The following story is a courtesy tip from Mike Mangino (at left), an Architect from Phoenix, AZ, and an aviation news scout for the FASF.
Mikeserved in the USAF’s Arizona Air National Guard, so knows his way around the aviation world.
This post is what’s behind a great book for any aviation buff and enthusiast’s Christmas list, albeit a tad late for on-time delivery for your stocking-stuffing ceremony. Here’s the scoop: The book is written by a highly successful former US Marine Corps fighter pilot named Bob Moriarty, who later became an investment guru as well as an author.
Here’s a short introduction to Bob’sbackground:
Bob Moriartywas a Marine F-4B pilot at the age of only twenty and a veteran of over 820 missions in Viet Nam. Becoming a Captain in the Marines at just 22, he was one of the most highly decorated pilots in the war.
He went on to ferry General Aviation aircraft all over the world for 15 years with over 240 over-the-water deliveries. He holds 14 International Aviation records including Lindbergh’s record for time between New York to Paris in two different categories.
In 1996 he began an online computer business on the internet with his wife Barbara becoming one of the early adopters of the Internet. Convinced gold and silver were at a bottom in 2001,Boband Barbara started one of the first websites devoted to teaching readers what they need to know about investing in resource stocks. They now operate two resource sites, 321Gold.com and 321Energy.com where up to 100,000 people a day visit. Bob travels to dozens of mining projects a year and then writes about them.
Now, here’s more background from a post on his own investment site, “321gold” along with a photo and promo for his book:
REMEMBER TO CLICK ON ANY PHOTO TO SEE IT FULL-SIZE IN HI-RESOLUTION
No Guts No Glory Cover
I’ve done a lot of things in my life. My readers on 321Gold do not know all of them. From 1974 until 1986 I delivered new small planes to destinations all over the world. I mean little tiny, sometimes Cessna 172 size planes, to places from South Africa or Australia or Europe. We would pick them up from the factory, load them with internal fuel tanks, and off we went.
Delivering small planes over big oceans was easily the most dangerous job in the world. Every year about ten percent of ferry pilots were killed one way or another. When I was doing it, the aviation industry was booming with almost 20,000 aircraft manufactured a year. There were never more than fifty pilots in the world at one time who made a living delivering small general aviation aircraft.
Alas, a lawsuit after a preventable accident in 1979 literally killed the industry that used to provide ten percent of US exports by dollar value. I point out in the book that the dollar was dropping so fast for a decade that an owner could buy an aircraft, fly it for five years and sell it for more than he paid for it. For a short period in aviation history owning a small plane was an investment rather than an expense.
I got to fly with some of the best pilots in aviation history as well as a bunch of skirt-chasing quasi-drunks barely capable of taking off much less landing safely. I will say that without exception the 5-10% of ferry pilots who were women were across the board more professional and better pilots than the males.
I actually wrote this book about thirty-five years ago and frankly because I am lazy at heart, I never got around to proofreading and editing the book. But both Lulu and Amazon now have the ability to produce a professional-looking hardback book for anyone who can create a document file, I finally got off my ass and finished it.
I’ve done about ten books in the last decade ranging from short very funny fiction set in Cornwall for Barbara to serious tomes on combat and investing. This book, No Guts, No Glory,is one that most people interested in aviation and aviation history will find engaging. It’s a great gift for anyone interested in one of the most unusual areas of aviation history.
It’s only $19.99 and frankly in today’s world that is cheap for a good hardback. If you wouldn’t enjoy reading an aviation adventure story told by someone who lived it, you probably know someone who would appreciate it.
New to that small cadre of aviation historians who have accurately and carefully chronicled the saga of the First Aero Squadron (FAS) is a gentleman – and aviator – from Albuquerque, NM, Daniel G. Sharpes.
We are happy to announce thatMr. Sharpeshas become an active member of the FASF!
Danhas done his research exceptionally well, and his colorfully descriptive style makes it an enjoyable experience to jump back in time to when American Air Power was born, right here in Columbus, NM, exactly 104 years ago this coming March 16, 2021.
