The Collings Foundation‘s North American F-100F Super Sabre, USAF #56-3844 (N26AZ) one of the only two flying examples of its kind in the world, the other being Dean Cutshall’s beautiful F-100F. She took to the skies again this past Sunday in the capable hands of  Vietnam War Flight Museum’s Curator and experienced warbird pilot Rick Sharpe. This was the first time the jet had flown since the end of 2019. 

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The F-100F is a two-seat model that saw service as a “Fast FAC” or Misty FAC (forward air controller). The F-100F would conduct dangerous low-level missions to spot targets for other fighter-bombers, reconnaissance, SAR (search and rescue), and was the first “Wild Weasel” SEAD (suppression of enemy air defenses) aircraft. The “Hun” logged over 360,000 combat sorties during the Vietnam War until operations ended in 1971.

F 100 Super Sabre Misty FAC
Misty FACs (forward air controllers) flew at low altitudes, spotting and marking enemy targets in heavily defended areas in Laos and North Vietnam. This all-volunteer group had a quarter of their number shot down during these extremely hazardous missions. Photo by USAF

On this latest flight, long-time Collings Foundation volunteer Christopher George was the crew chief and launcher. Volunteers who helped in all aspects of the day include, among others, Jordan King, Shannon Mathers, Barry Swann, Jim Firmin, and Allen Pierce. Sharpe flew several patterns with some momentary airborne afterburner activation. According to the team, the airplane performed well and didn’t present any major issues.

Contributor James Church was able to catch up with Rick Sharpe: “We brought the Hun over to the Vietnam War Flight Museum, with Collings’ blessing. We did the ADS-B install, and a complete inspection of it, and this was done mainly with volunteer labor to get it returned to flight status through the museum. Collings assisted with some of the costs involved, including the fuel, so this was a joint effort to get it flying again. The F-100 flew over 360,000 missions in Vietnam. More than other fighters and more missions than P-51s flew in World War II. They are historically important aircraft. We plan on getting the A-4 back up, then turn our attention to the F-4. The Collings volunteers have been working on the F-4 return to flight.”

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The Collings Foundation’s Super Sabre was delivered to the United States Air Force in November 1957. From 1958 to October 1970 this Super Sabre was assigned to the 20th Tactical Fighter Wing (TFW), during which it was based primarily in the United Kingdom with deployments to Libya and Turkey. When ‘844 returned to the United States in 1971 where it was assigned to the Texas Air National Guard’s 149th Tactical Fighter Group (TFG) at Kelly AFB, San Antonio, Texas. The aircraft was dropped from USAF service in 1974. After a short time in storage, the fighter was transferred to the Danish Air Force where it served until 1981. In 1982, it was transferred to Flight Systems Inc. under civilian registrations and flew in the United Kingdom and Italy from 1983 to 1992.  It was then transferred to Grecoair Inc. in El Paso, Texas, from 1997 to 2011 and painted in New Mexico Air Guard colors followed by Thunderbird markings.

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The Foundation’s Hun is currently painted in honor of Medal of Honor and Air Force Cross recipient Colonel George “Bud” Day’s original F-100 that carried the name “MISTY 1.” Col. Day is the most decorated officer in the history of the Air Force and most decorated American since General McArthur.

Rick Sharp and Jerod Flohr
Rick Sharp (R) and Jerod Flohr (L) who flew in the back seat of the Super Sabre.

The Vietnam War Flight Museum was founded in 2002 by Houston, TX aviator Rick Sharpe and is dedicated to educating the public about the service and sacrifice to the United States by the veterans of the Vietnam War. For more information, visit www.vietnamwarflight.com.

Collings Foundations F 100F 56 3844 volunteers
The volunteers of the Vietnam War Flight Museum posing in front of the Super Sabre at the end of the flight.

Many thanks to Kevin Bailey for the photos and details about the flight.