1989 ND Centennial Air Show

December 26, 2013  •  Leave a Comment

Saturday/Sunday, August 19 & 20, 1989

The 1989 Fargo Air Show was a North Dakota Centennial Air Show. One of two. The other being in Minot in July. This was going to be a big show. There were a lot of unique aircraft scheduled both in the air and on the ground. The Fargo Forum ran a number of articles about the 1989 Fargo Airsho and the 1989 North Dakota Centennial Aviation Celebrations. I was excited, as was my friend and fellow aviation enthusiast: Bob Nelson. It was a weekend show, with the USAF ‘Thunderbirds’ flying on Sunday. I had rented a 500mm CAT lens, and got the odd idea to get two rolls Infrared B&W film- I wanted to do something different.

Friday 8/18, Bob called me at work. He was watching aircraft arrive from the north end of the runaway I joined him after work. He let me use his Nikkormat, 180mm lens, 2X extender, and monopod. I was in time to photograph the Top Gun F–5E ‘Tiger II’ and A–4 ‘SkyhawkAggressors from the Miramar Naval Air Station. We also photographed the Georgia ANG F–15A ‘Eagle’ landing at 7:00. I went home. I should have attended Friday night’s banquet talk with General Chuck Yeager at Centennial Hall.

Saturday 8/19, I left early and picked up Bob. I used his bathroom to load the infrared (IR) film as it has to be loaded and unloaded in total darkness. There are many World War II era aircraft from the Confederate Air Force (CAF) ‘Ghost Squadron’ lined up on the south taxiway. The current Navy and Air Force aircraft are to the north. (see my crude map below)
I have to leave Bob and head home. I’m taking my parents to the airport, and I change IR film in the bathroom.
I got back in time to see the US Army Golden Knights parachute team jump. This was followed by aerial demonstrations by the CAF’s WW-II aircraft, Valley Skydivers and a Russian Mig 15 ‘Faggot’. During a lull in the aerial action I photograph the A–4 and F–5 from the Navy’s Top Gun School. Then the F–16B ‘Fighting Falcon’, RF–4C ‘Phantom II’, F–4D, F–4E, F/A–18A ‘Hornet’, F–111A ‘Aardvark’, and F–15A. I chat with the F–16B pilot from the Montana ANG. We watch Jim ‘Fang’ Maroney fly ‘Lil Toot’ in some aerobatic routines. Jim is followed by Bill ‘Burner’ Beardsley in the BD–5J ‘Bud Light Micro Jet’.
From the Grand Forks AFB, a KC–135R ‘Stratotanker’ flies by. It is joined by four F–4D of Fargo’s NDANG ‘Happy Hooligans’. The GFAFB also is home to the B–1B ‘Lancer’, which makes a couple passes. Another ‘Lancer’ is on display in front of the old Hector terminal building. It’s guarded by an armed airman. Bob and I call it: The Ring of Death. The MiG–15 flies. I yell at Bob, “He’s really tearing it up.” It was so loud, Bob can’t hear me. The South Dakota ANG fly a pair of A–7 ‘Corsair II‘s. Nine Golden Knights went up to jump again. They presented the mayor with a baton once they got their parachutes stowed. The announcer asks, "Will the owner of a 1971 Dodge Duster to please move your car or it will be towed." This announcement is repeated all day. When they announced the Duster belonged to Vince Linstrom I knew it was a joke. There is was- being towed by a UH–1 ’Huey’ helicopter. It was dropped in front of us. It landed with a strange thump.
The aerial demonstrations were over. No F–15 flight. I stop and chat to the Civil Air Patrol members in front of their Cessna. I stopped at Robert Odegaard’s Grumman TBM ‘Avenger’ torpedo bomber. It was painted in honor of the one President George H. Bush flew during World War II.

Sunday 8/20, Bob and I set up on the 12th Avenue bridge. We hope this will give us some interesting views of the aircraft as their fly overhead on their way to the Hector field. The wind is 15 mph and the clouds are low. The US Army Golden Knights cancel their morning jump. We see the USAF ‘Thunderbirds’ in the distance. I find the 500mm lens too long; too slow under these dark clouds. I borrow Bob’s 180mm lens again. The Thunderbird’s KC–141 ‘Starlifter’ support aircraft flies overhead. The CAF are out with their B–25 ‘Mitchell’, F–4U ‘Corsair’, and T–28C ‘Trojan’. We leave for lunch at Dairy Queen.

