Tag Archives: John Orton

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.

 

 

 

Local EAA 1570 Chapter Elects New Officers for 2020 +

Chapter 1570 Founder & President, John Keithly

Long time FASF member and Founding President of Chapter 1570 of the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), John Keithly, (at left) decided to retire from the helm of this relatively new yet top-performing EAA unit. 

The chapter is located at the Doña Ana County International Jetport (KDNA) in Santa Teresa, New Mexico, and meets at least once each month, at 11:00 AM, on the second Saturday at the War Eagles Air Museum (WEAM) at the Jetport.

Although a relatively new chapter among almost 1,000  chapters across the globe, the 1570 has already set some notable records:  At their first promotional visit of the Ford Tri-Motor 1920’s Airliner, for instance, the new chapter set an all-time high number of rides, even compared to major cities across the U.S.  The FASF had a post with videos of this event in April two years ago, right here.

The Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) is an international organization of aviation enthusiasts based in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, United States. Since its inception it has grown internationally with over 200,000 members, and hosts the largest aviation gathering of its kind in the world, EAA AirVenture Oshkosh.

Any photos in this post may be seen in full-size and high resolution by simply clicking on them.

At yesterday’s meeting, an election was held for the new officers for the coming year.  Here are the results:

  • New President:      Rick King
  • Vice President:       John Signorino
  • Secretary:               Andy Werner
  • Treasurer:               Jorge Vielledent
  • Asst. Treasurer:     Bob Dockendorf
  • Young Eagles Dir:  Tomás Peralta
  • Scholarship Dir:     Melissa Keithly
  • Membership Dr:    Laura Ditlevson
  • Newsletter Editor: Kathleen Whelen

Before hearing from the guest speaker at the meeting, Melissa Keithly made an announcement about the progress of the EAA Chapter’s new Scholarship recipient flight students:

Name of Scholarship Student      Original Grant        Spent to date            Balance Remaining

  • Jesse Tsougas                           $          3,000                       (2,914-)                                 –
  • Laura Ditlevson                                 10,000                      (6,930-)                                3,070
  • Caleb Molinar                                       3,000                       (2,472-)                                –
  • Sergio Olague                                       4,000                       (3,851-)                                  149
  • Ava Moreno                                         10,000                    (10,098-)                                   (98)
  • Robert Lopez Valazquez                  10,000                      (8,734- )                               1,266

Melissa reported that a total of $40,000 had already been granted for student Flight Training Scholarships. After sharing the above Scholarship Award Students’ financial status report with the members, she then announced that Robert Lopez (below 2 photos) had already soloed, and had also completed his solo cross-country flight.

L to R at rear: Melissa Keithly gives Robert Lopez he souvenir SOLO T-SHIRT.

L to R: Roberto displays his newly achieved SOLO T_SHIRT to the members at Scholarship Director, Melissa Keithly smiles with satisfaction..

After the election for new officers was held and various reports made, as that of Ms. Keithly’s Scholarship Program, the speaker for the day, Terence Mike” Epp was introduced by President Keithly, who described Mike’s colorful work history and explained that Mike had done some important work on both of John’s airplanes, as his official A & P (FAA Certified Airframe and Powerplant technician).

         Long time FASF member, Bob Dockendorf (WEAM Executive Director), Mike Perez,, and Mike Epp.

Asst. Treasurer, at rear and standing, Bob Dockendorf, reports on the Chapter’s Financial Status.  In foreground, L to R are chapter member, Elissa Huggins, and guest speaker, A&P Mike Epp.  In background are (L to R): Melissa Keithly and Mary Dockendorf.  Bob also announced the details of the upcoming “A SALUTE TO VETERANS” Charity fund-raising extravaganza entitled “RADIO STARS OF THE 40’S / “ON the AIR” featuring Bob Hope, Jack Benny, Red Skelton and Jimmy Durante, presented by some exceptionally talented professional impersonators.  Tickets for the event are limited to only 300 guests and the price per seat is $75.

