Category Archives: AVIATION NEWS

Aviation News of Interest

This Year Marks the 25th Anniversary of EAA’s Young Eagles

FASF Member Melissa Keithly, wife of EAA Chapter 1570 President, John Keithly, signing in Parents and Young Eagles

FASF Member Melissa Keithly (2nd from Right), wife of EAA Chapter 1570 President, John Keithly, registering Young Eagles and Parents for their Flight Experience.


Young Eagles Emblem/Logo

Young Eagles Emblem/Logo







Melissa Keithly explains program to parent

                           Melissa thoroughly explains the details of the Young Eagle’s program to parents

NOTE:  All photos in this story can be seen in full high resolution by merely clicking anywhere on their surface, but you’ll need to click your browser back to return to the article.  Photos thanks to EAA Chapter 1570.

The YOUNG EAGLES project was started in 1992 by the Experimental Aircraft Association (“EAA“). The EAA is based in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, but has almost 1,000 chapters world-wide.

Back in 1992, the EAA saw the need for a steady stream of new pilots for both civilian as well as for military aviation.  Even in the early 90’s, the supply of pilots was beginning to fall short of demand, so the EAA came up with the novel idea of aggressively introducing more young people to the adventure, challenges and rewards of becoming an aviator.

They would do this through a new organization to be called the “YOUNG EAGLES.”

This year the EAA will celebrate of the 25th anniversary of this highly successful program.

If you have children or grandchildren between the ages of 8 and 17 (or even know of someone else who does), you might want to encourage them to enjoy the thrill of flying in a plane they can actually help fly – which is just what is in store for them if they participate with the Young Eagles.

Your webmaster has personally witnessed the excitement of this program in action and marveled at the broad smiles and enthusiasm on the young people’s faces, when they come down after their initial flights.  These new Young Eagles obviously realize how lucky they are to have parents willing to provide them with this unusual – and inspiring – first-hand aviation experience.

Keep in mind that the Young Eagles flight experience is gratis.  There is no charge for these flights.  The EAA Volunteer members supply their airplanes without cost to the participants or their parents.

To learn the details of this program, just check the EAA headquarters’ website right here to find the chapter closest to you, and then contact that nearby chapter to find out when they will be holding their next Young Eagles adventure.  Again, member pilots in each chapter of the EAA contribute both their own airplanes and their time to help introduce the children to the excitement of flying in a small General Aviation (“GA”) airplane.  Many Boy and Girl Scout Troops around the country actively encourage their Scouts to take part in this aviation experience, but no scouting affiliation is required to sign-up for the Young Eagle familiarization flights.

The two nearest chapters to the FASF Headquarters here in Columbus, NM, are the outstanding and highly accomplished EAA 555 Chapter in Las Cruces, NM, which can be contacted at 575.520.0451, where FASF member, Wes Baker, is the President.  One of the oldest members of Chapter 555 is the well known astronaut, Frank Borman.  Chapter 555 is a member of the FASF, and some of its members are among the FASF’s most active volunteers.  The EAA’s International Chapters Manager is a long time chapter 555 member – Brett Hahn.  Brett is also active member of the FASF.

One of the EAA’s newest chapters, number 1570, is located adjacent to El Paso, TX, in Santa Teresa, NM, at the Dona Ana County Jetport.  The 1570 President is John Keithly.  The best phone number for the Santa Teresa Chapter is 575.589.0269, which is the phone for the Red Arrow Flight Training Academy, an active member in both the FASF and EAA Chapter 1570.

Here are some photos taken at the most recent Chapter 1570 Young Eagles event.  Again, as with EAA Chapter 555, many of the 1570 chapter members are also active members in the FASF.

Volunteers Bob Dockendorf, Executive Director of the War Eagles Museum (in background) on the far right, and Deb Rothschild, Rotary Wing and Fixed Wing Flight Instructor, seen at far left, getting ready for the Young Eagles event.

Volunteers Bob Dockendorf, Executive Director of the WAR EAGLES AIR MUSEUM (in background) on the far right, and Deb Rothschild, Rotary Wing and Fixed Wing Flight Instructor, seen at far left, waiting for the Young Eagles event to begin.

Melissa's husband, John Keithly, president of EAA Chapter 1570, explains the flight plan to Young Eagle

Melissa’s husband, John Keithly, president of Chapter 1570, explains headset use and the flight plan to Young Eagle

FASF Advisor, Colonel John Orton, signs up a Young Eagle for his first flight.

FASF Advisor, Colonel John Orton, signs up a Young Eagle for his first flight.

Colonel Orton and Young Eagle

                                            Colonel Orton and another of his Young Eagle inductees

Colonel Orton explains flight plan and cockpit layout to next student.

