Category Archives: AVIATION NEWS

Aviation News of Interest

Newest USAF Fighter’s Navy Version Needs No Carrier!

Thanks again to our local Aviation News Scout, former USAF and Airline Pilot, Virg Hemphill, we have just been alerted to another breaking news story.  You’re familiar with the huge new Aircraft Carriers being used and built by and for the U.S. Navy, well here’s the fastest front line fighter in our inventory showing off aboard a special new class of Navy vessel – BUT NOT AN AIRCRAFT CARRIER!

Watch the following short (3:05) video of the F-35B demonstrating its amazing performance from a small Navy ship:

EAA and WEAM HELP KEEP U. S. BARNSTORMING ALIVE!

Ford Tri-Engine Plane 6

Tracy Miller takes photos of the Ford Tri-Motor as it taxis this past week at the Santa Teresa International Jetport. Photo Courtesy of Mark Lambie and the El Paso Times Newspaper. Ford Trimotor Captain Steve Lambrick waves from cockpit.

1928 Ford Trimotor Flies Frequently at EAA/WEAM event at Dona Ana Jetport

Some interesting facts about the Ford Trimotors:

This particular ship is powered by three P&W R-985 Wasp Junior engines of approx. 400HP each.  But the planes could and were equipped with many different engines of more or less horsepower.

Different models also had different cockpit and windshield designs – some were streamlined (slanted back) and some actually slanted forward (as does this model in which we rode this weekend), while others were simply vertical windshield panes. Some had engine cowls on their outboard or wing mounted engines, some even on the nose engine, and some even had fenders over their wheels, while some others had streamlined fairings over vertical wheel strut supports.

Some Tri-motors were seaplanes and others were fitted with skis for snow bound operations.

The ship was first designed by William Bushnell Stout to be single engined. But Stout sold out manufacturing rights to his aircraft to Henry and Edsel Ford.  His designs were originally inspired by the all-metal German aircraft designer, Hugo Junkers, and closely resembled the German’s Fokker F-VII Trimotor.

Junkers sued Ford when he tried to sell the planes in Europe – – – and he won, since the Ford too closely resembled the Junkers G-24. While the corrugated aluminum sheeting was very strong compared to the flat sheets coming into use, it was aerodynamically productive of far too much drag.   Ford sued Junkers a second time, and the court in Prague again declared that the Ford Trimotor had impinged on the Junkers’ patents.

Ford’s later AT-5 version had drop-down cargo containers in the bottom part of inner wing sections.  More than a dozen Ford Trimotors were purchased by the Army Air Corps in the early thirties with varied engine models from 200HP to 300HP.  Ford’s pilot, Henry J. Brooks died in a test flight, causing Ford to lose his enthusiasm for aviation investments.

The Douglas DC-2 and 3 quickly outperformed and outclassed the Trimotors.  But Ford lent great credibility to the fledgling American aviation industry, and, while not profiting from his Trimotor production, the brilliant entrepreneur did bring about many important infrastructure innovations such as: paved runways, passenger terminals, hangars, airmail and radio navigation.  By the late 1920’s the Ford Aircraft Division was reportedly the “largest manufacturer of commercial airplanes in the world.”

Before abandoning his aviation enterprise, Ford designed “every man’s” airplane, a single seat commuter plane called the Ford Flivver in 1927.

Meantime, a total of 199 Ford Trimotors were built between 1926 and 1933, including 79 of the 4-AT variant, and 116 of the 5-AT variant, plus some of an experimental variety that were never produced.  One of Latin America’s earliest airlines, Cubana de Aviación, was the first to use the Ford Trimotor in Latin America, starting in 1930, for its domestic services.

Ford Flivver at left

Ford Test Pilot, Harry Brooks, is piloting the Flivver.

Below are the two videos (Part I and II) shot and edited by Ric Lambart on the last day’s ops. The first video is 7:07 minutes long, less the end credits and the second (II) is 14 minutes long.


