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The Great 2019 Paris Air Show – This Past Monday June 17th

Oshkosh (in Wisconsin) is the biggest Air Show here in the States, but in Europe, it’s the bi-annual Paris Air Show, held at Paris’ famed Le Bourget every other Spring.  It’s billed as the world oldest show, having been first held in 1909.

Here is the great aviation videographer, Sam Chui’s, BEST OF THE 2019 PARIS AIR SHOW.  It is 23:25 long. Sam shows us all of the very latest in both business jets and regular airline equipment.  He’ll even give you a quick peek at some futuristic automated air taxi designs during his tour.

Remember to go full-screen on both of these videos to more fully appreciate their high resolution photography.  And don’t forget your sound, too.  Here you’ll see the arrival of French President Emmanuel Jean-Michel Frédéric Macron  and other dignitaries, as well.  Mr. Chui will also bring the viewer to the inside displays, where you’ll bear witness to a WWI fighter aircraft, not just the most recent flying machines.  You’ll even get a sales talk from some of the manufacturer’s reps and a few of the well-informed Flight Attendants, too.  Also a cockpit tour of a brand new glass panel LCD display by a female Aircraft Captain.

Next is a video of last Monday’s opener, and some highlights of the opening day of the Show captured by Airailimages on Monday, 17 June 2019. The Russian Beriev jet seaplane air tanker is a must-see.

Also, the Rafale fighter put on a great show, as did Airbus and Boeing large jetliners. It’s a sprawling event with acres of aircraft and vendors. The first part of the week is for business attendees only, but later on the show grounds are available to the public. The show provides a good media platform for photography, which happens to be near a staging area for aircraft in the show. This occasionally has the unintended effect of masking the sounds of the flying aircraft with other sounds on the ground, but the spectacular view offsets that disadvantage.

 

75 YEARS AGO TODAY – D-DAY – JUNE 6, 1944 – MEMORIAL

It was in the crucible at Columbus that by February 5, 1917, we witnessed the result of the evolution of the airplane which gave birth to American Air Power – that same mighty force without which D-Day would surely have failed.  Because it did not fail, today we memorialize that final turning point; the event which resulted in a victory that saved the free world from certain enslavement by the Axis powers.  This is that Memorial service; celebrated today in Great Britain, at the place from which “Operation Overlord,” the greatest seaborne invasion force ever seen, was successfully launched.

This production was videographed today by the BBC at Portsmouth, GB

You can see it in full screen by simply clicking on the full-screen button at the lower right.

URBAN AIRCRAFT – A BRIEF VIDEO VISIT TO NASA’S LANGLEY

Facinating new concepts for the future are the daily fare here at the NASA Langley Research Facility, adjacent to Langley Air Force Base, in Virginia.  Here’s a short (3:04) peek into some of their work.  This video’s topic is about the NASA Langley Project entitled, “Advanced Urban Air Mobililty  Technology Testbeds.”

If you’re at all interested at what the skies above urban America might look like in another ten to twenty years from now, you’ll enjoy this short video.

Holloman Air Force Base Wing Meets the FASF and its History

    Col. Patton introduces Ric Lambart

Long discussed and requested, it finally came to pass:  The FASF presented its history, and how that history resulted in the actual creation of Holloman Air Force Base (HAFB), all our other Air Bases, Army Airfields and U.S. Naval Air Stations across the world, and, in fact, left virtually no place on earth unaffected by both the military and civilian aviation era that was born in Columbus, NM in 1916 and 17.

Yours truly had the privilege of presenting the unique First Aero Columbus history of how American Air Power was born during the Punitive Expedition of 1916, and of how American Civil Aviation was contemporaneously also re-born – – – and in the same place.

Thanks to a special invitation of the base’s Operation Group’s Commander, Colonel Jeff “Tank” Patton (left above), an FASF member, his troops had the opportunity to learn many new things about their own, the nation’s, and the Air Force’s actual history.

49th peronnel file into the HAFB Theater to hear more about   their history.  Photo by Col. Patton.  The woman in the center left front row corner is the HAFB Historian, Martha Whipple.

Among the estimated 400 some odd airmen at the Base Theater on Tuesday of this week, only a small handful actually knew of this part of their history, the very history it is the mission of the FASF to help protect and preserve for future generations.

Colonel Patton is the Commander of the 49th Operations Group at Holloman. His Group maintains and manages Air Combat Command’s most complex and diverse airfield and airspace operations, with three live-fire air-to-ground ranges and more than 58 thousand square miles of military operating airspace.  

