1997 Fargo AirSho, Blue Angels

July 12, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

Fargo Airsho: Thursday-Sunday, July 03–06, 1997

The 1997 Fargo AirSho was also a celebration of the North Dakota Air National Guard’s 50th Anniversary. The show headliner was the US Navy Blue Angels, but the NDANG also performed a four-flight demonstration. To honor their current and past members they flew a couple passes over Hector Field in their current F–16A ‘Falcons’ and original F–51D ‘Mustang’. I believe Robert Odergaard flew the Mustang. My co-pilot, Bob Nelson was content to photograph the performances this weekend. I was looking to do something different. Learning from my mistakes recording the 1996 GFAFB airshow, I would videotape this show with mixed results.

The USN Blue Angels arrived in Fargo and although it was raining they practiced that afternoon. I stood under the eaves and watch them fly overhead. They scared the neighbor’s dogs.

I watched the Blue Angels practice while I mowed the backyard and trimmed our apple tree. The foliage was in the way but I captured a couple photographs.

I borrowed my bother-in-law’s camcorder. Once at the show, I couldn’t find Bob on the flight-line. While walking back and forth, I documented aircraft data with the camcorder. The NDANG “Happy Hooligans” launched four F–16A ‘Falcons’. The sky turned cloudy, the wind picked up, and it started to sprinkle. I shot some film, but was most comfortable running the camcorder. Rod Gier, the “Mad Bomber” set off his pyro as the Falcons flew past on a simulated bomb run. I rubbed my hands in the warmth of the blast.
I found Bob; then he went off to find lunch at Red Baron Pizza. I watched the Sierra Aces Acrobatic team through his 300 mm ƒ2.8 lens. Bob brought his Norman flash units. He photographed the PT–13D ‘Kaydet’ and F–51D ‘Mustang’ using colored gels. After the Blue Angels landed, we wandered around flight-line.

I returned to the airshow with Mom, Dad, Paul, Suzanne, and Sean. This would be Sean’s first airshow at age 6-months. I found a spot close to the center flight-line. [The lawn chair made the video steadier today.]
It only took two minutes to find Bob today.
I asked the F/A–18 pilot questions about his ‘Hornet’. (The F–14 pilot was busy.)
Wayne Handley and his Oracle “Raven” went into a long flat spin counting out the revolutions. (24)
The “Cool Cuts” performed in three Robinson 22 helicopters.
I recorded the Sierra Aces. Suzanne returned with a Red Baron Pizza. I had her deliver a slice to Bob.
Jim Franklin and his son Kyle were cooking in the Waco. The wing walking routine is just crazy.
“Fat Albert” went airborne via RATO. So cool to see the rockets throw that big aircraft into the sky.
The Blue Angels followed. Their routine was expanded because there are fewer clouds today.
I caught the surprise pass but forgot to tell mom there were two planes. Sean was scared and started crying his head off.

Sunday evening, Mom was in the backyard mowing, when the Blue Angels took off for their next show. July 12 in Pensacola Beach, Florida.

CN184.35Blue Angel PyroThe 'Mad Bomber' Rod Gier ignites his pyrotechnics behind the row of USN Blue Angel FA-18A fighters. Photo by Bob Nelson, on Sunday July 6, 1997 at the Fargo AirSho.


See the Full Gallery or the Gallery Slideshow for more photos from the Fargo Airsho: 98 in total with detailed photo/airplane descriptions. Bob Nelson’s photos (color print CN181–185) are ©1997, 2018, 2019; used with permission. My photos are color print film. ©1997, 2019.
Although the video clips were interesting, the quality wasn’t great. I posted Sunday’s Blue Angel performance as the best example. It was assembled in iMovie this year: 2019.

Each aircraft link goes to its first photo in the gallery. The numbered links go to addition aircraft information, usually Wikipedia.

