Category Archives: HOT NEWS!

Breaking News of Interest

Steve Watson Tells of Father’s Role as Liberator Pilot in WWII

L to R: Col. Norman Rice, Col. Alan Fisher and Mrs. Ulla Rice chat before lunch.

The most photographed and publicly acclaimed bomber used during WWII is without question, the B-17 Flying Fortress, but there was another less known, yet equally vital heavy bomber used during that global conflict, one which is too often disregarded, but which also played a critical part in the Allied Victory: the mighty LIBERATOR, the B-24, in its many variants.

 

At yesterday’s luncheon of the Daedalians at the El Paso Club in downtown El Paso, thanks to arrangements by Col. Alan Fisher, the flight’s members (all are FASF members!) learned of that LIberator’s exploits, and of Steve Watson’s (below right) father, Frank S. Watson, who was one of those select Army Air Force pilots chosen to fly that Liberator in the European Theater.

Steve Watson starts his presentation about the 467th Bomb Group and his father’s role.

Steve’s dad was one of the lucky aviators who came home safe and sound at the war’s end.  Frank flew the B-24 for the 467th Bombardment Group.  A short 7:00 video of film made about the 467th was shown to the Daedalians along with many personal photos of Steve’s father’s career from his earliest years through the war and then, back at home, when the hostilities ceased. Below you can watch a short 9:00 minute long film made of the 467th’s own “Witchcraft” Liberator


Remember, to see any photograph full size, simply click on it.

And for better viewing, don’t hesitate to open the videos to full-size, too.

L to R above: Larry Spradlin, Virg Hemphill and Jerry Dixon.

Prior to WWII, the main Ford corporation manufacturing factory at Willow Run, was a Ford owned farming operation, where young men learned to use Ford tractors to produce various crops on the 80 some acre area outside Detroit, Michigan.

Just prior to entering the war, the Army contracted with Ford to mass produce the B-24 heavy bombers on an unbelievable scale, finishing one every hour. This unbelievable production lasted throughout the conflict’s duration.  The mass production genius of the Ford Motor Car Company was surely one of the country’s major assets, one that clearly helped the Allies achieve their final victory.

When it was built, it became the largest such airplane manufacturing facility in the world.  Two basic operations took place inside its walls: 1) Manufacturing the airplane’s parts, and; 2) assembling the final product.  In addition to making the airplane, which was designed by the Consolidated Aircraft Corporation of San Diego, CA., Ford also manufactured the large radial air-cooled engines that powered the ship.

Unlike its famous automobiles and trucks, which contained some 15,000 to 16,000 parts, each Liberator contained more than 1,225,000 parts!  As each craft was completed, it was then ground and flight tested right at Willow Run’s huge airfield, an airport facility with enough concrete in its runways and taxiways to make a highway over 125 miles long.  Each of the 4 Ford produced air-cooled and super-charged engines produced 1200 HP.  The normal crew consisted of ten men.  The ship carried 4 tons of bombs, and over five thousand rounds of machine gun ammunition to arm its defenses. At high altitude, the Liberator could cruise over 300 MPH and had a range of over 3,000 miles.

Below is a 7 min. wartime film made of the extraordinary mass-production the made the Liberators.

Unlike its sister heavy bomber, the Flying Fortress, the Liberator had a modern tricycle landing gear, which made it substantially easier to land and handle on the ground.  Another interesting fact about the Willow Run plant was that there were always over 100 bombers being assembled under the huge roof.  Under that vast roof, there were also some 42,000 assembly workers busily putting these then modern aircraft together.

Adjacent to the Willow Run plant, a large school was set up, and before the war’s end, over 50,000 students had been graduated with all the highly technical skills needed in the Willow Run Plant.  There was a teaching staff of more than 100 instructors to get that task successfully completed.

Additionally, a large warehouse was also built nearby, to store the vast array of components that went into each bomber, from sheet metal, bolts, rivets and stringers, to complex aircraft instruments and radio gear. Each airplane had more than 4,000 rivets holding on its lightweight aluminum outer skin.  By the war’s end, Willow Run had produced over 8,685 Liberators! 

Additionally, another 9,815 more B-24s were built elsewhere, for a grand total of 18,500 Liberators produced across the country for use during the war.

L to R above: Larry Spradlin, Cols. Bob Pitt and Flight Captain, Mario Campos, and Virg Hemphill.

L to R above: Cols Mario Campos and Alan Fisher, watch as Presenter, Steve Watson, spreads out his wide assortment of WWII souvenirs touting the 467th Emblem and other related logos.

L to R. Col. Norman Rice and his wife, Ulla, and guest, Dick Heath.

Colonel Mario Campos, Flight Captain, calls the meeting to order.

Colonel Campos introduces the Speaker, Steve Watson, for the day.

Steve Watson starts his presentation about the 467th Bomb Group and his father’s story as a B-24 Pilot in WWII.

Watch as Tom Taylor, a surviving B-24 pilot from WWII, gets back into the only still flying Liberator, to once again take control of the famous bomber off the South Carolina coast.

 

 

The VIPER – How much do you know about its versatility?

