Tag Archives: Air Traffic Controller

Founder Jim Davis Left on his final flight this morning, 11/22

    Jim Davis – “Government Clerk” Left us today.

Jim Davis was one of the small group of aviation enthusiasts who founded the FASF in 2007. Jim remained an active Trustee and Officer until he retired in 2014. 

Even after he retired, he remained active as our principal Aviation Historian, being an integral part of U.S. Aviation history, himself.

In a masterpiece of his typical humor and understatement, Jim’s business card read: “Retired Government Clerk.”  

Actually, after his Korean War tour in the USAF, Jim worked as an air traffic controller in the Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) – later to become the Federal Aviation¹ Administration (FAA).


In 1961 Jim established the FAA Administrator’s  Command Post.  In his leadership role, he was called upon to personally brief several U.S. Presidents on critical FAA issues, and it was Jim who developed Command and Control techniques still in use throughout the international aviation community to this day.

Except for a special assignment to help develop a modernized air traffic control system, he remained in Washington until his government retirement in 1990.

During his tenure with the FAA, Jim’s team, as an around-the-clock FAA presence, responded to some 20,000 annual contingencies; including major air disasters, aerial hijackings, and other emergencies that required immediate Federal response.

While still with the FAA, but even more active after his retirement from the agency, Jim personally videotaped many of aviation’s unsung pioneers. It was always difficult to imagine this extremely energetic and active chronicler of aviation history as being retired.  It is now more than difficult to accept that he is no longer even among us.

            [If you’d like to view the below photographs in full HD quality, simply click on them]

  Jim flying his Cessna 172 over the cemetery in which he was buried on 11/27/20 – Photo by his friend, Ken Peppard

Aerial view by Ken Peppard of Alberene Cemetery, in which Jim was interred on Friday 11/2720

Since retirement as that “Government Clerk,” Jim continued to fly his own personal airplane, (seen above) often using it to commute between his home on the East Coast and his local Columbus New Mexico Private Airpark residence – only a few miles north of the Historic First Aero Squadron Airfield he did so much to help preserve – and protect – for posterity.

Today, his dear and long-time friend and colleague, Dave Clemmer, also an early FASF member, called to give us the sad news of Jim’s final departure.

L to R above: Ken Hyde and Jim Davis posing in front of the Wright Flyer, much like the actual aeroplane first flown by the U.S. Army’s fledgling Air Branch in 1909, only 6 years after the Wright Brother’s first successful heavier-than-air flight at Kitty Hawk, NC.  The “Flyer” was built by Ken’s group: The Wright Experience: If you look closely, you will see a functional yellow-colored Curtiss JN4, built by Ken’s group. This photo was taken by Jim’s friend, Dave Clemmer.

Those of us here at the FASF who were privileged to both know and work with Jim will never forget his uplifting spirit and hearty sense of humor.  His love of aviation and its history did more than one might imagine to help instigate the moves it took to get the FASF off and running as an educational and historical non-profit enterprise – – – one that, soon after its founding, was able to both secure and protect for prosperity the small New Mexico Airfield on which American Air Power began its illustrious climb to world-wide dominance – – – the same Airfield which also instigated the rebirth of American Civil Aviation, which had all but died after the Wright Brothers’ historic first flight in December of 1903.

Here is but one of Jim’s shorter videos.  It’s about the first engine start of the Wright Brother’s 1st U.S. Military Flyer replica, built by some of Jim’s close friends.  You can enjoy hearing Jim’s voice as he moderates the event on the video.  In the brief video clip, Jim notes the short appearance of his good friend, Dave Clemmer, who just notified us of Jim’s passing.

L to R: Tom Strickland, Jim and Ken Peppard (who helped Dave Clemmer with this memorial post).  All three of them are standing by the specially made  “CENTENNIAL OF FLIGHT” cake, on the memorial of that Centennial occasion.

With no exaggeration, without Jim’s vital help and positive energy, we would most likely not have either the FASF – – – or this website – – – nor would your webmaster be writing of this loss of our cherished and dearest friend.

Above, L to R: Dick Roe and Jim aboard his airport “Harley Davidson” cart.

May God rest his soul, and may we never forget his dedicated public service. We will certainly not forget how honored we have been to have had Jim’s indefatigable help and unbridled enthusiasm to help us establish this historical public enterprise, with its many meaningful contributions to aviation history, and its manifold collection of colorful memories, many of which are of Jim himself.

Our prayers and deepest sympathy go out to Jim’s wife, Sharon, his wonderful family, and his many friends across the country and abroad.

