Category Archives: AVIATION NEWS

Aviation News of Interest

Modified WWII F-51 Mustang Sets New World Speed Record!

Steve Hinton on Speed Run in the F-51 “Voodoo.”

Thanks to our Aviation News Scout, Virg Hemphill, we’ve just learned that a highly modified F-51 North American Mustang fighter (see above photo) has just set the new world’s speed record over a four lap course at a private airfield in central Idaho.

The ship flew four laps over a three-kilometer course at an average speed of 531.53 MPH – the fastest lap was 554 MPH in the highly modified F-51 Mustang. Aerodynamic wing modifications by Aviation Partners, Inc. played a key role in achieving the absolute world speed record over the 3-kilometer course.

Congratulations to Steve Hinton and the Voodoo team!!! Although he did not beat Rare Bear’s record by 1% (averaged over four runs) he did achieve the fastest speed for his weight class and, in the process, become the fastest single piston-engine, propeller-driven aircraft of all time! Below see the aerial footage of the incredible achievement.

Sitting proudly in its hangar, is a full front view of the Voodoo.

Here’s a short (1:30) video of the speed runs which set the new speed record.

For some exceptional photographs of this pilot and plane, visit:

The Vintage Aviation Echo.

Steve Hinton, the exceptional pilot who has won the Unlimited Class in the National Championship Air Races in Reno, Nevada, multiple times, added his name to the record books this week as he broke the speed record for an internal combustion engine-powered airplane, Class C-1e, on a 3 km closed course. Hinton was flying a highly-modified P-51 Mustang named Voodoo, the airplane he has raced in Reno for the past few years.

 

Wright’s Drone Emulates Pilot’s Take-Off View From Airfield

Bob Wright, FASF Airfield Security Chief, flies his video equipped drone along the same pathway flown by Jenny pilots from FAS Airfield a century ago.  Since the prevailing wind direction at the Airfield is from the West, Bob took off into that wind – climbing to the West.

Bob added specific historical facts in his titling of this short (3:35) video.  The film depicts the scene that would typically have been witnessed by First Aero Pilots, while departing on their missions from their Airfield here in Columbus in 1916 and 1917.

Bob also carefully emulated the rate of climb one of the First Aero’s pilots would have experienced while taking off during the hot Columbus Summer months a century ago – which was a quite a slow rate of climb, especially when compared to almost any modern airplane.

While some of the buildings you will see passing under the Jenny (Drone) are new since 1917, many of them remain from the historic days of a century ago, although the densely populated Fort Columbus (later renamed Camp Furlong) with it many tents and shacks, is no longer extant.  But the skyline and the historic black water tower were here during the historic days during which the First Aero Squadron flew its many combat sorties deep into Mexico in pursuit of Pancho Villa and his Villistas.

The several red/orange roofed buildings, seen at 2:33 in the video, are actually structures of the 1917 Army encampment. These buildings are now in use at the local Pancho Villa State Park and often used by the FASF to make some of its local and numerous historical presentations.

An interesting environmental sidelight to this simulated take-off of a Jenny, is that the fairly dense mesquite and sage brush seen below were not the predominant ground cover of a century ago, While you’ll notice the runway created by the Foundation as the Drone takes off, there were no runways in 1916 or 1917, because runways had yet to be invented!  Rather, a century ago, the entire rectangularly shaped Airfield was completely cleared of its airplane unfriendly – and dangerous – ground cover.

While there was a great deal of sage brush and open range grass discovered where the Airfield had to be located, there was very little of the mesquite present.  Had there been as much mesquite as we see around Columbus, today, clearing the airfield would have been much, much more difficult, since the mesquite has extremely deep roots and the absence of modern day tractors would have meant that clearing would have had to have been done by multiple horse drawn field-clearing plows.  Heavy grazing by cattle during the intervening years removed most of the desert grass cover.  It has been suggested by some local environmentalists that the cows may have been the animals (many coming from neighboring mesquite covered Texas), that introduced the mesquite to the area’s desert landscape. 

DON’T HESITATE TO OPEN THE VIDEO TO FULL SCREEN, because Bob shot the film in HD!

Villezcas and Lambart Recruited into CAP by Col. Alan Fisher

Colonel Alan Fisher (USAF Retired), an active member of the Las Cruces, NM 024 CAP Squadron (L) with Ric Lambart (R) of the First Aero Squadron. They are standing by one the CAP Squadron’s two Cessna 182 Skylane Search and Rescue aircraft.   Colonel Fisher is holding (yellow device) an Emergency Locator finding device, used to locate crashed airplanes. The CAP Squadron 024 is a Composite Squadron, which means that it has both Senior Members (Adults) as well as youth or “Cadet” members.  Colonel Fisher is one of the FASF’s earliest members and, before retiring from the USAF, commanded the USAF ROTC, Detachment 505, until two years ago, commanded by FASF Trustee, Col. Ira Cline.

Alma Villezcas, (below center) the Treasurer of the FASF, was recruited into the CAP Composite Squadron 024, located at the Las Cruces, NM Airport, by Col. Fisher,  at the same time as was Ric Lambart.

CAP Cadet Technical Sergeant Michael Fry (L) explains cockpit layout to Alma Villezcas and her son, Kevin (far right).  Alma and Kevin attended one of the recent training sessions at Squadron 024’s Las Cruces, NM headquarters, where they were briefed and familiarized with the numerous major CAP Squadron’s equipment.

For those of our visitors and members not familiar with the CAP (Civil Air Patrol), it was first organized only a week prior to the entry of the U.S. into WWII.