Bob finds an open spot on the fence line. We’re late so it’s far to the north of the center line, but we have good site lines. The Golden Knights were jumping. I left Bob to photograph the static displays with my 28mm wide angle lens. Some jets were crowded, some were not. I rejoin Bob as we wait for the USAF Thunderbirds’ to fly their F–16A ‘Fighting Falcons’. Once they do, it’s all very fast and exciting. I feel unprepared: the 500mm CAT lens is too long. I switch to my 135mm and infrared film. There isn’t time to switch to Bob’s 180mm lens. The T-birds do some maneuvers the Blue Angels don’t and vise versa, but the F–16 ‘Falcon’ is a better aircraft. The crowd begins to leave as the Falcons land, so I walk up the fence line for photos of the Thunderbirds’ as they taxi and park. I finish my slide film. I still have IF film. I wait for people to move away so I can photograph more jets. (27 years later, I’m amazed by all the aircraft I didn’t photograph.) Jet noise returns as aircraft preparing to leave the show (MiG–15 is the first.) I’m out of film and money. I borrow a dollar from Bob to make a donation. I don’t even have $2 for the 1989 Fargo Airsho Program (Google Docs, text only as the images didn’t transfer. I do have a PDF and HTML file with the imagines.)

A pair of 'Happy Hooligans' F-4D Phantom II'Happy Hooligans' F-4D Phantom IITwo NDANG F-4D 'Phantom II's flying in formation at the ND Centennial Air Show. Saturday 8/19/1989

Photographs

See the full Gallery or the Gallery slideshow for more photos from the air show: 210 total including detailed photo/airplane descriptions.

Bob Nelson's photos (Black & White with a 1142-1154 prefix) are copyright 1989/2015.
My photos have a date prefix; are a combination of Color Print, Color Slide, and B&W Infrared film. ©1989, 2015, 2016.

Notes

Photo descriptions come primarily from Wikipedia and Warbirds Registry . See below for additional links. I have access to additional historic information from 1989 Fargo Forum articles, and the 1989 Fargo Airsho Program.

Aircraft On Display

Note: colored links in the ID column lead to photos of the aircraft in the Gallery. There were lots of aircraft at the airshow that are not listed including quite a few experimental aircraft from the EAA. I’m also missing photos of some aircraft that are listed, but are behind other aircraft.

.ID Manufacturer Name Owner Unit S/N Tail Notes Links . . .
150 Cessna Commuter         N5799E [1]
65-B90 Beechcraft King Air Meritcare Jet Lifeflight     N33CS, Military T-44 [1] [2]
757 Boeing   NWA       Airliner, C-32A Military [1]
A-4 Douglas Skyhawk US Navy VFA-127 155000 NJ 702 Pilot Patch: 334th Fighter Squadron "The Eagles" [1] [2] [3]
A-7D Vought Corsair II SDANG 114 FW   Lobos SD 218 Sioux Falls, SD. Two [1] [2]
UH-1 Bell Iroquois ND Army Guard Huey     1971 Dodge Dart [1]
B-1B Rockwell Lancer GFAFB 319th BW     Grand Forks AFB, ND [1]
B-25J North American Mitchell Planes Of Fame East Mitch The Witch 44-86747   Robert Pond..N8163H [1] [2]
BD-5J Jim Bede   Bill 'Burner' Beardsley       Bud Light Micro Jet [1] [2]
C-141B Lockheed Starlifter USAF     Thunderbirds Nellis AFB, NV [1]
C-31A Fokker Troopship US Army Golden Knights   51607 US Army Parachute Team [1] [2]
C-40B Boeing Clipper USAF       Civilian 737-700C [1]
CT-114 Canadiar Tutor FIS Vikings 114102   Helmet: Viking 18 [1] [2]
D17S Beechcraft Staggerwing Arnie Widmer         [1]
DH-82C de Havilland Tiger Moth RCAF CF-COU   1122 The Red River Tiger Moth Group Ltd. [1] [2]
EA-6B Northrop Grumman Prowler US Navy VAQ-141 162938 AJ 620 In Air, Co. Cdr. Jack Skjoldanger, Lt. Sam Mills [1] [2] [3]
F-111A General Dynamics Aardvark USAF 366th TFW xx-070 MO Mountain Home AFB, ID [1]
F-15A McDonnell-Douglas Eagle Georgia ANG 116th FG 75-069   Robins AFB, GA [1] [2]
F-16A General Dynamics Falcon USAF 57th Wing   Thunderbirds Nellis AFB, NV [1] [2] [3]
F-16B General Dynamics Falcon Montana ANG 186th FS 81-819 Big Sky Country Great Falls, MT [1] [2] [3]
F-4D McDonnell Phantom II NDANG 119 FIS   Happy Hooligans 647 Four In Air: 40938, 40976, 40963, 67478 [1] [2]
F-4D-29MC McDonnell Phantom II NDANG 119 FIS 66-7498 Happy Hooligans Blue Centennial Paint Job 1889-1989 [1] [2] [3]
F-4E McDonnell Phantom II           [1]
F-5E Northrup Tiger II US Navy VFA-127 73-0879 NJ 722 NAS Lemoore, CA [1]
F-5E Northrup Tiger II US Navy VFA-127 74-1539 NJ 724 NAS Lemoore, CA [1]
F/A-18A McDonnell-Douglas Hornet US Navy NSAWC 762887 ? 51 NAS Fallon, NV [1] [2]
F6F-5 Grumman Hellcat Planes of Fame East   Bu.94473 36 Navy 58644, NX4964V [1] [2] [3]
FG-1D Vought F4U Corsair Planes of Fame East VF-53 Bu.92629 301 S Kermit M. LaQuey USMC, Lt. jg Mac McCullum USNR, USS Essex, NX62290 [1] [2]
JU-52 Junker Tante Ju Confederate Air Force CASA 352L T2B-176   Tri-motor, 3M G3E, N352JU [1] [2]
KC-10A McDonnell-Douglas Extender USAF 32nd ARS 70120   Barksdale AFB, LA [1]
KC-135R Boeing Stratotanker USAF th319 ARW 38005   Grand Forks AFB, ND [1] [2]
L-4 Piper Grasshopper US Army   x8608   Civilian J-3 [1]
Little Toot George Meyer Lil Toot Jim 'Fang' Maroney       N5211 [1] [2]
MiG-15 Mikoyan-Gurevich Fagot USSR   CN: 122073 15 N15PE [1] [2]
P-3 Lockheed Orion US Navy       In Air [1]
P-47D Republic Thunderbolt Planes Of Fame East PHV 228473   "Big Chief" NX47RP [1] [2]
PA-28 Piper Cherokee UND?         [1]
PT-13A Vultee Valiant           [1]
PT-17 Boeing-Stearman Kaydet         Two. Model 75 [1]
RF-4C McDonnell Phantom II Nebraska ANG 173rd TRS 65-840   Lincoln, NE [1] [2]
SNJ North American Texan US Navy         [1]
T-2 North American Buckeye US Navy VT-9 156725 354 S CN: 318-40 [1]
T-28C North American Trojan US Navy   Bu.146286 E 461 Greg Fieber N628C [1]
T-37 Cessna Tweet USAF   87932? 2 Dragonfly [1]
T-38A Northrop Talon USAF   62-3653     [1]
TA-4J Douglas Skyhawk US Navy CTW-2 CN: 13701 B 152 NAS Kingsville, FL [1] [2]
Yak-9 Yakovlev   USSR     27   [1]

