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MAKING OF TIME’S HISTORIC 1000 DRONE COVER PHOTO +

While we’ve all heard of the new DRONE rage, have we ever before seen anything even approaching this sort of orchestration?  Hardly.  This TIME Magazine special cover event seems to be a first for such an extravagant enterprise – – – 1,000 individual Drones flying in perfect synchronization in order to achieve the desired result.  Just imagine creating the software to bring this plan to a successful reality.

Without further ado, here is the short (4:28 long) video of not only the final effect of the project, but of a fascinating insight into the behind-the-scenes efforts that made it all possible.

Some of our FASF Drone enthusiasts, such as Bob Wright, John Read, and Warren Talbot have already created some footage for our site, so if any of  you out there have some interesting airborne videos from your Drone flights, please let us know and we might be able to share those videos with our viewers right here, too.

Remember, the U.S. Military is already deeply involved in the use and development of their own DRONE technology.  All branches of our Military establishment, however, prefer their own nomenclature for their DRONE ops, preferring to call them UAV’s (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) rather than Drones.  The Army and Marines are using UAV craft as small as an insect, to as large as the GLOBAL HAWK and even full-sized multi-engined aircraft.

The earliest genuinely successful DRONE or UAV technology was likely first experienced during WWII with the use of DRONES (as they were then called) for target towing missions, but this soon evolved into actual combat applications (see videos below). When one considers that modern computer technology was not available in that era, what was done with simple radio remote controls is impressive.

Interestingly, the small private aircraft called the MOONEY MITE, a single place ship, is and example of what was done after WWII, when wartime Drone work and design helped lead to concepts such as the small primarily wooden constructed MOONEY MITE plane, a small ship designed to fulfill an expected new market made up of returning WWII fighter pilots.  It’s designer, Al Mooney, had worked earlier for the CULVER AIRCRAFT COMPANY just prior to and during WWII, where he was the principle designer of the CULVER CADET an airplane which is discussed in the short (3:45) video immediately below:

Here, again below, are some short videos to show how DRONES were used, long before either computers or even TV were known to the general public.  This first video is 1:24 in length.

As early as WWI, aviation designers and engineers could see the advantages of UAV’s, so had begun work on the concept.  In the post WWI era, and especially in the 1930’s, a great deal of effort, some of it even successful, was undertaken in Great Britain, by the Royal Navy.  In 1933, a modified floatplane called Fairey Queen was tested as the first flightless drone aircraft. It crashed on two out of three trials, but by 1934, Queen Bee, a modified Tiger Moth aircraft, followed with greater success.

Training gunners on these rudimentary models wasn’t a very realistic simulation, but a solution was soon to come from the United States in the form of British-born actor Reginald Denny, and his Radioplane Company. After years of trying desperately to interest the US Navy in the Radioplane-1, Denny finally succeeded in 1939, and over the course of the war some 15,374 models of Radioplane were built.

As an interesting aside, did you know that film star Marilyn Monroe once worked assembling these radio controlled UAV’s?  At that time, her later movie name wasn’t yet part of our culture, so, at Radioplane, she was known as simply Norma Jeane Dougherty, the 18 year old wife of a U.S. Merchant Marine Seaman.

Fast, agile and durable, Radioplanes were fitted with responsive radio controls and were better able to mimic the speed and agility of enemy fighters.  Even during the D-Day summer of 1944, the Allies turned to high-stakes DRONE warfare. Under the code name Operation Aphrodite, radio-controlled bombers were packed with explosives and guided into the air by Allied pilots instructed to eject before their planes reached high-value targets in territory controlled by Nazi Germany. (Killed on one of these treacherous missions was the Navy aviator Lt. Joseph P. Kennedy Jr., older brother of U.S. President John F. Kennedy).

Below is a USN video (8:10 long) that depicts the Navy test of a TDR-1 combat Drone in the Pacific:

As for the advent of and actual deployment of the new variety of “insect sized” UAV’s, that will have to wait for a later post, but here is some descriptive material about that avenue of research right here.

1st AF Female Hispanic Ftr. Pilot to Emcee at AirVenture 2018

                                                         Lt. Olga Custodio winning her USAF wings

American Airlines Captain, Olga Custodio

May 31, 2018Hot off the newswire from the EAA:  The EAA Founder’s Innovation Prize has added another highly regarded aviation expert to the lineup for the Tuesday night competition during EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2018. Retired Lt. Col. Olga Custodio, the first female Hispanic fighter pilot in the United States will be the emcee, presenting the five finalists in the live showdown. The Founder’s Innovation Prize, presented by Airbus, is in its third year and challenges EAA members to share their best solutions for lowering the rate of in-flight loss-of-control accidents, the leading cause of fatal accidents in the general aviation community.

