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The B-1, B-2, B-52 – – – What Will Be the Next U.S. Bomber?

The above video in only 1:38 long. The above video is thanks to the Northrup-Grumman Corporation.

Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James recently announced that the B-21 bomber will be called the B-21 Raider. The name represents the historically important role the new long-range stealth bomber will lead for the next 50 years.

The name is a tribute to the sheer bravery and grit displayed by Jimmy Doolittle and the Doolittle Raiders during World War II; and the legacy will now be carried on by future Airmen. Assisting Secretary James on stage to announce the name was one of the original Doolittle Raiders, the last living Doolittle Raider, and Jimmy Doolittle’s co-pilot, 101-year-old Air Force Lt. Col. (Retired) Richard Cole.

The above video is 9:10 in length and is courtesy of Warthog Defense.

If one accepts the premise that the B-21 will be powered by twin unaugmented F135 engines, one can then assume that the new bomber will be larger than a Boeing F-15E Strike Eagle or General Dynamics F-111Aardvark,” but smaller than the B-1 Lancer or B-2 Spirit.

Given the types of threats from low frequency radars that are projected to be out there in the future and the limitations of current low observables materials, B-21’s subsonic flying wing design will be large enough to counter low frequency radars.

A tactical fighter-sized stealth aircraft must be optimized to defeat higher-frequency bands such the C, X and Ku bands as a simple matter of physics, but a strategic bomber like the B-2 or LRS-B can be larger to counter lower frequency radars. There is a “step change” in a stealth aircraft’s signature once the frequency wavelength exceeds a certain threshold and causes a resonant effect. Typically, that resonance occurs when a feature on an aircraft—such as a tail-fin—is less than eight times the size of a particular frequency wavelength. That means a bomber like the B-21 has to have allowances for two feet or more of radar absorbent material coatings on every surface or the designers are forced to make trades as to which frequency bands they optimize the aircraft to operate in. As such, to defeat low frequency radars operating in the L, UHF and potentially the VHF bands (this is easier said than done—and could in fact be impossible), a flying wing design is in effect, mandatory.

The above video is 10:57 long.  The new aircraft will be designed to have global reach, in part by incorporating a large arsenal of long-range weapons. The B-21 is being engineered to carry existing weapons as well as nuclear bombs and emerging and future weapons, Air Force officials explained. It if’s arsenal is anything like the B-2, it will like have an ability to drop a range of nuclear weapons, GPS-guided Joint Direct Attack Munitions and possibly even the new Air Force nuclear-armed cruise missile now in development called the LRSO – (Long Range Stand Off) weapon. It is also conceivable, although at this point it is speculation, that one day the B-21 will probably be armed with yet-to-be seen weapons technology. This information is courtesy ofUS Military Technology.”



Colonel Don Patton, US Army Retired, who is one of the founders of the Dr. Harold C. Deutsch WWII History Round Table in Edina, Minnesota, a suburb of Minneapolis, dropped by to visit the First Aero Squadron 1916 Airfield here in Columbus, yesterday.  After touring the FASF Headquarter’s Office, and the Airfield, Colonel Patton and Ric Lambart picked up another FASF long time member, John Read, Manager of the Pancho Villa State Park in Columbus, and went to Palomas, Mexico to have lunch at the world renown Pink Store.  The picture below, of Col. Patton, John Read and Ric Lambart was taken by another long time FASF member, Yvonne Romero (scroll down to the Pink Store), the creator – and owner/manager – of the  Pink store.  Any of the below photos can be seen in full-size by simply clicking on them.

L to R: Col. Don Patton, John Read, and Ric Lambart – Photo by Yvonne Romero

Col Patton standing by the wind-sock pole at the 1916 Airfield with Columbus in the background.

After his visit to Columbus and Palomas, Mexico, Colonel Patton departed for Holloman Air Force Base, to join his son, Colonel Jeff “Tank” Patton, USAF, who commands the Base’s 49th Operations Group at the Air Base.  After touring the Pancho Villa State Park with John Read, the Colonel visited the home of Richard and Betty Dean.