McDonnell F–4 Phantom II

The history of the McDonnell F–4 ‘Phantom II’ is interesting. “The USAF received Phantoms as the result of Defense Secretary Robert McNamara’s push to create a unified fighter for all branches of the military.” (wiki) This was a bad idea. The F–4 was designed by the Navy for carrier use; a good platform for multiple types of missions, but as a pure fighter it left a lot to be desired. The US Navy had their own variants: the ‘B’, the ‘J’, the ‘N’, and the ‘S

It’s hard to tell the different versions apart. The nose is the best guide.

F–4C
The ‘C’ version was based off the Navy’s F–4B. It lacked any internal gun. This aircraft wasn’t good enough for the Air Force’s fighter requirements, so once the F–4D came online, the ’C’s were converted to RF–4C reconnaissance aircraft; with a stretched nose loaded with cameras rather than guns.
F–4D
The ‘D’ version featured an enhanced AN/APQ–109 radar with solid-state components in the low-voltage sections. The F–4D also featured up-rated electric power generators, new attack and navigation systems. The F–4D was wired for the SUU–23/A cannon pod, with a matching ASG–22 lead-computing gunsight fitted for aiming it. The AN/AAA–4 IRST (infrared sensor) fairing under the nose was deleted in most F–4D. However, late production F–4Ds kept the fairing for use with an AN/APR–25/26 radar warning receiver. This was the aircraft the North Dakota Air National Guard received in 1977 to replace their aging F–101 ‘Voodoo’ interceptors. The NDANG F–4D Phantoms carry the “Happy Hooligan” moniker on their tails.
F–4E
The ‘E’ version has a much longer nose to fit an internal M61A1 six barreled Vulcan cannon and a smaller solid-state AN/APQ–120 radar. Uprated J79-GE–17 engines, zero-zero ejection seat, fixed slat on the tail-plane, a 7th fuel cell, and manual folding wings. The F–4E was the primary USAF variant
F–4G ‘Wild Weasel V
The ‘G’ version was a post-Vietnam modification the ‘E’ replacing the cannon with an AN/APR–38 RHAWS, with 52 antennas littered over the fuselage. This radar could locate and identify radar emitters, target them for attack with ARMs, or cluster bombs and other munitions; including the Texas Instruments AGM–88 "High Speed Anti-Radiation Missile (HARM).

McDonnell F–4D ‘Phantom II painted dark blue as the North Dakota Centennial Aircraft.
A member of NDANG ground crew guy told us this aircraft had numerous stress cracks. While performing acrobatic maneuvers, it was pulling 8.5 Gs. Neither Bob nor I got any photographs of this aircraft performing, and now I question whether it flew on either day.

1989 Fargo Airsho Map1989 Fargo Airsho MapI drew this map to help locate the aircraft in my photographs. It's not to scale and there are errors. Also many aircraft were moved during the day(s) as they flew demonstration flights.


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