                            Colonel Orton explains flight plan and cockpit layout to a female Young Eagle

John and his teen-aged Young Eagle give thumbs up after successful flight

                               John and his teen-aged Young Eagle give thumbs up after successful flight

After each flight the EAA Pilot carefully debriefs each Young Eagle and answers their questions

After each flight the EAA Pilot carefully debriefs each Young Eagle and answers their numerous questions

The Colonel explains some flight data on his plane's iPad

The Colonel shows his Young Eagle how pilots can use hand-held electronic accessories such as his iPad or an android device, to calculate many useful flight parameters, such as ground speed and arrival times . . .

Of course, the final step in each Young Eagle's flight experience is the documentation, including both a new Pilot's Logbook and a Flight Completion Certificate

The final step in each Young Eagle’s flight experience is its documentation, including both a new Pilot’s Logbook and a Flight Completion Certificate.

Melissa Keithly is kept busy with new registrants

                  Melissa Keithly continues to sign up more new Young Eagle Flight registrants

Boy Scout Troop members listen to their Pre-Flight briefing by one of the Chapter 1570 Volunteers. They are learning the important parts of the airplane.

Several Boy Scout Troop members listen to their Pre-Flight briefing by one of the Chapter 1570 Volunteers. They are learning the important parts of the airplane and have the opportunity to learn by asking questions of the Volunteer pilots.

Colonel Orton walks his next Young Eagle and his sister out to their flight.

Colonel Orton walks his next Young Eagle (and his older sister) out to the young man’s first flight.  In the background is part of the WAR EAGLES AIR MUSEUM, which is an active business supporter of the FASF and home to EAA Chapter 1570.

Colonel Orton explains to this Young Eagle how the headset works.

                                        Colonel Orton explains to this Young Eagle how the headset works.

Colonel Orton makes sure his Young Eagle student is comfortable and his seat belt properly secured.

           Colonel Orton makes sure his Young Eagle student is comfortable and his seat belt properly secured.

Both Young Eagle and the Colonel are clearly ready for the upcoming flight adventure.

Both Young Eagle and the Colonel are clearly ready for the upcoming flight adventure.

Chapter 1570 President, John Keithly explaining his airplane and its parts to his next Young Eagle student.

Chapter 1570 President, John Keithly, explains his airplane and its parts’ functions to his next Young Eagle student.

Chapter 1570 President and FASF member, John Keithly, indicates he and his student Young Eagle are ready to fly.

Chapter 1570 President and FASF member, John Keithly, indicates he and his student Young Eagle are ready to fly.

Colonel Orton and his Young Eagle taxi out to take off (in the oreground). John Keithly and his student are seen in the backgound also taxiing out for take off.

Colonel Orton and his Young Eagle taxi out to take off (in the foreground), while John Keithly and his student are seen to the upper right in the background, also taxiing out for take off.

Colonel Orton filling out his Young Eagle's Pilot Logbook after their flight.

                 Colonel Orton filling out his Young Eagle’s Pilot Logbook and Flight Certificate after their flight.

John Keithly defriefs his Young Eagle after their flight and gives him his souvenier Logbook.

      John Keithly (right) debriefs his Young Eagle student after their flight and gives him his souvenir Pilot’s Logbook.

Colonel Orton discusses the event's success with Flight Instructor volunteer Deb Rothschild (R).

                  Colonel Orton (L) discusses the event’s success with Flight Instructor volunteer Deb Rothschild (R).

From L to R: EAA members and volunteers; Mike McNamee (in whose hangar they are all standing); Judge Alex Gonzalez; Bob Dockendorf; and Roger Nichols getting read for post event celebratory luncheon.

From L to R: EAA members and Young Eagle Pilot and Program volunteers; Mike McNamee (in whose hangar they are all standing); Judge Alex Gonzalez; Bob Dockendorf; and Daedalian Flight Captain and former USAF Pilot, Roger Nichols, pose in readiness for post event celebratory luncheon.


     Short (2:26) trailer of full film “The Swamp Ghost” . . . David C. Tallichet’s* recovery of the B-17

High above recently captured Rabaul, New Britain, and piloting a fully loaded B-17E Flying Fortress, Capt. Frederick “Fred” C. Eaton, Jr. had just spotted his target – a 10,000-ton enemy freighter. As he lined up to unleash his payload, the bomb bay doors malfunctioned. The crew worked feverishly to open the doors as he circled for a second attempt. Japanese anti-aircraft batteries zeroed in on the lone bomber’s altitude and unleashed a hellish barrage, damaging the wings. This second time the young Captain once again carefully lined up their course and once again got the Japanese ship accurately targeted in their Norten bomb sight’s cross hairs. This time, thanks to the crew’s technical skills, the doors opened and the bombs fell toward their target. But, as if on cue, Japanese fighters swooped in, guns blazing. Eaton and his crew were in a fight for their lives.

