Category Archives: AVIATION NEWS

Aviation News of Interest

Wright Brother’s 1st U.S. Military Flyer Replica’s Engine Starts

 FASF Advisor, Jim Davis

Jim Davis (at Left), one of the original founders of the FASF, and still one of our principal Advisors, took the following 7 minute 14 second video of the exact replica of the Wright Flyer Military model, which was first tested in July of 1909 at Ft. Myers, Virginia, the site of the current Arlington National cemetery This particular event filmed by Jim was held to celebrate the 1st start-up and ground test of the identical engine to that which successfully launched that flyer into the air that eventful day.  The entire project to memorialize that first U.S. Military aircraft was manned and operated by old friends of Jim’s.  This video of his friends’ project, called The Wright Experience, is also narrated by Jim. 

Jim’s friends with the “The Wright Experience” team has now built four (4) of the Wright Flyer, B models, one of which crashed, killing the two aviators on board, in a rural Ohio field during the summer of 2011. The others are on display at museums across the country.  See the 2nd video below to discover more about “The Wright Experience” enterprise.

Without further ado, let’s watch this historic replica as it gets rolled out of its temporary hangar at College Park, MD’s historic “World’s First Airport,” adjacent to Washington, DC and Ft. Myers, where that original Wright flying machine was first tested and accepted by the U.S. Army Signal Corp’s newly founded Aviation group.  It was at College Park’s airfield where the Wright Brothers taught our earliest military pilots how to fly their unique aeroplane.  This is in celebration of the tenth anniversary of this event video taped by Mr. Davis.

Wright Flyer – – – and “The Wright Experience” team

(Video length 3:02)

Dockendorf Briefs Daedalians About War Eagles Air Museum

Honored guest speaker at this month’s Daedalian meeting in downtown El Paso, Texas, was Bob Dockendorf, long time member of the FASF and Executive Director of the War Eagles Air Museum (WEAM) at nearby Doña Ana County International Jetport.

Any of the following photographs may be seen in full high resolution by simply clicking on them.

                                                  Bob Dockendorf describes the history of the WEAM

Bob described the museum’s history and how it was started by fellow El Pasoans,  John and Betty MacGuire, both of whom were avid aviators, 32 years ago.

L to R: Roger Springstead, Charlie Overstreet, and Col. Bob Pitt.

Earlier this year Bob was elected to the El Paso Aviation Hall of fame in recognition of his many years of outstanding service to the local aviation community since taking command of the WEAM.

L to R at right: Bob Dockendorf, Col. Mario Campos, Larry Spradlin, Virg Hemphill, Roger Nichols, and USAF ROTC Cadet and Daedalian Flight Training Scholarship Awardee, Ammber Valverde.

His historical operation had 17,000 visitors this past year, guests who came to enjoy and learn from the museum’s exhibit of some 36 WWII, Korean and Vietnam era “war birds,” many of which are still in flying condition.

L to R: Alan Fisher, Roger Springstead, Charlie Overstreet, Bob Pitt, Scott Drake, Bob Dockendorf, Mario Campos (Flight Captain), Larry Spradlin, Virg Hemphill, and Roger Nichols, past Flight Captain.

In addition to the display of these vintage aircraft, this native of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, oversees a colorful collection of over 50 antique automobiles and motorcycles.  Bob has been an enthusiastic car collector for many years, and has also been both a student of aviation and history since he was a young man growing up in the Midwest.

                            Dave Ginn, who just returned from a quick tour to Iraq, describes his experience.

The WEAM also boasts an intriguing climate-controlled library consisting of thousands of books, periodicals, photographs and other documents, mostly related to aviation, automobiles and history.

Flight Captain, Colonel Mario Campos conducting flight business.  To his right, above (left to you) is his guest, former Army aviator and test pilot, Scott Drake.

The War Eagles keeps its admission prices low in order to expose the greatest number of people its educational exhibits and materials.  Students are admitted free of charge and veterans, seniors and military personnel are welcomed with a discounted admission price.

                                    Dave Ginn and Alan Fisher listen to Mr. Dockendorf

While the museum was initially the singular philanthropic enterprise of its founders, the MacGuires, Bob has recently begun to transition the institution from a privately funded non-profit educational enterprise, to one of a more self-supporting and public nature.  Although John MacGuire passed away in 2001, his wife Betty maintains almost daily contact with the Executive Director of her beloved museum.

                                   Colonel Norm Rice enjoys his desert while his wife, Ulla, looks on.

