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Bite of the Jackal was the 3rd episode of Season One and first aired on 2/4/84. Marella does not appear in this episode--instead, Archangel gets another aide named Laura.

In a first for the series, Archangel gets to fly in Airwolf as WSO.

Plot synopsis

Dominic flies an antique Sikorsky S-55 to Acapulco. Unfortunately, the helicopter has been sabotaged by Mitchell Bruck, an ambitious FIRM executive hoping to edge out Archangel. He hopes to use Dominic as bait to capture Airwolf. Fortunately for Dominic there's a young stowaway Phoebe Danner to give him a hand.[1][2]

Episode summary

(spoiler alert - click on expand to read)

Night time, and we see a mechanic plant some kind of timer bomb in the nose of a Sikorsky S-55.

In the Santini Air hangar, Dominic tries to persuade Hawke to come with him on his ferry flight. He has to deliver the old S-55 to a customer in Acapulco. Hawke declines the invitation.

In Archangel's limo, Michael Bruck, Archangel's executive office, receives a phone call telling him "the bird is on its way. It's set for a tailspin". After Bruck hangs up, he tells his boss its some administrative details for a project.

Archangel drops Bruck off at the airport for his trip to Mexico. After he has gone, Laura plays back a recording of Bruck's call. It doesn't sound like clerical details. Laura traces the call to a payphone at Van Nuys. Archangel is sure it has something to do with Stringfellow Hawke. Archangel must move fast.

Meanwhile, Dominic's flight is going smoothly when a young girl climbs into the cockpit pops a young girl, Phoebe Danner. She explains that she decided to hitch a ride when she heard he was going to Acapulco. She had been fostered out when very young after her mother died. Now she's trying to find her father who is a sailor. Partway through their talk, the bomb goes off. Dominic has to make autorotate and force land. They end up on the edge of a cliff and have to crawl carefully out.

Archangel plays Hawke the recording of Bruck. Both realize that Bruck is using Dominic as bait for Airwolf. Getting his hands on Airwolf would be a significant career coup for Bruck, allowing him to replace Archangel or go even further.

Nonetheless Hawke decides to go after Dominic and invites Archangel to go along as WSO. Hawke refuses to let Laura go along--he's got painful memories of Gabrielle.

In Mexico, Bruck confers with his co-conspirator, Colonel Arias of the Mexican Air Force. The Colonel will make the required cursory search. Meanwhile he warns Bruck to get his men ready to move in when Hawke arrives.

Phoebe is helping Dominic repair the S-55 when they spot a few Hughes 500 gunships arriving. But they are not here to rescue them. They set up a perimeter and on the loudspeaker Bruck warns Dominic and Phoebe to stay inside.

Airwolf turns up, and the Hughes zpring the trap. On the ground, a soldier fires a Stinger and hits Airwolf's tail rotor. Hawke instructs Archangel to disengage the tail rotor and fire the turbos. It's crazy but it works and they escape.

Bruck doesn't pursue. Hawke will be back. Then he will use his secret "Leech" missile. It will hit the target but instead of exploding, will release a sloow acting nerve agent, giving Hawke three minutes to make a forced landing.

Hawke and Archangel land near a farmstead. They befriend the farmers who help them with the repairs.

The farmers do more than that--they also plant dynamite around the area. These explode and create a diversion which lure Bruck's Hughes gunships away. Right on cue, Airwolf turns up and shoots up the ground troops surrounding Dominic.

Bruck's Hughes turn back and fire their Leech missiles. The decoys take out most of them but one lodges in Airwolf. But Archangel manages to push it out with his walking stick. It doesn't take long after that for Airwolf to blow the Hughes out of the sky.

Meanwhile Dominic and Phoebe have got the S-55 going and it lifts off. The two helicopters fly home.

The FIRM tracks down Phoebe's father and brings him to Hawke's cabin where he is reunited with his daughter. This leaves Hawke wondering whether he will be reunited with his brother.

Story Locations

  • Santini Air, Van Nuys
  • Hawke's cabin
  • a plateau on the Sonoran Desert, Mexico
  • Colonel Arias' base
  • A mining village in the mountains
Arias base-bite of the jackal

A view of Colonel Arias' base. Arias wears an Air Force uniform but the sign says it is the headquarters of the 11th Regiment of Infantry.

Aircraft seen

Firearms seen

  • Winchester Model 1897 or 1912 - used by Joachim Santos
  • Winchester 1892 - appears to be what is used by one of the other miners
  • M1911A1 - or automatic of a similar pattern, used by Miriam Santos


  • Jan-Michael Vincent as Stringfellow Hawke
  • Ernest Borgnine as Dominic Santini
  • Alex Cord as Michael Coldsmith-Briggs III
  • Susanne Reed as Laura
  • Scott Hylands as Mitchell Bruck
  • Shannen Doherty as Phoebe Danner
  • Rafael Campos as Joachim Santos
  • Ruth Britt as Miriam Santos
  • Julio Medina as Colonel Arturo Arias
  • Herb Armstrong as Soldier Callan
  • Ron Stein as Betz (the credits clearly state Stein's part as Betz but in the episode he is addressed as Richards)

Professional Recognition

  • Youth in Film Awards - 1985
    • Best Performance by a Young Actress (Nomination) - Shannon Doherty[3]

Research notes

  • Continuity: Hawke turns down Laura's request to fly with him. Archangel says she's a top pilot. "So was Gabrielle," Hawke replies.


Where is Herb Armstrong, credited as "Soldier Callan"?



External links

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