The aerial battle raged, bullets and cannon shells riddling the Flying Fortress as it ran for cover. In the skirmish, tail gunner John Hall claimed an enemy aircraft while waist gunners William Schwartz and Russell Crawford added two more claims to the tally. In the aftermath, Eaton believed the port wing was severely bleeding fuel from an un-exploded flak round. Knowing he wouldn’t reach the safety of the refueling field at Port Moresby, New Guinea, he flew as far southwest as the fumes could carry them. Salvation revealed itself just as the crew determined the stricken bomber couldn’t climb over the towering Owen Stanley mountains — as an isolated swamp in the foothills of the New Guinea mountain crept into their range. Eaton skillfully glided the heavy aircraft into the swamp water for a wheels-up landing. The B-17 slewed sideways and settled in the deep kunai grass without even breaking up. Despite the running battle and the crash landing, there were zero casualties. Six weeks and dozens of malaria-infested miles later, Eaton and crew finally reached safety. The heroic crew was assigned another B-17 and continued to successfully fly for the rest of the war.

Captain Frederick "Fred" C. Eaton, Jr. Swamp Ghost Flight Log

Captain Frederick “Fred” C. Eaton, Jr.                                      The Swamp Ghost Flight Log

For more than seven decades, that lucky Boeing B-17E Flying Fortress, serial 41-2446, lay intact and virtually undisturbed, all but forgotten. In 1972 it was spotted by a Royal Australian Air Force helicopter and the local press dubbed it the “Swamp Ghost.” It is not the historical name of the bomber, but it is the name history has chosen.

Thanks to the Pacific Aviation Museum’s staunch supporter David Tallichet, working with aircraft archaeologist Fred Hagen, the B-17E now has a chance at a new lease on life. Now housed at Museum’s Pearl Harbor site, Swamp Ghost is arguably the world’s only intact and un-retired World War II-era B-17E bomber, a one-of-a-kind example of an aircraft that played an indispensable role in winning WWII. And it is the only B-17 in the world that still bears its battle scars.

B-17 Dropping its payload over Germany in WWII

B-17 Dropping its payload over Germany in WWII

One of most famous B-17 damage photos from WWII where its tail miraculously stay put . . .

One of most famous B-17 damage photos from WWII where its tail miraculously stay put . . .

That almost completey severed B-17 tail - still flying

That above almost completely severed B-17 tail ship – still able to fly

B-17 with major flak hit over Germany in 1944

B-17 with major flak hit over Germany in 1944

B-17G after raid on Cologne Germany WWII

B-17G after raid on Cologne Germany WWII

request-for-funding-picture  The above story is a modified version of the one told by the makers of the Swamp Ghost Film.

The iconic B-17 was widely revered during WWII for its many amazing survival stories.  While many were lost in battle, a few besides the “Swamp Ghost” survived their bombing runs with unbelievably severe damage, yet somehow still managed to return home to their bases, thereby carrying their crews back to home turf safety – – – to continue their successful missions to destroy the enemy, whether in the European-African theater or that of the Pacific, as was the case of the Swamp Ghost’s crew.

* David C. Tallichet, Jr. – From one of his obituaries

Founder of Specialty Restaurants Corporation

Born on December 20. 1922 and passed away on October 31, 2007.

Tallichet was born in Dallas, Texas, to David Compton Tallichet Sr. and Margaret Tallichet. After completing high school, he studied at the University of the South, University of Texas, and Southern Methodist University. With America’s entry into the Second World War, David signed up for military service. Pursuing his love for aviation, David joined the United States Army Air Force and was accepted for flight school where he successfully completed advanced flight training and was assigned to training on the four-engine Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress bomber.

He was then assigned to a crew and they flew a B-17 from the United States to Britain. Once in Britain, he and his crew became part of the 350th Bombardment Squadron, 100th Bomb Group, based at Thorpe Abbot. From this location, David and his crew flew 23 combat missions before the collapse of Germany and V-E Day. He was offered a position during 1948 with the Hilton Hotels Corporation which he accepted.

During 1955, David took the position of General Manager of the Lafayette Hotel which was located in Long Beach, California, and owned by Conrad Hilton. This would lead to a further career move that saw David and two partners obtain a lease with the Port of Long Beach and the opening of The Reef Restaurant during 1958. The opening of the Reef Restaurant was a pivotal point for David’s Specialty Restaurants Corporation which would go on to encompass over 100 successful restaurants located across the nation.

Tallichet is generally credited with being one of the industry’s true theme-restaurant pioneers; with such ventures as the Sunbird, Pieces of Eight, Shanghai Red’s, Ports O’ Call, Proud Bird, Castaway, 94th Aero Squadron, Crawdaddy’s, Baby Does Matchless Mine.

