Author Archives: fasfric

Oops – – – Did the FASF Site Get Caught With Fake News?

In an undated handout photo from the National Archives, people stand on a dock at Jaluit Atoll in the Marshall Islands. A recent History Channel documentary claimed that the photo contains Amelia Earhart and her navigator Fred Noonan and was taken after the pair disappeared on July 2, 1937. However, new evidence shows that the photograph was published in late 1935.
Photograph by U.S. National Archives, The New York Times,

Thanks to the alert eyes of Bob Avery, of Toledo, Ohio, it was brought to your editor’s attention that the story we published on July 6th of last week, one hinged almost completely on a photo allegedly showing both Amelia Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan, on a dock in the Marshall Islands (Jaluit Island) AFTER their disappearance, may have been a major boo-boo on our part.  Somewhat shamefully, but in our weak defense, the story did NOT say the picture was dated – – – simply that it was apparently taken after the aviators were declared lost.  We were wrong.

And, just got another heads up alert from long time FASF member, Heidi Syslo, of Santa Clarita, CA, daughter of acclaimed aviatrix and journalist, Trixie Ann Schubert, that the now much seen “lost secret” photo is not what it was touted to be.  Thank your Heidi!

According to a History Channels competitor, the National Geographic Channel, that same picture was actually published several years BEFORE the famous aviatrix and Mr. Noonan dropped out of view. So, with red face and most embarrassed, we humbly apologize for automatically believing the prestigious History Channel would not err, that they would carefully vet all of their key information.  The error in the photograph’s timeline was brought to the attention of all concerned by a Japanese Blogger, Kota Yamano, who quickly, as soon as he saw the big news story about the disappearance mystery finally being solved, let it be known that the picture was actually printed in a Japanese travel book two years BEFORE the flyers’ disappearance in 1937.

Furthermore, we have to now give a hearty congratulations to one of our site followers, Mr. Mike Davis, who, if you read the Amelia story’s commentaries, claimed the History Channel story was bogus and, in his words, “Fake News!” Well, Mr. Davis, it seems you have the National Geographic Society completely behind your assertion.

Hopefully, somewhere down the road, the truth to this mystery might manage to surface, and we certainly hope it does.  We would like to point out that, even though the allegedly “new” post 1937 photo appears to have been “pre” 1937, the thesis that the lost fliers may have been captured and executed by the Japanese is not necessarily nullified by the photo’s new date revelation, it just means that the photo cannot be used to place Earhart and Noonan in that particular photograph.

But, regardless, and without further ado, here’s the complete refutal story from the National Geographic itself:  (Shall we believe that they are more accurate than the History Channel was not? )

A photograph that a recent History Channel documentary proclaimed as lost evidence that could solve the mystery of Amelia Earhart’s disappearance appears to have been published nearly two years before the aviator vanished in July 1937.

The pre-WWII photograph features a throng of people on a dock in Jaluit Atoll, one of the Marshall Islands. In the documentary Amelia Earhart: The Lost Evidence, filmmakers claim that two Caucasian people in the photograph—a man standing next to a post, and a person of indeterminate sex squatting on the dock’s edge—are Earhart’s navigator Fred Noonan and Earhart herself, in the custody of the Japanese military in 1937.

However, new evidence indicates that the photograph was published in a 1935 Japanese-language travelogue about the islands of the South Pacific. As Japanese military history blogger Kota Yamano noted in a July 9 post, he found the book after searching the National Diet Library, Japan’s national library, using the term “Jaluit Atoll,” the location featured in the photograph.

“The photo was the 10th item that came up,” he said in an interview with The Guardian. “I was really happy when I saw it. I find it strange that the documentary makers didn’t confirm the date of the photograph or the publication in which it originally appeared. That’s the first thing they should have done.”

His search query turned up the travelogue, The Ocean’s “Lifeline”: The Condition of Our South Seas, which features the “Earhart” photograph on page 44. One translation of the caption describes a lively port that regularly hosted schooner races—with no mention of Earhart or Noonan to be found. Page 113 of the book indicates that the travelogue was published in October 1935.