Custodio retired from the U.S. Air Force Reserve with 24 years of service. Among her countless achievements, she was the first Hispanic female to graduate from U.S. Air Force undergraduate pilot training, became the first female T-38 UPT (Undergraduate Pilot Training) flight instructor at Laughlin Air Force Base, and then became the first female T-38 pilot instructor training flight instructor at Randolph AFB. She was awarded the Air Force Air Education and Training Command’s Aviation Safety Award for superior airmanship during a bird strike and engine failure emergency and for executing a safe heavyweight landing in weather minimums.

After resigning her U.S. Air Force commission, Custodio entered the Reserve as an officer training school instructor and began her 20-year career flying for American Airlines. She has logged more than 11,000 hours of flight time.

See Custodio and the five Founder’s Innovation Prize finalists at An Evening with Innovators on Tuesday night July 24 at Theater in the Woods.

Those who still wish to submit their idea for the competition must do so before 11:59 pm CT on Friday, June 1, for a chance to win one of three cash prizes.  Visit www.EAA.org/prize to learn more.

Below is a 7 minute long video is of an interview by FOX NEWS TV of Retired USAF and American Airlines Pilot, Olga Custodio.

MORE ON AMERICA’S NEW FRONT LINE FIGHTER – THE F-35

Long overdue on its scheduled delivery, and clearly well over its earliest budget estimates, the F-35 has hardly been without its share of public scrutiny and even legitimate criticism.

But here are a few videos to help you understand that this machine’s status – and reputation – are in a constant state of flux, but do appear to be moving in the right direction, in terms of the Stealth Jet’s ability to not only overcome its early deficits, but to actually pleasantly surprise even some of its harshest critics as to its true lethal combat capabilities.

Below, by way of The joint Forces Channel, is this 2:28 long video that poses this post’s basic question re the current combat readiness of the Air Force’s latest 5th Generation fighter, in particular, how it stood up in the skies above Edwards Air Force Base to combat capabilities against the Air Force’s middle aged 4th Generation (now more accurately, 4.5 generation), but thoroughly and actual combat proven, F-16 Viper (or, if you prefer the official General Dynamic’s Name – the Fighting Falcon:

Below, thanks again to The Joint Forces Channel, is a 2:12 long video entitled:

Reaction of a highly experienced combat F-16 Pilot After Flying the new F-35

Below, 7:24 long, courtesy of “New Update Defence” is a video entitled:

Here’s why the F-35 once lost to F-16s, and how it made a stunning comeback.

And here is a short commentary video (1:56 long) by USMC Colonel Steve Gillette, entitled “Why the F-35: It can go where other aircraft can’t.”

The USAF Will Soon Switch to the U.S. Army’s OCP Uniform

Yesterday was Armed Forces Day here in the United States and some of the breaking military news is that the new OCP (Operational Camouflage Pattern) Uniform for the USAF will be none other than that of the U.S. Army.  Does this look like going full circle: back to the roots of the Air Force – – – in the U. S. Army?The U.S. Air Force is adopting the Army‘s Operational Camouflage Pattern (OCP – above) as its new combat uniform and will begin incrementally phasing it in beginning this coming Oct. 1.

The service will soon be scrapping the Airman Battle Uniform, known as the ABU, for the Army’s OCP over the next three years.  It is anticipated that all airmen will be wearing the OCP by April 2021, according to Maj. Gen. Robert LaBrutta, the Air Force director of Military Force Management Policy, and Deputy Chief of Staff for Manpower, Personnel and Services.

“Enhancing our readiness, the OCP is a uniform for form, fit and function,” LaBrutta told reporters May 9. “It is the best-of-breed of utility uniform that we believe is in the inventory.”

Airmen will have the option to sew on their name tape, service tape or both. Officers will have their rank on their patrol caps. Both enlisted airmen as well as officers will have their last names on the back of their caps.

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein concurred: “The uniform works in all climates — from Minot to Manbij — and across the spectrum of missions we perform,” he said in a news release. “It’s suitable for our airmen working on a flight line in Northern Tier states and for those conducting patrols in the Middle East.”

“Everything on the configuration is the same as the Army wears the uniform; we’re just going to make some small color variations,” according to LaBrutta.

LaBrutta said the uniform also helps promote joint services integration. Since 2012, nearly 100,000 airmen have already worn the new uniform when deployed overseas in places like Afghanistan or while operating outside Air Base boundaries.