In the late 1960s David decided to begin collecting and restoring WWII aircraft to flying condition. He soon would develop the world’s largest collection of privately-owned flying WWII aircraft. He was often called upon to provide historic aircraft for films. He was able to fly his B-17 across the Atlantic to Britain to take part in 1990’s Memphis Belle. This past July, David took his Flying Fortress to an airshow in Michigan where he was honored as the last WWII combat pilot still flying one of these very rare aircraft. David Tallichet is survived and loved by his wife Carol Margaret Tallichet of Orange, California; daughter Catherine Ann of Jackson Hole, Wyoming; sons William Robert (Wife Jasmin: children Ashley and Catherine) of San Pedro, California; John David (Wife Karen: children Bryan and Lauren) of Newport Beach, California; and James Lee of Jackson Hole, Wyoming.


EAA's own restored WWII Flying Fortress Bomber, "The Aluminum Overcast" captured in Flight.

EAA’s own laboriously restored WWII Flying Fortress Bomber, “The Aluminum Overcast,” captured in Flight.

The Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) of Oshkosh, WI sends their restored Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress Bomber around the U.S. to both inspire Americans to explore the great adventure of flying, but also to help them more fully appreciate their own unique history, particularly the years of WWII, during which we fought for our very survival as a nation.

The Flying Fortress is almost surprisingly not a large airplane, but its reputation helped make it seem much larger than it really was (is!).  It is the American bomber that played a huge role in helping to turn the tide against the Axis powers in Europe, by “softening up” the Germans (and the Italians) for the D Day invasion.  Its upgraded and much larger Boeing version, the B29 Super Fortress, is the aircraft which delivered the atomic bombs over Hiroshima and Nagasaki Japan, finally ending the war in the Pacific.

Although a legendary airplane in the European theater, it was also a major player in the Pacific against the Imperial Japanese forces, as well.  We are posting an interesting story about a Japanese downed B-17 right here on this website, in addition to this video.  We’ve also already posted other B-17 stories in these pages over the years.  The Flying Fortress became famous after the war, also, when it was the featured flying machine in such highly popular Hollywood films as “12 O’Clock High,” “Fortress”, “Memphis Belle,” and “Flying Fortress.”

The famous and highly acclaimed Memphis Belle in flight – 2:00 Minutes in length

Memphis Belle takes WWII B-17 Air Force Crew Member Bill Yepes aloft – 70 years later: 6 Min. long

The EAA Chapters 555 of Las Cruces, and 1570, of Santa Teresa NM, were both honored to be able to work with the International EAA in helping introduce this historic Air Corps aircraft to the people of their respective and neighboring communities during January 2017.  While the local weather did anything but cooperate at both locations, the display and exhibition project was still quite successful, with many hundreds of visitors attending, and some even going aloft in the bomber at both events.  The FASF has a number of active members in both the EAA Chapters, and some both volunteered their time to help this B-17 exhibition and/or made sure to attend the events at both locations.

Here is a quickly spliced together video recording of the final day of the display, held at the Santa Teresa, NM Jet Port.  It is 24 minutes long, which is admittedly too long, but your webmaster is only beginning to get the gist of video editing, so expect a much briefer version of this longer video shortly.

A number of active FASF members either attended or volunteered to help make the exhibition and flight a success:  Tomas Peralta, who owns and manages the RED ARROW FLIGHT ACADEMY at Santa Teresa, directed the entire B-17 exposition, and two of his instructor pilots, Jim Foster and Debbie Rothschild, were very active in making the program a success.  RED ARROW is a proud business sponsor of the FASF. Also pitching in were FASF Business members Bob Dockendorf and George Guerra, who keep the great War Eagles Air Museum alive and well.

When the shorter video is posted here soon, we may also have some video footage of the actual flying experiences and views taken by some of our members, who shot their own in flight video.

Also actively volunteering in this “Aluminum Overcast” operation at the Jet Port were other members of the FASF, as well:  Col. John Orton (long time FASF Board Member and Advisor) was a key volunteer, and FASF activist member, John Read (Chief Park Ranger at the Columbus, NM Pancho Villa State Park), his wife, Ellie, and John’s Mother, also made the journey to take part in the Flying Fortress adventure.

13 Minute video of B-17G public demonstration event held at Sta. Teresa Jet Port January 22

Make sure and visit the companion post, THE SWAMP GHOST, which is about a recovered B-17, one shot down over New Guinea in the South Pacific during WWII, that was recently returned to the U.S. and is now undergoing its own restoration.