Yamano’s evidence, which he says he obtained in 30 minutes, undercuts the History Channel’s claim that the famed aviator crash-landed in the Marshall Islands and became a prisoner of the Japanese military. Residents of the Marshall Islands and some Earhart enthusiasts have long touted this scenario, but many Earhart enthusiasts consider it outlandish. (Learn more about the competing theories for Earhart’s disappearance.)

Amelia Earhart stands in front of her bi-plane called “Friendship” in Newfoundland.  Taken June 14, 1928
Photograph by Getty Images

The official U.S. position is that Earhart and Noonan ran out of fuel and were lost at sea on their way to Howland Island, a tiny island in the central Pacific just north of the Equator. The island was the pair’s planned pit stop between Papua New Guinea and Hawaii.

One alternate hypothesis proposes that the pair crash-landed on Nikumaroro Island, a small island 350 nautical miles away from Howland, where 1930s-era artifacts have been found. (An ongoing expedition sponsored by the National Geographic Society recently sent forensic dogs, trained to sniff out human remains, to Nikumaroro. They may have found Amelia Earhart’s final resting place.)

Skepticism and Confusion Intensify

In the lead up to the documentary’s July 9 premiere, the History Channel touted the photograph, which it obtained from the U.S. National Archives, as potentially transformative evidence dating to before World War II, possibly to 1937. But ever since news of the documentary broke last week, outside experts have expressed various levels of skepticism, which has only intensified in the last 24 hours.

For its part, the U.S. National Archives notes that the photograph used by the filmmakers is not marked with a date. “The materials gathered in the report support a geographical-type study or survey of the Pacific Islands,” National Archives Director of Public and Media Communications James Pratchett said in a statement emailed to National Geographic.

Tom King, the chief archaeologist for TIGHAR, the chief group investigating the possibility of Earhart crash-landing on Nikumaroro, says that he has known of the photograph for years and never took it seriously as evidence.

“We looked at it and said, ‘Well, it’s a man and a woman on a dock looking out in the other direction—it’s basically a meaningless piece of information,'” he says in a phone interview from an ongoing TIGHAR expedition in Fiji. “You can read things into it like you can read faces on the moon.” (King’s current expedition was co-sponsored by the National Geographic Society.)

And in the wake of Yamano’s evidence, the History Channel and the documentary’s on-screen personalities have expressed various forms of concern and disbelief.

“I don’t know what to say,” says Kent Gibson, the facial-recognition expert that the History Channel hired to analyze the photograph for Amelia Earhart: The Lost Evidence. “I don’t have an explanation for why [the photograph] would show up two years early.”

In the documentary, Gibson said that based on the facial and body proportions of the two Caucasians, he said it was “very likely” that the photograph contained Earhart and Noonan.

In a phone interview with National Geographic, Gibson added that since the documentary filmed, he has acquired new facial-recognition software that signals a match between the photograph’s Caucasian man and Fred Noonan. His previous software had indicated that there were too few pixels in the photograph to successfully perform the analysis. (In a follow-up email, Gibson declined additional comment.)

In a statement emailed to National Geographic and separately posted to Twitter, the History Channel said that it has a team of investigators “exploring the latest developments about Amelia Earhart,” promising transparency in their findings.

“Ultimately historical accuracy is most important to us and our viewers,” the channel said.


Fastest FASF Member and Advisor Just Slowed Way Down

Advisor, General Patrick J. Halloran, struck by car while crossing street in his hometown of Colorado Springs, CO.

Ten days ago, the first of July 2017, while crossing the street, the General (pictured as a Colonel at left) was hit by a speeding automobile and seriously injured, suffering fractures to both hips and 9 broken ribs. Although hardly comfortable, he has nevertheless emailed your editor some advice on an aviation matter, as though nothing had happened.

This musician turned accomplished military and civilian aviator, continues to fly to this day.

The General was the second former CO of the First Aero Squadron to join the ranks of our Board of Advisors.  Colonel Chi Chi Rodriguez was the first.

The General is one of Minnesota’s most distinguished aviators, and has been honored by special displays concerning his unusual career in the Minnesota Military Museum.

After graduating from Chatfield (Minnesota) High School in 1946, he attended the MacPhail Conservatory of Music in Minneapolis for several years before enlisting in the Air Force in 1949.