Dean is considered to be the foremost local historian on matters related to the infamous raid on Columbus in 1916 by Pancho Villa and Richard is also the President of the FASF’s sister organization, the Columbus Historical Society, which operates the well known “Depot Museum” in town.  Mr. Dean’s great-grandfather was one of the victims of Villa’s marauders on March 9, 1916.  Dean has appeared on both PBS specials about the Raid and also on other national TV networks regarding the same infamous historical event.

Col. Patton standing on the E-W Airfield Runway.  The view is to the East towards El Paso, Texas.

Colonel Patton fills our his FASF Membership Application.

Colonel Patton poses in front of the Pancho Villa State Park’s historic Curtiss JN-4 Jenny Airplane.

L to R: John Read explaining some of the historical facts about the infamous raid of March 9th, 1916 by Pancho Villa, Col. Patton.

L to R: Col. Patton listens to more about the 1916 Raid from John Read.

L to R: Col. Patton listens to John Read explain how this 1914 photo of U.S. General Black Jack Pershing, with Pancho Villa has most often misidentified his Aide de Camp as Lt. Patton (later General George Patton of WWII fame – who was involved with Pershing in the 1916 Punitive Expedition, but was not in that particular photo.  The man so often misidentified as young Patton, was actually the General’s Aide de Camp, Lt. James Lawton Collins, who sometime after WWII also became a Major General himself.).  Our new member is not related to General George S. Patton. 

Colonel Patton had recently booked one of our long time Advisors, Dr. Roger Miller, former Deputy Historian for the United States Air Force, to speak to his WWII Round Table in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  Dr. Miller made presentations about both the First Aero Squadron’s involvement in the 1916-17 Punitive Expedition, and also the Berlin Airlift.  Both topics are specialties of Dr. Miller’s.  The former USAF Historian has also authored some well known books on both those episodes of U.S. History.

Collings War Bird Tour Coming to Our FASF Area April 2018

The above short (only 30 seconds long) video gives you an idea of what’s in store for those lucky enough visitors to our long-time business member’s War Eagles Air Museum (WEAM) this coming April. For only two days, from the 4th through the 6th of that month, the acclaimed Collings Wings of Freedom collection of WWII Warbirds will be giving rides and conducting walk-through tours of the historic aircraft from their famous flying collection.  Below is their advertisement for this upcoming nearby event.Below, you will see a short (4:11) video by the Collings Foundation about the “Last Liberator” (B-24 Bomber of WWII).  This heavy WWII bomber is the only one still flying, which is remarkable considering the fact that more of these bombers (over 18,000) were produced by the United States than any other military aircraft in our nation’s history.  And, almost half of these Liberator’s were produced under contract to Consolidated Aircraft Corporation, the warship’s designer, by the Ford Motor Company.  The mother aircraft corporation later became known as CONVAIR (From Consolidated Vultee Aircraft), and was headquartered in San Diego, CA.  It became famous for its manufacture of some of the most famous seaplanes of all time, and later entered both the jet airliner field and our NASA Space program, producing the famed Atlas rockets.

By visiting this post’s links to the Collings Foundation’s website, you will be able to actually see short videos of what a ride is like in each of their touring WWII Warbirds.

The “Wings of Freedom Tour” has two goals: to honor the sacrifices made by our veterans that allow us to enjoy our present freedom; and to help educate the visitors, especially younger Americans, about our national history and heritage. All comparable goals to those of the First Aero Squadron Foundation’s own mission.  The Collings Foundation encourages people to tour the planes, talk to the veterans who come to visit the aircraft, and participate in a “flight experience”. Celebrating 26 years, the tour has made more than 3,000 visits to airports across the contiguous United States and to Alaska. While the exact number of visitors is difficult to gauge, it is estimated that over 3.5 million people see these fully restored historic aircraft annually.