Here are some interesting facts about this famous American Flying Fortress Plane:

  • First built by Boeing in 1935 – as the most advanced heavy bomber of its day
  • Most used for carpet bombing during daylight over Europe (23,000 B17 Airmen lost)
  • 12,731 Fortress’ made by Boeing, Douglas, and Vega (Lockheed) during WWII
  • 1/3 of those were lost during WWII (4,750!)
  • The Fortress was U.S. bomber most flown by the WASP (Women Air Service Pilots)
  • Cruised at 150 MPH and had top speed of 287 MPH
  • At full load (9,600 lbs), it had a range of 2,000 miles
  • Powered by four Curtiss-Wright R-182-Whirlwind Engines of 1,200 HP each
  • The Memphis Belle and her crew flew all over the U.S. during War to sell Bonds
  • B-17C model used by the Royal Air Force of GB in first combat in April 1942
  • Early models had many problems and the British were not happy with it
  • The most improvement came with the model B-17E, which had the iconic big tail
  • Had a crew of 10 and had 10 50 Caliber Machine Guns – 13 machine guns in all
  • Carried 19,000 lbs of bombs in its Bomb Bay
  • Was equipped with the famous and highly secret Norden Precision bombsight
  • Its landing gear was the ‘old fashioned’ tail wheeled configuration
  • It was not pressurized, causing many crew member fatalities from anoxia
  • It’s ability to continue flying after massive air frame damage made it an icon

UK Vintage Rally’s Aviators Freed by Ethiopian Authorities

DATELINE: November 25, 2016 – BBC and other International News Services

This lead video is 6:10 in length.  Remember to turn up your volume.

Below is one of the short (1:24) videos of the event in progress [Negligible Audio in this]:

The following :45 video slide show pictures some of the Vintage Airplanes over African Route.  There is no sound with this short montage show below.

A group of international pilots taking part in a vintage plane rally have just landed in Kenya after being freed from detention in Ethiopia, organizers report.

About 20 aircraft had been impounded at the airport in Gambela, western Ethiopia, after crossing “illegally” into the country from Sudan.getty-of-vintage-racer-fueling

But the aviators, on a mission to travel the length of Africa, resumed their journey on Thursday.


Two of the racing aircraft approach the famous Victoria Falls, seen to the right of the red and white biplane with mist rising into the air . . .

One of the released pilots failed to arrive at the destination.

Old Airplanes of Rally Flying towards and over Victoria Falls

Three old biplanes of Rally Flying above Africa’s majestic  Victoria Falls . . .

Africa Live: More on this and other BBC stories

British pilot Maurice Kirk, 72, had already been reported missing once but was later found to be among the pilots detained in Ethiopia.

In a Facebook post, Vintage Air Rally said: “For the second time in two flights, Maurice is a no show. We have launched (again) an overdue aircraft process (now Kenyan rather than Ethiopian).”


One of the Vintage Race Planes taxiing near the Giza Pyramids in Egypt November 12, 2016 – Can any of you FASF site visitors identify the planes – both above and below?

Vintage Air Rally spokesman Jeremy Martin told the BBC that Mr Kirk was “officially off the rally but since we know he’s out there we can’t leave him”.vintage-air-ralley-006vintage-air-ralley-004 vintage-air-ralley-003

vintage-air-ralley-002All of the five photos above show the vintage airplanes taking place in this rally. Can you identify any of them?

All  five photos above show some of the vintage airplanes taking place in this rally. Can you identify any of them?

Diplomatic efforts

The head of Ethiopia’s civil aviation authority, Wosenyele Hungnall, told the BBC that the aircraft had crossed illegally into Ethiopian airspace from Sudan.

Ethiopia is currently under a state of emergency following a recent upsurge in violent attacks, and there is a military presence in Gambela because of tensions with neighboring South Sudan.

The rally was suspended while diplomats tried to secure the release of the pilots and crews.

On Thursday, Vintage Air Rally management said the pilots were free to continue their journey to South Africa.

Participants, from 13 different countries, are attempting to cover 13,000km (8,000 miles) using biplanes built between the 1920s and 1940s, and support aircraft.

The planes took off for Cape Town from the Greek island of Crete on 12 November.

The aviators are planning to cross 10 countries while making 37 stops in the month-long journey.

Aviators detained in Ethiopia while retracing a historic flight route along the length of Africa in 24 vintage planes and support aircraft should be freed in a few days, an Ethiopian aviation official said on Thursday.

The Vintage Air Rally crew, flying aircraft that include biplanes built in the 1920s and 1930s, are being held in Gambela, western Ethiopia, after traversing neighboring Sudan.

They have already flown from Europe and through Egypt and plan to end the tour in South Africa. The oldest plane taking part dates to 1928; the oldest pilot is 72.

“They did not have proper authorization,” Wesenyeleh Hunegnaw, director-general of the Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority, told a news conference in Addis Ababa.

“They are not under arrest. They are safe and will remain in Ethiopia until the review [of their situation] is concluded,” he said, adding the group had requested permission to overfly Ethiopia but had not followed rules and had stopped in Gambela without authorization.

When asked if that review would be completed within the next few days, he said: “Of course” but did not give further details.