Our pages and posts have probably mentioned Lockheed-Martin’s F-16 “Viper” fighter even more times than the First Aero’s 1916-17 inveterate Jenny.

There is good reason for this. While it is hardly one of our latest 5th Generation jet fighters (such as the F-22 ‘Raptor’ and F-35 ‘Lightning II), it is likely nevertheless one of the most popular of all jet fighters still in active service among America’s Allies, most of whom happily continue to operate this extraordinarily  versatile and highly maneuverable ship.  Powered by only a single jet engine, unlike the F-22 and other popular and more powerful 4th generation fighters, such as the F-14 or F-15, the F-16 is a record-setter from almost any perspective. You sometimes hear this fighter called the “Fighting Falcon,” but it’s far more popularly known by its actual users as the “Viper.”

The F-16 was first manufactured my General Dynamics, but later, in 1993, turned over to Lockheed, which merged with Martin Marietta, to become Lockheed-Martin. Still made for our Allied customers, yet no no longer ordered by the USAF, who first put it into use an astounding 44 years ago, in 1976, this amazing fighter is still very actively used by the USAF!

Also, keep in mind that this new (1976) fighter was quite unusual for this reason alone: The 1st test prototype mode, the YF-16 was one of the first planes in the world have an all fly-by-wire (FBW is a system that replaces the conventional manual flight controls of an aircraft with an electronic interface.) control system. Unlike conventional controls, it didn’t have any direct mechanical connection between the stick and the control surfaces. The YF-16 instead used electronic sensors to read the pilot’s stick inputs and then transmitted that—with computer interpretation—to hydraulic actuators that moved the control surfaces the appropriate amount.

Your webmaster regularly attends graduations of new USAF Viper pilots at nearby Holloman AFB (HAFB), Alamogordo, NM, to take part in graduation ceremonies of their still very active Viper Training School, which clearly remains one of the reasons you hear and see so much about this highly maneuverable fighting machine on our FASF posts.

But let’s take a look at some informative video clips of this remarkable jet, starting with a 4 minute 28 second tour of its ground-breaking cockpit innovations:

[Don’t hesitate to watch any of these video in full-screen mode for maximum viewing quality]

Next, below, is a 9:35 long video of this machine in action, from a cockpit viewpoint.  In this video experience you’ll see some quick aerobatic maneuvers that include some high “G” turns, in which you’ll notice how the pilot resorts to some strong and heavy breathing in order to avoid browning or blacking out from the heavy “G” loads that result. Here’s the Viper Demo Team’s Major Craig “Rocket” Baker having fun showing off his ViperThe “G” forces were so great in his final steep climb pull-up, that his cockpit mounted “Go Pro” camcorder stopped recording.

Next, below, we have a 6:36 long gander at the USAF’s  Thunderbird Demonstration Team at work.  Notice that, today, the Thunderbirds still fly this 44 year old jet as their aircraft of choice.

And, lastly, let’s watch this 9:48 long clip of the Viper do its thing during last year’s Air combat exercise Red Flag 19-1, at Nellis Air Force Base (NAFB), with F-16 Vipers from the 64th Aggressor Squadron, other fighter jets, and some good cockpit video. Filmed during Red Flag 19-1: January 26 – February 15, 2019.

FASF Members Attend FAA Seminar on Pilot Vision at KDMN

Above, are some of the assembled pilots and aviators attending the FAA and NM Pilots Association Sponsored Vision Seminar.  The event was held in the Deming Airport’s Terminal Building.  Seated in the front row at right, are two members of the EAA Chapter 1570 at Santa Teresa, NM, (L to R). Lewis Lawrence and Andy Werner, and immediately behind them are, L to R: FASF Treasurer, Lt. Alma Villezcas, early member of the FASF, Colonel Alan Fisher and CAP Col. Mike LeGendre, all members of the Las Cruces based CAP Composite Squadron, 024.  Be;hind them, not yet seated, are more of the CAP Squadron’s members and other FASF pilots, lined up to sign in for the conference.

This past weekend, under the initiative of the New Mexico Pilot’s Association, and in conjunction with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), a special Pilots’ Vision Seminar was conducted in order to familiarize the attending pilots with the almost inevitable consequences of age-related eyesight issues, problems than can make a significant change in an aviator’s ability, or lack of it, to continue as an active Pilot.

The presenter at the conference was a highly experienced Ophthalmologist, Marc Ellman, MD, who’s primary practice, the Southwest Eye Institute,  is located in nearby El Paso, TX.  Dr. Ellman, is, himself, a pilot, therefor someone who can easily relate to the concerns experienced by today’s active civilian-based aviators.

Dr. Ellman used a colorful and even humor-filled Power Point Presentation to skillfully explain many technical aspects of the subject to his primarily lay-oriented audience, with the exception of several MD’s, also pilots, who chose to also attend this special Vision Session, which was held in the convenient Conference Room of the Deming Municipal Airport, in Deming, NM, a facility whose Assistant Airport Office and transient Aircraft Director, Tony Maynes, is a long-time member of the the FASF.