Below is a video made by long time FASF Member and one of our top Historical Consultants, John Read.  He and his wife, Elli, joined in the fun and excitement over the weekend as you can see. (4:12)

Below is a KRWG Video with FASF Member, Brett Hahn’s, 2015 description (2:54):

Ford Tri-Motor Foundation – Dedicated to Building the Legacy Airliner from Scratch! –  (8:38):

 

Kermie (Kermit) Weeks’ Hurricane Damaged TriMotor being rebuilt in Michigan – (30:23) (Excellent Views of Plane’s Skeletal Framwork):

 

Greg Herrick’s 1927 Ford Trimotor – Founder of Golden wings Museum –  (27:46):

MODELS (Variants):

 

Variants

Ford 3-AT

The original Stout prototype; one built. (Destroyed in suspicious fire)

Ford 4-AT

Pre-production prototype, powered by three 200-hp (150-kW) Wright J-4 Whirlwind radial piston engines, accommodation for two pilots and eight passengers; one built.

Ford 4-AT-A

The original production version, similar to the Ford 4-AT prototype; 14 built.

Ford 4-AT-B

Improved version, powered by three 220-hp (165-kW) Wright J-5 Whirlwind radial piston engines, accommodation for two pilots and 12 passengers; 39 built.

Ford 4-AT-C

Similar to the Ford 4-AT-B, equipped with a 400-hp (300-kW) Pratt & Whitney Wasp radial piston engine, fitted in the nose of the aircraft; one built.

Ford 4-AT-D

Three aircraft similar to the Ford 4-AT-B, each with different engines and minor modifications.

Ford 4-AT-E

Similar to the Ford 4-AT-B, powered by three 300-hp (225-kW) Wright J-6-9 Whirlwind nine-cylinder radial piston engines; 24 built.

 

Ford 4-AT-F

One aircraft similar to the Ford 4-AT-E.

Ford 5-AT-A

Enlarged version, powered by three 420-hp (320-kW) Pratt & Whitney Wasp radial piston engines, accommodation for two pilots and 13 passengers, the wingspan was increased by 3 ft 10 in (1.17 m); three built.

TAT Ford 5-AT-B flown by Lindbergh

Ford 5-AT-B

Similar to the Ford 5-AT-A, powered by 420-hp Pratt & Whitney Wasp C-1 or SC-1 radial piston engines, accommodation for two pilots and 15 passengers; 41 built.

Ford 5-AT-C

Improved version, similar to the Ford 5-AT-A, accommodation for two pilots and 17 passengers; 51 built.

Ford 5-AT-CS

Seaplane version, fitted with Edo floats; one built.

Ford 5-AT-D

Increased-weight version, powered by three 450-hp (340-kW) Pratt & Whitney Wasp SC radial piston engines. The wings were mounted 8 in (20 cm) higher, to increase cabin headroom, but otherwise similar to the Ford 5-AT-C; 20 built.

Ford 5-AT-DS

Seaplane version, fitted with Edo floats; one built.

Ford 5-AT-E

Proposed version, the engines were relocated to the wing leading edges.

Ford 6-AT-A

Similar to the Ford 5-AT-A, powered by three 300-hp Wright J-6-9 radial piston engines; three built.

Ford 6-AT-AS

Seaplane version, fitted with Edo floats; one built.

Ford 7-AT-A

Redesignation of a single Ford 6-AT-A, equipped with a 420-hp Pratt & Whitney Wasp radial piston engine, fitted in the nose of the aircraft.

Ford 8-AT

One Ford 5-AT-C converted into a single engine freight transport aircraft. Six different engines ranging from 575 hp (429 kW) to 700 hp (520 kW) were installed.[18]

Ford 9-AT

Redesignation of a single Ford 4-AT-B, fitted with three 300-hp Pratt & Whitney Wasp radial piston engines.

Ford 11-AT

Redesignation of a single Ford 4-AT-E, fitted with three 225-hp Packard DR-980 diesel engines.

Ford 13-A

Redesignation of a single Ford 5-AT-D, fitted with two 300-hp Wright J-6-9 Whirlwind radial piston engines, and a 575-hp (430-kW) Wright Cyclone radial piston engine fitted in the nose of the aircraft.

Ford 14-A

Large three-engined version, powered by three 1000-hp (750-kW) Hispano-Suiza 18 Sbr piston engines (W engines: 3 x 6 cylinders), accommodation for two pilots and 40 passengers.