The Group also supports remotely piloted aircraft (“RPA“), the deadly MQ-9 Reaper,” Air Education and Training Command’s F-16, German Air Force Tornado flight training, Joint test operations, and NASA, while providing combat ready Airmen for worldwide combat commitments.  There are several RPA MQ-9 Reaper photos at the end of this post.

 Here are some photos of this week’s event:

Colonel Patton (R) Discusses the program as Lambart (L) listens.  This photo is courtesy of Lt. Colonel Trevor “Phantom” Merrell, the 49th operation Group’s 9th Attack Squadron Commander.

        Lambart pointing to one of the FASF Power Point Slides during his presentation.  Photo by Col. Tank Patton.

      Lambart during the lecture.  This and the below photo were also taken by Lt. Col. Trevor “Phantom” Merrell.

Col. Patton presents Lambart with the special commemorative “Challenge Coin” of the 49th Operations Group in appreciation to the FASF for its presentation.

       Here are some photos of the MQ-9 Reaper RPA’s and F-16 Vipers used by the 49th:

MQ-9 “Reaper” remotely piloted aircraft are lined up in the 49th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron hanger at HAFB. Taken by J. M. Eddins, Jr.

MQ-9   Reaper Firing an air to ground missile.  USAF photo

 

The sun rises over an MQ-9 Reaper remotely piloted aircraft at Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico. Courtesy of  J.M. Eddins, Jr.

A Reaper crew at their work-station ‘cockpit.  From thousands of feet above the terrain, the Reaper crews can focus in on targets with incredible sharpness, often with enough magnification to read license plates on vehicles.  USAF photo.

F-16 Viper Fighters break formation.

 

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It Took 2 Years – But The FASF Has its NM Historical Marker!

Thanks to the untiring efforts of our 1st VP, Jason Adams, the FASF now has its own local NM State Historical Marker firmly planted near our historic 1916 Airfield, which, as Columbus Mayor Bruce D’Salas’ official business card proudly states:  is “The Cradle of American Air Power.”

Let’s take a photographic look at the sequence of actual physical events that took place before the two-year long process of obtaining state approval for the Historic Marker was successfully completed.

The entire lengthy process took place under the jurisdiction of the New Mexico Department of Culltural Affairs. The Department’s web pages describe the process involved: “The markers happen through a strong partnership among the Historic Preservation Division, the Cultural Properties Review Committee, New Mexico Department of Transportation – and the public.” 

All of these agencies and groups must have been queried and counselled in order for such a Historical Marker to be approved, and then finally contructed for the site it represents.  As you might imagine, Jason had a big task in hand to get this objective reallized, and it took no small amount of patience to weather the long process involved in the achievement.  But, today, we now have this marker in place, with its own highway tourist/visitor pull-off parking area so that passing motorists can conveniently pull off state Highway 9, right in the town of Columbus itself, to safely read both sides of the sign’s historical inscription.

Remember: Just click on any photo below to see it in full-size and hi-resolution!

L to R: Miguel Garcia, of Deming, NM, and Baltazar Granados, who actually  hails from Columbus, are with the New Mexico Department of Transportation (DOT), and did the original site survey work for the new FASF Historical Marker.

Miguel and Baltazar pose by their truck before commencing the survey work. The FASF billboard marking the 1916 airfield is behind them to the left.

Here is Baltazar measuring the dimensions for locating the new Marker Sign. Highway 9, in the forefront, has a steep drop-off shoulder closer to the Airfield, so these men had to find the nearest place where the shoulder was relatively flat, so that passing motorists might easily park their vehicles when they go over to read the Marker Sign. These men began this stie work almost exactly one (1) year ago!

Here we see the men from the P&M Sign Company Team working to erect the new sign, which was made by their firm under contract to the state of New Mexico. P&M makes most of these historical marker signs for New Mexico.  They are located in picturesque Mountaiinair, NM.  This work was completed by them this past September

Here are the actual text portions of the two-sided Marker, which clearly point out the historical information regarding the location’s importance.  This sign is heavy-duty and completely weather proof.

The P&M team halfway through to completion. L to R: Larry Archuleta of Las Vegas, NM, Marcos Tavera ,Charles Padilla, and Andrew Lopez, all three from Mountainair, NM

Here is the front side of the sign, with page one of the story facing to the West.

