On March 3rd, EAA AirVenture announced that to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the U.S. Air Force, Dean Cutshall will be bringing an extremely rare F-100 to EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2022 this July. The F-100 will be a big attraction once again when it comes to EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2022, as it flies into Wittman Regional Airport and appears as part of the afternoon air show. It becomes a gathering point at Oshkosh for those who flew and maintained it, especially in Vietnam.
For several years, Dean has flown members of the Super Sabre Society, the veterans who flew the aircraft in active service, including in Vietnam. Dean said the reaction after the flight in the two-seat F-100 is almost uniformly the same.
“After the ride’s done, my crew chief is up there, unstrapping them, putting the pins in and such, and every one of those guys, without fail, always ask, ‘Is it OK if I sit here just a little bit longer?’,” he said. “I tell them they can sit there just as long as they want. … and their eyes are always misty. Some guys actually cry.” Dean told EAA’s Director of Communication Dick Knapiski in THIS article.
“I usually bring my crew chief, Paul Swick, and four or five other guys along. And they can’t get away from the airplane,” Dean said of being at Oshkosh. “Guys collect around the airplane and start swapping stories. They’re all of the Vietnam (War) age and they’ve all been at the same places. It’s a wonderful reunion for everyone.”
Dean acquired the airplane more than a quarter-century ago on his third try, even picking up a T-33 (later sold) as a bonus in the deal. After two years, a sizable financial investment, and a great deal of help from former members of the 122nd Fighter Wing of the Indiana Air National Guard who knew the airplane well, he had a prize warbird in the air again.
As already noted in our previous articles, Dean’s aircraft is an F-100F, the two-seat Super Sabre variant, constructed in the first months of 1958 by North American Aviation in Inglewood, California. Assigned serial number 56-3948, it was accepted by the USAF on March 25th of the same year. Its story is fairly unique as just over a month after the USAF took delivery, they selected her for conversion into a JF-100F, an airframe dedicated to special test flying. Subsequently, she found herself assigned to the Air Force Missile Development Test Center at Holloman, New Mexico. In April 1965, she went through further modifications to become a JDF-100F, optimized for the airborne control of radio-guided targets. In 1968 she reverted back to a normal F-100F two-seat trainer. From July 1970 she was assigned to the AFSWC at Kirtland, New Mexico, in whose colors she flew for three years before flying into retirement in the “boneyard” at Davis Monthan in January 1973. However in May 1974, after little more than a year in stasis, she was resurrected from her resting place under the baking sun of the Arizona desert and sent to the Sacramento Air Material Area at McClellan AFB and prepared for delivery to the Turkish Air Force, which received her in August 1974, via the MDAP program.
Accordingly to our own James Church who follows Dean’s F-100 flying activities very closely, the Super Sabre will be appearing at Thunder Over Louisville, the Fort Wayne Airshow, as well as Selfridge Air Show.
As with many pilots, the joy of owning such a unique airplane is topped by sharing the joy of flying in it and hearing the stories of those who flew it in military service.
We owe a great debt of gratitude to the owners and operators of these vintage aircraft, as the demands in both time and treasure required to keep something like a Century Series jet fighter plying the skies are astronomical. I can only hope that we may continue seeing these wonderful machines gracing the skies deep into the future.
Dean “Cutter” Cutshall’s North American F-100F Super Sabre (N2011V) is featured inside issue #41 of Warbird Digest> Click the image below to purchase this issue.