The rally organizers said in a statement on Facebook on Wednesday that it was not clear why Ethiopian authorities had kept the aviators at Gambela airport rather than let them stay at a hotel where they had made bookings.

“Still detained,” the rally organizer, Sam Rutherford, said in a brief text message to Reuters when asked about their situation, adding that one member of the group needed “urgent hospital treatment” but an ambulance request had been refused.

He did not give more details.

The aviators’ aim was to cross 10 countries, making 37 stops in a little more than a month. They had been due to fly to Kenya after Ethiopia.

The organizers said in Wednesday’s statement that the British Foreign Ministry was aware of the situation.

President-Elect’s Private Air Force One “T-Bird” Corporate Jet

Donald J. Trump’s Private Air Force One Corporate Jet.  A Documentary  from early 2016

Donald J. Trump's Boeing 757-200 Corporate Jet, which he affectionately calls his "T-Bird"

                     Donald J. Trump’s Boeing 757-200 Corporate Jet, which he affectionately calls his “T-Bird

In light of the fact that our new President will be exceptionally experienced in General Aviation and aviation at large, we thought it might be appropriate to take a look at Mr. Trump’s now familiar large corporate Jet, his $100,000,000 private Boeing 757-200.  Although the President-Elect may no longer travel in his beloved 757 once in the White House, but rather the much larger 747 Air Force One, a peek into Mr. Trump’s 757 typical operation, in the videos that follow, might tell us something about his outlook towards the entire aviation industry, including General Aviation.

Keep in mind, also, that, in addition to his being a very active user of General Aviation by way of his private fleet of two helicopters and two corporate jets, the President-Elect once also owned his own Airline, the former Eastern Airline Shuttle, which became Trump Shuttle, once he had acquired it.  While Mr. Trump’s 757 is costly to fly, at about $15,000 per hour, Air Force One, on the other hand, makes that expense seem almost meager, since it costs almost $206,000 per flight hour to operate the much larger two-deck Boeing 747.

While it is certainly far too early to make any meaningful predictions on what sort of effect Mr. Trump’s change of address may have on General Aviation, he has made it clear that he intends to do all he can to make our military as strong as it once was.  This may mean that he intends to put an end to the Sequestration program that has so significantly cut into all branches of the service, particularly noticeable insofar as it severely curtailed participation in such traditional public aviation activities as Air Shows by both the Air Force Thunderbirds and the Navy’s Blue Angels exhibition teams.

In the meantime, let’s move one to the topic at hand, Mr. Trump’s now famous Boeing 757 private jet airliner.

John Dunkin is Captain and Chief Pilot of the Trump Boeing 757-200 Corporate Jet.  Mr. Dunkin has been flying for Mr. Trump since 1989.  His father, a military pilot, began teaching John to fly at only 15.  He could actually fly before he could drive.  John’s current job is far from comparable to that of one of today’s talented airline pilots, because his duties include far more than just piloting the aircraft, and this following second and longer video will make that fact clear.  John’s second in command, or co-pilot, is Larry Brian.

In a commercial configuration the Trump Boeing could carry as many as 239 passengers, if it were filled with economy seats, but there’s nothing “economy” about this ship.

Trump’s 757 is designed to carry only 43 luxury passengers secured with 24 carat gold plated seat belts, according to the video tour of the aircraft (the first and shorter video below) his company posted online in 2011. It features a dining room, big screen TVs, a master and a guest bedroom and even a shower.

“Everything that they did on it is very spectacular,” observed Dunkin during the filming of the Smithsonian Channel’s “Mighty Planes.” “It’s a very fast airplane for such a large craft and is extremely comfortable. It takes turbulence very well. It’s kind of like the Ferrari, but in the airline category of airplanes.”

757s have a top speed of 609 miles an hour can fly up to 4,400 miles without stopping, according to Boeing. It is nearly 125 feet wide (wing tip to wing tip) and more than 155 feet long.  It weighs in at 255,000 pounds or 127 Tons.

Donald J. Trump has a net worth of anywhere from $4,000,000,000 to $10,000,000,000, depending on fluctuating real estate and other investment valuations. His Boeing 757 is part of his air fleet, which also includes a Cessna Citation X jet and three Sikorsky Jet S-76B helicopters. Take flight on one of the most luxurious private jets in the world by viewing the second video below . . . and one of the biggest of all corporate jets. Trump’s Boeing 757 is three times the size of the average private jet – and much faster.

Tour of Trump’s 757 [3:31 Long] The Apprentice’s Amanda Miller gives a tour of Mr. Trump’s 757.

Now, if you have the time and interest, here, below, is a 45:52 Long Video about this now famous Trump “T Bird” Corporate Jet:







Published on Mar 20, 2016

Ron Alexander & FAA Official Killed in JN-4D N1662 Crash

Photo courtesy of Kevin Porter, who took this shot of N1662 in 2014.