Early years as a pilot. When he joined the Air Force, Halloran became an Aviation Cadet. He received his wings and officer’s commission in September of 1950, graduating at Williams Air Force Base, AZ. He spent his first seven years flying F-84 jet fighters from bases in Georgia, Maine, Oklahoma, England, Alaska, Puerto Rico and Japan. He also flew 100 combat missions in the F-84 over North Korea in 1952.

Reconnaissance. In 1956 he was selected for the first group of pilots to fly the new, secret U-2 high altitude reconnaissance aircraft for the Air Force. The U-2 flew at altitudes of over 70,000 feet and carried enough fuel for ten hours of flight. In 1965, he became one of the first pilots to fly the new, long-range, Mach 3 SR-71 “Blackbird,” an aircraft he then flew for almost eight years. The SR-71 was the fastest, highest flying jet aircraft in the world, cruising at over 2000 mph at over 85,000 feet and with a range of over 3,000 miles. The SR-71 could accelerate so fast that it was able to out fly surface-to-air missiles. Halloran accumulated nearly 600 hours in the SR-71. He flew missions over Cuba in the U-2 and the SR-71 Blackbird over Vietnam in both the U-2 and the SR-71.

P.J Halloran in Space Suit by SR-71

The General, in his space suit posing in front of the world’s fastest jet, the SR-71 Blackbird. He was honored to be one of its select pilots.

In 1971 he received his Bachelor of Arts degree in social science from Troy State University in Alabama and also completed the Air War College, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama, as a distinguished graduate.

Command and Staff. In 1969 Halloran was appointed commander of the 1st Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron (First Aero Squadron), the first of several high-level command and staff assignments that took him to various headquarters, including 3rd Air Division in Guam, 15th Air Force in California, and Strategic Air Command in Nebraska. His final assignment was in the Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in the Pentagon.

Retirement. Halloran retired in 1983 with over 8,000 hours of flying time in the military and 34 years of service. He has over 12,000 hours of total flying time. He was inducted into the Minnesota Aviation Hall of Fame in 2006 and now lives in Colorado Springs.  He remains actively involved in the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), of which he is a long time member.  Over the years he has also flown some famous civilian airplanes, including the famous pre WWII racer, the the famed Schoenfeldt “Firecracker” race plane (seen immediately below left), the same one piloted by renown Lockheed Aircraft Corporation test pilot Tony Levier, back in 1938, when he used it to win the International Air Races at Oakland, CA.

General Pat Halloran Flying the Famous Race Plane, the “Firecracker” Click on above text to see his personally written story.

The renown British DeHavilland DH 88 Comet racer . . .

The General was an active member of the Riverside (CA) Flabob Airport’s EAA Chapter Number 1, the very first chapter in the EAAThe General has also flown the renown British DeHavilland DH 88 Comet racer, which can be seen above in its bright red racing colors.

We wish the General a speedy and full recovery!

Amelia – Does Just Uncovered Photo Solve 80 Year Mystery?

Amelia Earhart in 1936 . . .

One of the most enduring mysteries of the past century may – after numerous dead end and various strange and mostly speculative theories – finally be close to a genuine forensic styled resolution.

Since her disappearance 80 years ago, on July 2, 1937, while flying her Lockheed Electra Model 10E from New Guinea to her destination of Howland Island, the following eight decades have witnessed one “new discovery” after another, but none ever managed to produce any truly hard evidentiary findings – – – until a just discovered, once labeled SECRET photo from the National Archives, in Washington, DC. surfaced for inspection.

One of the most promising and professional organizations among the many in pursuit of an answer to this missing American Heroine’s fate, has been one focusing on the a small Pacific Island known as Saipan, where for over 75 years there have been a multitude of eye-witnesses or sometimes, if now deceased, their relatives, who remember clearly back in 1937 when a young white woman – with short hair and wearing men’s clothing –  and a tall white man, who had been both described as flyers, had been captured by the Japanese occupiers of the Island and placed in the local Japanese jail.

This group of mystery-solving enthusiasts, calling themselves “Earhart on Saipan,” obtained crowd funding to pursue their research and investigative efforts, which have just been given a sudden spotlight of never before witnessed credibility – all as the direct consequence of this long obscured single SECRET photo, one hidden away for more than 75 years in Washington’s Classified Archives.