Ford XB-906

One Ford 5-AT-D was converted into a three-engined bomber aircraft.

United States military designations

XC-3

One 4-AT-A evaluated by the United States Army Air Corps, redesignated C-3 after evaluation.[19]

C-3

One 4-AT-A was redesignated from XC-3 following evaluation[19]

C-3A

Model 4-AT-E a military transport version, powered by three 235-hp Wright R-790-3 Whirlwind radial piston engines; seven built, all later converted to C-9[19]

C-4

One 4-AT-B acquired by the military for evaluation[19]

A C-4A

C-4A replica

C-4A

Military transport version, based on the Ford 5-AT-D, powered by three 450-hp Pratt & Whitney R-1340-11 Wasp piston engines; four built[19]

C-4B

One C-4A re-engined with three 450-hp R-1340-7 engines.[19]

C-9

Redesignation of all seven C-3As fitted with 300-hp (224 Kw) Wright R-975-1 radial piston engines[20]

XJR-1

One Model 4-AT-A for evaluation by the United States Navy[21]

JR-2

Military transport version for U.S. Marine Corps, based on the Ford 4-AT-E, but with three Wright J6-9 engines; two built, redesignated RR-2 in 1931[21]

JR-3

Military transport version for the U.S. Navy (one) and U.S. Marine Corps (two), based on the Ford 5-AT-C; three built.[21]

Ford RR-1 at Langley Virginia 1934

RR-1

Redesignation of the XJR-1 prototype[22]

RR-2

Redesignation of the JR-2 in 1931[22]

RR-3

Redesignation of the JR-3 in 1931[22]

RR-4

Designation for one 5-AT-C[22]

RR-5

Designation for two 4-AT-D, one each for the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marines[22]

 

 

 

ONLY ONE DAY LEFT TO FLY THE HISTORIC FORD TRIMOTOR!

The famous Ford Trimotor is again providing once-in-a-lifetime opportunities for the public to experience – first hand – the excitement of stepping back in a time machine to a period long before jet airliners or computers, let alone cell phones, some 89 years ago, in the vintage airliner created by the Ford Motor Car Company – which was busily concurrently making its latest Model A automobiles.  The below video is only 5:22 in length, excluding the short clip’s credits.

Several years ago, when the Ford Trimotor last visited Santa Teresa Jet Port adjacent to El Paso, Texas, all-time records were broken in the number of riders taken aloft.  This weekend’s attendance is already approaching some 200 riders.  If tomorrow’s weather is favorable, the number should easily exceed that count.

Local El Pasoan, Steve Lambrick, who flies as a Jet Captain for a major U.S. airline and is one of the small handful of pilots qualified to fly the famous antique airliner, is also an active member of the local EAA Chapter 1570.  Fortunately, he was able to arrange getting  selected to Captain the Trimotor for his fellow New Mexicans – – – and Texans.  Steve also keeps a second a home in San Francisco, more convenient for his airline work.

Captain Lambrick explained, during a break between flights, that there are numerous challenges the pilot faces when flying this vintage plane.  He described how the airliner takes an almost inordinate amount of physical strength to just manipulate the controls, particularly the rudders, which are critically needed, if one is to accomplish smooth turns, which are a necessity, if the passengers are to go home happy with their vintage flight experience.

If you read this in time, keep in mind that reservations are not necessary in order to experience this exciting adventure, but you may have to wait a while longer for the chance to board.  However, the wait itself can be interesting, because it’s possible to visit the adjacent War Eagles Air Museum, which maintains a comfortable temperature when the thermometer peaks outside.  The Museum is packed with a fascinating and large collection of, primarily, Wold War II vintage war planes.

Ticket prices are; Adults – $70, Children up to 17 – $50; and the walk up or no reservation prices are only five dollars more.  Rides will be given Sunday between 9:00 AM and 5 PM.

More information may be obtained by going to FLYTHEFORD.ORG and reservations are made by calling 1-877-952-5395.