Photo courtesy of Kevin Porter, who took this shot of N1662 in 2014.

We just lost American Aviation Great Bob Hoover, and now we have lost another American Aviation Giant, Ron Alexander, active member of the Experimental Aircraft Association’s (EAAVAA (Vintage Aircraft Association) Board. He and his passenger, an FAA official, were killed in Ron’s vintage Jenny JN-4D: (Shown above in photo by Kevin Porter), the same plane developed and perfected here in Columbus, NM a century ago during the Punitive Expedition’s 1st use of an American military airplane in a sustained combat environment.

The airplane, FAA number N1662, has been featured before on this FASF site’s pages.  The fiery accident occurred near Mr. Alexander’s own Peach State Aerodrome, Williamson, GA shortly after Mr. Alexander took off in the Jenny.  The pilot’s Candler Museum is one of the few existing that are exclusively dedicated to vintage airplanes. One of its featured aircraft was the same N1662 Jenny involved in Thursday’s crash.

Immediately below is a short (50 second) video of this same Jenny landing at Peach State:

Other news stories about this tragedy, which include more detail, may be found by clicking on the following links:

AOPA (Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association.

EAA (Experimental Aircraft Association).

Kathryn’s Report.

The Herald-Gazette.

Our heartfelt condolences go out to the Alexander family and to the many, many aviation enthusiasts and others who were privileged to have known this “Quiet Giant of Aviation.”

USSR Stole our Famous Super Fortress and Called it the TU-4

This story came to us from FASF Aviation News Scout Jerry Dixon (Retired USMC Pilot) of El Paso, TX.

It can be found on the website “B-29’s Over Korea” and was authored by Wayland Mayo.

The two short videos below provide some more visual background to this strange tale.  The B-29 was the most expensive weapon of WWII – more costly than even the Atomic Bomb, and it was this Superfortress B-29 that was used to drop the first two bombs on Japan, which bombings caused the Japanese to surrender – ending the long and devastating world war.

The following video about the B-29/TU-4 story is only 1:43 long, but the second slightly longer video (4:03), also below, pretty much gives a more complete story . . .

Russian B-29 Clone — The TU-4 Story

by Wayland Mayo


Probably the most significant development in aviation history is one which most Americans don’t even know happened. We worked hard to get our B-29 built so we could reach Japan, the retaliation that President Roosevelt so badly wanted. The Russians also wanted and badly needed a long range bomber as much as we did. The difference is, we engineered ours with ingenuity and perseverance, the Russians stole it. Read this fascinating story and you will find it hard to believe, but it actually happened. The B-29 is now as much a part of Russian aviation history as it is to American aviation history.


After the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt had a burning desire to retaliate by bombing Japan. This soon became an obsession with him, but how were we going to accomplish this seemingly impossible feat? The only long range bomber in our arsenal was the B-17, and the idea of reaching Japan became increasingly remote. We needed a Super Bomber, but did not even have one on the drawing board. Roosevelt fortunately had a solution to his problem, with time almost ruling out such an undertaking. His solution was Gen. H.H. Arnold, better known as “HAP”. Gen. Arnold was already pushing for a more sophisticated Air Force with long range capability. He sent a request to all the aircraft companies seeking designs for a Super Bomber. Boeing had been working on such a design and won the contract. They were to deliver two flying prototypes by 1942. It was to be the fastest, largest, heaviest plane ever mass produced. The U.S. ordered 250 sight unseen. Then Germany attacked Russia. The number was increased to 500 planes. On Sept. 21st, 1942, the Boeing XB flew out of the Seattle plant. This three billion dollar gamble was the largest government commitment ever to a single project, including the Atomic Bomb. There were residual benefits to this contract. It brought the country together. Boeing had four assembly plants, and hundreds of smaller plants making sub-assemblies. Finally in 1943 the first production model B-29 rolled out of the Wichita plant. Eventually over 4000 were produced, 1600 at the Wichita plant which employed 26,000 workers working seven days a week.

The first bombers were sent to the CBI area (China, Burma, India). Gen. Arnold realized we needed a place for damaged planes to land after bombing Japan. Roosevelt asked Stalin for permission to land in Siberia or Russia. Stalin evaded answering the request. Russia was not at war with Japan, and had their hands full fighting the Germans. They did not want to open up another front by taking on Japan. Our crews were told that after bombing Japan, only in an extreme emergency, to land in Vladivostok, Russia. On August 20, 1944, a B-29 was forced to divert to the Soviet Union. It crashed east of Khabarovsk after the crew baled out. The crew was interned in Russia.

The U.S. made version of the B-29

The U.S. made version of the B-29

About the same time three B-29’s with emergencies landed in Vladivostok. One of the planes was the “Ramp Tramp”, another was the “Ding Hao”. Ironically the third plane was completely intact was the Gen. H.H. Arnold Special!

