F-16 Fighting Falcon News

Hooligans set safety record for flying... once again

March 7, 2006 (by Lieven Dewitte) - Pilots for the North Dakota Air National Guard's 119th Fighter Wing in Fargo set a record of 70,000 hours of accident-free flying.

Lt Col Dana S, Mullenhour, assigned to the 178th FS, North Dakota ANG receives a water salute, as she taxies F-16A ADF #82-1006 onto the flight line at Fargo, ND, following a record setting mission. The Unit has surpassed the 60,000 accident-free flying hours mark in the aircraft overall, and has amassed over 132,400 hours without a Class A mishap, covering more than 30 years. [USAF photo by SMSgt David H. Lipp]

The record was established Monday during a practice air defense scramble mission from the state Guard Alert Detachment at Langley Air Force Base in Virginia.

No other Air National Guard F-16 Fighter squadron has flown more than 50,000 hours without a crash or serious accident, according to the release.

The Hooligans will be honored during a special celebration Saturday at the 119th Fighter Wing.

The Wing was awarded the General John J. Pesch Flight Safety Trophy in 2000, 2002, 2003 and 2004. Prior to flying the F-16, the 178th FS flew 51,609 hours with the F-4 and 20,000 with the F-101, all accident free.

The last time a North Dakota Air National Guard airplane was destroyed was in March 1973. when two F-101 fighters collided during a training flight. One plane returned to Fargo, while the second plane crashed near Fessenden. All four crew members survived.

Additional images:

An F-16 (#82-0967) takes off during a practice scramble at Langley Air Force Base, Va., Monday, March 6, 2006. The 119th Fighter Wing has marked 70,000 hours of accident-free flight. No other wing within the Air National Guard has flown this duration without a class A or B aircraft mishap. [U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Austin Knox]