God bless you, Jim.

Click right HERE for a newly released special Tribute to Jim by his close friend, and long-time FASF member, Dave Clemmer.

¹ Your webmaster had to change the full name of the FAA because he’d mistakenly first called it the Federal Aeronautics Administration!  Calling me politely out on that error, was reader and old friend of Jim’s, Ken Peppard.


More Unidentified Flying Objects Being Openly Reported

Many of you most likely heard the news two days ago, on Tuesday, when it was reported by all the major domestic TV networks, that the Albuquerque Air Traffic Control Center had just dealt with a report from two commercial aircraft and their professional pilots, both traveling towards the West over New Mexico and Arizona, that they had seen an object (UFO?) above them moving towards the East.

The FAA chose, in an unusual move, to release the actual recorded conversations between the Air Traffic Controller and the pilots involved in the incident.  None of the pilots could accurately identify what the strange vehicle was, and the made some humorous remarks that it might have been a UFO, or a “weather balloon” – – – which was likely a sarcastic reference to the famous Roswell incident of 71 years ago, in which the USAF quickly altered their first public information release describing a UFO wreck to one of a wrecked “weather balloon.”

It would appear that the old government policy of secrecy regarding such incidents has finally been abandoned.

Here, below, is the actual Air Traffic Controller’s communications with the pilots flying over Arizona and New Mexico.  The official recording soundtrack has been spliced with a separate stock royalty-free view from an airliner for special effect.  Therefor the video portion is not of either of the reporting aircraft, but the the audio is that of the actual conversation.  Note that the Air Traffic Controller did not “see” the UFO on his radar screens.

It is interesting to note that the UFOs are often picked up by radar, but others in the vicinity cannot see them with their naked eyes, and vice versa is also regularly the case.

There had been a great deal of activity in this field of trying to identify these strange  vehicles ever since the mysterious news about our first official sighting of an unidentified flying object that ostensibly crashed near Roswell, NM in 1947, shortly after the end of WWII.  It was either on or close to July 4, 1947 when this famous incident occurred.  Here is the official New Mexico government description of that event.

For the most part, ever since the Roswell Incident, there has been a growing group of people interested in the entire subject, and these UFO enthusiasts, if one can call them that, can now be found in every corner of the globe. Some of these self-described UFO experts have even pointed out that there are pieces of art dating back thousands of years in which UFO and modern type air vehicles were depicted – and those ancient artifacts look astoundingly similar to both modern UFO (flying saucer varieties) shapes as well as those of modern day helicopters.

However, during the years following Roswell, the official policy of the U.S. Government and its agencies has been to keep the matter quiet and to issue no news releases, or any kind of overt official commentary, for that matter.  This old secretive posture now appears to a changing policy.  It is now well established that the Air Force established a special secret project entitled “Project Blue Book” in the year 1947, but the secret USAF enterprise was not discontinued until 1969.  For those 27 intervening years, a massive amount of data was accumulated, material resulting from both civilian and military reports of  UFO phenomena.  Sometimes such UFO incidents are simultaneously seen be so many civilians, both here and abroad, that the press could not ignore the witnesses, and, accordingly some fairly recent mass sightings of UFO’s have made international headlines. Six years ago, in 2012, the National Geographic Society actually published its list of “Ten Mass Sightings of UFOs.”  But, while this article drew attention to some major incidents with large masses of witnesses, they neglected to mention the huge sighting in Mexico City by hundreds of thousands of Mexicans, who witnessed a large group of fighter type UFO vehicles above and South of Mexico City in 1997,

Just recently, the news media also released recordings of several Navy pilots flying off an aircraft carrier near San Diego, similar to this Tuesday’s incident with the American Airlines pilots, in which the Navy F-18 pilots were alerted by their shipboard (USS Nimitz) radar operator that there was a mysterious “target” near them – – – and the pilots were requested to investigate.  As the pilots observed (in the recorded radio transmissions), the “object” could not be identified.  But it did not behave as do modern day aircraft, but rather did things normal earth designed airplanes cannot accomplish in terms of speed and sudden changes of direction and altitude.  Here, below, is the formerly classified incident, as seen by the fighter’s own gunnery camera.  And the audio is that of the pilots’ communication with the Nimitz.

Just recently, one of the former Navy fighter pilots, David Fravor,  who took part in the short UFO chase back in 2004, told his story on national TV.

So, the question, “are we alone,” may now be taking on another dimension.