Watch The Test Launch of the SpaceX FALCON HEAVY Rocket

Thanks to our Aviation News Scout Jerry Dixon and SpaceX for this latest news release.

Following its first test launch, Falcon Heavy is now the most powerful operational rocket in the world by a factor of two. With the ability to lift into orbit nearly 64 metric tons (141,000 lb)—a mass greater than a 737 jetliner loaded with passengers, crew, luggage and fuel–Falcon Heavy can lift more than twice the payload of the next closest operational vehicle, the Delta IV Heavy, at one-third the cost.

Falcon Heavy draws upon the proven heritage and reliability of Falcon 9. Its first stage is composed of three Falcon 9 nine-engine cores whose 27 Merlin engines together generate more than 5 million pounds of thrust at liftoff, equal to approximately eighteen 747 aircraft. Only the Saturn V moon rocket, last flown in 1973, delivered more payload to orbit. Falcon Heavy was designed from the outset to carry humans into space and restores the possibility of flying missions with crew to the Moon or Mars.

The above launch video is 34:18 in length, so if you don’t have the time to watch the entire film, simply fast forward to about 21:00 minutes so see the actual lift off itself.  Notice the innovative way that the rockets are saved for further deployments by returning them safely back to earth on their own landing pads right at Cape Canaveral.  We are clearly now beginning to bear witness to the great cost savings to the taxpayers achieved by permitting private industry to compete – and run – these heretofore exclusively government run operations.

EAA and FASF Members Fly over to Visit FAS’ 1916-17 Airfield

Just over twenty EAA Chapter 1570 members, many of whom are also active FASF members, Flew and drove over to Columbus from the El Paso, TX area to take part in their Chapter’s first ever group Fly-Out.  Those who drove to Columbus served as shuttle drivers for those who flew over and their passengers.

FASF Members, Mike Florey and John Keithly, who is the 1570 Chapter’s President, supplied mobile radio gear so that air and ground traffic could be easily coordinated.  Mike even converted his ATV into a “Follow-Me” cart, and proceeded to guide each incoming plane to its parking space.  Several FASF members, who are also homeowners at the Airpark, graciously offered their extra hangar space to those who arrived first.

Some of the below are photographs taken by Mike Florey and Bob Wright. Bob also even shot some novel airborne video footage of the group’s activities using his special camera equipped Drone.  This was stitched together with some ground video footage to make the below 5:50 long video, which shows some of the tour’s highlights.

The actual footage in the above video is only about 5:50 in length, while the remainder is devoted to the film’s credits.

The weather cooperated for this first Fly-Out adventure for the Chapter aviators.  While they all encountered a cross-wind, it was not serious enough to create any problems.  The Fly-In visitors enjoyed meeting the Mayor of Columbus, Philip Skinner, who gave them a warm welcome, and informed everyone about what is happening in the small border town and the Village’s plans for the future.  Then the group drove to the historic 1st Aero Squadron’s famous 1916 Airfield, to witness first-hand where American Airpower was launched and where the American Civil Aviation Industry was re-born. The group also visited the Columbus Historical Society’s popular “Depot Museum” and then the also famous Pancho Villa State Park.  Both these sites are dedicated the the historic events surrounding the infamous raid on the sleeping town back in March 9, 1916, in which Pancho Villa’s revolutionaries killed 19 Americans and set the town ablaze.

– Remember to click on any photo below to see it full size and in high resolution. –

Mike Florey, on “Follow-Me” ATV leads just landed Judge Alex Gonzales to a parking place.  Photo by Bob Wright

Cessna 172 parked in hangar.  Photo by Mike Florey.

Juan Brito’s Cessna parked in another hangar.  Photo by Mike Florey.

Dr. Pedro Blandon’s Beechcraft Debonair at tie down.  Photo by Mike Florey.

