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Helmut Schmidt, Published December 20 2012

Blue Angels to highlight Fargo AirSho Aug. 10-11

By Helmut Schmidt

hschmidt@forumcomm.com

FARGO – The Blue Angels, the U.S. Navy’s precision flying team, will headline the 2013 Fargo AirSho, planned Aug. 10-11 at Hector International Airport.

In conjunction with the air show, the Fargo Air Museum plans to open its Beck-Odegaard wing, a 40,000-square-foot addition housing more aircraft and restoration space.

The announcements were made Thursday at the air museum.

The air show is a sought-after gig by pilots from around the nation, said AirSho chairmen Dick Walstad, Mike Haugen and Darrol Schroeder.

“A lot of them are finding us,” Walstad said. “Flying time for the show is maxed out.”

Other 2013 AirSho aerobatic acts include:

• Jim “Fang” Maroney, of Casselton, flying a Super Chipmunk.

• Kyle Franklin, flying an experimental high-powered biplane.

• Skip Stewart and his modified Pitts S-2S biplane.

• Kent Pietsch, of Minot, flying a comedic aerial routine in his 800-pound Interstate Cadet.

• John Klatt, of Duluth, Minn., flying a Staudacher S-300D sponsored by the Air National Guard.

Other attractions include:

• A U.S. military Special Forces jump team, including members from the Army, Air Force and Navy SEALS.

• Paul Stender and his jet-powered 300 mph school bus. Stender will also bring his jet-powered outhouse.

• Many military static displays.

The Commemorative Air Force is bringing the restored WWII B-17 bomber “Sentimental Journey” to Fargo a week before the AirSho. Rides will be available for a fee.

AirSho tickets will be $20 in advance and $25 at the door.

“We should have a terrific show,” Haugen said.

The Blue Angels named the Fargo AirSho the “Show of the Year” in 2009, Haugen said. In 2011, the show earned a Navy Centennial Flight Best Event Award.

Organizers are planning for 30,000 people to attend the event.

The air museum addition has been named after two pillars of modern North Dakota aviation.

Gerald Beck, of Wahpeton, restored several World War II warbirds, including a Japanese Zero, a U.S. Navy TBM torpedo bomber and Corsair fighter plane, and a P-51A fighter.

He died when his P-51 crashed in 2007 at an airshow in Oshkosh, Wis.

Bob Odegaard, of Kindred, was also an aircraft restoration expert and a popular and highly respected air show performer.

Odegaard died in September when his WWII-era Super Corsair crashed as he was practicing for an airshow in Valley City.

“They were legendary, they were visionary,” air museum Executive Director Fran Brummund said.

The Beck-Odegaard wing will cost at least $750,000 to complete. It will be the second of three planned phases for the air museum, Brummund said.

Schroeder said the new wing will be the same shape as the current building, with lots of natural light.


Readers can reach Forum reporter Helmut Schmidt at (701) 241-5583