The assembled Daedalians, all members of the FASF, and who all also  know Bob well, expressed their enthusiastic appreciaton for his presentation. his fourth to this Daedalian Flight since becoming the museum’s CEO.

L to R: Dave Ginn and Alan Fisher

Mr. Dockendorf additionally explained his initiative for a new organization, The Rio Grande Aviation Council. The new group will be devoted to area aviation interests and development, and which will be composed of leaders from area aviation interests such as the CAP, EAA, Daedalians, The Quiet Birdmen, Amigo Airsho – – – and, yes, even the FASF.

                         L to R: Mario Campos and Jerry Dixon, and (sitting) Virg Hemphill and Roger Nichols

                                              L to R: Virg Hemphill, Roger Nichols, and Ammber Valverde

                                                    Roger Nichols and Ammber Valverde

                                            L to R: Scott Drake, Larry Spradlin, and Bob Dockendorf

                                                               Ammber Valverde and Virg Hemphill

                         L to R:  Ammber Valverde, Jerry Dixon, Virg Hemphill and Roger Nichols

                                                      Ammber Valverde and Alan Fisher

               L to R: Scott Drake, Roger Nichols, Virg Hemphill, Larry Spradlin, and Colonel Mario Campos

Like to Hear Captain Roger Victor’s Aviation Acronym Song?

         Jerry Dixon USMC

This time it’s thanks to another one of our ever alert Aviation Scouts, former Marine Pilot, Jerry Dixon, that we can bring you this lively and acronym loaded song, one delightfully produced by none other than the one-and-only, Captain Roger Victor.

Captain Roger clearly knows a great deal about the business of flying airplanes, so you can expect to see some of his creative humor again in the near future

Enjoy!

 

Put The Counsel to Music: You Can Always Go Around!

    Charlie Overstreet

From one of our finest Aviation News Scouts, Charlie Overstreet (L), comes this great song, one that gives those of us who like to drive aeroplanes about the planet, some outstandingly sound advice – – – some experienced counsel we need to NEVER forget! Hold onto your seats, and watch some of these truly WILD landings – – – or attempted landings.

Thank you Charlie!

His video is only 2:56 long. Remember to turn up the sound.

Time to Celebrate Founder’s Day – The EAA’s 66th Birthday!

Many of the FASF members throughout the country are active members of this great General Aviation organization, which was first begun in Wisconsin, 66 years ago this Saturday.  The majority of the two local or nearby EAA Chapters, the 555 in Las Cruces, NM, and the 1570 in Santa Teresa, NM, are active FASF members, for instance.  The growth of this non-profit aviation interest organization over the past 66 years is nothing short of phenomenal.

The EAA is  probably best known for its regular annual creation of the LARGEST AIR SHOW IN THE WORLD Each year at the organization’s headquarters in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, the EAA hosts this huge AirVenture aviation extravaganza.

It’s a show that has been normally pulling in some half a million attendees each year, and this past season’s 2018 attendance hit 601,000.  Not just does it pull people in such large numbers to witness its exciting air show events, but it also brings in a record number of airplanes, too: 10,000 airplanes just this AirVenture 2018.  Usually held the from the last Monday in July each year, it runs for a full week.  People book at B&B’s, private homes, and Motels and Hotels a year in advance just to be sure they don’t miss this lavish exhibition of Aviation, from Civil to military. Many others use the ample campgrounds for tents or the more luxurious RV parking facilities.

Here, below, is a short (1:05 minute) FOUNDER’S DAY video clip to summarize the event. By clicking anywhere on this following image you will be taken directly to the EAA’s Founder’s Day homepage, where you can again click to see the video itself. While at the EAA site, you may want to see some of their other fascinating and informative videos, also accessible on that page.

Here below is the “Best of Photography,” a video collage of the some of the best photographs selected from the vast numbers taken and submitted for judging at AirVenture 2018.  The video is thanks the EAA itself, and for their efforts at choosing the top photos taken from those submitted this past year. The video (8:54 long) does a fine job of giving both the uninitiated – and the experienced AirVenturists, a clear idea of the vast plethora of colorful and impressive aircraft that gathered to show off during last July’s one-week celebratory convention in Oshkosh.  If at your computer, with a large screen monitor, remember to go full-screen to more deeply appreciate these fine photographs.

If you find this topic of enough interest, just do a search in our small search window at the above right side of this page, and enter the word “AirVenture” (without the quotation marks), and, voilà, you’ll find other great full-action videos we’ve posted over the years that cover various other AirVenture adventures.  Enjoy!

