5 December 1956 – A Northrop XSM-62 Snark, 53-8172, N-69D test model, fitted with a new 24-hour stellar inertial guidance system, launches from Cape Canaveral Missile Test Annex, Florida. It wanders off-course, ignores destruct command, disappears over Brazil. It is found by a farmer in January 1983. The Day They Lost the Snark By J.
Richard Leroy Fechter
Dick was born in Hartley, IA on July 29, 1947. Following in his mother’s and father’s footsteps, Dick earned his pilot’s certificate at the age of 16. After graduating from Lakefield High School in 1965, he earned a business degree from Morningside College in Sioux City, IA.
In 1969, he married his high school sweetheart, Patricia Nasby. That year, Dick began Air Force Pilot Training for the 185th Fighter Wing. He graduated first in his class. In 1972, he and Pat moved to Omaha, NE, where their two children were born. In 1976, he accepted a position as a full-time fighter pilot with the Sioux City Air National Guard. On 25 Sep 1980, he safely ejected from A-7D #70-0947 when it quit on him during a low-level mission near Anoka, NE.
Over the next 35 years, he logged over 3,700 hours in the F-100, A-7, and F-16. In 1990, he graduated from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces in Washington D.C.
After retirement in 2004, Dick and Pat moved to Byron, MN. Through the Rochester Experimental Aircraft Association, he continued flying.
Dick’s greatest joy was taking his four grandchildren and other EAA Young Eagles for plane rides. Over the last nine years, Dick logged over 600 hours in that Glasair.
Dick closed out his flight logbook this year with over 6,400 hours and a lifetime of memories.(1)
Excerpted from Dick’s obit by the Post Bulletin.