Thursday, March 16, 2017

Airport Explorations #1 - Y14

It started with an unseasonably warm weekend in March. In South Dakota, when the weather gives you temperatures in the 60s on a Sunday afternoon, with clear skies and dry roads, you have to take advantage. Out of the garage came the Sportster, for the second time this year. But unlike the first ride of the year, where I had no destination or plan, this time I had a goal.

Roughly fifteen minutes south is a small general aviation airport (Y14) where I hope, one day soon, to complete my Private Pilot’s license. That day hasn’t come yet, however I had it in my mind to at least find the airport that I’d only seen from the freeway and see what there is to see.

The A-7D, and my ride.
I got a Cessna on final approach crossing above a two-lane county road at less than fifty feet. I found my local EAA chapter (maybe it’s time for me to get my EAA membership and start attending meetings, considering my future plans!) I found an A-7D Corsair II serving as an airport mascot and guardian, and a mystery.
Dedication plaque

According to the dedication plaque, the A-7D standing its silent, final watch is Air Force S/N 70-1050, flown by the South Dakota Air National Guard from 1977 to 1991. One can only imagine the lack of enthusiasm that greeted the news in 1977 that these fighter pilots would be trading their sleek, supersonic, delta-winged F-102 “Deuces” for the attack aircraft nicknamed “SLUF” for “Slow, Little, Ugly Fellow (or usually a more vulgar F-word)”. The A-7 didn’t even have an afterburner!

The mystery however, comes from a bit of research about the actual history of this specific aircraft. According to Wikipedia’s sources, A-7D S/N 70-1050 was destroyed during a terrorist attack in Puerto Rico in1981, making it rather unlikely that the same airframe was restored and placed in South Dakota sixteen years later.

What airframe is actually displayed at Y14? I have no idea. Clearly a return visit to look for more information is in order.

All of this has given me a great idea though. According to the current FAA sectionals, there are at least fifteen or twenty GA airports within a two hour riding radius of me. Exploring more of these during the riding season, sounds like some great destination plans. Who knows what other cool things I’m going to find!

Edit (4/6/2017) - See New Post for the solution to the SLUF's identity.


  1. Hi Aaron. Interesting puzzle. I was actually on det at Roosey Roads when that attack happened. Here's more serno info but no clear answer.

  2. Thanks! I should be doing a follow-up to this next week, actually. I got an answer from the Air Force Historical Society that seemed to clear things up. Short answer, Wikipedia is wrong, and this is almost certainly 70-1050.