Columbus Mayor Philip Skinner (center in black) welcomes visitors to Columbus. Photo by Bob Wright.

Mayor Skinner greets Jim Foster at right, and (L ro R) John Keithly and Jerry Dixon.

Mayor Skinner welcomes Juan Brito while (L to R) at rear are Jim Foster and John Signorino.

Mayor Skinner welcomes Judge Alex Gonzalez as John Signorino and Juan Brito look on.

Akemi Robinson looks out from behind barrier inside the historic old 1916 Columbus Jailhouse, across the street from the Mayor’s Los Milagros Hotel.   Photo by Bob Wright.

Akemi’s husband, Mike Robinson also poses inside the historic 1916 Columbus Jail.  Photo by Bob Wright.

Mayor Skinner, at right in black with white cap, wishes the group an enjoyable tour of Columbus.

L to R: Jim Foster, Kathy Whelen, Jerry Dixon and Mike Robinson exploring the old US Airways Marker Arrow and the numerous foundation blocks remaining from the old Columbus Municipal Airport’s CAA Buildings . . .

L to R: Above. at the old 1920’s Airway Arrow are Judge Gonzalez, Jack Roulet, John Keithly and John Signorino.

Cavalcade of vehicles readies to leave for the Depot Museum and the famous Palomas, Mexico, Pink Store, a proud business supporter of the First Aero Squadron Foundation.

Inside Depot Museum with (L to R): Melinda Signorino, Jerry Dixon, Lewis Lawrence, Juan Brito and John Keithly.

Columbus’ official historian and President of the Columbus Historical Society (which operates both the Depot Museum and the surrounding properties), Richard Dean (L) presented a brief history of the infamous raid and its consequences to the EAA/FASF visitors.  At right is Melissa Keithly.  Mr. Dean’s great-grandfather  was one of those civilians murdered by the Villista raiders during the infamous raid in 1916.  He had owned a local mercantile company.

After their visit to the Depot Museum, the group crossed the border to have lunch at Palomas, Mexico’s Pink Store where they were entertained by a talented local Mariachi band and had the pleasure of personally meeting the store’s creators and owners, Sergio and Ivonne Romero (see photo of Ivonne below), who also have a home in El Paso, Texas.

Ivonne Romero posing among a few of the thousands of unique works of art she keeps on hand for sale to her International clientele.  Ms. Romero regularly travels throughout her homeland to find gifted artisans in order to keep her Pink Store inventory like that of no other similar outlet.  The Romeros also own a store in Silver City, New Mexico.

Above are (L to R): Mike Robinson, Melissa and John Keithly,and Ralph Navar.

A special table was arranged by the Romeros for the group of aviators – and here they are contemplating their menus.

Pancho Villa State Park – FAS Jenny to upper left is studied by John Signorino.  Judge Gonzalez and Jack Roulet to the right.

Inside Mike Florey’s Airpark hangar, before departing, (L to R) John Keithly explains to John Signorino the features of his airplane . . .

The end of a festive day in Columbus and Puerto Palomas, Mexico, sees the last plane, Dr. Blando’s Debonair, take off for home.


Volunteers Finish Work on 1st Aero’s Airfield Airway Marker

The resurrection of the previously obscured Airway Marker Arrow took a lot of hard work, but it was finally completed by long time Columbus FASF Members, Sheila Bjeletich, Don Farber, Mario Escudero, Gordon Taylor, Mike Florey, Airfield Security Chief, Bob Wright, and all the way from Las Cruces, esteemed FASF Airfield Site Chairman, the one and only, Bill Madden. Bill’s Airfield Archeological Team is the one that has labored more than four years to locate the 1916 flight line’s precise position and orientation on the 1916 Airfield.

Below are some of the videos and still photographs taken by the FASF’s Videographer, Bob Wright, FASF Official Photographer, Mike Florey, and volunteer photographer, Sheila Bjeletich.  This entire project ran through two months and took many days of labor on the site.