Prior generations of pilots lived in justifiable fear of experiencing age-related vision issues, since there was then no practical remedy that might realistically help active aviators continue to pursue their love of flying, should their vision begin to deteriorate.  Many substantial corrective improvements have been made in the entire field of aviation-related vision deterioration and/or eyesight handicaps.

For instance:  Some forty years ago, exceptional vision was so critical a pilot standard, that many hopeful military aviators simply could not pass the then rigid vision requirements established for their intended profession.

The same was also largely the case with civilian pilots, although to a lesser extent.  Today’s military aviators are now, for example, allowed to fly fighter jets even when they must wear eye-glasses in order to meet the occupation’s stringent vision requirements.

And, possibly more importantly, civilian pilots who suffer from age-related issues such as cataracts, can now have a surgical corrective procedures taken, which completely removes their much feared cataract impairment.  There is even eye-surgery, as the audience learned, which is capable of completely eliminating the need of a pilot’s former dependency on eye-glasses, in order to legitimately fly.

Here, in the following photographs, is a brief summary of some of the major points made by Dr. Ellman during his presentation, one which elicited a large number of audience questions.

If you are interested in seeing any photograph in a more detailed and hi-resolution format, simply click on the photo to see it quickly amplified in a separate browser tab, which will, in most cases, enable you to clearly read the text displayed.

Above is John Lorenz, Safety Committee Chair for the New Mexico Pilots Association (NMPA) . He’s based at Sandia Airpark (1N1) and is a flight instructor, including Tail wheel endorsements. He runs NMPA’s Short Takeoff and Landing (STOL) Clinics and a Back Country Flying Clinic of the NMPA, extolling the advantages of Association membership. He invited the attendees to purchase some of the exhibited NMPA caps, such as those held in his left hand, the proceeds of which go to help fund the Association’s numerous General Aviation educational and social activities.

Here, above, John answers the group’s questions about the NMPA.Above are some of those pilots attending the Seminar who are also FASF members. In the fourth row back of Colonel Alan Fisher (in foreground at left front) and in their CAP uniforms, are (L to R), starting with Colonel John Orton (former Trustee and now FASF Advisor), are Captains Michelle Phillips, and William Benziger (Squadron Commander) and Lt. Joseph Perea.


Above is NMPA President, Joyce Woods, the principle event organizer, who took the time to welcome the event’s participants, and to also invite them, for those not yet members, to join the New Mexico Pilots’ Association.Above, the Seminar’s Presenter, Marc Ellman, MD, opens the event with the title slide of the Topic projected on the wall behind him.

The airmen take in Dr. Ellman’s opening remarks.  CAP Lt. David Bjorsness (center in 2nd row, in CAP uniform) has joined Lt. Alma Villezcas and Col. Fisher as one of the seven CAP members that took part in the Vision Seminar. At far left above is Stan Croft of Casas Adobes Airpark. Dr. Ellman’s humorous emphasis on making sure the pilots don’t fill out the wrong FAA form when applying for their post operative vision certification from the FAA.               Dr. Ellman gave credit to his fellow Pilot Vision inspiration, Dr. Alan Kozarsky.

Dr. Ellman’s closing slide, replete with his good humor, is his final Thank You to those who attended the Seminar.

Presenter, Dr. Marc Ellman, closes his show with replies to the many questions his slide show created.

Lewis Lawrence, at Left above, walks out to his plane after the event, as other participants gathered around the new Cirrus Jet (with the “V” tail in distance), to query the owners.

L to R above: Scott and Hillary Simon, of Newport Beach, CA, talk about their private jet’s features with EAA Chapter member, and Seminar attendee, Tom Navar, MD.

Among the departures after the show, the Simons take off in their new Cirrus Jet, bound for Austin, Texas

NEW PRESIDENT TAKES HELM OF NM’s EAA CHAPTER 1570

L to R: Rick King, the new 1570 President and outgoing founding President, John Keithly, long time FASF member.

Any photos in this post may be seen in full-size and high resolution by simply clicking on them.

Above, all smiles, Rick King, has just awarded the chapter’s founding President, John Keithly, a wooden plaque attesting to John’s outstanding service as the 1570’s first President.  Today’s meeting was the first conducted by the chapter’s new President, Rick King.  The meeting at which Rick was elected, as well as the rest of the Chapter’s new officers, was reported here last October 13.  For a list of the new officers, click right here for that story.

Several operational changes were decided today:  The monthly meetings will now be held at the War Eagles Air Museum (WEAM) at the Dona Ana County International Jetport, the second Saturday of each month, as previously, but the time has been changed to 9:30 AM from 11:00. 

The Board of Directors will meet in the museum executive lounge on the second floor at 9:00, a half hour before the regular membership meeting is convened.  Rick said that anyone who is interested is more than welcome to also come to the Board meetings.

Above, Bob Dockendorf, Executive Director of the WEAM, and founding member of the chapter and also an FASF member, reads to latest 1570 Financial Report to the members.

Visiting the Chapter gathering is, Rick Runnels, (above) a locally based Lear Jet Executive Pilot and friend of Rick King’s.

