"THE FALCONS"


THE 5TH AF AIR DEMONSTRATION TEAM
via Paul Kauttu
In Sabrejer Classics' never ending search for new and different things about the history of the F-86 Sabre, we have uncovered a new jet demonstration team - the 5th Air Force "Falcons". To be honest about it, we had never heard of them. But Paul Kauttu sent the following information about the team.

The 5th AF "Falcons" may have been the youngest air demonstration team ever formed. At one point, the average age was just 25, with a total commissioned service time of barely 13 years total. The tem was formed in mid-1956 by Lt.Col. Philip Lovelace, then CO of the 5th AF Standardization & Indoctrination School at Naha, Okinawa. Lovelace made the first team selections, then rotated back to the States.

That summer, after all the wing and squadron COs had completed the FAFSIS course, the school was closed down and the team was absorbed by the 18th Fighter Wing. 5th AF designated the team as their official' air demonstration team. They called themselves the "Falcons". The original team consisted of Capt. Paul Kauttu - Lead, Capt. John Hart on Left Wing, Capt. Albert Funk on Right Wing, and Capt. Alexander Hutnyak in the Slot. Later that year the team added Lt. Edgar Griskowski, Right Wing; Lt. George Bracke, Slot; and Capts. Paul Ash and Williant Spillers were named Spares.

The Falcons flew standard combat F-86Fs assigned to the 18th Fighter Wing. No special modifications for the air demonstartion mission were done to the airplanes. Each squadron ear-marked four airplanes for use by the team, with the team flying with each squadron on a rotational basis.

The routines consisted of a lot of Thunderbirds aerobatics - with some added spice. Maj. Bruce Carr, exLeader of the Aerojets team, and Lt.Col. Dick Catledge, ex-Leader of the Thunderbirds, helped design the Falcons' air show routines, with tips on speeds and formations.

Some of the added 'spice' included a maneuver when Capt. Hutnyak who flew Slot, would remain in the diamond formation during the landing approach. On a signal from Falcon Lead, Hutnyak would pull up into a loop, stall off his air speed on the top, drop his gear on the way down, and pull out into the landing. The other three Falcons flew a tight 360 overhead in a V, then landed. The maneuver was later discontinued at Hutnyales wife's requests!

The Falcons tem began their flight demonstrations in the early summer of 1956, and were disbanded one year later in 1957 when the 18th Wing converted to F-100 Super Sabres. Capt. Paul Kauttu was promoted to Major and served with the Thunderbirds Air Demonstration Team from September 1962 through February 1966, becoming Thunderbird Lead in 1965.


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