Owatonna in Steele County, Minnesota — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)
The Story of the Three T-38 Talon Thunderbird Jets
In 1996,the City of Owatonna acquired one of these jet planes from the U.S. Air Force to be used as a monument at the airport. The cost of the project exceeded the City's budget at that time, and the plane was put in storage.
In 1997, R.W. "Buzz" Kaplan proposed that the plane become part of a signature display outside Heritage Halls Museum, which was 1/4 mile north of the airport. Buzz thought the display should consist of three planes flying formation. The City proceeded to acquire two more jets from Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona.
Painted a drab military color, the aircraft were stripped of nearly 2,000 pounds of excess weight and repainted in authentic Thunderbird colors. Heritage Halls' officials worked more than a year to help acquire and design the display and believe there is none other like it in the world.
Engineers spent several months creating a design for the display that would withstand the high winds that sometimes sweep through this area. The present design was settled on which withstood 113 miles- per-hour winds when tested in a wind tunnel. It was an undertaking of great
These jet aircraft were on display in this bomb-burst formation at the Heritage Halls Museum from 1998 to 2006 without cost to the City of Owatonna. It was the dream of Heritage Halls founder R.W. "Buzz” Kaplan to create a breathtaking realistic display of aerobatic flight and to honor our United States fighter pilots who help protect our great country.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Air & Space • Military.
Location. 44° 7.26′ N, 93° 14.886′ W. Marker is in Owatonna, Minnesota, in Steele County. Marker is on West Frontage Road (County Road 23) 0.8 miles north of 26 Street NW, on the right when traveling south. Marker is located at the entrance to Owatonna Municipal Airport. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 3440 West Frontage Road, Owatonna MN 55060, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 13 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. The T-38 Talon Thunderbird Jets are moved to Owatonna Degner Regional Airport (a few steps from this marker); History of State School Rock GardenMinnesota State Public School for Dependent and Neglected Children (approx. 2.2 miles away); Rock Island Railway Station 1901 (approx. 2˝ miles away); National Farmer's Bank of Owatonna (approx. 2.8 miles away); Medford's Last Carriage Stone (approx. 3.6 miles away); Minnesota State Schools (approx. 9.2 miles away); The Cathedral of Our Merciful Saviour (approx. 12.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Owatonna.
Credits. This page was last revised on October 12, 2019. It was originally submitted on October 11, 2019, by Ruth VanSteenwyk of Aberdeen, South Dakota. This page has been viewed 175 times since then and 9 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on October 11, 2019, by Ruth VanSteenwyk of Aberdeen, South Dakota. • Mark Hilton was the editor who published this page.