Aircraft On Display

  • Static Displays
  • C–26B ‘Metro III’ built by Fairchild. NDANG “Happy Hooligans” Mission Support Aircraft. #00530. 1
  • C–130E ‘Hercules’ AFRC 934th AW “Flying Vikings” saf62–1835. Crew Chiefs: Msgt R Klick, Tsgt M. Olson. 1
  • CT–114 ‘Tutor’ Canadian jet trainer. 1
  • CM.170 ‘Magister’ jet french trainer. 1
  • F–4D ‘Phantom II’ NDANG “Happy Hooligans”. af64–0949 “Miss West Fargo” LTC Doug L. MacDonald, CPT Robert W. Triebold, CMS Dick McGuire. William Tell ’86. A museum piece. 1
  • F–14A ‘Tomcat’ #133 VF–101 “Grim Reapers” US Navy AD 160911. Amean Turner, Pryor, OK. 1
  • F–16A ‘Falcon’ NDANG “Happy Hooligans”. af82–983 (Guarding The Northland). 1
  • F/A–18 ‘Hornet’ US Navy VFA–203 “Blue Dolphins” USS John F. Kennedy. Cdr Smith “Fast” XO. (AF #302) 162841. 1
  • F–51 ‘Mustang’ NDANG “Happy Hooligans”. NG-NDAK 474404. Pilot: Maj. Donald C. Jones, C/C: MSG Thomas E. Cummings Jr. A flying museum piece flown today by Robert Odegaard (Kindred, ND) 1
  • F–89 ‘Scorpion’ fighter interceptor. U.S. Air Force 32604. NDANG “Happy Hooligans”. A museum piece. 1
  • F–94 ‘Starfire’ ANG 15606. A museum piece. 1
  • F–101 ‘Voodoo’ NDANG “Happy Hooligans” 0–53432. A museum piece. 1
  • F–102 ‘Delta Dagger’ NDANG “Happy Hooligans” 80341. A museum piece. 1
  • F–117A ‘Nightwalk’. 9th Fighter Squadron “The Flying Knights” 49th Fighter Wing, Holloman AFB. HO af83–807. Capt. Ken Duelle. Crew: Ssgt Stephen Zopp, Sra Chadd Holley, Amn Shane Gandy. 1
  • KC–135R ‘Stratotanker’ 319 ARW, Air Mobility Command (AMC). x1–0317. Crew Chief: Tsgt Kinney. 1
  • Lear Jet 35/36 Phoenix Air. N543PA. Capt. Tim Zelinski, F/O Tim Weaver.
  • PT–13D ‘Kaydet’ Boeing-Steerman Model 75 trainer. N5057N, 75–8143, N2S–5. Warren Walkinshaw (Argusville, ND). 1, 2
  • TBM ‘Avenger’ torpedo bomber. CC #89. 1
  • T–6 ‘Texan’ trainer. DR #88. 1
  • UH–1 ‘Iroquois’ helicopter. “Huey” ND National Guard 0–16261. 1
  • Yak–52 School trainer. N96JK. 1
  • Aerial Performers
  • Robinson R22, helicopter Team: the “Cool Cuts”. 1
  • Wayne Handley and his “Raven”. 1
  • Waco flown by ‘Jimmy’ Franklin with his 17 year old son Kyle as wing-walker. 1
  • “Super Chipmunk” flown by Jim ‘Fang’ Maroney. 1
  • Skydive Fargo. 1
  • Pitts S–2S acrobatic Team: the “Sierra Aces”. 1
  • Mad Bomber Rod Gier brings his pyrotechnics and special effects: “Wall of Flame”. 1
  • Heritage F–16A ‘Falcon’ 82–929 with F–51 ‘Mustang’ NG-NDAK 474404 flown today by Robert Odegaard (Kindred, ND) 50th Anniversary of the NDANG “Happy Hooligans”.
  • Happy Hoolgans F–16A ‘Falcons’. 4-Flight: 82–783, 82–903, 82–919, 82–929. 1
  • Fat Albert TC–130G ‘Hercules’ performs a rocket-assisted takeoff (RATO). BuNo 151891. 1
  • Blue Angels FA–18A ‘Hornets’. 1
  • F–4J ‘Phantom II’ Blue Angels cockpit.
  • General Aviation
  • Beechcraft Super King Air 200 (twin-turboprop) N911ND, Meritcare “Lifeflight”. 1
  • Pilatus PC–12 (single-turboprop) N601BM. 1
  • Rockwell Aero ‘Renaissance’ Commander 840 Dash–10. 1
  • Pilatus PC–12 (single-turboprop) N600BM, Butler Machinery. 1
  • Cessna C182 ‘Skylane’ N9209H, Civil Air Patrol. 1
  • Piper PA–28 ‘Cherokee’ N118ND, UND. 1
  • Army Vehicles
  • 34–134 FSB
  • B–1307
  • M977 [HEMTT][hemtt] Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck. An 8-wheel dump truck truck with crane. 1
  • Semi-Truck Cab
  • Radio Truck
  • M–2 ‘Bradley’ Fighting Vehicle with 25mm Automatic Chain Gun. 1

