business during 1979 with DC-6s.
Despite the attractive Jet Way paint scheme, their name had not yet been applied. N555JW was a DC-6A

Jet Way's N2904F was a USAF disposals C-118A from the Davis Monthan AFB storage grounds in Arizona

N666DG on the Jet Way line was still wearing its former USAF C-118A basic paint scheme

Emery Express Convair 580 N5829 Jane was originally Convair 340 VH-BZH with Ansett Airways in Australia

N9232R was one of Southern Air Transport's civilian L.382 Hercules operated world-wide from their base at Miami, Florida

Mannion Air Charter was based at Willow Run, flying freight contracts with DC-3s and Beech 18s

The Detroit Technical Institute of Aeronautics had a collection of instructional airframes at their training school on Willow Run Airport.
The massive Douglas C-124C Globemaster 52-0994 had been issued under a Government educational grant in 1973 and flown in
from storage at Davis Monthan AFB in Arizona, assigned a civil registration N86599

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