Tag Archives: FAA

Former Army Aviator Addresses Daedalians in El Paso, Texas

    John Signorino

Long-time Life Member of the FASF and also VP of the Experimental Aircraft Association’s (EAA) Chapter 1570 in nearby Santa Teresa, NM, John Signorino,* was the special speaker at the local Daedalian Flight 24 meeting held at Fort Bliss’ Golf Club, yesterday.  This was the first real meeting since early last year, all because of the restrictions placed upon social gatherings throughout Texas because of COVID.

Although many members are still not ready to attend regular meetings, the Flight did get a reasonable post-COVID turnout of 19 attendees.  John had been scheduled to give his address to the Flight late last Summer, but that and several other attempts to have him speak were all canceled because of pandemic restraints and the closing of our various venues.

Normally the Flight meets each month at the Old downtown El Paso Club, but the Club has remained closed ever since the first lockdown order in March of 2020.  The Flight expressed their thankfulness to John for his patience at having been canceled so many times.

The main thrust of John’s talk was focused on his post-military experience with the EAA along with the founding of Chapter 1570, back in 2015.  Since its beginnings, the Chapter has accomplished many notable achievements, but the one John feels most significant is its highly successful Young Eagle Events.  Except for 2020, because of the pandemic lock-downs, each previous year the Chapter has hosted at least one, sometimes even two Young Eagle Events. Here is one of our posts of one of the last, pre-COVID, flights.

It is this Young Eagle enterprise that John feels will help overcome the country’s looming severe shortage of pilots.  How?  Because it introduces the nation’s youth to the thrill and challenges of becoming a pilot while still quite young.  This popular EAA youth program gives free airplane rides and introductions to flight to youngsters from 8 to 17 years old.  It also gives grants and/or scholarships to young teenagers so that they can undergo actual flight training, often paying for the achievement of their Private Pilot’s License from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

While Drones are a huge new development in aviation, there will nevertheless still be a serious requirement for hands-on-aviators in the foreseeable future.  Both the Airlines and U.S. Military services have expressed serious concerns about the coming shortage of new pilots.  One of the major issues facing those who do want to become aviators is the current-day high cost of pilot training.  When yours truly learned to fly back during WWII (1944), the cost was not all that significant.

Here, below, is a short (2:52 minute) video clip about John’s topic, YOUNG EAGLES.

Here are some photos taken at yesterday’s meeting.  Virtually all local Daedalians are long-time members of the FASF, and John is one of the FASF distinguished LIFE MEMBERS because he gave full days of his professional helicopter pilot-time during our 2019 joint exercise with the U.S. Army’s Corps of Engineers‘ Geographic 3D Project Team when they spent a week in Columbus during June and July of 2019 3D mapping the historic 1916 Army Airfield’s topography and that of the surrounding Camp Furlong terrain.  During that operation, John was directly responsible for the taking of well over 30,000 high-resolution photographs of our area from another Life FASF member, Mike McNamee’s, former (and fully-restored) Army “SCOUT” helicopter.  Mike’s light-weight rotary-wing machine had several other affectionate nicknames: the “LOACH” and/or the “LITTLE BIRD.”

                             Col. Alan Fisher opens his first meeting as the Flight’s new Captain.

L to R: Alan Fisher asks Roger Springstead, Flight Chaplain, to give the meeting blessing.

Chatting before meeting begins are two long-time FASF members and also Aviation News Scouts, Virg Hemphill (L) and Jerry Dixon (R)

(L) Speaker John Signorino and FASF Trustee, Dr. Kathleen Martin, an oft-times guest of the Daedalians

                                              Virg Hemphill, Flight Treasurer, gives his report to the group.

L to R: Alan Fisher, Julie Pitt, Mario Campos, Kathleen Martin, and Mark Pfluger.  John Signorino is at the podium.

                                                  John Signorino describes the EAA Young Eagles

Captured in foreground during John’s presentation are Gerry Wingett, Mary Barnes, & Roger Springstead (back).

Col. Bob Pitt, Julie Pitt, Mark Pfluger, Mario Campos, Ulla & Col. Rice, Gill Gonzales + on Screen, Yours Truly in 1955!

                                                                                            John in action.

More of John.

                                                                              John makes a point.

L to R: Colonel Fisher gives John a token of Flight 24’s appreciation.