Let’s learn a bit about this new article’s author:
Born down the street from the Air Force Museum at Wright-Patterson AFB, Dan Sharpes applied his interest in aviation to supporting the X-29, C-17, and Airborne Laser programs as well as several R&D efforts. His Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in aero-engineering enabled him to study the aerodynamics of forward-swept wings and v-tails. Dan retired in 2019 from his military and civilian duties and is currently pursuing a history degree as well as offering flight instruction in his personal Cessna 172.
So, without further ado, let’s followDan’s story of the adventurous days of the First Aero’s introduction to actual warfare, on March 16, 1916 . . . you will find a special PDF version of this story at the bottom of the page for easy downloading:
”The Failed Mission of the First Aero Squadron in Mexico”
By Daniel Sharpes
Webster, M.L. “Curtiss Flying Jennies Pursue Pancho Villa Across Northern Mexico,” (ref. 1)
In his January 2013 message to “Airmen and Airpower Advocates,” General Mark Welsh III wrote of how the United States Air Force provides “Global Vigilance, Global Reach, and Global Power” (ref. 2). But that has not always been the case. In the years before World War One, a time in aviation history that has long interested me, the initial deployment of U.S. military aviation revealed deficiencies that far outweighed capabilities. Though it was barely eight years after the Wright brothers made their first public flight, not only was it the airplanes of the First Aero Squadron that were put to the test but also the pilots, mechanics, and all the logistics needed to successfully augment Army operations outside the United States.
The squadron’s primary mission was “… to provide aerial reconnaissance for the six assigned cavalry regiments” (p. xi, ref. 3) of General Pershing’s Punitive Expedition. On March 9, 1916, Pancho Villa had attacked the town of Columbus, New Mexico, killing 19, and President Woodrow Wilson gave orders to capture him dead or alive.
Captain Benjamin D. Foulois (ref. 4)
Three days later, the First Aero Squadron, led by Captain Benjamin D. Foulois (Fuh-LOY), was on its way. Unfortunately, less than five weeks after entering Mexico, the First Aero Squadron limped back to the U.S. Of the eight planes that departed, only two returned and, after landing, Captain Foulois burned both to ashes. To explore why the mission ended this way I will look at seven factors: (1) Army and Congressional support, (2) the mission the squadron was called on to perform, (3) the officers and men of the squadron, (4) the aircraft of the squadron, (5) their operating environment, (6) the maintenance and logistical difficulties, and (7) the challenges of flying in Mexico.
Each aspect will contribute to explaining why the 1st Aero Squadron failed to provide the ordered reconnaissance support.
Support by the Army and Congress
What was the state of Army aviation in 1916 and how did it get that way? Todd Phinney, in “Airpower and Terrorism,” wrote,
“… in 1913, just three years prior to the Mexico campaign, when “[compared] to what other governments invested in their military air effort . . . the United States came in thirteenth in the world rankings.” (ref.5, p. 6)
Such a poor showing was due to a lack of support within the War Department (now the Department of Defense) and Congress. In his memoir, Foulois recalled,
“The War Department was in the process of estimating the budget for fiscal year 1916 when war broke out in Europe. An Army request for a little more than $1 million for the Aviation Section of the Signal Corps was submitted to Secretary of War Lindley M. Garrison, who promptly reduced the estimate by $600,000 and sent an estimate for $400,000 to the Congress. This was done at the same time that Germany appropriated $45 million; Russia, $22.5 million; France, $12.8 million; Austria, $3 million; and Great Britain $1.08 million. Even Italy had appropriated $800,000 for military aviation in its prewar budget. … The Congress … on March 4, 1915, only $300,000 was slated for military aeronautics.” (ref. 6, p. 118)
Further clipping the wings of the Aviation section were the staffing constraints put in place by Congress two years before Villa’s raid:
The public’s view of the mission (ref. 7, p. 25)
“One of the most troublesome provisions of the Act of July 18, 1914, was that specifying that only unmarried lieutenants of the line under thirty years of age could serve in the aviation section. The result was that the section was being filled with young, inexperienced second lieutenants, leaving no one with age and experience to command an aviation organization. Still, another irrational proviso was one that required an officer on aviation duty to return to troop duty as soon as he was promoted to the grade of captain …” (ref. 6, pp. 118-9)
Supporters of Army aviation clearly understood the situation. This editorial cartoon was published in Aerial Age Weekly on the same day First Aero Squadron aircraft began to arrive in Mexico (ref. 7, page 25).
