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.