All the below photos may be seen in high resolution and full-size by clicking on them.

1st Aero Squadron’s Airfield Sign facing Highway 9 in Columbus.

The above short (2:21) drone video was taken during one of the volunteer work days by Airfield Security Chief, Bob Wright.  At the bottom of this page’s post, you will find a longer (8:16) video taken during work days – on the ground – by Ric Lambart.

Volunteer Workers take a break.  L to R:   Mario Escudero, Sheila Bjeletich (Project Manager), Bob Wright (Airfield Security Chief and Drone Operator), Bill Madden (Aerodrome Site Chairman), and FASF Photographer, Mike Florey. Photo by Ric Lambart.

Photo of fully restored US Airmail Route CAA (now the FAA) Airway Marker and Power Shed at Grants-Milan Airport, NM.  This familiar looking restoration was identified for us by Steve Owen, long time FASF member, who was part of the restoration team that accomplished the task  you see in the above photo. Milan is near Grants, NM and they are both West of Albuquerque, NM.  The impressive restoration project was organized and completed by the CCHS (Cibola County Historical Society).  Steve has given our own group a lot us useful advice.

Full description of the typical Airmail Route Beacon and Airway Marker Arrow

Volunteer and Columbus City Councilman, Don Farber, discussing project with Sheila Bjeletich.

Sheila cutting Mesquite branches away from Airway Marker Arrow with loppers.

Ric Lambart pitching Mesquite cuttings into truck for removal from site. Photo by Sheila.

L to R: Don Farber chats with Ric Lambart during break . . . Photo by Sheila.

Don Farber and Sheila Bjeletich proudly pose by 1st truckload of Mesquite cuttings.

On another work day, Mike Florey (L) is seen talking with Bob Wright (R).

Sheila walks from one part of project to another part of cleanup and artifact discovery enterprise.

Sheila investigating the Mesquite overgrowth around some of the old “COLAIR” (Columbus Airport’s Name after WWII) landing field border markers, which still remain on the Airfield, but which will also need a great deal of cleanup work during their restoration.

L to R above: Bill Madden working on his computer Airfield application in Mike Florey’s hangar, while Mike (at rear) talks with Bob Wright.

Mike photograph’s Ric shooting video of the work in progress.

L to R: Ric Lambart and Bill Madden, watching Sheila Bjeletich dig up some old COLAIR artifacts. Photo by Mike.

View of the now mostly uncovered US Airmail Directional Arrow. Photo by Mike.

Mike’s closeup shot of the United States Coast and Geodetic Survey (USCGS) official seal/marker embedded in the concrete arrow.

Close up photo by Mike of one of the many old concrete building foundation pads.

Mike’s photo of Bob Wright’s Drone in flight over Airfield.

L to R above:  Bill Madden, Sheila Bjeletich and Gordon Taylor.  On any given work day there might be different volunteers doing the work . . . Photo by Mike.

Bill Madden holds together two shards of the heavy glass lens that was once mounted in the Airway Beacon.  Photo by Mike.

Sheila also found a number of the Beacon Light’s heavy glass lens fragments.  Photo by Mike.

L to R: Sheila, Mario Escudero and Gordon Taylor surveying the next area that will need clearing.  Mike’s photo.

L to R above: Bob Wright, Bill Madden, Gordon Taylor, Sheila Bjeletich, Ric Lambart, and Mario Escudero.  Photo by Mike.

High altitude photo showing the Airway Marker Arrow (green arrow points to it), which is how it appeared before it was cleaned up and fully revealed as the result of this work project  The main East-West Runway is at bottom of shot.

The above photo was taken by the couple, Paul and Charlotte Smith, who are behind the fascinating website entitled, “Arrows Across America.”  Their site explains – and shows – how these arrows were used for navigation by the Contract Air Mail Pilots from 1927 until many of them dismantled.  Visit their informative site (it’s preceding title is a link to their website) to learn more about the relatively brief period in time, before WWII, when the early airmail pilots used these concrete arrows to find their way to their next destination along their route.  We thank the Smiths for permission to use this photo.