General Funston, who commanded General Pershing to take the First Aero Squadron into Mexico, is considering the U.S. Aviation Corps. From its neck hangs the sign, “Wings Clipped in Congress” and on its left leg is a ball and chain. Mexico’s volatility is represented by a simmering volcano and armed Mexicans can be seen along the ridge-line between the Rio Grande River and the volcano.
With support like this, the squadron faced an uphill struggle to succeed even before they arrived at Camp Furlong in Columbus, New Mexico.
The First Aero Squadron’s Area of Responsibility (ref. 3, p. xii)
“On 12 March, the Army ordered Foulois and the 1st Aero Squadron to deploy to Columbus in support of Pershing’s expedition” (ref. 8, p. 28). Seven days after Villa’s raid, Foulois and his deputy, Captain Townsend Dodd, made the first aerial reconnaissance by United States military aircraft ever made over foreign territory, the first of few successful missions. Orders came soon after that flight to deploy to Casas Grandes, about 125 miles south of the border.
This was the first of several deployments that would split up elements of the squadron, as shown in the map (ref. 3, p. xii). Each deployment required packing equipment and personal gear, driving on roads many today would consider rough even for off-road vehicles, setting up the squadron, and re-establishing operations. These moves, mandated to support the mission, kept any sort of consistent operational tempo from developing. The result was that efficient practices and procedures never had the chance to be established or mature.
This constant commotion is an important factor in understanding why the squadron failed in its mission.
The Officers and Men of the Squadron
To get reconnaissance information to General Pershing, Captain Foulois relied on 11 officers, 82 enlisted men, one civilian mechanic, and a medical officer with three hospital corpsmen. (ref. 6, p. 126). Not enough can be said in praise of the non-flying members of the squadron and their efforts to keep the airplanes in the sky. His officers, all pilots, were similarly dedicated. However, that could not overcome their aviation inexperience. If we were to judge Pershing and his pilots by today’s standards, at the time they left for Mexico, none would have passed a modern private pilot exam.
Their commander, Foulois, learned to fly using “… mailed instructions from the Wright Brothers in a Wright Model A (Signal Corps No. 1) biplane …” (ref. 3, p. 9).
Of the other eleven pilots, only one had night flying experience, a shortcoming that made itself known on the squadron’s first flight into Mexico.
Captain Foulois recalls:
“On the morning of March 19, I received telegraphic orders to move the squadron to Casas Grandes, a small town about 125 miles south of the border, for immediate service. By five-thirty that afternoon all eight planes were in the air headed for Ascension, about 60 miles to the south, where we planned to stay overnight. … By the time we reached Ascension, the sun had gone down and I could see only four planes in my formation. … By the time the fourth plane landed, it was dark.” (ref. 6, pp. 126-7)
That no other planes arrived at Ascension also speaks to their limited formation flying skills as several planes got separated from the rest. Planning and executing a cross country flight was another hard lesson not entirely learned by recent experience when, in the weeks before the Expedition, the squadron flew from Oklahoma to Texas. They got lost on the way.
Experience is the best teacher, but its lessons are often expensive and harsh. Fortunately, none of the aviators were seriously injured while deployed but the First Aero Squadron eventually lost all its planes.
The Aircraft of the First Aero Squadron
To give some perspective on the maturity of aviation, when the squadron deployed, not even eight years had passed since the Wrights made their first public flight in 1908. The industry in the United States hadn’t grown much since then for reasons outside the scope of this paper. That lack of maturity revealed itself in the planes they flew, Curtiss JN-3’s. One is on display at the Pancho Villa State Park in Columbus, New Mexico (ref. 9).