RAID DAY 2017 – Rebirth of U.S. Civil Aviation Celebrated

NOTE: To see photos below in full resolution, simply click on them.  Cabalgata Photo by F Waitl

2017 Event Presenters: (L to R above): Dr. Robert Bouilly; Chief Ranger, John Read; Ric Lambart; and Florian Waitl.  Above photo courtesy of Karen Stewart.

Cabalgata Parade’s Horsemen and Women Pass the CHS* Depot Museum on their way to downtown Columbus, NM

Scene in downtown Columbus as the crowds begin to arrive for the start of the Raid Day festivities

Yesterday, Saturday, the 11th of March 2017 was celebrated in Columbus, NM in memory of the both the tragic raid on the small town back on March 9, 1916, and of the U.S. Military response that caused Columbus to be forever marked as the birthplace of American Air Power.

The town is overwhelmed each year about this time by thousands of visitors  Some come to get better educated about the history of what transpired there over a century ago, and others simply attend in order to enjoy the festive activities planned as part of the celebration by local entrepreneur, Norma Gomez, who is one of the pillars of this small village only 3 miles North of the Mexican Border town of Palomas, the town’s sister city.  Norma organized and leads the town’s Chamber of Commerce. One of the biggest crowd drawing aspects of the occasion is the highly touted international Cabalgata, an exercise in which hundreds of local and distant American horsemen and women come to the village and, correspondingly, hundreds of Mexican Vaqueros and horse-riding enthusiasts come up from deep into our neighbor to the South to join reins in bi-national friendship.

The Community usually celebrates the event on two different days: The first is a special memorial Service held only on the precise day of the actual raid on the town, or on the 9th of each March, but the town also again celebrates the event on the nearest weekend, so that those who are working or still in school are able to also attend in memory of the tragic raid.  The Columbus celebratory event is known at RAID DAY and regularly involves the great Cabalgata as one of the day’s highlights, an event that celebrates the good will between the two nations, something that did not exist to the same degree a century ago.

While townspeople and visitors convene in the Center of the village to take part in the annual celebration of RAID DAY, at the adjacent New Mexico State Park named after the Mexican rebel, Pancho Villa, who led the deadly raid over a century ago, many others assemble to hear selected speakers present various historical aspects and details about the legendary event of 1916.

This year there were three main presenters at the Pancho Villa State Park:

Dr. Robert Bouilly, just Retired U.S.  Army Historian

1st came Dr. Robert Bouilly (at left), recently retired Historian at the El Paso, Texas, Fort Bliss Army Sergeant Majors’ Academy.  Dr. Bouilly provided a pictorial history of the Army Camp at Columbus, later known as Camp Furlong, from 1908 (8 years before the infamous RAID) to 1924, the year in which the Camp was closed, permanently.  Coupled with his colorfully styled delivery, Dr. Bouilly’s numerous archival photographs from the period helped bring the historic military garrison back to life for his audience.  The former Army Historian presented his program in one of the actual Army buildings that still remains intact from the period he described, over a hundred years ago.

Dr. Bouilly has been a frequent source of new historical findings for the FASF and has been one of its most helpful advisors on historical matters relating to the First Aero Squadron’s operations both in Columbus and Mexico.  His personal library on the First Aero Squadron’s place in American and World History is most likely one of the most comprehensive to be found anywhere.

2nd came Ric Lambart, (at right) of the First Aero Squadron Foundation, who presented a Power Point Show that included not only archival photographs, but also videos. These graphics were used to help the audience understand his assertion that, while the launching of the Army’s Jenny Biplanes in response to the Villa raid marked the beginning of American Air Power, it was the result of the Army’s First Aero Squadron’s cumulative endeavor at Columbus, by 1917, that helped post WWI America experience a rebirth of its basically dead civil aviation industry.

While Europe had sped rapidly by American Aviation competency after the Wright Brothers’ historic 1st heavier-than-air flight, in respect to both military and civilian aviation status, not many years after the “War to End All Wars,” America once again managed to move ahead of its European competitors.  Lambart contended that it was what the First Aero Squadron at Columbus had accomplished in perfecting its fabled “Jenny” biplane before it entered the Great War, that essentially laid the fertile groundwork for the post-war civilian aviation boom that regained U.S. industry leadership – a position which the United States has been able to maintain to this day.