And here, above, is the back side of the Marker, facing East towards El Paso, Texas. You can see by the construction of the Maker that this ediface is both sturdily made – and situated.

L to R: FASF celebrants of the new Sign’s Official Dedication: Columbus Mayor Bruce D’Salas, Airfield Director, Bob Wright; Long-time FASF member and just-retired Manager of the nearby Pancho Villa State Park, John Read; FASF Treasurer, Alma Villezcas; Bill Madden, Airfield Site Chairman; Fritz Wagoner, Airfield Survey & Artifact Team; and Historical Marker Committee Chairman, 1st VP of the FASF, Jason Adams, and his daughter, Chloe.  All four of the FASF members on the right side of the sign are from Las Cruces, NM.  At the left in photo, The Mayor and Bob Wright are from Columbus, and John Read and Alma Villezcas are both from Deming, NM.

Black Sheep Squadron Graduates 8 New Viper Pilots at HAFB

8th Fighter Squadron Logo

The 8th Fighter Squadron (Fighting Patch at left) has been with us since November of 1940, when it was first organized at Selfridge Army Air Field, in Michigan. Decommissioned for a while, it is now back in the front lines of our Air Defense against any would be adversaries.  This weekend saw its first graduating class of new F-16 Viper pilots since its arrival last year at Holloman Air Force Base, near Alamagordo, NM.  According to the Squadon’s commander, Lt. Colonel Mark Sletten, each of the evening’s graduates’ training has cost the Air Force about eight (8) million dollars.

The squadron is best known as the Black Sheep Squadron of World War II fame and  for one of its commanding officers, Colonel Gregory “Pappy” Boyington, one of WWII’s top USMC fighter Aces, whose memoirs inspired the 1970s television show “Baa Baa Black Sheep,” later syndicated as Black Sheep Squadron, which dramatized the squadron’s exploits during the war.

Although the original “Black Sheep” group was composed of USMC pilots, their Squadron no longer exists, so it’s been reborne, but this time as a USAF Fighter Squadron, not a USMC outfit. (This clarification the suggestion of Capt. Robbie Ritchie).

“These guys get to be a part of a very special fraternity and we have absolutely trained them up well to go out and be a part of that fraternity, the combat arms we know and love,” said Lt. Col. Mark Sletten, 8th FS commander.    “For them to be a part of the  greatest nation, the  greatest
military, greatest service and of course the greatest platform – the F-16, leaving here tonight as qualified F-16 pilots makes us all proud.”

Getting all of the people shown below properly identified could not have been done without the indispensible assistance of the Daedalian Leadership Awardee, Captain Robbie “Ramm” Ritchie,* who made sure we properly identified all those shown. Prior to this specialized fighter training with the 8th, Captain Ritchie had been an instructor pilot.  The name used for such already experienced new Basic students is FAIP, which stands for: First Assignment Instructor Pilot.   This prior duty assignment helps account for Robbie’s rank of Captain.

Remember: Click on any photo below to show it in hight resolution and full-size.

L to R: Lt. Col. Mark Sletten, Commander of the 8th Fighter Squadron, Colonel Bob Pitt and his wife, Julie.

L to R: Col. Pitt in conversation with Captain Ely Smith, the evening’s Master of Ceremonies

L to R: Roger Nichols, son of the WWII Ace after whom the El Paso Flight is named, Julie and Col. Pitt, and Dr. Bryan Harris, USAF Colonel, Retired.  Col. Harris, now a contractor,  is in charge of all the F-16 Viper Maintenance for the 8th Fighter Squadron

All long-time FASF members, Roger Nichols, immediate past Daedalian Flight 24 Captain, looks over the evening’s coming program with the Pitts

L to R: Julie and Col. Pitt with Roger Nichols

Many families attended the graduation and wives and girlfriends of both the 8th’s staff as well as graduating students, busily used their phones to record the celebration.  Above, to the the right of the Pitts is the wife of flight instructor, Major Jared Aschenbrenner, collecting memories of the event on her phone camera

Colonel Jeff (“Tank”) Patton, FASF Member, and Commander of the 49th Operations Group, poses with Nichols and Pitt.

View of part of the Dining Hall in the Holloman Club, at which the event was held

Colonel Jeff Patton and his wife, Tracy.