The JN-3 on display at the Pancho Villa State Park, Columbus, NM (ref. 9)
Numerous problems with the aircraft became obvious very quickly:
“Each plane carried a different type of compass …” (ref. 10)
They “… could not fly over the 12,000-foot-high mountains, nor could they withstand the gusty winds, rain, hail and snow that were prevalent in the area.” (ref. 10)
“Their wheels bogged down in the deep sand, and the hot, dry air quickly dried out the wooden planes. Especially troublesome were the propellers, which delaminated in the dry heat … and only a propeller laboriously carved from dried native wood proved successful. The pilots soon learned to carry a spare propeller, stored in a humidity-controlled box strapped to the side of the fuselage, on every mission.” (ref. 10)
On one flight from the city of Chihuahua, when “Lt Dargue attempted to (take off), the top of the fuselage came off and he was forced to land.” (ref. 11, p. 195)” On another flight, as “… they attempted to take off, the top of the fuselage blew off, damaging the rudder.” (ibid., p. 196)”
The engines were unreliable. It was not uncommon that they failed in flight and over ground that often resulted in landings better called controlled crashes.
The propellers, so essential to flight, soon became a flight risk. The hot, dry air dried out the glue holding the laminated wooden blades together, making them useless for flight. Another kind of failure occurred twice, the first “… almost resulted in tragedy when one blade of his plane’s propeller flew off, immediately throwing his machine out of balance. The excess torque nearly ripped the engine from its mounting with only a few wires below the machine holding it in place.” (ibid., p. 196).
What a First Aero Squadron propeller looks like after failing in flight (ref. 12, p. 781)
It should come as no surprise that, of the eight JN-3’s deployed from Camp Furlong, only two returned about 30 days later. On their return, Captain Foulois stripped them of all useful parts and then burned them to ensure no one would be able to fly them ever again. It’s no wonder he recalls in his memoir,
“Pershing … said that he would have no quarrel even if my officers had expressed public disapproval of the old wrecks we had to fly. “They have already too often risked their lives in old and often useless machines which they have patched up and worked over in an effort to do their share of the duty this expedition has been called on to perform,” he wrote.” (ref. 6, p. 134)”
Without airplanes, the First Aero Squadron could not have existed. But with the planes they had, even the few successes they experienced were not enough to call their mission accomplished.
To say the environment in which they flew was brutal is an understatement. The planes, “…on account of their low power, could not climb fast enough in case of emergency, the Mexican atmosphere being so rare …” (ref. 7, p. 24f). Why was this? The density of the air at the altitudes they had to fly robbed the aviators twice. First, the propellers could not grab as much air as at the lower altitudes common in the U.S. This reduced the ability of propellers to create thrust. Then, the engines lost power as the reduced oxygen in that thin air meant less fuel could be burned. Hence, the engines could not make their rated horsepower.
Winds were another factor. They proved to be a threat to flight safety:
Though this photo was taken in Columbus, NM, the winds were just as dangerous on the ground (ref. 3, p. 151)
“… one of the airplanes crashed on landing because of high winds, injuring its pilot and damaging the airplane beyond repair.” (ref. 8, p. 29f)
More than thin air and high winds worked against the JN-3’s. Foulois recalled these circumstances:
“I looked up just in time to see Lieut. Tom Bowen get caught in a vicious whirlwind just as he touched down and end up in a pile of splinters and cloth. He suffered a broken nose, cuts, and bruises; the plane was a total wreck.” (ref. 6, p. 128)
“The dust in the air was so thick that the snow was actually brown by the time it hit the ground. … Between March 27 and 31 … we all encountered severe rain, hail, and snowstorms. By the end of our first ten days of operations, it was obvious that our six planes were incapable of fully performing the task assigned. Their low-powered engines and limited climbing ability with the necessary military load made it impossible to operate them safely in the vicinity of the mountains.” (ref. 6, p. 129)
The struggle of planes of the First Aero Squadron to fly in the high Mexican air made mission success just as much a struggle.