Here is its brief history:

WWII photo of female CAP Pilot standing by a 1939 era Stinson Airplane.

“Since the Civil Air Patrol’s (CAP’s) formation during the earliest days of World War II, this vigilant organization of citizen Airmen has been committed to service to America. Founded on Dec. 1, 1941, as a way to protect the nation’s shorelines from invading German U-boats, the CAP has evolved into a premier public service organization that still carries out emergency service missions when needed – – –  in the air – – – and on the ground.

As a Total Force partner and Auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, the Civil Air Patrol is there to search for and find the lost, provide comfort in times of disaster and work to keep the homeland safe.
Its 56,000 members selflessly devote their time, energy and expertise toward the well-being of their communities, while also promoting aviation and related fields through aerospace/STEM education and by helping shape future leaders through CAP’s cadet program.
The CAP’s missions for America are many, and today’s adults and cadets perform their duties with the same vigilance as its founding members — preserving CAP’s 75-year legacy of service while maintaining its commitment to nearly 1,500 communities nationwide.
Today, the CAP has three (3) basic missions:

1)  Aero Space Education:

CAP Cadets with their small scale rockets during a CAP rocketry training program

CAP’s aerospace education efforts focus on two different audiences: volunteer CAP members and the general public.  The programs ensure that all CAP members (seniors and cadets) have an appreciation for and knowledge of aerospace issues.  To advance within the organization, members are required to participate in the educational program.  Aerospace educators at CAP’s National Headquarters at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., provide current materials that reflect the highest standards of educational excellence.  Aerospace education is divided into two parts:

Internal and External.

The Internal aerospace education (“AE”) program has two parts as well: Cadet and Senior. Cadets complete aerospace education as one of the requirements to progress through the  achievement levels of the cadet program. Senior members have a responsibility to become knowledgeable about aerospace issues and the AE program that CAP provides. They are further encouraged to share the information obtained with their local communities and school systems.

CAP’s external aerospace programs are conducted through our nation’s educational system.  Each year, CAP sponsors many workshops in states across the nation, reaching hundreds of educators and thereby thousands of young people.  These workshops highlight basic aerospace knowledge and focus on advances in aerospace technology.  CAP’s aerospace education members receive more than 20 free aerospace education classroom materials.

To learn more about CAP’s aerospace education programs, products, and other resources available to our members, go to www.capmembers.com/ae.  For information about joining as an aerospace education member (AEM) and to join online, go to www.capmembers.com/joinaem.

2)  Cadet Programs:

CAP Cadets at work during training session.

While there are many youth oriented programs in America today, the CAP’s cadet program is unique in that it uses aviation as a cornerstone.

Thousands of young people from 12 years through age 21 are introduced to aviation through CAP’s cadet program. The program allows young people to progress at their own pace through a 16-step program including aerospace education, leadership training, physical fitness and moral leadership. Cadets compete for academic scholarships to further their studies in fields such as engineering, science, aircraft mechanics, aerospace medicine, meteorology, as well as many others. Those cadets who earn cadet officer status may enter the Air Force as an E3 (Airman First Class) rather than an E1 (Airman Basic).

Whatever your interests: survival training, flight training, photography, astronomy-there’s a place for you in CAP’s cadet program. Each year, cadets have the opportunity to participate in special activities at the local, state, regional or national level. Many cadets will have the opportunity to fly an airplane solo for the first time through a flight encampment or academy. Others will enjoy traveling abroad through the International Air Cadet Exchange Program. Still others assist at major air shows throughout the nation.

3)  Emergency Services:

Growing from its World War II experience, the Civil Air Patrol has continued to save lives and alleviate human suffering through a myriad of emergency-services and operational missions.

CAP Cessna 182 Aircraft on mission

Search and Rescue   
Perhaps best known for its search-and-rescue efforts, CAP flies more than 85 percent of all federal inland search-and-rescue missions directed by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fl. Outside the continental United States, CAP supports the Joint Rescue Coordination Centers in Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico. Just how effective are the CAP missions? Approximately 75-100 people are saved each year by CAP members!

Disaster Relief  
Another important service CAP performs is disaster-relief operations. CAP provides air and ground transportation and an extensive communications network. Volunteer members fly disaster-relief officials to remote locations and provide manpower and leadership to local, state and national disaster-relief organizations. CAP has formal agreements with many government and humanitarian relief agencies including the American Red Cross, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Federal Aviation Administration, National Transportation Safety Board and the U.S. Coast Guard.

Humanitarian Services  
CAP flies humanitarian missions, usually in support of the Red Cross-transporting time-sensitive medical materials including blood and human tissue, in situations where other means of transportation are not available.

photo by CAP member Capt. Rebecca Meyers. taken during search mission base at Minden, Nevada.

Air Force Support 
It’s hardly surprising that CAP performs several missions in direct support of the U.S. Air Force. Specifically, CAP conducts light transport, communications support, and low-altitude route surveys. CAP also provides orientation flights for AFROTC cadets. Joint U.S. Air Force and CAP search-and-rescue exercises provide realistic training for missions.

Counter-Drug
CAP joined the “War on Drugs” in 1986 when, pursuant to congressional authorization, CAP signed an agreement with the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Customs Service offering CAP resources to help stem the flow of drugs into and within the United States.

 

Colonel Fisher would like to invite any and all interested citizens to explore membership in this historic public service organization, an enterprise which not only provides many critical public services, but one that also affords outstanding career training opportunities for its active members, both Seniors (Adult) and Juniors (or Cadet – Teenagers). Just click anywhere on this paragraph for more information on the CAP Website.

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.

 

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)