Just like their Army counterparts, airmen who go into combat zones in deployed locations will receive the fire retardant OCPs, which is standard now, LaBrutta advised.

Service members have asked about the new uniform at almost every town hall gathering, said Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson.  The focus has been, “How do we make it easier [and] what works for airmen,” she commented on May 4.

FAS Editor, July McClure, Gets CFD & FASF Awards for Service

 Capt. July McClure

Chief Andres Ramos

Long time Editor of the First Aero’s Aerodrome Newsletter, July McClure, (at left) made two home runs yesterday at the Columbus Fire Department’s Annual Open House event.  The two awards caught July by complete surprise, which made the recognition that much more special.  Fire Chief, Andres Ramos (at right), presented July with a special award in appreciation of her continuous thirty-three (33!) years of volunteer service with the Fire Department and community of Columbus, New Mexico. July is a Captain in the Columbus Fire Department.

The Fire Department facilities are just West of the  historic 1916 First Aero Squadron Airfield.

Next it was the FASF’s turn, as this writer had the honor and privilege of presenting July with a special FASF Recognition (for volunteer service) Certificate of Appreciation for her years of work as both the Editor-in-Chief of the Aerodrome Newsletter, and for her role as official Recorder of Board of Trustee Meetings, not to mention her hours of work at various public events helping the FASF staff its exhibition booths.   July is a woman of diverse talents, one with which Columbus has been blessed for well over thirty-five years. 

Born in Washington, DC, of parents who were both professional musicians, and whose Dad, Jimmy,  was also a US Naval Aviator, she was then was raised in Colorado, where she went on to obtain her Bachelor’s Degree in Cultural Anthropology.  But the call of entertainment was too strong, and she quickly joined a cross-country touring orchestra as both an instrumentalist and vocalist, which included a gig in a West Coast radio comedy show. 

When she later married, and moved to Columbus, her profession changed to that of a Journalist, where she ended up  working as a full time staff reporter for both the Deming Headlight Newspaper and the Desert Winds Magazine. 

However, Ms. McClure never lost either her interest in acting – or music – continuing her second career as an actor, appearing at least once almost every year in various theatrical productions.  July also owns the esteemed Tumbleweed Theater in downtown Columbus, and regularly performs as a musician across SW New Mexico, most often as a member of the Spring Canyon band, which features Dev Olliver of Columbus and Paul Smith of Deming..

She often joins up with other local entertainers such as Bud and Jeane Canfield  (Bud is one of the First Aero Advisors) and Deborah  (“Dev”) Olliver, who’s photos of July from yesterday appear below.  Dev, herself, is in another of yesterday’s photos, seen chatting with Columbus’ new Mayor, Bruce D’Salas.  July has also served a number of times as an elected member of the Columbus City Council and consistently remains active in area politics.  The following photos depict yesterday’s Open House Events at the Columbus Fire Station facilities.    

HTo see any photos in full HD resolution, simply click on them H

                                   July, as left, opens her FASF Achievement Award as Ric Lambart looks on.

FASF Award for Oustanding Echievement given  July McClure at Columbus Public Event on May 5, 2018

                                      Ric reads the Award’s Inscription to the audience as July looks on.

L to R above: Captain July McClure, trying to read the Fire Department’s Award Inscription as Former Fire Chief, Pablo Montoya, looks on and Presenter, Fire Chief Andres Ramos, reads the Award’s text to the crowd.

                                           Captain McClure proudly shows the Award to the audience.

The Emergency Air Ambulance Helicopter landed on the City Baseball Field across from the Fire Station so the public could tour it up close.

View of one of entrances to the Fire Station – Below the Blue Canopy seen through the doorway, is where some of the volunteer Fire Fighters worked over the grill to prepare the event’s barbeque main course.

View of some of the many pies and cakes prepared by the public, which were auctioned off to the highest bidders as a way to raise money for the Fire Fighters.

The Emergency Native Air Ambulance flight Crew enjoys the event’s food: At left is Teresa Nystrom, Flight Paramedic; center is Billi McNary, Flight Nurse, and the Helicopter’s Pilot, Manny Garcia, is at right.  Their Air Ambulance Helicopter is stationed at the Deming Airport.  Their presence at the Volunteer festivities was courtesy of NATIVE AIR AMBULANCE, an AIR METHODS COMPANY.

Part of the crowd of visitors.

More of the guests enjoy their meals.

Additional visitors arrive and search for dining table space.

L to R: New Columbus Mayor, Bruce D’Salas chats with FASF Photographer, Dev Olliver.