This last video (below) is 33 minutes of outstanding show material, all shot during the AirVenture 2018 event by the AirShowStuff professionals.  You will of course also find their homepage right where it has been listed on our LINKS page for many years. Visit them and see some of the most colorful and exceptional video of airplanes in action to be found anywhere. These people are masters at their craft.

 

 

CHUCK YEAGER – 1st MAN TO BREAK THE SOUND BARRIER

Brigadier General Chuck Yeager went down in history, on October 14, 1947, as the first man to officially break the sound barrier in level flight.

These short video clips are of that occasion and are from various government and military archives.  Our previous post was about Edwards Air Force Base in California, which is where Yeager accomplished this historic feat.

The first film below is 5:40 long. Each Video below has sound, so make sure your sound is turned up, and you might also like to watch the video in full screen mode.

USAF BIOGRAPHY: Chuck Yeager Breaks Sound Barrier – 6:49 Long from the “Footage Farm.”

And, this following is a clip from the dramatization of the event taken from the segment devoted to the record making flight in the hit 1983 movie, “The Right Stuff,” about the selection and training of our first American Astronauts.  You will see Yeager’s wife, Glennis, waiting and watching his flight by their car, and his pilot buddies, including Pancho Barnes, owner of their favorite watering hole, The Happy Bottom Riding Club.  Barnes was, herself, a famous female stunt pilot.  This excerpt is 3:53 long.

General Chuck Yeager Spars with Jim Clash on the Forbes.com show, “Adventurer;” 5:56 long:

The following video is 3:04 in length.

Thirteen years later, in 2003, the General married a former actress. Victoria Scott D’Angelo, (at left) 36 years his junior.  The couple lives in Penn Valley, CA, where the General Chuck Yeager Foundation, which teaches children the ideals by which the famous test pilot lived, is located.  The General is now almost 96 years old.

 

Lambart Briefs Daedalians on U.S.’s new Joint Strike Fighter

A F-35 Lightning II test aircraft undergoes a flight check. (Photo courtesy of Lockheed Martin)

All below photos may be seen in higher resolution by simply clicking on them, and the videos all have sound and may be viewed at full screen, also.

The FASF’s Ric Lambart (at left) just briefed the El Paso, TX Daedalian Flight 24 on his 2018 visit to Edwards Air Force Base, CA Flight Test Center and about his introduction to the new Joint Strike Fighter, the Generation 5 new weapons system, the most costly ever purchased by the Pentagon. Here is a depiction of its relative costs:

  • The F-35 is not just the most expensive warplane ever, it’s the most expensive weapons program ever. But here is exactly how much a single F-35 costs.
  • A single Air Force F-35A costs a $148 million. One Marine Corps F-35B costs $251 million. A lone Navy F-35C costs a mind-boggling $337 million. Average the three models together, and a “generic” F-35 costs $178 million.
  • And, you might wonder how much it costs per hour of flight time:
  • $41,000 per hour.
  • The U.S. is the first nation to design, manufacture and fly a 5th Generation Jet Fighter.  The new F-35, the second “Gen Five” machine, will be operated by thirteen of our closest Allies. It was designed and manufactured by Lockheed Martin, who coincidentally also made its WWII namesake, the P-38 Lightning.  It is produced in three (3) models, or “Variants,” as shown above.  Notwithstanding its official name, the Lightning II, many of its operational pilots have given it another nickname: The “PANTHER.”

L to R: Colonel Alan Fisher and USAF ROTC Cadet, Ammber Valverde of UTEP and NMSU, chat after the F-35 Power Point presentation. Both are FASF members.

The F-35A model, for the Air Force, the B model, for the Marines and the C Variant, for the USN.

 

 

The Marine Corps B Variant can actually take off vertically, just like a helicopter, and can also land vertically.  The below short (1:40) video show how this is done:

Here is another short (1:35) video of this USMC F-35B operating off a small WWII type special aircraft carrier, which has neither a catapult nor a slant deck as do all new generations of USN Aircraft carriers.  Those features simply are no longer needed for this new USMC F-35 Variant:

Unlike all previous fighters, the F-35 “Lightning II” (named after the high-speed prop-driven Lockheed P-38 Lightning of WWII fame) is unique, not only because of its advanced stealth features, but because it is a flying combat information center, with advanced electronics capabilities never before seen in a new fighter.

It can also fly at supersonic speed for over 170 miles without even engaging its afterburner, which is called flying at “Super Cruise.”  The F-35 was designed to work together with the only other 5th Generation fighter, the F-22 “Raptor.” The two ships will work as a team in various combat scenarios, should their help ever be needed.