L to R above: Robert Lopez (behind John Keithly), one of the Chapter’s Flight Scholarship awardees, and Founding President, John Keithly, Juan Brito, Bruce King, and a new visitor to the Chapter, Adolfo Deras, who is also an EAA National member who lives in nearby El Paso, TX.

Above, Chapter VP, John Signorino, describing some upcoming fly-out and fly-in event possibilities.

President, Rick King, demonstrates how the Chapter is now listed on the EAA National Home Website with details of its composition, and how the site will have a calendar showing all upcoming 1570 events of interest to the members.  He also described the many features of the EAA Home Website, which, among many intriguing features, includes webinars for members who are building experimental aircraft of their own.  He also pointed out how National Headquarters is awarding  funds to Chapters who want to develop their own Tool Banks for members to use when building their new airplanes.

Close up photo of John Keithly’s Commendation Plaque

First Private Pilot 5 Place Jet Lands on Australia’s Gold Coast

      Virg Hemphill

Once again, from Aviation News Scout, Virg Hemphill, at left, come this short 1:40 minute video clip from an Australian TV Station about the American built personal (Cirrus SF50 “Vision”) Jet arriving down under.  Anyone with just a private pilot’s license can fly this new flying machine.  At almost $2 million dollars, this is not for every private pilot, but it is, comparatively speaking, about the most inexpensive, yet commodious of such jets available for personal use.  It caries the pilot and five passengers in modular seating.

And, the above short (1:35) video about this Vision Jet is by TIME Magazine.

Just so we don’t think this is the only jet sold and/or used for purely personal purposes, let’s take a look at some of the other “private” jets now flying around the world.  Here, below, is a video about the “10 Most Expensive Private Jets in the World”.  The video is 10:37 long:

And, let’s not forget the new home-built “Experimental” personal “Subsonex” JSX-2jet), the leader is mass produced single place single engined self-build home kits.  This video is only 3:40 long.  This new airplane is built by SONEX Aircraft, LLD

This summer, the company came out with a two (2) place version, which self-built kit will cost  about $114,000, however the single place version will come in at well below $100,000.  Their manufacturing facility is in Oshkosh, WI, the home of the world’s largest annual air show.

From what we know, the first personal kit-plane designed personal jet, is still probably the smallest of them all, and was first built and flown back in the early 1970’s, the ship, its kit built by the Bede corporation, was named the BD-5, and it appeared all across the U.S. in many airshows, where it performed numerous crowd-pleasing aerobatics.  Here is their website.

And here. above, is an 11 minute video from the cockpit of a short flight in the BD-5.  The video that follow this above one, will show you the kit used to make it..

 

FASF Members Take Part in New F-16 Viper Pilot Graduation

F-16 Viper Takes Off with its Afterburner

ALL PHOTOS IN THIS POST MAY BE SEEN* IN HI RESOLUTION BY SIMPLY CLICKING ON THEM

This Saturday, five active FASF members were again invited to join the base’s 49th Wing as it graduated the latest group of 11 new USAF Lockheed F-16 “Viper” fighter pilots, all members of the 8th Fighter Squadron’s Class 19-CBF.

Attending the evening’s celebratory dinner were Daedalian Flight 24’s Flight Captain, Colonel Mario Campos, it’s Adjutant, Colonel Bob Pitt,  Ric Lambart, Colonel Miles “Cowboy” Crowell, and AFROTC Cadet Major, Ammber Valverde, Daedalian Scholarship recipient and currently the youngest member of the FASF.  Ammber is a Junior at both the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) and New Mexico State University’s (NMSU) AFROTC Detachment 505.

A ‘Blue Team‘ F-16 from the 388th Wing, 421st Fighter Squadron, the “Black Widows“, flies high above the Nevada desert during a training exercise. Taking a break from the action below the clouds, this F-16 from Hill Air Force Base prepares to take on fuel from an awaiting KC-135 Tanker from the Washington State Air National Guard.

11 F-16 Viper student pilots graduated from the 8th Fighter Squadron’s F-16 Basic Course, during a ceremony at Club Holloman, Saturday, December 14th, 2019.

Graduating students, parents, wives, faculty and guest line up to enter the dining room for the graduation dinner.

The F-16 B-Course is a 37-week long course required for all student pilots. On average, B-Course students log 70 hours of flying time over 59 sorties in addition to roughly 245-hours of academic training and 69-hours of flight simulator training.

The dessert table had the class cake appropriately designated.

The 49th Wing is the Air Force’s premiere F-16 and MQ-9 Reaper aircrew training wing. Graduates of the F-16 B-course will be reassigned to operational flying units throughout the world as members of the combat Air Force.

L to R; Public Affairs Office Photographer, Staff Sgt.Christine Groening, listens to Col. Cowboy Crowell describe his tour in Vietnam conflict as Colonel Mario Campos listens. Both men are active FASF members.

Well into its middle age (it was 1st flown 45 years ago in 1974) the “Fighting Falcon” (it’s official original name, which has been almost thoroughly replaced by the more popular and honored name – The “Viper” – one assigned to it by its many pilots over all those years).  As seen immediately below, the Viper remains the chosen exhibition jet for the renown USAF Thunderbirds, which have used its extreme maneuverability in their airshows for 36 straight years.