L to R above: Chief Ramos watches as Battalian Chief, Walter Simpson (who also received a Service Award), cuts into the Fire Department Cake, and Captain McClure and Assistant Fire Chief, Pablo Montoya, also look on.

 

NEW MEXICO DECREES FAS AIRFIELD A STATE HISTORIC SITE

Accordingly, the state directed its Department of Transportation (DOT) to immediately survey the most appropriate location for a new Historical Marker Sign, designed to mark the Airfield and describe its unique place in New Mexico and National history.

Today marked the first time the DOT Engineers visited the Airfield and the area on which the new Historical Sign could most advantageously be erected, once it is designed and fabricated for installation.  Below are the two DOT Engineers who completed the site location task and marked the site for the new sign.  Click on any photo to see it full-size and resolution.

When the sign is completed and the installation occurs, we will announce the event in advance, so anyone interested might join the ceremony and the following luncheon celebration at the acclaimed Pink Store, a long time business supporter and member of the FASF, in nearby Palomas,Mexico.

Stay tuned!

Congratulations to FASF 1st Vice President, Jason Adams, who has spent the past two years shepherding the Historic Recognition Project through the state agencies and commissions to a successful completion.

Above are the DOT Engineers at the FAS Airfield. L to R are Miguel Garcia and Baltazar “Bronco” Granados

Above, L to R, again, at the NW corner of the historic Airfield are Engineers Miguel Garcia and “Bronco” Granados.

With the site selected on which to erect the new historical marker sign, engineer Granados marks the location with white paint in readiness for the installation crew.  In the background, to the left above, you can see the old CAA Power Shed building that was once on the Airfield to power its Radio Navigation Antenna Tower and also its Flashing Light Airways marker beacon.  The CAA used the 1916 Airfield as one of the “intermediate” emergency airfields for the first Transcontinental Postal Airways System.  The first airplanes used to carry the U.S. mail were none other than the indomitable Curtiss Jennies, the same planes developed, tested and proven right on the nearby 1916 FAS Airfield.

FASF Airfield Site Chairman Gives PP Show to Daedalians

Yesterday, at the El Paso Club in downtown El Paso, Texas, FASF Airfield Site Chairman, Bill Madden, of Las Cruces, NM, gave a special Power Point Presentation to the General Frank Nichols Daedalian Fight 24 monthly meeting. Almost 100% of the Flight are long time active FASF members.  Bill and his Airfield Site team have worked for years with their metal detectors and GPS gear scanning the Airfield in order to determine the correct place on the Field to erect our replicated 1916 Jenny Flight Line and its hangar facilities.  Without his team’s tireless efforts we’d have no idea of precisely where to locate the old Flight Line.  Click on any photo below to see it in full resolution/size.

Former US Military Pilots, L to R: Col. Norman Rice, Roger Springstead, Jerry Dixon, Col. Bob Pitt, and meeting’s Speaker, Bill Madden, FASF Airfield Site Chairman, choosing their meals for the luncheon event.

Bill Madden opens his presentation with a slide showing his motorized glider in front of his Las Cruces NM Hangar.

Screen has photo of (L to R) Mark Drexler, Bill Madden, and Fritz Wagoner, the 1916 Army Airfield Archeological Team, with their metal detecting gear in hand, posing right on the FAS 1916 historic Airfield.

Bill explains how the team has marked all of their findings on the Airfield Site’s Satellite Map. Artifacts are identified and color-coded based upon the type of remnant discovered.  The patterns will help determine the correct location for the replication of the old 1916 Airfield’s Flight Line (hangars and repair facilities).

Bill talks about the type of maintenance equipment the Army’s First Aero Squadron had to accomplish their work. The 4 wheel-drive truck shown has an engine hoist on its rear bed.  The FAS mechanics above are seen hoisting one of the Jenny’s Curtiss built OX-5 V-8 cylinder engines.

Bill wound up his presentation showing him airborne in his powered single seat glider.  He has owned and flown a number of general aviation class airplanes over the years and has actually personally built some of them.  Beside being a professional engineer, Bill is a licensed FAA Air-frame and Power Plant Mechanic.  Bill belongs to and has been an officer of the Las Cruces, NM EAA Chapter 555, and has also belonged to the famous EAA chapter 1, at the Flabob Airport in California.

After the meeting, Bill talked about his work with FASF Aviation News Scout and former USAF and Airline Pilot, Virg Hemphill at left.

Above, L to R, are Bill, Daedalians and FASF members, Ric Lambart, and Colonel Bob Pitt, who have just awarded Madden with his gift from the Flight, in appreciation for his having shared his time and expertise with them.