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John Lamb, Published August 22 2009

West Fargo pilot comes home for show

Saturday’s weather may not have been the typical warm summer day residents have been waiting for, but it was home-sweet-home for one member of the Fargo AirSho.

The partly cloudy skies and temperatures in the mid-70s made for ideal flying conditions, said Air Force Captain and flight instructor Erick Handegard.

The 31-year-old West Fargo native was happy for the mild weather, especially compared to his home at Columbus Air Force Base in Mississippi, where temperatures hover around a very humid 100 degrees, he said.

“It’s awesome to be back,” he said Saturday afternoon. “The air is a little cooler.”

He said the Mississippi weather helps gets trainees used to less than ideal conditions. He teaches students on a T-6 Texan, a compact 33-foot-by-33-foot $4.8 million plane before they try larger aircrafts.

Handegard grew up in West Fargo, where his parents, Kyle and Russell still live. His parents and grandmother came out to see the pilot and his plane, though he wasn’t doing any exhibition flying.

Judy Lee, senator from West Fargo’s District 13 and a friend of Handegard’s parents, also came over to say hello.

“I’m glad it’s so nice out,” she said.

With the captain’s tour coming to a close, he already knows his next assignment: He’ll move to Dyess Air Force Base in Abilene, Texas, and the much bigger B-1 bomber in the next few months.


Readers can reach Forum reporter John Lamb at (701) 241-5533