The above video shows some typical operational F-16 Squadrons carrying out their  missions including some hi-resolution cockpit footage.

Colonel Bob Pitt and AFROTC Major, Ammber Valverde talking about her upcoming career in the USAF and of her intent to also become a fighter pilot. Both are active members of the FASF.

Here are the 11 proud members of the graduating Class19-CBF:

Capt. Justin Goar; 1st Lt. Seth Bolon; 1st Lt. Alexander Drakoulakis; 1st Lt. Austin Gillis: 1st Lt. Michael Kelvin; 1st Lt. Tyler Olson; 1st Lt. Colin Ruane; 1st Lt. Landon Santori; 1st Lt. David Schmitz; 1st Lt. Domenick Stumpo; and 1st Lt. Zachary Tarbox.

PAO Staff Sergeant Christine Groening and Colonel Bob Pitt. 

Originally designed and manufactured by General Dynamics Corporation and then licensed to for production  by Lockheed Martin Corporation, the newest model of the fighter was first put into action just four years ago.  It is the newest variant of  F-16 fighter jet, known as the F-16V “Viper.” The F-16’s cost the USAF about $38 million each – – – and it cost the USAF about $3 million to train each of these F-16 fighter pilots to master this nimble 4th generation fighter.

Lt. Col. Miles “Cowboy” Crowell and Cadet Major Ammber Valverde.

8th Squadron Commander, Lt. Colonel  “Harm” Finch, addresses the audience to help kick of the ceremonies.

PAO Staff Sergeant Christine Groening in action.

L to R: Col. Bob Pitt, LC Miles “Cowboy” Crowell, and Cadet Major Ammber Valverde

8th Tactical Fighter Squadron F-16 Flight Instructor, Capt. Brittany “Blitz” Trimble, who organized the entire event,  addresses the audience.

View of North part of Dining Hall at the Holloman Club, with (L to R) in foreground, Cols. Bob Pitt and Miles Crowell

View to the SW in Holloman Club’s Banquet Hall. In foreground (L to R) are Cols. Mario Campos, Bob Pitt and Miles Crowell.

Event’s Guest Speaker, Brig. General Joseph McFall, Asst. Deputy Commander, U.S. Air Forces Central Command, and Asst. Vice Commander, 9th Air Expeditionary Task Force.

Graduating Student, Capt. Justin “Hamboar” Goar, presents the class’ thank-you to Guest Speaker, General McFall.

L to R: Captain Justin “Hamboar” Goar, one of the graduating students,  presents Capt. Brittany Trimble, with a thank-you gift from the Squadron and its students for having masterminded and planned the entire graduation event – a complex program which unfolded without a hitch!

L to R: Captain Goar, of the 19-CBF graduating Class, presents THE BEST INSTRUCTOR AWARD to Major Locke.

FASF member and Daedalian Flight 24 Captain, Col. Mario Campos describes Daedalian History and the Flight’s Leadership Award.

L to R: Cols. Bob Pitt and Miles Crowell along with Cadet Major Ammber Valverde, watch the Daedalian Award presentation by Col. Campos.

Col. Campos congratulates Leadership Award Trophy winner, Lt. Colin “Huds” Ruane, who will be in his new active duty assignment at Kunsan Air Base in South Korea in a few weeks.

Veteran Viet Nam Fighter Pilot, FASF and Daedalian Flight 24 member, Col. “Cowboy” Crowell presents the coveted “River Rat” trophy to Lt. Austin “Weed” Gillis, who will report to his duty station at Ft. Worth Air Reserve Base in Texas after this graduation ceremony.  The “River Rat” award is bestowed upon the student with whom his fellow student fighter pilots would most want to have flying on their wing in combat. The river in the title is the “Red River” and the North Vietnamese Valley through which it flows.  The pilots who flew in that theater during Vietnam were affectionately called the “River Rats.”

The 49th Wing Commander, Colonel Joseph Campo (L) presents the Distinguished Student Graduate Trophy to Lt. Domenick “ROK” Stumpo, who will report to Osan Air Base, South Korea, in January 2020.

Again, Col. Campo (L)  presents the same “Distinguished Graduate” award to its dual winner, Lt. Seth “Faded” Bolon, who will be reporting to Kunsan Air Base in South Korea for his 1st post graduation duty assignment.

FASF members, (L TO R): Cols. Mario Campos, Bob Pitt, and “Cowboy” Crowell and Ammber Valverde, applaud the graduates as they received their diplomas.

L to R: Cols. Mario Campos, and Bob Pitt, Daedalian Awardee, Lt. “Huds” Ruane, Col. Miles Crowell and River Rat Awardee, Lt. “Weed” Gillis, and Ric Lambart.  Photo courtesy of PAO Staff Sergeant, Christine Groening

L to R: Ammber Valverde, Capt. Brittany Trimble and 49th Wing Commander, Col. Joseph Campo

L to R: Ammber Valverde, Capt. Brittany Trimble, Cols. Bob Pitt and Joseph Campo.