1997 0705c23 F-89 ScorpionA Northrop F-89 'Scorpion' fighter interceptor on display by the NDANG "Happy Hooligans." They flew this jet from 1960-1966. (Paul Steffes) Photo by Craig on Saturday, July 5, 1997 at the Fargo AirSho.


  • C–26B ‘Metro III’ Built by Fairchild. Powerplant: two Garrett TPE331–12 Turboprop, 1100 hp. Max Speed: 300 mph. Range: approx 7 hours. Configuration: 18 seats/Cargo/Medivac/Survellance/Recon. Weight: Empty 10500 lbs, Gross 15500 lbs.
  • F–4D: A.F. Serial No. 64–0949. Service this aircraft with grade JP–4 Fuel. Identiplate Location Door 26.
  • F–14: Warning this aircraft contains a pyrotechnic actuated emergency escape system equipped with explosive charge. See Navair D1-F14AA–2–4–3
  • F–16A Missle: BAT6208
  • F–51 ‘Mustang’ Built by North American. Powerplant: Rolls Royce Merlin 61, 1510 hp.. Max Speed: 445 mph at 25000 feet. Combat Radius: 325 miles internal fuel, 750 miles with two 130 gallon tanks. Service Ceiling: 41900 feet. Weight: Empty 7125 lbs, Loaded 11600 lbs. 1947–1954.
  • F–94 ‘Starfire’ Built by Lockheed. Powerplant: Pratt & Whitney J–48. Max Speed: 585 mph. Combat Radius: 805 miles. Service Ceiling: 51400 feet. Weight: Empty 12700 lbs, Loaded 24200 lbs. 1954–1960.
  • F–89 ‘Scorpion’ Built by Northrop. Powerplant: Allison J–35. Max Speed: 627 mph. Combat Radius: 1600 miles. Service Ceiling: 45000 feet. Weight: Empty 25194 lbs, Loaded 47700 lbs. 1960–1966.
  • F–101 ‘Voodoo’ Built by McDonnell-Douglas. Powerplant: Pratt & Whitney J–57. Max Speed: 1134 mph. Combat Radius: 1520 miles. Service Ceiling: 54800 feet. Weight: Empty 28970 lbs, Loaded 52400 lbs. 1969–1977.
  • F–102 ‘Delta Dagger’ Built by Convair. Powerplant: Pratt & Whitney J–57. Max Speed: 825 mph. Combat Radius: 1000 miles. Service Ceiling: 54000 feet. Weight: Empty 19050 lbs, Loaded 31500 lbs. 1966–1979.


No comments posted.

All my aviation photos can be found in this gallery.
January February March April May June July (1) August September October November December
January February March April May June July August September October November December
January February March April May June July August September October November December
January February March April May June July (1) August September October November December
January February March April May June July (1) August September October November December
January February March April May June July August September October November December
January February March April May June July August September October November December
January February March April May June (1) July August September October November December
January February March April May June July August September October November December
January February March April May June July August September October November December