The Maintenance and Logistical Challenges
A squadron machine shop at Satevo, Mexico (ref. 3, p. 130)
The dedication and ingenuity of the seven men needed to keep each plane flying cannot be praised enough. To protect against damage from the sun, “wetted canvas tarps (were) draped over the engine and its propeller for protection from the sun.” (ref. 3, p. 47). Invention overcame necessity as “… Curtiss did not design the propellers for a hot, dry climate … the squadron developed a method for manufacturing its own propellers on site. American aircraft companies later used those techniques for all future wood propellers.” (ref. 8, p. 31). One of the tricks they used was to develop, in the field, an Airplane Propeller Storage “Humidor” (ref. 3, p. x). Just as the humidors used by the Albuquerque Isotopes keep the baseballs from drying out, the squadron’s humidor preserved the propellers, at least for a little while.
To keep them flying, however, the mechanics needed spare parts but the supply line for those parts proved to be shaky. For one thing,
Loading supplies needed in Mexico (ref. 3, p. 109)
“As the Squadron planned to maintain its own supply lines during the operation, it was assigned 12 trucks and one automobile for transportation purposes. However, all of these vehicles soon fell prey to either the demands of the Quartermaster Corps or the guns of Mexican bandits.” (ref. 13, p. 190).
The aviators were able to work around this liability, ferrying supplies in the empty observer’s seat. Those supplies that didn’t fit in the forward cockpit were, as shown, tied to the outside of the planes! (ref. 14, p. 52)
Foulois described another of the difficulties:
“During the entire Mexican campaign, one of the most frustrating conditions under which we operated was the refusal of the Carranza government to let us use the railroads for transportation or visit the villages for supplies. The available motor-truck and pack-train supply were far from adequate, to put it mildly.” (ref. 6, p. 129)
Ingenuity and creative techniques are key to success but doing more and more with less and less does not result in being able to do anything with nothing. If an army marches on its stomach, airplanes fly with their parts. An unpredictable supply line compounded the squadron’s lack of success.
The Challenges of Flying in Mexico
Before any flight can occur, a pilot needs to know two things: where they are and where they are going. Again, Foulois wrote,
“We went down there to perform a service we knew nothing about, with no maps and with no knowledge of the situation whatsoever.”
Using their maps to plan a mission from San Geronimo, Mexico (ref. 3, p. 49)
The one map that there was of the area was next to useless. It was made by the Mexican Central Railroad in the late 1880s (ref. 8, p. 29). The First Aero Squadron adapted and overcame by putting the camera intended for reconnaissance to another use:
“Owing to the lack of topographical maps for Chihuahua, Mexico, the squadron’s aircraft photographed the terrain with aircraft-mounted Brock Automatic Aerial Cameras. These sequential, glass-plate negatives were enlarged and printed on paper; and then they were pieced tougher to form a mosaic map.” (ref. 3, p. 49)
Planning a Reconnaissance Mission, San Geronimo, Chihuahua, Mexico, April 1916 National Archives. Working in barely primitive conditions, they developed the negatives and printed maps in the field.
The Mexicans themselves presented another challenge. There were three groups, those fighting for Villa, those fighting for Carranza (who had asked President Wilson for help in capturing Villa), and the non-combatants. All of them opposed the American presence in Mexico. On a diplomatic flight to Chihuahua City, Foulois was captured and taken to jail by a mob who wanted to kill him. I leave it to the reader to learn of his adventure from his memoir (ref. 6). More than once mobs threatened to destroy aircraft that had landed away from their bases and on at least four occasions the ‘non-combatants’ used First Aero Squadron vehicles and their operators for target practice. Not only that, but the forces supporting Carranza were also seen as threats. One of the successful reconnaissance flights showed that rumors of his forces moving to attack a smaller US Army column were just that, rumors.
Hostility from those the US was trying to help has its modern parallel. Both then and now, it made success hard to achieve.
Todd Phinney, in his thesis, nicely summed up the situation of the First Aero Squadron:
“Untested aviation procedures, maintenance problems, crashes, a hostile climate, and an indigenous population proved formidable obstacles.” (ref. 5, p. 6).