3rd (at left) came Florian Waitl, a native of Germany and former U.S. Naval Officer, who resides in Kansas City, Missouri. Florian is a military historian and analyst for the U.S. Army at Ft. Leavenworth, KS.  He regularly supports the Army and, specifically, the Command and General Staff College at the Fort, through the development and conduct of various “Staff Rides” on battlefields around the world. His private company, Human Dimension Leadership Consulting (HDLC), specializes in providing leadership development training not only to military clients but also to the civilian industry such as business leaders and CEO’s.

Mr. Waitl led an interactive and lively discussion with the assembled Pancho Villa State Park guests. His discussion topic was supported by a PowerPoint presentation that took a closer look at the manifold lessons in leadership that arose as the result of Pancho Villa’s Raid on Columbus and the subsequent “Punitive Expedition” into Mexico by General “Black Jack” Pershing a century ago.  He shared a great deal of his extensive knowledge about the many lessons learned on the battlefield in respect to leadership development and organizational improvements.  He also informed the audience about the dynamics and benefits of the field or virtual “staff rides” his company offers. Dr. Bouilly regularly conducted such “staff rides” into and around the Columbus area with his Sergeants Major Academy students from Fort Bliss, TX. The town’s residents and visitors will continue to see these staff rides being conducted around Columbus and the adjacent old Camp Furlong grounds.

L to R: John Read, long time FASF member and historical consultant, also the Chief Ranger for the New Mexico Pancho Villa Park in Columbus, discussing the Saturday presentation with Dr. Robert Bouilly, Retired U.S. Army Historian.

Opening Title Page of FASF Power Point Presentation for March 11th 2017

* CHS = Columbus Historical Society

A 1st! Top Leadership Award Goes to Female Fighter Pilot

Remember:  For  high  or full  resolution  on  any  of  the  below photos simply click on them . . . and then click your back button on browser to return to the original news post’s page.

F-16 Fighting Falcon Takes Off With After Burner Ablaze

USAF Thunderbird Exhibition Team Flies Their Fighting Falcon’s Over Manhattan

F-16 in Flight with Weapons Mounted and at the Ready

Another View of Falcon with Weapons Mounted Under And on its Wing Tips

Ric Lambart Presents Gen. Nichols’ Leadership Award To 1st Lt. Claire Bieber – Photo by Sgt. Amanda Junk, USAF**

Three active FASF members, also members of the local Order of the Daedalians (A fraternity of U.S. Military Pilots), Flight 24 of El Paso, TX, attended the graduation ceremonies for the latest class of new F-16 “Viper”¹ Fighter Pilots at nearby Holloman Air Force, Alamogordo, NM., this past weekend.  Ric Lambart was privileged to be the presenter of the General Nichols‘ Leadership Award to one of the 311th Fighter Squadron’s Top graduates.  When he did so, he was pleasantly surprised that the award was made to the only female in the class of 18 flying officers, 1st Lieutenant Claire Bieber.  Lt. Bieber went to the United States Air Force Academy on an athletic scholarship for Volleyball.  After graduation from the AF Academy, Lt. Bieber obtained her USAF Pilot’s wings and then went on to advanced jet training training at Holloman.  Lt. Bieber’s only sibling, an older sister, Kelly, also attended the Air Force Academy on an athletic scholarship, but in Soccer.  She also became an Air Force jet pilot and is stationed in Alaska, where she is Aircraft Commander of a large AWACS (Airborne Warning And Control System) aircraft.  Although neither of the girls’ parents are pilots, their grandfather was a B-24 “Liberator” pilot during WWII.  Lt. Bieber’s new assignment is in South Korea.  The Graduation Ceremony Banquet had close to 500 guests.

L to R: Colonel James Keen, Commander of the 54th Fighter Group and former Thunderbird Exhibition Pilot; 1st Lt. Claire Bieber; and Lt. Col. Michael Driscoll, Commander of the 311th Fighter Squadron at Holloman Air Force Base, NM – Photo courtesy of the USAF, Sergeant Amanda Junk photojournalist for Public Affairs Office of the 49th Air Wing

Ric Lambart describes how different the USAF is today compared to when he was flying, when no women pilots were allowed.  He related how thrilled and proud he and the other Daedalians were that one of the new generation USAF female pilots had just won the coveted General Frank A. Nichols Leadership Award – a true – and impressive – 1st!

