VALLEY CITY, N.D. — Two unique aircraft that nonetheless share a special quality will perform together publicly for the first time during the Fargo AirSho this coming Saturday and Sunday, July 24-25, at Fargo's Hector International Airport.
One plane is the Yak 110 that was formed by combining the bodies of two Yak 55 propeller-driven aircraft. As part of that mash-up, a jet engine was thrown in for good measure.
The other half of the high-flying act is the Jet Waco, a 1929 Waco Taperwing biplane, also propeller driven. Like the Yak 110, the Jet Waco has a jet engine affixed to its frame.
The modifications make for two very powerful aircraft, according to Jarrod Lindemann, a pilot and owner of the Jet Waco.
Lindemann, whose family operates RAD Aerosports in Valley City, said the Jet Waco was developed about seven years ago based on a similar jet-propeller configuration used in a Waco biplane in the 1990s by the late air show performer Jimmy Franklin.
The Jet Waco was created by John Klatt Airshows, a name well known in airshow circles, which emulated Franklin's propeller-jet concept by using a Waco biplane structurally reinforced to handle the forces created by the addition of jet power.
Lindemann acquired the Jet Waco after Klatt retired and is continuing to showcase the biplane at airshows along with fellow pilot Dell Coller, who is also a master mechanic and crew chief for RAD Aerosports.
Coller is also the builder of the Yak 110 along with Jeff Boerboon, a renowned airshow pilot. Both Coller and Boerboon were also part of the team that developed the Jet Waco.
When it comes to the Jet Waco, Lindemann said the plane's radial engine, which powers the propeller, produces about 450 horsepower and about 1,500 pounds of thrust.
The plane's jet engine, similar to that of a Learjet, produces about 3,000 pounds of thrust.
Combined, the radial engine and jet engine produce about 4,500 pounds of thrust.
That is a lot of power, according to Lindemann.
"You can actually take the airplane up, stop it on a vertical line, hover and then you can increase power and start climbing again," Lindemann said, adding the plane will do maneuvers that no other plane will do.
"It will go straight up for thousands and thousands of feet, where normally you pull another airshow plane up and you get a thousand feet vertical and that's it, you're coming back down," he said.
Dick Walstad, co-chairman of the Fargo AirSho, recently watched the Yak 110 and Jet Waco perform during a practice session.
"They did a routine for me," Walstad said. "I had tears in my eyes. These guys are phenomenal."
"The thrust of these things, that little airplane ... a prop on it can do amazing things, then you strap on a jet engine. How do you control all of that?" He said.
During the practice he observed, Walstad said he watched as one pilot took his plane vertically straight up in the air and then paused there, hovering.
"Then he'd fire up the jet and climb up farther. And I thought, 'You can't do that!'' Walstad said.
The Fargo AirSho will be the first time the Jet Waco and Yak 110 perform together publicly, according to Walstad, who said the planes will next head for this summer's airshow in Oshkosh, Wis., one of the largest and best known airshows in the nation.
For more information on the Fargo AirSho, visit www.fargoairsho.com.
If You Go
What: Fargo AirSho
When: July 24-25. Gates open at 9:30 a.m. each day. AirSho starts at about 11 a.m. Exact performance times vary due to the fluid nature of the show.
Where: Hector International Airport, Fargo.