Photo on one of the several large projection screens, showing this Viper Fighter Class’ Students on an F-16’s wing

New Fighter Pilot Graduate, Captain Nicholas Atkins, gets the festivities underway

One of the classes’ distinguished graduates, Robert “Ramm” Ritchie, presented the award for the “Most valuable non-commissioned officer” to Master Sergeant Cope on behalf of its recipient, Sergeant Merril

L to R: Captain Ritchie presented the most valuable Flight Instructor award to Major Nathan “Stuka” Lightfoot

L to R: Colonel Bob Pitt describes the history of El Paso’s Flight 24, Order of the Daedalians and its Namesake, General Nick Nichols to the audience as 2nd Lt. Seth Bolon and Colonel Mark “Tyson” Sletten, Squadron Commander, look on.  Lt. Bolon is a member of the new incoming 8th Fighter Squadron class.

L to R: Capt. Ely Smith, MC, 2nd Lt Seth Bolon, look on as Col. Bob Pitt presents the General Nichols Daedalian Leadership Award to Capt. Robbie Ritchie, while Squadron CO., Col. Mark Sletten congratulates him on the achievement. Captain Ritchie will head to Shaw AFB, South Carolina for his next duty assignment.  His classmates are going to all corners of the globe for their new pilot assignments.

Colonel Pitt hands the Daedalian Award to Captain Robert Ritchie, as the 8th’s Commander, Col. Sletten, proudly poses beside the new awardee. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kindra Stewart).  Lt. Bolon in background

L to R: Colonel Miles “Cowboy” Crowell, with River Rat Awardee, Lt. Scott Lafferty, and fellow River Rat member, Colonel Jeff Patton. This award is given to the student of each class with whom his or her fellow pilots would most prefer to fly in combat.

L to R: Lt. Seth Bolon, looks on as Col. Sletten poses with Daedalian Trophy Winner, Capt Ritchie, as they hold his Graduation Certificate, while Captain Ian “Bear” Lee and Captain Allison “Bandit” Romanko, 8th Fighter Squadron Instructors, look on.  Eight Viper pilot students graduated from the 8th FS’ first F-16  B-Course, nearly eighty years since the squadron’s induction on Nov. 20, 1940.

All eight graduates line up on stage for their class graduation portrait. R to L:  Captain Daniel Rule, Captain Robert Ritchie, Captain Reese Black, Captain Bradley Beninati,  1st Lt. Evan Wade, 1st Lt. Scott Lafferty, 1st Lt. Kent Greer, and Captain Nicholas Atkins.

L to R: FASF and Daedalian Members, Ric Lambart, Roger Nichols and Col. Bob Pitt, flank Leadership Trophy winner, Capt. Robbie (“Ramm”) Ritchie

Roger Nichols discusses his father’s and his own USAF career with Leadership Awardee, Capt. “Ramm” Ritchie

Below, is the the class video, 11 minutes long, which shows many clips taken from the months of fllight and fighter training the eight members of this first graduating class of the 8th Fighter Squadron experienced in their work with the Viper Fighter.  Aside from a few inserts of actual wartime footage target anihilation (taken in the mideast), the video content was primarily taken by the students or HAFB Public Affairs videographers during their training activities.  The video gives the viewer and unique insight into the experience these young men went through this past year at Holloman. 

The film uses a number of special effects for the dramatization of some of the student experiences, such as refueling practice and of the TDY (Temporary Duty assignment) to Louisiana’s Bayou country.  The video was produced by class member, Lt. Evan Wade, and also shows, quite graphically, to where each of the graduates will be going for their front line fighter assignment.  This video can be seen best when your monitor is set to full-screen mode. Lt. Wade garners some top-gun kudos for his excellent production.

* Here is part of the official HAFB Public Affairs Office news release concerning Daedalian Award Recipient, Capt Robbie Ritchie:

This class’ recipient of the coveted Daedalian Flight 24 Leadership Award this
year, was Capt. Robert Ritchie. The Captain, one of the 8th Fighter Squadron F-16
Basic-Course graduates, always knew he wanted to be a fighter pilot.

Ritchie’s father is a retired Air Force pilot who flew C-130s and T-38s, before
flying for a commercial airline out of Minnesota.

I was one of those kids that built model aircraft and hung them from the ceiling,”
said Ritchie. “My childhood bedroom was one big aerial battle.”

Ritchie graduated with an undergraduate degree followed by a Masters of Science in
aerospace engineering from the University of Minnesota, before leaving for Officer
Training School at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama.

Of the eight Viper pilots to graduate from Class 18-CBF, Ritchie was one of five who
were First Assignment Instructor Pilots “FAIP” trained on another aircraft before coming
to Holloman.

