International relations

Published 12:00 am Monday, July 24, 2006

Sunday, at the Demopolis airport, a Russian built MiG 17, piloted by Randy Ball, landed for refueling.

The MiG 17 was built in Europe and flew for Soviet bloc countries until the early 1980s. The plane was used in the Vietnam War as the primary enemy aircraft that U.S. aircraft fought against.

Production for the plane began in the 1950s and was one of the first production jet fighters in the world because of its VK-1F engine and afterburner.

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It was the tightest turning fighter in the world during the Vietnam War and up until the F-16 fighter jet entered service.

Randy Ball, a sixth generation Texan, grew up in rural Texas.

Ball is an airline captain that has flown over 40 different types of planes that were made in nine different countries.

He has flown for over 16 years in the North American air show circuit, and is recognized as one of the best air show pilots flying jet aerobatics.

He is the only civilian pilot approved to fly the United States Air Force’s F-4 Phantom in reenactments of jet fighter battles over the skies of Vietnam.

For more information on the MiG 17, Randy Ball and air shows he is in, go to website