Tag Archives: Bob Wright

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.

MAKING OF TIME’S HISTORIC 1000 DRONE COVER PHOTO +

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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