On behalf of Class 18-CBF, I can honestly say our experience training here on Holloman
Air Force Base has been one of the most professional experiences that we have ever been
involved with,” said Ritchie. “From the jets, to the instructors, to the maintainers,
to the air traffic controllers, how the base is run and everything in-between.”

FASF-Daedalians Bid Farewell to Flight Captain, Roger Nichols

The speaker scheduled for this last Spring meeting fell ill and couldn’t make the luncheon, so the El Paso General “Nick” Nichols’ Flight 24 simply turned its focus back on its own members, and towards making sure its most recent past Flight Captain, Roger Nichols (General Nichols’ son), had a proper send-off.

Roger will soon leave to be near his children and grandchildren in Oklahoma.  Because the Flight had some extra time, because of the absence of the scheduled speaker, it turned its attention towards gaining a more detailed insight into each of the member’s individual careers, both in the service, and in their later civilian lives. Here, below, are the photos of today’s event – and of each member sharing some of their unique personal history.

Today’s luncheon was also one to which the member’s wives and/or guests were invited.  Because Flight Captain, Colonel Mario Campos, was out of state, Vice Captain, Ric Lambart presided.  He shared a group of photos which were taken over the weekend during the regular annual “Dining Out” celebration held at New Mexico State University (NMSU) by the local Air Force ROTC Detachment 505.  Many years ago, flight Provost Marshall, Alan Fisher, had actually commanded that same AFROTC unit.

Both Mario and Ric had been invited to attend AFROTC event.  Colonel Campos, once an AFROTC cadet himself, was the featured speaker.  He shared what the cadets might expect during their own upcoming USAF assignments based on his own experiences.

(All of the below photos may be seen full-size and in High Resolution, by clicking on them)

L to R: Mayre Sue Overstreet and Julie Pitt.

L to R: Col. Norm Rice and Roger Nichols.

L to R: Mary Barnes arrives with Flight Chaplain, Roger Springstead.

L to R: Bob Pitt, Virg Hemphill, Pete Brandon, Mary Barnes and Roger Springstead. Col. Norm Rice‘s  is seated in the foreground.

L to R: Mayre Sue Overstreet, Mary Barnes, and Julie Pitt

L to R: Mayre Sue Overstreet, Melissa Fisher and Mary Barnes, speaking with Julie Pitt (back of head to camera)

L to R: Flight Adjutant, Colonel Bob Pitt, engrossed in conversation with past Flilght Captain, Roger Nichols

L to R: Alan Fisher speaking with Virg Hemphill. Ulla Rice is in the foreground

L to R: Roger Springstead and Ric Lambart give a thumbs up to photographer, Jerry Dixon

L to R: Virg Hemphill, Mary Barnes, Pete Brandon, Alan and Melissa Fisher, Norm and Ulla Rice, with Charlie and Mayre Sue Overstreet just off camera to the right.

L to R: Jerry Dixon describes his USMC pilot experience as Virg Hemphill and Roger Springstead look on.

L to R: Virg Hemphill listens as Roger Springstead shares his Naval Aviator career, while his friend, Mary Barnes listens

L to R: Mary Barnes listens as Pete Brandon describes his extensive USAF and Northrup-Grumman careers

L to R: Virg Hemphill talks about his USAF Fighter Pilot and Airline experiences as Roger Springstead and Mary Barnes listen

Alan Fisher shares his own USAF experiences along with his current active engagements as a pilot with the Civil Air Patrol

L to R: Melissa Fisher talks about her own USAF career as both a RN and her later teaching years

L to R: Colonel Norm Rice relates his own Fighter Pilot experiences in the Air Force – and how he and his wife, Ulla, met, when he was stationed in Great Britain

                                        Larry Spradlin tells of his own USAF aviator experiences

L to R: Charlie Overstreet describes some humorous experiences as both an Air Force Pilot and also during his later 2nd career, piloting for the DEA, as his wife Mayre Sue enjoys the memories.  Julie Pitt is at the right.

L to R: Julie Pitt listens and her husband, Colonel Bob Pitt, tells of his experiences over Viet Nam, flying both the F-101 and F-4 fighters, while Roger Nichols take it all in

           Ric Lambart describes some of the photos taken at this past weekend’s AFROTC “Dining-Out” event at NMSU

L to R: Ric Lambart, Roger Nichols, and Bob Pitt pose, after Roger was presented with a special going-away gift from the Flight