           Ammber Valverde (L) discussing USAF flight training program with Capt. Brittany “Blitz” Trimble.

  Ammber is a Junior at UTEP and with the NMSU AFROTC Detachment 505.  She wants also become a fighter pilot.

This was a good opportunity for Ammber to learn what’s ahead for her as she gets prepared for USAF active duty.

                       Ammber and Capt. Trimble continue to cover Ammber’s future prospects.

Colonel Campo and LC Crowell reliving some of their combat experiences.  Col. Crowell, an FASF member and a Flight 24 Daedalian, is now retired from active duty with the USAF, and works at Holloman as a private contractor.

                    Col. Campos (L) talking with a Master Sergeant assigned to the 8th Fighter Squadron.

Captain Brittany “Blitz” Trimble and Cadet Major Ammber Valverde pose by the 8th Tactical Fighter Squadron’s official Emblem.

The Viper is broadly used throughout the world by powers friendly to the United States, and still remains the preferred aircraft for the world famous USAF Demonstration Team, the “Thunderbirds.

The Oct. 16 flight in Fort Worth, Texas, marked the first time the venerable fourth-generation fighter flew with an advanced radar like those found on the fifth-generation fighters F-22 and F-35, according to a press release this week from Lockheed.

The F-16V includes an APG-83 active electronically scanned array scalable agile beam radar made by Northrop Grumman Corp. The company also makes so-called active electronically scanned array radars for the F-22 Raptor and the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

The new radar steers beams electronically — without moving parts — and redirects them from one location to another, according to the Government Accountability Office. Unlike a passive version, the radar spreads signals over multiple radio frequencies, making them difficult to detect and jam, and allowing the aircraft employing the technology to remain stealthy.

The APG-83 “fire control radar provides 5th Generation air-to-air and air-to-ground radar capability,” Lockheed said in the release. It “will deliver a quantum leap in capability for the venerable F-16.”

The F-16V advanced avionics configuration also includes a new cockpit center pedestal display, a modernized mission computer and a high-capacity Ethernet data bus, according to Lockheed.

Yet the upgrades aren’t slated to hit the U.S. fleet of more than 1,000 F-16s. The Air Force last year canceled a plan to upgrade some 340 of the single-engine fighters with such enhancements due to budget limitations and instead decided to fund other programs, including the F-35.

So Taiwan is set to become the first country to begin flying the F-16V Viper.

Lockheed, the world’s largest defense contractor, faces competition from the British defense giant, BAE Systems Plc, in the international market to upgrade many of the 3,000 F-16s now flying in foreign armed forces.

Of those, roughly 1,000 are more than 15 years old — making them prime candidates for enhancements to avoid obsolescence. While the F-16 won’t ever compete in the skies with newer jets like the F-22 or F-35, upgrading fourth-generation aircraft is far cheaper than buying fifth-generation fighters.

* If you would like to have any of these photos, feel free to download them from the hi-res (larger size view), after you click on it as it appears in the actual post/story.

FASF Trustee Bill Wallace at his new Livestock Auction House

Trustee Bill Wallace III at main entrance to his office

When Bill Wallace III (at left) was first elected to the FASF Board of Trustees, he was the full-time manager, in Columbus, NM, of the CATTLEMEX corporation’s local cattle marshaling and Auction facilities on the Mexican Border a few miles South of Columbus.

But, some three years ago, Bill purchased a new home in Santa Teresa, NM, in the same private development in which another former Trustee and now Advisor, John Orton, lived.  This new home put Bill in much closer proximity to his new work place, the Santa Teresa Livestock Auction, located at the large U. S. Border Port of Entry at Santa Teresa, NM.

In another few months, Bill’s relatively new enterprise will celebrate if fourth year of successful business at the new facility.  Just today, Bill successfully auctions about 600 head of cattle to American cattlemen.  Most of the cattle auctioned by Bill’s business come from Mexico, while most of the buyers are American Ranchers and Cattlemen.  His average number of livestock being held at any given time is now approaching 1,000 head.  Bill’s operation is the largest such U.S./Mexican Border auction enterprise anywhere on our border with Mexico.

In constructing the new facilities, just as he had done at the CATTLEMEX operation in

   Dr. Grandin

Columbus, at Santa Teresa, Bill again had the internationally famous, Temple Grandin, PhD,  an animal/cattle behavioral scientist, design the cattle holding pens and chutes.  Dr. Grandin is well known for her ability to configure cattle handling facilities that minimize the stress that once posed such a traumatic experience to the cattle that were being processed.

Cattle Pens designed by Dr. Grandin

 

One immediately noticeable feature of Dr. Grandin’s designs is that there are no sharp corners nor straight fence lines.  Everything she fabricates for the livestock handling is composed of curves.  Here (at left) is and early example of what such Grandin pens look like.