While the F-22 Raptor is more maneuverable, the F-35 is designed to engage and take out enemy aircraft long before the enemy has even detected the presence of the new flying weapons system. It can carry a wide array of different missiles internally, rather than attached to its fuselage and/or wings.  This of course does a great deal to enhance its stealth capabilities.

The Lightning II is actually capable of shooting down enemy aircraft beyond the horizon.  The pilots of this futuristic weapons system can actually see in all directions; wherever they look: including directly behind and directly below the fighter.  It the pilot looks down between his or her knees, they can see right through the fuselage as though it were invisible.

A number of electronic “eyes” are built right into the ship’s fuselage, and what they “see” is projected right onto the inside of the pilot’s helmet visor – – – a first.  These futuristic helmets alone are some $400,000 each! Here is a short (1:28) video about this unique helmet:

Additionally, Inputs from both ground intel and airborne recon craft are all displayed on the F-35’s integrated glass panel touch screen display, again, unlike any of its 4th or 3rd Generation predecessors.

Much like the mysterious Area 51, the existence of which was never even recognized by the Air Force until relatively recently, Edwards Flight Test Center also presents a similar air of mystery, since access to it is so highly restricted.

While on active duty with the Air Force, this reporter often flew in the vicinity of Edwards, but was always kept at a substantial distance, because the air space around the Base was so highly restricted.  As a result, this recent visit to the facility was anticipated with no small amount of excitement.

The local Daedalian Flight 56, at Edwards, invited a number of fellow Daedalians from around the country to make this special visit, so that they might learn about the United State’s newest and most advanced airborne weapons system. The 461st Flight Test Squadron, under the command of Lt. Colonel Tucker “Cinco” Hamilton (at right), played official host to the visiting Daedalians. An AFROTC graduate, Col. Hamilton has flown 30 aircraft from a zeppelin to a MiG-15 to an A-10, and, and managed the entire $3 Billion Joint Strike Fighter Developmental Test program out of the Pentagon for all three services. Cinco started his Air Force career as an operational F-15C pilot.

 

LATE BREAKING USAF NEWS: An officer at Edwards Air Force Base in California last month became the first female test pilot to fly an F-35.  See below:

(L-R) Maj. Rachael Winiecki, the first female F-35 test pilot, and Airman 1st Class Heather Rice, her crew chief.

Maj. Rachael Winiecki, a developmental test pilot for Colonel Hamilton’s 461st Flight Test Squadron, flew her first test flight in the Air Force’s most advanced fighter jet this past Dec. 14, according to the USAF.

 

L to R: Colonel Mario Campos, Flight 24’s Commander, who operated the Power Point Show, and our top Aviation News Scout, Virgil Hemphill. Both are FASF members.

And below, is a final video (2:00 long) showing the F-35 in a number of different combat scenarios and roles as it completed its final test program:

Lambart also gave the history of how Edwards Air Force Base was named, as seen immediately below:

USAAF Captain Glen Edwards.

L to R: Ric Lambart and Laura Kelly, both Daedalians, pose in front of one of Edward’s test F-35’s . Kelly was an Army Helicopter Pilot.

An old archived photo showing some of the Base’s famous Pilots, including Chuck Yeager at the center, with his wife, Glennis, after whom he named his rocket ship.. Yeager was the fist man to break the sound barrier – all at Edwards.

“Pancho” Barnes, (center below) who owned the famous bar and resort, “The Happy Bottom Riding Club,” was one of America’s most famous female aviators in her own right.  Aside from being one of Hollywood’s best stunt pilots, she was actually the organizer of the Hollywood film industry’s first Stunt Pilot’s Union.  It was at the “Riding Club” that her good friend, Chuck Yeager managed to break some of his ribs just before becoming the first human being to break the mythically impossible Sound Barrier in the Rocket Research Ship, the X-1, which bore his beloved wife’s name, “Glamorous Glennis.”  Of course Yeager didn’t tell anyone about his broken ribs for fear of missing this extraordinary opportunity to make history.  This particular incident is an episode in 1983 smash hit movie about the early astronauts: “The Right Stuff.” Yeager is played by actor Sam Shepard.  Pancho’s Bar and Grill was the favorite hangout of all those heroic early aviators who daily risked life and limb test flying our country’s most advanced new aircraft.  The below photograph was for sale at Iconic Auctions, in 2017, at the first offer of $1,000.

L to R: Pioneer Female Pilots: Debie Stanford, Pancho Barnes and Amelia Earhart.

Immediately below, is the 2009 award-winning documentary film’s trailer about the Barnes’ Riding Club and the famed aviatrix herself. It is 2:03 long: