An F-15 jet fighter made a smooth trip from Minot Air Force Base to the Dakota Territory Air Museum in Minot this morning not flying but being towed over the roads.
Kevin Huwe, owner of Huwe The House Mover in Minot and others from that business towed the aircraft with one of their trucks. Members of the 5th Maintenance Group at the Minot base helped with the operation.
Huwe said they haul all kinds of things but this was the first time he'd done anything like this to move a plane. They traveled at about 15 mph when towing the plane, Huwe said.
A truck from Huwe The House Mover towing the F-15 is at the intersection of U.S. Highway 83 and County Road 10A, north of Minot, Saturday morning and on its way to the Dakota Territory Air Museum in Minot.
Some years ago another plane was towed to the air museum by the Air Force.
The entire operation to tow the F-15 took about an hour and a half over county roads west and east of U.S. Highway 83, including through Ruthville, then on a short stretch of U.S. Highway 83 on the north side of Minot before reaching the air museum and the end of the plane's journey to the city. At the air museum grounds, the plane was moved into a hangar.
Those who did the move were quite obviously elated with the operation and how smoothly everything went.
Last month, volunteers from 5th Maintenance Group and members of the 120th Fighter Wing, a Montana Air National Guard unit at Great Falls, Mont., did the demilitarization of the plane, said Darrel Kerzmann, an air museum board member who also is a civilian employee with the 5th Maintenance Group. He said the Montana group, with F-15 equipment, spent two days at the base working on the demilitarization. Kerzmann spearheaded the project to bring the plane to the air museum.
The plane has been at Minot AFB for some time. Through an agreement with the base's 5th Bomb Wing leadership, the National Museum of the Air Force at Wright-Patterson AFB, near Dayton, Ohio, and the Minot air museum, the plane now is in Minot where it will be part of a display of planes that the 5th Fighter Interceptor Squadron flew. The plane is on loan from the Air Force museum.
"It's another step toward recognizing 5th Fighter," said Don Larson, president of the air museum board.
Currently, the plane has Florida Air National Guard 125th Fighter Wing insignia, but will be repainted.
The 5th Fighter Interceptor Squadron, also known as the Spittin' Kittens, was a unit at Minot AFB for nearly 30 years, from early 1960 until the unit was deactivated in early 1988. The air museum already has a T-33 trainer. Air museum officials are waiting to receive an F-106 Delta Dart from Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz.. The F-106 is a plane the 5th Fighter flew before the F-15.