Tag Archives: FAA

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