 

Bill is a partner in the new operation at Santa Teresa and is its full-time manager.  This Trustee

L to R: Sr. Vega Vega, and Bill Wallace in Auction Hall

was raised in Mexico at the historic family ranch, Hacienda Rancho Corralitos, the very same ranch at which Bill’s great-grandfather once housed General Black Jack Pershing’s famous Buffalo Soldiers, during the same Punitive Expedition, which gave rise to the First Aero Squadron’s pioneering operation out of Columbus.  While your webmaster was visiting with Bill, yesterday, he was regularly interrupted by business cell phone calls, one of those calls is show in this post’s short (:47 second) video clip immediately below.

L to R: Mr. Vega bids goodbye to Bill.

Because Bill deals on a daily basic with both Mexican cattlemen and Americans, his bi-lingual language skill comes in more than  handy.  Because of the international nature of the FASF, we always endeavor to have a number of Trustees that are also fully bi-lingual.  Our other two Spanish speaking members are our Treasurer, Alma Villezcas, who, like Bill, is also from Casas Grandes, Mexico, and our retired professor of Cultural Anthropology, Dr. Kathleen Martín, our previous 1st Vice President.

                               Bill stands behind his Auction Auditorium and nearby his new corrals and chutes.

 

A NEW VISION – USMC RELEASES NEW RECRUITING VIDEO

       Ret. USMC Pilot Jerry Dixon

Thanks to our long-time Member, and Aviation Scout, Jerry Dixon (at left), we see the latest video released by the United States Marine Corps Recruiting Office.  It may show only a few short glimpses of their new F-35B variant (Vertical Take Off and Landing capability) Lightning II, but we think you might like its message and delivery.  The video speaks for itself, so not much need to add any more.

Thanks, Jerry!

Below is the short (4:04 minutes) USMC video entitled:

The New Marine Corps Vision.

Local EAA 1570 Chapter Elects New Officers for 2020 +

Chapter 1570 Founder & President, John Keithly

Long time FASF member and Founding President of Chapter 1570 of the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), John Keithly, (at left) decided to retire from the helm of this relatively new yet top-performing EAA unit. 

The chapter is located at the Doña Ana County International Jetport (KDNA) in Santa Teresa, New Mexico, and meets at least once each month, at 11:00 AM, on the second Saturday at the War Eagles Air Museum (WEAM) at the Jetport.

Although a relatively new chapter among almost 1,000  chapters across the globe, the 1570 has already set some notable records:  At their first promotional visit of the Ford Tri-Motor 1920’s Airliner, for instance, the new chapter set an all-time high number of rides, even compared to major cities across the U.S.  The FASF had a post with videos of this event in April two years ago, right here.

The Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) is an international organization of aviation enthusiasts based in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, United States. Since its inception it has grown internationally with over 200,000 members, and hosts the largest aviation gathering of its kind in the world, EAA AirVenture Oshkosh.

Any photos in this post may be seen in full-size and high resolution by simply clicking on them.

At yesterday’s meeting, an election was held for the new officers for the coming year.  Here are the results:

  • New President:      Rick King
  • Vice President:       John Signorino
  • Secretary:               Andy Werner
  • Treasurer:               Jorge Vielledent
  • Asst. Treasurer:     Bob Dockendorf
  • Young Eagles Dir:  Tomás Peralta
  • Scholarship Dir:     Melissa Keithly
  • Membership Dr:    Laura Ditlevson
  • Newsletter Editor: Kathleen Whelen

Before hearing from the guest speaker at the meeting, Melissa Keithly made an announcement about the progress of the EAA Chapter’s new Scholarship recipient flight students:

Name of Scholarship Student      Original Grant        Spent to date            Balance Remaining

  • Jesse Tsougas                           $          3,000                       (2,914-)                                 –
  • Laura Ditlevson                                 10,000                      (6,930-)                                3,070
  • Caleb Molinar                                       3,000                       (2,472-)                                –
  • Sergio Olague                                       4,000                       (3,851-)                                  149
  • Ava Moreno                                         10,000                    (10,098-)                                   (98)
  • Robert Lopez Valazquez                  10,000                      (8,734- )                               1,266

Melissa reported that a total of $40,000 had already been granted for student Flight Training Scholarships. After sharing the above Scholarship Award Students’ financial status report with the members, she then announced that Robert Lopez (below 2 photos) had already soloed, and had also completed his solo cross-country flight.

L to R at rear: Melissa Keithly gives Robert Lopez he souvenir SOLO T-SHIRT.

L to R: Roberto displays his newly achieved SOLO T_SHIRT to the members at Scholarship Director, Melissa Keithly smiles with satisfaction..

After the election for new officers was held and various reports made, as that of Ms. Keithly’s Scholarship Program, the speaker for the day, Terence Mike” Epp was introduced by President Keithly, who described Mike’s colorful work history and explained that Mike had done some important work on both of John’s airplanes, as his official A & P (FAA Certified Airframe and Powerplant technician).

         Long time FASF member, Bob Dockendorf (WEAM Executive Director), Mike Perez,, and Mike Epp.