In that photo, taken on Saipan in the year of Amelia’s disappearance, there appears to be a woman with the characteristics of Earhart, along with a Caucasian man, closely resembling her Navigator, Fred Noonan. This just discovered photograph has been studied by professional photographic intelligence experts who claim the print does not seem altered and that, indeed, both the two white people in the photo appear to be Earhart and Noonan. Furthermore, it also appears to contain the image, on a barge being towed by a Japanese ship, of their wrecked Lockheed Electra. So, without further ado, let us explore this astounding news.

Never before, in some 80 years, has even one photo alleging to be either Amelia or Fred Noonan, ever surfaced. So now it’s time for us to determine if this is the real thing, or not.  What do you think?

The above video is lengthy, some 35 minutes long, but it gives a wealth of extraordinarily consistent eye and hearsay witness testimony confirming that Amelia and her navigator, Fred Noonan were captured by the Japanese – and imprisoned on Saipan – immediately after their crash on a nearby uninhabited atoll.

Most troubling of all is the emerging evidence that Washington and the U.S. military establishment have long known of this situation, but for some reason, chose to keep it both secret and unacknowledged.*

* Editor’s Note: Almost since her disappearance from the world stage back on that fateful July day in 1937, it has been openly and quietly speculated that Washington had set up Earhart and Noonan to take copious aerial photographs of the Japanese occupied Marshall Islands over which they planned to fly.  I’d suggest that, if this were true, and it likely wasthe Japanese military who captured the pair would have quickly seen the special and expensive camera gear aboard the Electra, which it seems they also captured, and have legitimately determined the two explorer-adventurers to be genuine U. S. spies. 

This fact (assuming it is a fact) would also explain why the U.S. Marines, who now reportedly re-captured the Lockheed Plane late in the war, might have elected to bury it at the Japanese Airfield – thereby obscuring the discomforting reality that we had been spying (provoking?) on the Japanese some four years before they struck us at Pearl Harbor.  Could it be that this unpleasant reality has kept Washington’s lid on the mystery? Please don’t hesitate to let us know what you think down below in the rectangular “Leave a Reply” field”- – – and why.  RL

Amelia Earhart and her Navigator, Fred Noonan, in Oakland, CA, in publicity photo, before their flight began in 1937.

The above video by NBC News’ TODAY show, summarizes the breaking new story about what may ultimately prove to be the final resolution of the 80 year old Earhart Mystery  . . . (6:24 long).

This (above) 6:20 minute long video, tagged “Least Controversial Amelia Earhart Theory,” is well put together by Mr. Dennis Borja.  Dennis put his speculated chain of events together almost four years before the new Saipan “Secret” photo was even made public.  His thesis was a  compilation of an impressively well thought out and then logically put together group of currently known facts, but now his speculation has suddenly gained a new found credibility, particularly because of today’s latest photo, along with some new eye witness testimonials from Saipan.  The new once SECRET photo appears to suddenly make Borja’s 2013 thesis now a highly probable description of what might really have taken place, as this classic American Mystery came to its tragic ending some 80 years ago.

Least Controversal Amelia Earhart Theory. This is only a Theory

Is this above photo the first time a genuine post-crash picture of Earhart and Noonan has ever appeared in public? This is the startling new photo which is analyzed in the above video by NBC News.  Can you guess which figure is Amelia – – – and which is Noonan – – – without first viewing the video?

Amelia Earhart sitting on the nose of her Lockheed Electra . . .

Amelia Earhart seated in the Co-Pilot’s position (she took no co-pilot) in her Lockheed Electra before her final flight in 1937

Amelia Earhart with Mayor Walker of New York City in 1932 in celebration of her Transatlantic flight

1928 Photograph of Amelia Earhart in Los Angeles, California standing by one of the planes she flew . . .

Amelia in Front of one of her planes ca 1935

Amelia Earhart & her publisher and primary promoter, George P. Putnam right after their marriage in 1931.

Amelia Earhart with President Herbert Hoover, as he presents her with the the National Geographic Medal at the White House on June 31, 1032.

Amelia Earhart at White House to meet President Calvin Coolidge on November 2, 1928

16 Year Old Girl Makes Her Solo Flight in 100 Year Old Jenny!

Thanks to the alert eyes of Wayne and Debbi Evans of Arizona, early founding members of the FASF, we are able to share this nifty story with you all.

