An Iowa Army National Guard CH-47 helicopter flew to Sioux City this week to pick up a Korean War-era F-80 fighter jet from the Air National Guard paint facility.
After being painted, the F-80 Shooting Star was returned to the state headquarters via sling-load and placed back on static display.
The entire journey took about an hour, according to the Iowa National Guard, and the CH-47 carried the aircraft at about 100 mph while traveling about 2,100 feet off the ground.
B-roll video shows an Iowa Army National Guard CH-47 helicopter picking up a historic F-80 fighter jet at the Air National Guard paint facility in Sioux City.
After being painted, the F-80 Shooting Star is returned to the state headquarters via sling-load where the aircraft will be placed back on static display.
The U.S. Army CH-47 Chinook helicopters from the Iowa National Guard’s B/171st Aviation Regiment based in Davenport brought the jet back to Camp Camp Dodge.
The Korean War era jet has markings the 174th Fighter Intercepter Squadron was the predecessor to the Iowa Air National Guard’s 185th Air Refueling Wing in Sioux City.
The Air Force requires that static display aircraft like the freshly painted F-80 be kept in good repair. With the new paint, the aircraft should be in good shape for years to come.
The U.S. Air Force first debuted the F-80 fighter jet − the first jet ever flown by the U.S. Air Force − near the end of the Second World War. However, the model didn’t see combat until the Korean War, where it was used by the U.S. to conduct bombings in support of ground troop operations, according to the Iowa Gold Star Military Museum Curator Michael Vogt.
The deployment of jets over the less efficient and less powerful piston engine and propeller aircraft marked a major milestone for the U.S. Air Force’s capabilities, according to Vogt.
“The advantage of jet aircraft is that you don’t have torque and they are easier to control when you take them off,” Vogt said. “Another thing about jet aircraft is they can climb to higher altitudes than a piston engine aircraft.”
The F-80 marked many more firsts for U.S. military capabilities. It was the first of the Air Force’s aircraft to exceed 500 miles of a straight-and-level flight, according to Vogt, and it also led the U.S. to the first jet versus jet victory, which occurred during the Korean War on Nov. 8, 1951, when an Air Force lieutenant flying the F-80 shot down a Russian-built MiG-15, the Soviet Union’s first deployed jet.