L to R: Bronson Callahan and proud father, Roger Nichols, who is both an active FASF member and the current Flight Commander of the El Paso, TX Daedalian Flight 24.  While this photo is by the FASF photographer,  Bronson took most of the other non-Air Force photos.

L to R: FASF & Daedalian Members, Ric Lambart, Roger Nichols, and Colonel Bob Pitt, with Winner, Lt. Claire Bieber

L to R: Roger Nichols; 311th Commander, Lieutenant Colonel Michael Driscoll; Ric Lambart;  & Colonel Bob Pitt

L to R: Roger Nichols, Kelly Bieber, USAF AWACS* Pilot, her sister and Awardee, Claire Bieber and Ric Lambart

USAF AWACS Aircraft similar to one of which Kellly Bieber is the Aircraft Commander

*  An E-3 “AWACS” (Airborne Warning and Control System) aircraft  Similar to one of which Kelly Bieber is the Aircraft Commander – Official U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. John K. McDowell.

** Sgt. Amanda Junk’s other photographs of the Graduation Ceremony and Banquet held March 4th can be found right here on the HAFB Facebook Page.

¹ The “F-16 Fighting Falcon” is also well known by other nicknames besides the “Fighting Falcon.”  Other popular nicknames are: “VIPER“; “ELECTRIC JET“; “SWEET SIXTEEN“; and the “LAWN DART,” the latter name having a somewhat derogatory implication, the result of the earliest experimental versions having had so many technical problems and accidents.  However, it is now generally agreed that this multi-role supersonic fighter is about the most maneuverable air superiority jet fighters ever put into production.  The F-16 was first put into service by the U.S. in 1978, but has been continuously improved to the present day.  The USAF expects this fourth generation fighter to remain on active duty until 2025. 

The official name of this fighter is “Fighting Falcon” and the name was the result of a world-wide USAF “Name the Plane” contest held in the late 1970’s, when Technical Sergeant Joseph Kurdell of McGill AFB, FL. won with the name, “Fighting Falcon.” The winning name occurred to him as the result of his fond memories of attending many Air Force Academy sports events when he’d been stationed near there years earlier.  The Air Force Academy’s official Team Mascot/Logo is the “Fighting Falcon.”

 

Sooo – You Thought You Knew All About the P-51 Mustang?

North American Aviation P-51 Mustang in Flight

North American Aviation P-51D Mustang in Flight – Click on this photo to see 2:17 Slocum high resolution video on site

The story that follows this write-up is thanks to FASF Aviation News Scout, former Air National Guard Member and Phoenix, AZ distinguished architect, Mike Mangino.

Sooo – you thought you knew most everything there is to know about the famous and much distinguished Army Air Corps’ P-51 Mustang, its top WWII fighter aircraft?  Well, read on and be surprised at what you might learn about this beautifully classic, yet lethal weapon.

mustang-mk-i-fighter-being-test-flown-in-inglewood-california-united-states-in-1942-before-being-delivered-to-the-british-royal-air-force-

Early Mustang MKI, with US Markings, being test flown near Inglewood CA NAA Plant in 1942, before delivery to the RAF

After the war ended and during the Korean conflict, it became known the F-51, in its final version.  Of course, the “P” for the early version stood for Pursuit, and the later “F” stood simply for Fighter.

p-51a-mustang-during-a-test-flight-near-the-north-american-aviation-plant-in-inglewood

Later P-51A (U.S. model) Mustang during test flight near the North American Aviation plant in Inglewood, California

Did you know that is was the fastest propeller driven fighter during the war – that its top speed approached 500 mph?