These obstacles were so significant that on April 20th, Foulois and the squadron were ordered back to Columbus. After barely a month of operations, their mission was ended.
Though the First Aero Squadron did fail to consistently provide reconnaissance information to the Punitive Expedition, their failure led to significant positive outcomes:
“… the War Department and Congress increased the FY 1917 aviation budget from the initial April 1916 request of $1.2 million to $13.9 million, which the president signed into law on 29 August 1916.” (ref. 8, p. 32)
The technological shortfalls revealed in Mexico were documented and presented to aeronautical engineers and scientists at a meeting of the Society of Automotive Engineers in 1917 (ref. 15). Those lessons learned were taken back to the airplane designers and manufacturers to improve the safety and performance of the next generation of aircraft.
The experience gained by the aviators and maintainers of the First Aero Squadron was applied less than a year later in France as part of the American Expeditionary Force.
There is no shame in failure but there is shame in failing to learn from it. The disappointments experienced by the First Aero Squadron were learned both by the Army and Congress. As a result, the banner of the First Aero Squadron can proudly be included as a part of an Air Force that today provides “Global Vigilance, Global Reach, and Global Power.”
What is believed to be the original Standard for the First Aero Squadron (ref. 16)
For those of you who would like to either download or read the original PDF version of Dan’s narrative and be able to use the PDF’s navigating tools, we’ve included the PDF copy right below for your convenience.
In 1961 Jim established the FAA Administrator’s CommandPost. In his leadership role, he was called upon to personally brief several U.S. Presidents on critical FAA issues, and it was Jimwho 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’steam, 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, Jimpersonally 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]
Jimflying 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 Davisposing 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’sgroup: 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 Jimwill 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, Jimnotes the short appearance of his good friend, Dave Clemmer, who just notified us of Jim’spassing.
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 HEREfor 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.
With Valerie (L below) and Steveo(R) up front, and their friend, Eric, in the back seat of this TBM-850 jet-prop ship, we take a quick trip to Ft. Lauderdale Executive Airport for a pilot get-together and entertainment event featuring an Aircraft Carrier Landing Competition.
It’s one made in a sophisticated Flight Simulator, but the contestants are flying a General Aviation Cessna 172 – not a US Navy airplane. Steveois web (VLOG) master of a site dedicated to both inspiring new pilots to join the flying fraternity, and/or to learn more about proper in-flight procedures, particularly flying on instruments. The quality of his video productions is quite professional and educational.
For those of you not familiar with what a “VLOG” is: it is no more than an Internet blog that regularly features short videos, thus the “V” in front of and substituted for the “b.” Steveo’s below video is 25:12 long.
This past weekend, once again, EAA Chapter 1570, at the Dona Ana County International Jetport, produced its 5th successful Young Eagles event, an activity in which the Chapter members (most of them are also FASF members) gave free introductory airplane rides to children between the ages of 8 and 17. All aircraft used belong to the chapter’s members. The project’s Chairperson, once again, was Rotary and Fixed Wing Flight Instructor, Deb Rothchild. Here, below, are some photos to show the popular youth education program in action.
Remember: If you’d like to view any of the below photos in full high resolution, simply click on them. Then, if you’d like, please feel free to download or copy them for you own use.
Above, Melissa Keithly, wife of the chapter’s President,John Keithly, and one of event’s principal organizers, with back to camera, greets, and begins to sign up first arrival parents and their children who want to get their Young Eagles Flight . . .
Helicopter pilot,Priscilla Porras, (pointing to her left) gives instructions to those signing up for their first flights . . .
A group of the volunteer pilots for the day talk over the coming flights – L to R: John Keithly (Chapter President), Mike Robinson, Jim Foster, Danny Carter, and Bryce Daniels.
Chairperson of the entire event, Professional Flight Instructor, Deb Rothchild, explains to the crowd the procedures and safety precautions . . .