L to R: A & P, Elliot Werner and John Orton (FASF Advisor – both are International Jet Port Advisory Board members),  wait for the meeting to begin.

Among the Announcements made during the meeting, Daniel Barcena (at center rear) described the upcoming Fabens’ Airport Aviation and Automobile Event he created and his promoting for Breast Cancer Awareness, this coming October 26th and 27th.  Daniel and his fiance, Aurora Vargas, a cancer survivor, flew in to the meeting in his Van’s Experimental airplane.  As usual, several other members also flew themselves into the Jetport for the meeting.

Long time FASF member and Chapter VP, John Signorino (above), reported on the Chapter’s Fly Outs and other events.

John Keithly announces his retirement as President and opens the floor for nominations, as the election takes place.

                                 President Keithly introducing guest speaker, Terrence “Mike” Epp.

Mr. Epp opens his colorful talk about his some 40 years of flying experience from his first solo in his father’s Piper Tri – Pacer to more current times as both an A&P specialist and as a transport and DEA Contractor pilot.  Mike was also Private Investigator , wildlife photographer, and novelist – to mention what seem like just a few of his talents and unusual life experiences.

                 Mike Epp concludes his entertaining presentation on his aviation exploits and other adventures.

 

EAA Young Eagles Go Airborne From War Eagles Air Museum

The first EAA Chapter 1570 YOUNG EAGLES FLIGHT for 2019 was sucessfully completed this past weekend.  As usual, it was conducted at the Doña Ana County International Jetport in Santa Teresa, NM.  The participants enjoyed the fine facilities of the War Eagles Air Museum (WEAM) for the entire operation.  After the event wound down, the volunteers had a lunch and defriefing in the Executive Meeting Room of the Museum.

Most of the young first-time flyers were able to enjoy the many WEAM exhibits after their flights.  Chief Registrar, Melissa Keithly, reported that the morning session saw 55 new Young Eagles take to the skies for their first introductory airplane flight.

[To view any photo in high-resolution, simply click on it – Videos can also be seen full-screen]

Melissa Keithly busily registering Young Eagles for the day’s first-flights.  By the noon deadline she had booked 55 young people for their first personal airplane flight adventure.

Bob Dockendorf and Tomás Peralta surveying the activities as they get undersay.  Tomás was the event’s Organizer.

L to R: Tom Holmsley, EAA Chapter 1570 President, John Keithly, chatting with Fritz Gatlin.

L to R: Juan Brito and Chapter VP, John Singnorino, in discussion before the flying started.

L to R: John Signorino, Juan Brito, Marcia McNamee and Melissa Keithly at registration table as a parent signs up.

Melissa Keithly describing procedure for signing up the children . . .

L to R: Charles Crawford, Tomás Peralta, and Laura Dittlevson, going over the flight line procedures . . .

L to R: John Signorino and John Orton returning from the Fllight-Line . . .

L to R: Kathyn and WEAM Operations Manager, George Guerra, at work behind the WEAM Gift Shop counter.

Pres. John Keithly kicks off the program with his Young Eagle Co-Pilot, Yessenia Cano, in his WT-9 Dynamic Aircraft

John briefs Yessenia on the aircraft controls and instruments, explainnng how they work and why they are important to fully understand.

Yessenia and John taxii out for her first flilght

John and his next Young Eagle, Alondra Tinajero, are ready to taxi out to the runway.

A happy new Young Eagle, Alondra Tinejero, and her EAA Pilot, John Keithly, are all smiles after her first demo flight

John Keithly explains sleft wing aeleron flight control to his nextg Young Eagle, Marco Talamontes

John helps Marco arrange and fasten his safety harness.

Marco gives the thumbs up signal that shows he is ready to fly!

Pilot and his Co-Pilot are ready to start . . .

Marco proudly poses with Mr. Keithly after his inaugural Young Eagle Flight.

Ready to become another Young Eagle, Alfredo Vargas, is all smiles wth Pilot John Keithly.