Asst. Treasurer, at rear and standing, Bob Dockendorf, reports on the Chapter’s Financial Status.  In foreground, L to R are chapter member, Elissa Huggins, and guest speaker, A&P Mike Epp.  In background are (L to R): Melissa Keithly and Mary Dockendorf.  Bob also announced the details of the upcoming “A SALUTE TO VETERANS” Charity fund-raising extravaganza entitled “RADIO STARS OF THE 40’S / “ON the AIR” featuring Bob Hope, Jack Benny, Red Skelton and Jimmy Durante, presented by some exceptionally talented professional impersonators.  Tickets for the event are limited to only 300 guests and the price per seat is $75.

L to R: A & P, Elliot Werner and John Orton (FASF Advisor – both are International Jet Port Advisory Board members),  wait for the meeting to begin.

Among the Announcements made during the meeting, Daniel Barcena (at center rear) described the upcoming Fabens’ Airport Aviation and Automobile Event he created and his promoting for Breast Cancer Awareness, this coming October 26th and 27th.  Daniel and his fiance, Aurora Vargas, a cancer survivor, flew in to the meeting in his Van’s Experimental airplane.  As usual, several other members also flew themselves into the Jetport for the meeting.

Long time FASF member and Chapter VP, John Signorino (above), reported on the Chapter’s Fly Outs and other events.

John Keithly announces his retirement as President and opens the floor for nominations, as the election takes place.

                                 President Keithly introducing guest speaker, Terrence “Mike” Epp.

Mr. Epp opens his colorful talk about his some 40 years of flying experience from his first solo in his father’s Piper Tri – Pacer to more current times as both an A&P specialist and as a transport and DEA Contractor pilot.  Mike was also Private Investigator , wildlife photographer, and novelist – to mention what seem like just a few of his talents and unusual life experiences.

                 Mike Epp concludes his entertaining presentation on his aviation exploits and other adventures.

 

Rio Grande Aviation Council Holds its Quarterly Fall Meeting

President Wes Baker of the 555 Chapter of the EAA, at Las Cruces International Airport, arrives in his Vintage Cessna 140 for the meeting.

This past weekend, the RGAC (Rio Grande Aviation Council) held its Fall quarterly meeting at the WEAM (War Eagles Air Museum) at the Doña Ana County International Jetport in Santa Teresa, New Mexico.

In the words of one of the RGAC’s original two founders, Bob Dockendorf,This newly formed organization is designed and purposed to improve and enhance communication between the many diverse groups that are involved in the regional  aviation community.

Thirteen (13) representatives of the some twenty odd member aviation industry concerned organizations attended.  The two group photos below show those representatives who were able to attend this past Saturday.

All this post’s photos can be seen in hi-resolution and full size by simply clicking on them!

The RGAC’s governing member organizations include the following:

  1. Amigo Air Sho
  2. Cielo Dorado HO Association
  3. Civil Air Patrol – Squadron 215 – El Paso
  4. Civil Air Patrol – Squadron 24 – Las Cruces
  5. Dust Devil Flying Club
  6. EAA Chapter 1570 – Santa Teresa, NM
  7. EAA Chapter 555 – Las Cruces, NM
  8. El Paso Aviation Association
  9. El Paso Remote Control Association
  10. First Aero Squadron Foundation
  11. Horizon City Remote Control Flyers
  12. Las Cruces Aviators Flying Club
  13. Mesilla Valley Model Airplane Club
  14. Ninety-Nines – El Paso Chapter
  15. Order of Daedalians – Flight 24 – El Paso
  16. Quiet Birdmen
  17. USAF Academy Association
  18. USAF JROTC, Las Cruces HS, NM
  19. USAF ROTC Det. 505, UTEP
  20. USAF ROTC Detachment 505 NMSU
  21. War Eagles Air Museum (WEAM)

L to R seated: Tania Privette, and WEAM Director and one of the RCAC founders, Bob Dockendorf, and EAA’s John Signorino work on meeting’s details.

Other profit-oriented or governmental organizations involved in local area aviation such as the Airfield Managers of KDNA (Dona Ana Jetport); LRU (Las Cruces International Airport); El Paso International Airport; Fabens Airport (Texas); The Commanders of Army Aviation’s Biggs Field and Holloman Air Force Base; Director of the UTEP Aero Apace Department; Managers of the Tenants at the New Mexico International Space Port and the Director of NMSU’s Physical Sciences Lab, along with the Elephant Butte Irrigation District . . . are engaged as members of the non-voting class of associate membership in the Council.

The actual governing of the Council is primarily determined by the non-profit educational aviation consumer oriented groups active in the region.

L to R front row: John Signoriino, Tania Privette, Ric Lambart – Back Row: Tracy Short, Aurora Navarro, Daniel  Barcena, Mike LeGendre, Col. Mario Campos, Wes Baker, Eric Gensheimer, Todd Pasont, Bob Dockendorf, and Juan Brito.

Below, the group of representatives also gathered by the “Women in Aviation Display inside the WEAM main hangar (see below photo).

L to R: Ric Lambart, Aurora Navarro, Daniel Barcena, Tracy Short, Tania Privette, Mike LeGendre, John Signorino, Col. Mario Campos, Eric Gensheimer, Todd Pasont, Juan Brito, Wes Baker, and Bob Dockendorf – we don’t know the helmeted manikin’s name.