War Eagles Air Museum’s (WEAM) Executive Director, Bob Dockendorf, looks on as project gets underway. Bobhas been an active leader in the EAA Chapter 1570 since its earliest days and the Museum he directs is an integreal part of the Chapter’s success.
Chapter President, John Keithly greets his next Young Eagle for her flight.
Pilot John Signorino, El Paso business entreprenuer and Chapter Vice President, walks his Young Eagle to her first airplane flight in a Cessna Skylane.
Chapter Pilot, Dave Daniels, escorts his Young Eagle out to his plane, a vintage Piper Super Cub . . .
Pilot John Signorino, a former Army Air Services Pilot, helps his Young Eagle get belted in for her first adventure aloft.
Pilot Bryce Daniels, helps his Young Eagle adjust his seatbelt in readiness for his first flight. The plane is a Van’s RV 8 Experimental ship.
This Young Eagle gets his orientation before his flight from EAA Chapter 555 President, Wes Baker. His plane is a Classic 1948 Cessna 140, fully restored and in excellent ‘like-new’ condition. All General Aviation aircraft, regardless of age, must be fully inspected each year to assure that they fully meet established Federal Standards for their airworthiness.
Chapter President, John Keithly, describes their pending flight to his Young Eagle in his Chzech built “Dynamic” composite airplane. John and his wife, Melissa, just recently helped build their own new Van’s RV aircraft.
CEO and President of Red Arrow Flight Academyat the Dona Ana County Jetport, Tomas Peralta (R), explains how he has filled out his Young Eagle’s new Flight Log Book, while the young man’s father signs the Young Eagle Flight Certificate.
Chapter Pilot, Dave Daniels, completes his Young Eagle’s Flight Log Book as her father looks on.
Chapter Pilot, Danny Carter, poses with his Young Eagle and his Mother, before they take off in his Piper Commanche aircraft.
Pilot John Signorinoand his Young Eagle pose before their flight in front of the Cessna 182 Skylane.
Pilot Dave Daniels, whose son, Brycewas also piloting the children in another aircraft, has just explained to this Young Eagle what they will do during her first flight in this vintage Piper PA-18 Super Cub.
Pilot Danny Carter, announces his departure over the radio, and taxis out from the loading area with his Young Eagle, as she happily waves to the Chapter photographer.
Pilot, Mike Robinson (R), in front of the Cessna 172 Skyhawk airplane in which he just flew this Young Eagle and his father.
Pilot Wes Bakerexplains how to properly fasten the seat belt and shoulder harness to this Young Eagle before they depart.
L to R: Pilot Tomas Peralta, with his Young Eagle and young man’s father, after completing their flight in this Red Arrow Flght Academy Cessna 182 Skylane.
Dave Daniels walks back from his flight with this excited young lady, who has just completed her first Young Eagles airborne experience.
John Keithly fills out this happy young lady’s Young Eagle Flight Log Book, after her first experience aloft.
A view of a somewhat inpatient group of Young Eagles awaiting their call-ups for their first flights.
L to R: Airline Pilot and author of the new aviation novel, “Quantum,” Roxanne Lambie, poses by her book-signing table inside the WEAM Shop, with Ammber Valverde, AFROTC student at New Mexico State University, and DaedalianFlight Scholarship winner, who plans to become an Air Force Pilot.
Another photo of Pilot, Danny Carter, taxiing out for takeoff with two Young Eagles aboard his Piper Commanche.
Pilot, Dave Daniels, fills out the Young Eagle Flight Certificate after completing a flight with this young man.
View through the Cessna 172 Skyhawk’s windshield of Pilot Mike Robinson and both his Young Eagle, in the Co-Pilot seat, and young fellow’s father in the rear.
Dave Daniels poses with his next Young Eagle, who is adjusting his headset, as instructed by his host.
Pilot John Keithly and his grinning co-pilot Young Eagle, as they ready to start the engine in this Czech Dynamic.
John Keithly fills out this same Young Eagle’s Flight Certificate.
Pilot, Wes Baker, President of the Las Cruces, NM EAA Chapter 555, completes this happy Young Eagle’s Flight Log Book.
