Zenfolio | Craig Maas | 1989 GFAFB Snowbirds

1989 GFAFB Snowbirds

November 21, 2013  •  Leave a Comment

Saturday, May 27, 1987

Friends And Neighbors Day, at the Grand Forks AFB

The weather is clear, warm and sunny but with a 40 mph wind.  Although I didn't seem them, about 20 protesters greeted visitors to the base with signs reading "Stop the Arms Race," and "U.S. Air Force: Good People, Bad Product."

My friend, Bob Nelson, and I aren't expecting much more than last year's displays. There are a few new inclusions: an A-7 from the SDANG, TR-1A (U-2S), a B-52H from the Minot AFB, a P-3C Orion, FB-111, and it's cousin the EF-111. A UH-1 Iroquois (Huey) helicopter demonstrates over the Canadian CT-114s. At 1:45 pm we find a spot on the edge of the flight line, the Snowbirds take off. They disappear for 15 minutes. They have nine aircraft; flying routines all over the field like a swarm of bees. Their fly bys were close.

After the show, the security guy opened up the B-52H. We were first in line but the line moved and we were in the back of the line. I tried to compose shots, without people walking in my frame. I went around the B-52H photographed the bomb bay. The B-1B took off 15 minutes early. The KC-135R 'Stratotanker' flew by. The B-1B 'Lancer' followed pulling a tight turn right over the field. It scared all the kids. It was louder than my Stratocaster, even louder than the Who! The ground shook under the four afterburners. Everyone plug their ears. The kids were rolling on the ground in terror. The B-1B swung north and disappeared. Bob and I knew they'd be back for a bomb run. The B-1B came screaming in from the North. I didn't see the bomb blast until it was too late. Bob looked at me, I looked at him, shook our heads, like last year we missed it again!

At 4:00 the Montana ANG F-16 Falcon was still crowded. I checked out GE's CFM jet engine display, this engine has greatly improved the performance of the KC-135R.

B-52H 'Stratofortress' from the Minot AFB, 5th Bomb Wing.B-52H 'Stratofortress'The Minot Air Force Base put one of their B-52H 'Stratofortress' on display at the Grand Forks Air Force Base (GFAFB) 'Friends And Neighbors Day' on May 27th 1989. The 5th Bomb Wing is a United States Air Force unit assigned to Air Force Global Strike Command's Eighth Air Force. It is stationed at Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota. The 5th BW is one of only two B-52H Stratofortress wings in the USAF. In September 1991, the wing pulled its aircraft from continuous alert status - a job it performed for 35 years. The 5th Wing became the 5th Bomb Wing following the activation of Air Combat Command.


See the full Gallery or the Gallery slideshow for more photos from the air show: 78 total including my detailed photo/airplane descriptions. All the Black & White photos are © Bob Nelson as are some color slides, many thanks.


Photo descriptions come primarily from many sources including Wikipedia: B-1B (Wiki), B-52H (Wiki) (5th BW) (M61), CT-114 (Wiki) (Flying) (Antaya RIP) (CanandianWings.com) (s/n), C-130 (Wiki), EF-111A (Wiki), F-111 (Wiki), F-16A (f-16.net) (MT ANG), KC-10 (Wiki), KC-135 (Wiki) (CFM56), OA-4M (Wiki) (a4skyhawk.org), TR-1A (Wiki) (17th TW)

I have scanned and made available additional GFAFB Information from the Grand Forks Herald, which I used to refresh my memory and fill in some gaps to my journal.

Aircraft On Display

Note: colored links in the ID column lead to photos of the aircraft in the Gallery. Aircraft without links are often visible in the photos of the aircraft surrounding them.

ID Manufacturer Name Unit U-Name S/N Notes
A-7 LTV Corsair II SDANG      
B-1B Rockwell Lancer GFAFB Bone 6113 3:20 PM fly by
B-52H Boeing Stratofortress 5th Bombardment Wing, Minot AFB The Baron 10008 Charon
C-5A Lockheed Galaxy Travis AFB 60th MAW 90024 22nd Airlift Squadron or 75th
C-130 Lockheed Hercules        
C-141 Lockheed Starlifter       ? was it here
CT-114 Canadair Tutor 431 Air Demonstration Squadron Snowbirds   2:00 show, 9-planes
F-4E McDonnell Douglas Phantom II NDANG Happy Hooligans   12:15 PM fly by
F-16A General Dynamics Falcon Montana ANG Big Sky Country 80565  
EB-111A General Dynamics Raven        
F-111 General Dynamics Aardvard        
KC-10 McDonnell-Douglas Extender     0188  
KC-135R Boeing Stratotanker GFAFB 319th Bombardment Wing   3:15 PM fly-by 37576?
OA-4M Douglas Skyhawk Marines DA 153507 Major G.M. Dellemat?
P-3C Lockheed Orion       ? was it here
T-38 Northrop Talon GFAFB Pilot Trainer   12:30 PM fly by
TR-1A Lockheed Dragon Lady 17RW   80-01082 Bulldog logo 000026
UH-1 Bell Huey       1:15 PM fly by
AH-1 Bell Huey Cobra       ? was it here


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