The above (8:16) video, taken by Ric Lambart, was made during work sessions on this Cleanup Project.

Don Farber using his unusual non-toxic technique for killing the deeply rooted old Mesquite stumps. He uses only a set of homemade Copper nails, which he drives into the remaining Mesquite stumps.


Members Fly Army Chinook Helicopter Simulator at Fort Bliss

EAA Chapter 1570 President, John Keithly, announced a “Christmas present” for those who might be able to make it out to El Paso’s Fort Bliss this past week to try their hand at flying a huge US Army Chinook Helicopter – – – by way of one of the Army’s realistic Flight Simulators.  These large flight simulators are so realistic that the combat pilots get comparable flight time logged for every hour they fly in the large simulators.

Click on any photo below to see it in full size and in high resolution.

Army Chinook photographed in Combat over Afghanistan.  Notice the soldier in the rear open ramp door.

John Signorino, Chapter Vice President, himself a former Army Helicopter Pilot, had taken advantage of the Christmas Holiday break for many of the Army pilots at Ft. Bliss’ Biggs Army Airfield. With the aviators on leave for the holidays, there was a rare opening in the otherwise tightly scheduled Biggs Helicopter Flight Simulators. This made it possible for some of the Chapter’s members to actually try out their hand at flying a helicopter, by way of this extremely sophisticated simulator.

None who took advantage of this rare opportunity had ever flown a helicopter, but only fixed wing aircraft.  The members who took this opportunity quickly discovered that there was a significant – and quite challenging – difference between flying fixed and rotary winged aircraft!

But, under the guidance of the highly experienced John Signorino as their Flight Instructor, each of the volunteers were actually able to “fly” this big twin-rotored heavyweight.  The territory in which each flew was actually a highly realistic depiction of the El Paso and nearby Santa Teresa, NM neighborhoods.  The supervisor for this adventure was Robert D. Eagle Carnahan, himself a former Army Pilot and now a civilian contract Simulator Instructor, who would normally be busily giving flight and emergency practice training to the active duty pilots at Biggs.

While these large simulators are expensive, the one the Chapter members used costing approximately $13,000,000, using one is but a fraction of the cost involved in operating and actual Chinook. The simulator only costs about $430 an hour, compared to $12,000 (yes, that’s in thousands of dollars) an hour for the Chinook, itself. Each new Boeing CH-47 helicopter cost the military between 18 and 25 million dollars. These heavyweights have been in service for a surprisingly long period, seeing combat during the Vietnam conflict to the present day . . . over 50 years of active duty.  Here, below, is a view of the innards of this big flying machine.

Cutaway drawing of the CH-47 Helicopter

And here, below, is what the adventurous EAA volunteer “chopper student pilots” saw when they entered the Biggs Field simulator.

View from the Flight Coordinator’s Deck of the CH-47G’s cockpit. At right is a small part of the control panel at which the instructor pilot sits and uses to control the training flight’s circumstances.  The Instructor can instantly cause engine failures, changes in the weather, including wind speed and direction as well as precipitation.  The simulator is not yet turned on for use in this photo, so the view outside the cockpit is of only the large reflecting mirrors, rather than the exterior scenes normally in view.  Above the flight deck there are six large projectors which work to create the realistically true panoramic view seen through the Chinook’s windshield of the passing terrain, all of which makes it seem as though one is actually in flight.  There is even a simulation of the aircraft’s noise and motion, the pilot and co-pilot’s seats vibrate and move as in the real Chinook during flight.

At right, Mr. Carnahan shows the group the large reflecting mirrors (which alone cost almost 1 million dollars!).

L to R: “EagleCarnahan explains his duty station and its controls to Jim Foster and Melissa Keithly.