The story is by Richard Souza, whose Zulu X-Ray Photography firm also takes credit for all the photos of young Caroline Daugherty as well as of the aircraft depicted below.

Golden Age Aviation Museum’s Curtiss Jenny in which Caroline Made her Solo Flight at only 16 years old!

Published June 25, 2017 | By Richard Souza On the Air Museum Network Website.

Grimes Field, Bethel. PA – If we think back to our earliest memories, we remember major milestones. We probably don’t remember our first words or our first steps, but maybe our first day of school, our 10th birthday or even our first crush. And who doesn’t remember the first time they got behind the wheel of the family car? It was an exciting time; getting your learner’s permit and with a parent riding shotgun, driving as carefully as possible because the last thing we want to do was to dent to dad’s pride and joy.

But what if dad’s pride and joy was a 100-year-old biplane? A what? That’s right, a Century year-old Curtiss JN-4D “Jenny”.

Caroline Daugherty poses with the historic Golden Age Aviation Museum’s JN-4D in which she made her solo flight.

Air Museum Network recently attended the Golden Age Aviation Museum’s Flying Circus Air Show in Bethel, Pennsylvania. During the event, we learned of this young lady who turned 16 earlier this year. While most soon-to-be 16 year olds are dreaming of a sweet sixteen party, Caroline Daugherty had dreams that soared even higher.

Golden Age Aviation Museum‘s Curtiss Jenny Parked at Museum’s Airfield

Caroline is the daughter of Paul and Melissa Daugherty. Caroline’s earliest memories are around aviation and airplanes.  Her father has been flying since he was about 16.  Paul has amassed approximately 22,000 hours in an assortment of aircraft and is the President of the Golden Age Aviation Museum. Since the age of 2, Caroline has flown with her father and spent many hours in and around the little museum with the picturesque grass field.

Caroline Daugherty in the cockpit of the Curtiss Jenny

So it shouldn’t be surprising that Caroline wanted to be a pilot. After watching Patty Wagstaff (one of the FASF’s distinguished Advisors) perform at an air show, Caroline got serious and began to pursuit her dream. Caroline didn’t have to look far to find an instructor. It is the aviation version of home schooling. Together, father and daughter, instructor and student, embarked on the flight path to that major milestone – the solo flight.

Caroline, as part of the Daugherty Air Show Program, prepares for one of show’s comic routines and the BANG!

It was during one of certainly many father-daughter talks, that the question of soloing came up. “Which plane would you like to solo in?” After giving it some thought, Caroline looked at Dad and said, “Why not the Jenny?” Many fathers would have flashbacks of the movie “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”. You know, where Ferris’ friend Cameron destroys his father’s 1961 Ferrari 250 GT California Spyder. But not Paul.

Soloing in the Jenny wasn’t enough. It had to be special (as if flying a Jenny isn’t special enough). The decision was made for Caroline to solo in the Jenny, on the day of her 16th birthday.

Cast of The Golden Age Aviation Museum Flying Circus Airshow, with young Caroline standing tall.

The duo put in the time and hard work to ensure that Caroline was ready for the big day. There was one minor obstacle that was out of their control, mother nature. On the day of her 16th birthday, the weather conditions were less than favorable for Caroline to solo, much less in the Jenny. The two sat around at Grimes Airfield watching the rain come down, hoping things would get better. Just like in the movies, the rain stops, the wind dies down and cloud cover breaks. It is now or never.

They hop into the vintage plane and Caroline took her up. This wasn’t the first time the young aviator had flown the Jenny. It was as if it were just another lesson with the instructor. It doesn’t count as a solo if anyone other than the student pilot is in the aircraft. So Caroline lands the aircraft and Paul climbs out of the centenary plane. Paul then turns to Caroline and asks “Are you ready?” “Yes.” Caroline responds. Paul asks again “Are you sure?” and with a voice of a confident aviator, Caroline says “YES!”

One can only image the proud look that must have been on Paul’s face when the wheels left the ground. If Caroline ever had an ounce of doubt in her abilities, they vanished as she and the Jenny became one. Although Paul was firmly on the ground, his voice was in Caroline’s head every step of the way. As the flight progressed and the tension eased, Caroline realized “I’m flying a Jenny!”