L to R: Roxanne Lambie, and Ammber Valverde, who has an autographed copy of Roxanne’s new novel under her arm, busily chatting with EAA members outside the War Eagles Air Museum main entrance.
L to R: Melissa Keithly, a Young Eagle’s father, Prescilla Porras., and Wes Baker at Registration Sign-In table.
L to R above: Melissa Keithly, Young Eagle with his father and Priscilla Porras, helicopter pilot, discussing the event.
John Keithlywith another Young Eagle seated and ready to go, as young man’s father and brother watch.
Pilot John Keithly gets ready to take this same intrigued Young Eagle aloft for his initiation flight in John’s Czech Dynamic Experimental Aircraft.
Mike Robinsongets ready to close the Cessna Skyhawk’s door in readiness for this young lady’s first Young Eagle Flight experience.
John Signorinoexplaining how the elevator and rudder controls work on this Cessna Skylane as his next Young Eagle and his mother take it all in . . .
During a short break, (L to R) Volunteer chapter Pilots, John Signorino and Tomas Peraltatalk over the ongoing Young Eagle event.
During the Young Eagle rally, many of the Young Eagles, their parents and visitors flocked in to view the great collection of airplanes, antique autos and motorcycles, and to also to buy souvenirs at the WEAM Gift Shop. Making change at the cash register is Kathryn Guerra, whose father, George, the Museum’s Operations Manager, is standing behind her in the light blue shirt.
Pilot Wes Bakerlistening to his Young Eagle trying to see if he properly understood Wes’ explanation of how an airplane climbs.
Piloting the helicopter back onto the tarmac, is Chapter Volunteer worker and chopper pilot, Priscilla Porras. The same model helicopter, owned by Chapter member Mike McNamee, gave some 17 Young Eagles their first helicopter ride during the project.
After an exciting first ride with both the Young Eagle, who’s also a Cub Scout, and his mother, Pilot John Signorinoposes alongside the Cessna 182 Skylane with the happy pair.
After completing a flight, Pilot Tomas Peraltagets ready to make out a Young Eagle Flight Certificate for this young man and his mother.
EAA Chapter 555 President, Wes Baker, an Air Force Academy graduate, gets ready to take this Young Eagle into the sky in his vintage Cessna 140.
After the successful flight, Wes completes this Young Eagle’s paperwork, as Wes’ wife, Carol,looks on.
Volunteer Pilot, John Signorino, walks out to the McNamee Cessna 182 Skylane with his next Young Eagle, whose mother also took the flight.
During another much-deserved break from the busy flight schedule, Pilot Mike Robinson (L) sits down to chat with fellow volunteer pilot, Wes Baker, on the Right.
Almost the end of the busy day of over 60 flights, the volunteer pilots were caught discussing the event. L to R: Dominic Austen (Pilot who conducted the Preflight Program),Tomas Peralta, John Signorino, Deb Rothchild, and Bryce Daniels.
Thanks again to our Aviation News Scout, Virg Hemphill (L), for this memorable video. This short 5:07 minute talk from the stage by former First AeroSR-71 Blackbird pilot, Brian Shul, entitled “LA Speed Check” is a real laugh generating piece of jet pilot “hangar talk” – – – one that brings laughs from pilot audiences each and every time. While the talk is meant for a pilot audience, that fact doesn’t very much diminish the laughs generated each time the Major share’s his short story with non-pilots . . . Without further ado, let’s have his words bring some humorous guffaws back into being.
Maj. Brian Shul stands in front of his SR-71 Blackbird in his regular space suit. Shulwas an injured POW in Vietnam.
92-year-old WWII fighter pilot, Bob Jorgenson, pinned some very special wings on his grandson, Nick Atkins, when he graduated at the top of his class in Academics from Laughlin Air Force Base in Del Rio, Texas. They were his own. Captain Jorgensen flew 35 missions into the European heartland during his active duty tour in Great Britain.
Watch this family pair go back up into the “wild blue yonder.” This short video (3 minute) is courtesy of USA TODAY.