  •      John Signorino

    John Signorino retired in 2012 from the military with 28 years of service. John enlisted in the Army shortly after high school at the age of 18. He began his career as an electronic technician working on land-based telephone communication and microwave relay stations. Six years after joining the Army he was selected to attend Warrant Officer Flight Training.

    During John’s flying career he flew both helicopter and fixed-wing airplanes. He was qualified in the UH-1H, TH-67, AH-64A, C-12, RC-12H, and Dash 7. John served as an instructor pilot and a safety officer and served multiple tours in Korea, Iraq, Bosnia, and South America.

    During his military career, John proved himself to be a self-motivated, take-charge individual who has held several significant and vital positions. John is an exceptional leader and trainer. While in various positions, he provided excellent leadership skills and direction that promoted the sharing and encouragement of new ideas. As a teacher and mentor, he helped to counsel others on numerous occasions and has willingly shared his vast wealth of knowledge and experience with less experienced personnel.

    While in the Army, John was called upon to work long and arduous hours often under stressful conditions while maintaining an exemplary and professional manner. He has shown himself to be an exceedingly dedicated and superbly organized individual. He is a proven team player and does not hesitate to provide constructive suggestions to improve operations.

    John has had an entrepreneurial mindset since he was a teenager. While in the military, he started two successful businesses. After retiring, John was selected to Oklahoma State University Veterans Entrepreneurship Bootcamp. In 2013, John opened a Pop-A-Lock franchise in El Paso which specialized in auto, residential, and commercial locksmith work.

    John demonstrated that he learns quickly and is readily able to self-teach himself complex tasks. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Embry-Riddle University, where he majored in business management. He also obtained his MBA from Grantham University, where his academic focus was on project management.

    John’s hobbies include motorcycles, hiking, and camping. He’s been married to his wife Mindy for 25 years. They have two children, a daughter, and a son, both of whom followed their father’s footsteps by joining the military right after high school. John and his wife currently live in El Paso, Texas.

    John is an exceptionally active member of the local, Santa Teresa Chapter 1570 of the EAA and has been its Vice President since it first opened its doors in June 2015. He continues to fly both fixed and rotary-winged aircraft in the General Aviation field.

 

 

 

Yesterday’s UAL Flt. 328 Engine Out and Fire Over Denver

Video shows airplane engine on fire after pilot declares ‘MAYDAY’ just minutes into the flight.

A witness said, “We heard a gigantic boom and, as we did that, we saw a huge puff of smoke and then stuff started falling out of the sky.”  Several of the passengers noticed that in parts of the ship some people clearly thought nothing of the sudden sound, likely thinking it was a normal gear retraction thud, of something otherwise normal, and were seen still reading their magazines and papers.  One passenger on the right side actually used her phone to capture video of the damaged engine fire.

In the meantime, the flight crew maintained their professionally calm demeanor and notified Denver of their engine power loss.  Denver, in return, gave them 1st priority to land on any runway of their choice.  Below the video is a photo of the engine cowl ring which fell to earth right on the front doorstep of a suburban home, apparently doing no damage.  None of the passengers or flight crew aboard the Boeing 777 were injured in the uneventful landing, nor, miraculously, was anyone hurt on the ground, although there was some property damage from the falling debris.

Long time FASF member, author, and aviation history contributor, Captain Nancy Welz Aldrich (at Left), who is a retired United Airlines International Pilot, and who also crewed on their Jumbo jets before retiring, remarked:

“Having seen the pictures and read the comments about United Flight 328, I thought I would comment. While I have never flown a Boeing 777, I am very familiar with United’s training programs. I worked several years as an instructor on the DC-10. Many hours are spent dealing with engine failures of different types, including loss on the runway, loss at liftoff, loss in flight, and while landing. In my opinion, the most difficult of these is losing the engine thrust just at liftoff. Let me emphasize that no pilot can make it through the company’s rigorous training without being able to handle an engine loss at every phase of flight. These pilots did an outstanding job in recognizing the problem and returning to DIA for a safe landing, and I applaud them!”
Just below, is a short (5 min) video depicting both the flight path of UAL 328 and of the actual communication that took place between the flight deck and the Denver Tower.
Channel 9 Local Denver Channel News – Well done news coverage of the incident by this local newsgroup. Their coverage includes an actual video of the burning engine. The video is 10:46 minutes in length.

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.

 

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