This young lady isn’t your average teenager. Caroline grew up in and around aviation and aviation history. When asked what her friends and classmates thought about her accomplishment, Caroline said, some think it is really cool, others say “What’s the big deal? Flying a plane is easy, just move the stick around.” Of course we all know that the brain trusts that make comments like those, live in a world of video games and have no notion of how the real world functions. It is a big deal for many reasons.

Caroline did what no other 16 year old has ever done. When was the last time a student pilot soloed in a 100 year old Curtiss Jenny on their 16th birthday? That is a major accomplishment. It is also something special when a father and daughter do anything together.

The Golden Age Aviation Museum puts on several shows a year. Paul and Caroline are part of a large cast of volunteers that entertain the crowd with their family oriented show. This father-daughter team has also taken their act on the airshow circuit. Paul flies an aerobatic routine in a Christen Eagle II and Caroline does an impressive job as the announcer for “Daugherty Airshows“. Anytime a family shares a passion then yes, that is special.

We suspect that we haven’t seen the last of Caroline. This solo flight was just the first of what will surely be many milestones. When it comes to flying and being a pilot, this is only the beginning, but judging by the look in her eyes no worries Paul, Caroline is in it for the long haul.

PARIS: F-35 to Destroy Untrue Myths About its Performance

F-35 Demo Pilot: Paris Performance Will ‘Crush Years of Misinformation’

Thanks to our Aviation News Scout, Virg Hemphill, here’s the latest news about the F-35 saga.

This story is from AVIATION WEEK SHOW NEWS Section: Jun 18, 2017 – – – by Lara Seligman

Lockheed-Martin’s F-35A

Not as agile as the Super Hornet nor as fast as the Typhoon? Don’t you believe it, says Lockheed Martin test pilot Billie Flynn. He will put the F-35A through its paces at Le Bourget this week, proving that the aircraft is more maneuverable than any he has flown, he says, including Boeing’s F/A-18, the Eurofighter, and his own company’s F-16 Viper.

“After 10 years since first flight, with our first opportunity to demonstrate the capabilities and the maneuverability of the F-35, we are going to crush years of misinformation about what this aircraft is capable of doing,” Flynn said in an interview with Aviation Week.

The F-35’s maneuverability is all the more impressive because, unlike the F-16s that perform at air shows, the Joint Strike Fighter flying the demonstration this week is fully combat-ready. Flynn’s F-35A will move easily through complex aerial maneuvers loaded with everything it needs to go to war.

“All of those airplanes that do air shows—the Hornet, Viper—they are all slicked off without all the external stores,” Flynn said. “They are a party trick at an air show, versus a combat-configured F-22 or F-35.”

The flight demonstration is carefully scripted to highlight the kinematic capabilities of the F-35A, particularly its slow-speed handling qualities, said Flynn. He will start with an afterburner takeoff, almost immediately pointing his nose to the sky and letting the aircraft climb away essentially vertically. This impressive move is unique to the F-22 and the F-35, he said.

High Altitude Flight Demo Plan for F-35 at Paris Air Show in June of 2017

Billie Flynn aims to silence the skeptics with complex F-35A demo flights at the Paris Air Show.

Next, Flynn will reverse back in front of the crowd, and perform a “square loop” to show the aircraft’s instantaneous pitch capability and high angle-of-attack (AOA) maneuverability. Then he will turn around, reverse back in front of the crowd, and perform a slow-speed, high-AOA pass. Afterward, he will light the afterburner and fly straight up into the sky once again.

From there, Flynn will pull up vertically in front of the crowd and execute a maximum AOA “power loop,” where the aircraft flips on its back—another signature Raptor move. Then he will initiate a spiral at 50 degrees AOA, called a “pedal turn,” which he says will be the most impressive part of the entire routine.

After reversing again in front of the crowd, the last move is a maximum-G, 360-deg. turn, which highlights the maximum-rate, minimum-radius-turn capability of the aircraft, Flynn said. The F-35 in its current 3i configuration is limited to 7g; when the fighter gets its full war-fighting capability with the final 3F software, it will be able to pull 9gs.

“This aircraft down low in this environment is an absolute monster,” said Flynn. ”It is more powerful, it is more aggressive than any of us, including those of us that fly the F-35, would have imagined before we began this flight-demo process.”