The crews assumed the planes would be refueled and they would return to China. They were never to see their planes again. The crews and aircraft were all interned. Now the Russians were holding four crews and three complete B-29’s. Desperate negotiations by the U.S. for the release of the crews and the aircraft were ignored.

Stalin was continually pressured for the release of the crews and planes, however it soon became obvious that he had no intentions of giving them up. He decided to steal them. He figured it would take over five years to design and build their own much needed long range bomber. A better way would be to steal these already in his possession and make a bolt for bolt exact copy of them. Stalin demanded the reproductions be ready in two years. The entire Soviet aircraft industry was mobilized to meet this seemingly impossible deadline. At that time any dissension was met with punishment, even death. That would be considered sabotage to question a project. This project received top priority. The Russians were completely dumbfounded when faced with the enormity of the situation. They were fascinated with the gigantic “Silver Bullet”. What better luck than to have three of them dropped right in their back yard.

Finally through some bizarre diplomatic negotiations between the US and Molotov it was arranged for the aircrews to “escape” to Tashkent, Russia, via the Trans-Siberian Railroad. They were given adequate treatment while interned. From Tashkent they were transported by train and truck to Tehran, Iran, for their release. However their release wasn’t going to be that simple. They were warned not to talk to anyone, and had to sign top secret documents swearing them to secrecy. They were flown to Naples, Italy, and then shipped to N.Y. where they finally found freedom.

The Russian plan was to organize the best pilots, technicians, engineers, and aviation specialist to measure and catalog each of the 105,000 parts of the B-29. They decided to completely disassemble the Hap Arnold Special and use it for measurements. The Ding Hao would serve as a reference model, and the Ramp Tramp would be used for pilot training. Russian pilots would have a hard time figuring out the significance of the instruments, so their top pilot, fluent in English, labeled every instrument in Russian so their pilots could easily identify everything required to fly the B-29. The Russians were amazed at the quality of the workmanship and the technology involved in the manufacture of the B-29. The Soviet version would be called the TU-4, NATO code name “BULL”. After the Hap Arnold Special was completely dismantled they immediately realized the almost impossible task of “reverse engineering” the aircraft. It has been reported the Russians only had slide rules and even some used an abacus. All measurements had to be converted to metric sizes. Now they were running into major problems. Imagine the complexity of copying the giant R-3350 engine. They were not able to manufacture the wing fuel tanks. The compound curves of the plexiglass nose presented an unsolved problem, and pilots complained about distortion in the Russian copy. They did not have the capability to manufacture the huge tires. The massive landing gear also was a problem. The responsibility of copying the air frame went to Tupolev. There were miles of wires, and the sophisticated gunnery system presented the biggest problem. The Russians sent agents to the U.S. to try to purchase anything they could find in parts, plans, tires, or information pertaining to the B-29. The machine guns were replaced with cannons. The copying and manufacture of the R-3350 engine was turned over to Shvetsov.

The TU-4 project was well underway early in 1945. An increase in quality control and sheer perseverance moved things along. The end of the war with Japan made no difference in the production effort. It was full speed ahead. The U.S. had previously not believed the Russians had the capability to clone the B-29, it seemed totally inconceivable. The public Russian debut in the Aviation Day parade in 1947 changed their minds. The U.S. found itself in a panic situation when they learned the TU-4 was indeed a reality, capable of hitting any target in the U.S. There were reports of “one way” missions by hundreds of TU-4s carrying nuclear bombs attacking the U.S. This forced the U.S. to beef up their Radar systems, surface to air missiles, and interceptor jet fighters.

The Russian version of the U.S. B-29 Russian designation to be known as the TU–4 NATO designation was “BULL”

The Russian version of the U.S. B-29 Russian designation to be known as the TU–4.  The NATO designation for it was “BULL”

Meanwhile, back in the Soviet Union, problems continued to plague the TU-4 project. The advanced avionics of the central fire control gunnery system remained unsolved. There were problems with the pressurization system, and the R-3350 copy was overheating, had short engine life, runaway props, and in general these serious problems led to the total unreliability of the entire aircraft.

The Russians toiled endlessly on solving these problems, and it was not until 1949 that the TU-4 became fully operational with some 300 in service.

The TU-4 never saw combat. Some 850 were eventually produced. Before the 60’s arrived the TU-4 had been replaced by jet aircraft. A few were given to China, and there are reports these were kept flying as late as 1968. The Ramp Tramp and the Ding Hao were scrapped. The Hap Arnold Special was never put back together. The B-29 brought our country together, and made us a proud nation. The TU-4 became as much a part of Russian aviation history as the B-29 was to American history. As far as we know the only remaining TU-4 is displayed at the Yuri Gagarin Air Force Academy outside Moscow.

This story, as incredible as it seems, is all true. Just another page in aviation history.