L to R above: Jim Foster, John and Melissa Keithly, Barbara Conrad (EAA Chapter 555 participant) and “Eagle.” The visitors are watching fellow Chapter member Ric Lambart, who is out of view, while trying to fly the big bird from the copilot’s seat.  “Eagle” is watching the exterior view of the Chinook, rather than the over-the-pilots’ heads view (straight ahead), which is what the others are watching.

View out the windshield as John Signorino deftly manages to land the helicopter inside the empty University Texas El Paso (“UTEP”) Campus’ Sun Bowl in West El Paso.  John set the big helicopter gently down right in mid field.

Here (above at left) is John Signorino instructing professional fixed wing flight instructor, Jim Foster, in how the helicopter controls work.  The engines (there are two large jet engines on the Chinook) are not yet started, so there is not yet an outside “view” through the windshields.

Jim Foster, at right, carefully following through on the controls as John Signorino takes off from Biggs Field towards El Paso’s Franklin Mountains up ahead. Notice the Biggs runway in lower left of windscreen.  The visiting fixed wing pilots quickly noticed some unusual instruments in the panel, such as the vertical bar indicators in the lower center of photo.  These instruments are  peculiar to only helicopters, whereas many of the other instruments are also used by conventional (fixed wing) airplanes.

The Chinook rapidly approaches the Franklin Mountains’ and the Trans Mountain Pass’ freeway, which is ahead and to the right side of the left windshield panel.

The helicopter, as it maneuvers, is continuously seen from the outside by the Controller at his desk, above.  Here it has just crossed El Paso’s Patriot Freeway (to the left behind the ship).

Here we see a somewhat harrowing scene, as John Signorino races up the mountain over the Trans Mountain Freeway and toward the Pass. Notice the blurred passing terrain.  The Chinook may be an older model of Army Helicopter, but it remains one of the fastest.

This speed run through the mountain pass required John to sharply bank the Chinook in order to make the tight turn out into the west valley ahead in the center of windshield.  John took this shortcut to the west side so that Jim might be able to fly the aircraft around the airport at which he works: The Dona Ana County International Jetport.

Here is the view as Jim Foster carefully heads toward the main east/west runway at Dona Ana as John meticulously talks him along towards Jim’s eventual landing.

View scenario from Controller’s (upper right) screen as Jim Foster lands at Dona Ana Jetport.  Notice (at below left) the simultaneous view outside, as he comes to a successful landing.

Sitting straight up with satisfaction, Jim surveys the surroundings outside the Chinook after his successful landing at his home airfield.

Here, with Instructor John Signorino on his left,  John Keithly takes his turn to fly the Chinook, as he follows through on the controls after taking off from Dona Ana jetport, also his home airfield.

Above, John Keithly works at getting accustomed to the the helicopter’s unique controls.  His left hand grips the “Collective” which controls the machine’s power output and airspeed, while his right hand in on the more familiar control stick, which in the parlance of helicopter pilots is called the “Cyclic.”

Above shows John’s hand on the collective control.  In order to move it, he must depress the trigger on the underside.

Jim Foster and John’s Keithly’s wife, Melissa, watch with interest from the flight Controller’s deck as John flies back to East El Paso from Dona Ana Jetport. Notice the view of the Chinook (as seen from the outside) on the Controller’s screen at right right.

Above is the view as Signorino and Keithly make their approach to land at Biggs Army Airfield.

Here, above, we see John Signorino explaining how they will manage this flight training session to Melissa.

Next, above, before starting the Chinook up again,  John explains how to work the Cyclic Flight Control (in Melissa’s right hand).

John Signorino and Melissa flew the Chinook for a sight-seeing tour of downtown El Paso (above).  This tour even included frightening passes between some of the city’s sky-scraper buildings!  This entire experience was far more realistic than sitting in a movie theater while it’s showing an I-MAX panoramic 3-D adventure film.