The high show does not include the F-35 opening its weapon-bay doors, as the F-22 does during its airshow routine. The low show, which the F-35 will perform if there is inclement weather or cloud ceiling, includes opening the weapon-bay doors, according to Lockheed spokesman Mark Johnson.

Lockheed’s F-35 airshow profile has been in the works for well over a year, according to Flynn. The team has conducted over 800 simulator runs to evaluate the profile, and Flynn began practicing in the aircraft at the company’s facility in Fort Worth, Texas, about a month ago.

The company has developed air show routines for all three F-35 variants—the U.S. Navy F-35C carrier variant and the U.S. Marine Corps F-35B vertical-takeoff-and-landing variant as well—but this year Flynn is focused on the U.S. Air Force F-35A version.

Flynn had to modify the routine to accommodate airspace restrictions unique to the Paris show, he said. Flying is limited laterally and vertically because of Le Bourget’s proximity to both to the city of Paris and Charles De Gaulle Airport. Flynn is also limited by time—he only has 6 min. for the routine at Le Bourget, where at most air shows he would have 10 min.

“We focused on the ‘wow’ factor and left out the elements of a routine that would be part of a non-Paris-type profile,” Flynn said. “You have to live inside very tight restrictive boundaries, but it still permits us to put on a show that I believe will squelch the critics once and for all.”

So how will the F-35 demonstration compare to the Raptor’s always-impressive routine? It’s very similar, Flynn said.

“We all love what the Raptor can do. I would say the F-35 and the F-22 both put on demonstrations that are unique to our fifth-gen maneuverability,” said Flynn. “But don’t forget, that’s not how we dominate—we dominate because of stealth and sensor fusion.”

The two F-35As from Hill AFB, Utah, arrived at Le Bourget Airport June 13 and will be maintained on-site by Air Force maintainers and security personnel. One aircraft will be flying, and one will be on static display.

The F-35 Lightning II Fighter Jet in Action (7:27 Long)

1st Aero Airfield Security Chief, Bob Wright, Tests New Drone

FASF Airfield Security Chief, Bob Wright, of Columbus, Testing his latest model drone in high winds at FAS 1916 Airfield.

Yesterday, Saturday, June 24, 2017, Bob, who actually lives adjacent our our Airfield, made one of his multi-weekly trips over to the FAS Airfield East-West runway, to test out his new drone in high wind conditions.  Surprisingly, this new hi-resolution video surveillance drone, although very small and light-weight, managed to cope with the windy conditions without any difficulty.

Bob has already accumulated thousands of feet of video of both the Airfield and local Columbus area from previous flights.  He plans to edit some of the footage so that we can post the aerial views of the field and town sometime this Summer.

When we post these aerial views of the field and Village, one will be able to see precisely what the intrepid airman of the First Aero Squadron witnessed daily when they flew their JN-2,3, and 4 model Jennies on missions out of Columbus a century ago.  Keep an eye out on our site for these upcoming aerial views by Bob of our FAS Airfield.

As is true of so many of our members, Bob has had a colorful and diverse career, most of it involving Aviation.  After retiring from the U. S. Army, where he was a Supervisor of Aircraft Maintenance (of both Fixed and Rotary Winged Aircraft) in widely diverse parts of the world, including Korea and Germany as well as stateside, he also worked for Northrup-Grumman Aircraft Corporation on their advanced “J STARS” project in Louisiana.  Once he had re-located  to Columbus, Mr. Wright served as the Columbus Fire Chief for some 7 years, before making his final retirement.

In addition to his varied work career, Bob is also a long time motorcycle enthusiast as well as automotive restoration buff.  Here, below, are two photos of several of Bob’s proudest restorations, for which he’s garnered numerous car show awards.  On his large property near the FAS Airfield, Bob designed and erected a large hangar styled restoration facility, in which he does most of his automotive refurbishing activity.  Bob’s wife, Brigitte, is from Germany, although he didn’t meet her there during his years of extensive service in that NATO ally, but rather in the U.S.  Brigitte has a passion for growing her local food and raises chickens in a luxury Chicken house built for her by her husband.

One of Bob’s proudest restorations is this VW Camper Van, behind which is another prize restoration, his BMW motorcycle aboard its custom built show trailer.