Last Mustang Model, the P-51H, seen in flight

Last Mustang Model, the P-51H, configured with two seats, seen in flight – note the full view bubble canopy

P-51A, "Miss Pea Ridge" in Flight

P-51A, “Miss Pea Ridge” in Flight

Almost Spiritual Depiction of Mustang Above the Pacific and Clouds, the Pilot with Open Canopy to Savor the Airman's Majestic View from on High

Almost Spiritual Depiction of Mustang Above the Pacific and Clouds, the Pilot with His Canopy Open to Savor the Unique View that so Inspires the Airman to Continue Soaring on High

p-51a-mustang-fighters-side-by-side-at-north-american-aviation-plant-at-inglewood-california-united-states-1943

P-51A Mustang fighters, with different propellers, Parked Side by Side on Ramp at NAA Plant in Inglewood, CA in 1943

Well, there’s even more to this fabled and beautifully designed propeller driven war machine than many of us even suspected.  While most of us know that it played a vital role in helping the  Allies win WWII in Europe, it wasn’t even designed for the American Air Forces!

In truth, it was designed by a naturalized German American designer, who was employed by North American Aviation (NAA) in Los Angeles, CA – way back in the late 1930’s – and it was designed for the British – – – not the United States Army Air Corps, a branch of the service which mistakenly believed its bomber fleet was so advanced that it needed no fighter protection – none!

Well, this story is about that terrible miscalculation on the part of the top Army Aviation leadership, a mistake so serious that it literally cost us thousands of lives – of bomber crews who didn’t stand a chance against the Nazi’s high performance ME-109s and Focke Wulf (FW) 190 fighters, which picked off the unprotected U.S. bombers like sitting ducks.

The following article sheds a new light of the fabled and much loved North American “Mustang,” as it was affectionately known by its pilots and crews – both its British and later American crews.  The pages of this FASF website have devoted much space, both pictorial and video, to this great WWII fighting machine and, of course most of you visitors have your own personal experiences with the Mustang – having possibly even flown it, or at least seen it perform its magic in the skies over the crowds of American Airshows or maybe even at the popular Reno Air Races, in which its presence is always a certainty.

You’ll discover in the following story how our own highly touted Allison liquid-cooled V-12 engine, which was originally the designed power plant for the Mustang, was just not adequate for the air superiority fighter’s challenging role.  You’ll learn how the English Rolls Royce Merlin V-12 had to be the replacement power plant for the troubled American Allison.  You’ll see how that big change gave the Mustang utterly amazing new performance excellence, and how that same Merlin engine, which was already powering the great British Spitfires, too, actually made the Mustang much faster than the Spitfire.

Did you know that our highly decorated and famous Air Corps General, Hap Arnold, actually believed that drop tanks for the P-51 were unneeded?

This story is a remarkably insightful – an outstanding job resulting from painstaking and brilliant historical research.  We think you’ll agree that this piece reports on the real – and more complete history of the Mustang.  In fact, this piece ends up rewriting – significantly correcting – the official (propagandized) version of the colorful history of not just this remarkable airplane, but of how the war, particularly the costly bombing campaigns were actually fought over the European Continent.  By reading this revisionist Mustang history, a piece from carefully reconstructed U.S. Air Service records, you’ll learn many new aspects of the Mustang’s true roll in the history of our victory over the Axis powers.  We’d venture that you will come away with a new and deeper understanding – and likely even more respect for this fighting machine’s actual role in our European victory.

Without further ado, here’s the insightful and possibly even shocking, yet true story, about this highly acclaimed WWII Fighter.  Its widely respected authors are James Perry Stevenson and Pierre Sprey. Click on the red underscored text above to see the full story.

James Perry Stevenson is the former editor of the Topgun Journal and the author of The $5 Billion Misunderstanding and The Pentagon Paradox.

Pierre M. Sprey is a co-designer of the F-16 fighter jet, was technical director of the U.S. Air Force’s A-10 concept design team, served as weapons analyst for the Office of the Secretary of Defense for 15 years and has been an active member of the military reform underground for the last 35 years.

20 – P-51 Mustangs take-off! HUGE formation of unique humming Merlin V12 power plants fill the air!

By the way, do any of you know how many P and F-51s are still flying?  Your webmaster suspects there may be more of these vintage fighters airworthy and operational today than any other single model of a WWII airplane.  Please make a comment on site if you know the answer!


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.