Completely restored vintage air-cooled BMW motorcycle, a prize winning gem, at a local show.  Bob is in background. Remember, to see any photograph in full resolution, simply click on it.


Can you help us solve this mystery?

The story’s source is from none other than our own long time member, Editor of the colorful EAA Chapter 555 Newsletter, Carl Bogardus.

Carl received this information from his mother’s brother, USAAF Major Benjamin Milam. The Major was stationed at Fort Bliss’s Biggs Army Airfield, in El Paso, TX at the time of the incident, and was involved in retrieving the wrecked Russian fighter,  a Bell P-63 Kingcobra, show below.  This fighter was extensively and successfully used by our wartime ally, the USSR, on many of its widespread battle fronts.

Bell-P-63 Kingcobra in flight

About 8 months before the end of WWII (on September 2, 1945), Carl has hard evidence from his Army Air Force uncle’s old mementos, including never before seen photos, that a P-63 fighter had crashed at Columbus.  Strangely enough, a local check has not uncovered anyone familiar with this incident.  We hope our members and other visitors to this FASF site might help shed further light on this mysterious crash, in which the pilot was apparently not even injured.

Here, below, are Major Milam’s photos of the crash site at Columbus.  We hope someone who visits this story might know about the incident and supply us with more information.  For instance, it would be useful to know if the ship crashed at the old Army Airfield, now owned and preserved by our FASF, or at some other open area near the town.  It you know anything about this crash event, then simply send us your remarks down below at the end of this story where is says: “Leave a Reply.”

Crashed P-63 Fighter at Columbus on 1-25-45. Aside from the collapsed L gear, the plane seem not badly damaged.

Another view of the crashed Russian P-63 Fighter near Columbus, New Mexico on January 25, 1945.

U.S. Army Air Force Photo of Carl’s Uncle, Major Benjamin Milam

Another photo of Carl’s uncle, then Captain Benjamin Milam, near a North American AT-6 Texan trainer

Selfie photo by Carl of himself happily sitting in his airplane at Las Cruces Airport, New Mexico

Aside from this as yet unsolved mystery crash at or near Columbus some 71 years ago, with which Carl’s uncle was somehow involved, the history and evolution of this sleek looking tricycle geared fighter, so popular with the Russians during WWII, is, in and of itself, an interesting story.  Let’s look at how the evolution to the final P-63 model that took place from the original P-39, Bell Airacobra:

All the information so meticulously documented at this link is thanks to the tireless research and work of Greg Goebel, who’s Internet Twitter Blog and Website, “Air Vectors” are dedicated to technical documenting of military and commercial aircraft from both past and present.  Greg’s comprehensive story about the evolution the WWII era Bell Aircraft Corporation’s Airacobra’s  may be second to none.

The comprehensive story of the P-63 “Kingcobra” used by the Russian Air Force is found at this Internet site.

Here is what Carl reported: “I don’t have all of my uncle’s service records, but have emailed my little sister, who should still have that material.  Major Milam was my mom’s brother.  After he finished flying in Europe, he came home and was made a B-29 instructor, but again, we don’t have much of the detail as to where, etc. After being discharged, he went back to ranching.”

And, here, below, is another Bogardus, somehow also related to Carl. This Bogardus flew with the First Aero Squadron out of Langley Field, VA right after WWI.  This Bogardus story comes to us through the courtesy of one of our favorite historians, Dr. Bob Bouilly, formerly with the U.S. Army Sergeant Majors Academy at Biggs Army Airfield, El Paso, TX.

First Aero Squadron JN-4, based at Kelly Field, San Antonio, TX, with Lt. Bogardus in the rear cockpit.

Here, below, are more of the details pertaining to the Jenny above photograph, also from Dr. Bouilly. Note that Lt. Almon Bogardus entered the wrong date for the formation of the 1st Aero Squadron as being 1914, when in fact we know that it was actually formed in Texas City, TX in the previous year, 1913.  The other dates he listed seem to be accurate.

 Click on the above image in order to see it full size and be able to read its text more easily.  The below photo shows the predecessor the the Kingcobra, the P-39, or Bell Airacobra with its Russian Air Force markings – identical to those markings originally used out of Columbus by the First Aero Squadron during the Punitive Expedition! Russian Air Force P-63 Kingcobras depicted flying  in action over Sakhalin in August of 1945