While Allan Yapor’s father stands by, John Signorino (sitting at right) completes the new Young Eagle’s Fllight Logbook entry and fills out his Official EAA Young Eagles Certificate of Accomplishment, attesting to Allan’s 1st Flight Adventure.

Allan Yapor stands proudly next to his pilot, John Signorino, who is a former Army Combat Aviator and Vice President of the 1570 Chapter.  John owns and manages the security locksmithing firm, Pop-A-Lock, in El Paso, Texas.

John Signorino taxis back from his flight with his new Young Eagle, Vincent Hardy, whose lucky father, Philip, went along in one of the Cessna 182 Skylane’s back seats.

New Young Eagle, Vincent Hardy, is alll smiles after his first Flight Adventure as John Signorino’s Co-Pilot.

L to R: Ground Crew volunteer, Laura Dittevson, Vicent Hardy, John Signorino, and Philip Hardy pose beside the Cessna Skylane.

Back down to Mother Earth for the Pritchetts.

L to R: John Signorino, the proud new Young Eagle, Nicholas Pritchett, and his father, Virgil, pose with the newly made out EAA Achievement Certificate and Young Eagle Log Book.

L to R: John Completes new Young Eagle, Riley Franco’s Logbook, as his father, Ruben smiles with satifaction.

Certificate in hand, Riley and his Dad, Ruben Franco, are all smiles, as is their Pilot, John Signorino.

L to R in cockpit of former Army Helicopter: Mike McNamee and his Young Eagle adventurer, Oliver Oropeza.  Mike is explaining the controls and instruments to his awestruck Young Eagle.  Mike also has a fixed wing Cessna 182 Skylane, which he generously contrtibuted to the event’s group of  working aircraft.

Mike sets the rotors in motion as he warms up his chopper for takeoff.

And, straight up, off they go!

Pilot, John Orton (long-time Advisor and former Trustee of the FASF) helps his Young Eagle, Justin Walters, safely and comfortably secure his seat belt and shoulder harness.  John is both a former army and Air Foce veteran.  His airplane is a U.S. manufactured Diamond DV20, used by the USAF to provide pilot-training for Air Force Academy Cadets.

Final adjustments to the now fastened safety harness, and they were soon aloft.

The new Young Eagle, Justin Walters, poses with his happy Mother, Danielle, and Father, Mike Fisher.

John Orton explains, to his next Young Eagle, Kristopher Zapata, how to use the Headset and mic.

John explaining the instrments and controls to Kristopher.

L To R:  Chapter Ground Crew Volunteer, Charles Crawford and Mrs. Zapata, watch as her son, Kristopher gets briefed by John Orton . . .

Kristopher watches as John Orton goes through the startup checklist . . .

John watches as his next Young Eagle, Daniel Rayos, gets into the cockpit.

John explains to  Daniel the use of the headset and microphone.

Daniel waves adios as John begins to taxi outfor takeoff. The following short (3 min) video shows the start and departure for their takeoff.

El Paso Judge, Alex Gonzalez, just took Larissa Rodriguez (left, standing) up on her Young Eagle Flight in his Cessna 172.  Her parents sat in the rear seat. Ground Crew Volunteer, Laura Dittevson, helps by holding open the passenger door.

L to R: Clearly, Larissa’s father, Andres, enjoyed the experience as much as did Judge Gonzalez. The following short (51 seconds) video is of their return to pick up Larissa’s Young Eagle Certificate and Logbook.  The second, one (1) minute video, is  their discusion of the flight experience.  Jim Foster and his Young Eagle are at the end of this video, too.

Professional Instructor Pilot, Jim Foster, poses by the Cessna 172 in which he just initiated Young EAgle, Amna Noor, to the thrill of flying.

Amna and her father look on as Jim finishes up the paper work.

Jim Foster poses with his Young Eagle Co-Pilot, “RJ” (Ruben) Franco, whose brother, Riley, also obtained his Young Eagle award, earlier, from John Signorino.

EAA Young Eagle Certificate and Logbook in hand, “RJ” poses with his mentor, Jim Foster, and his Mom, Lisa.

German Air Force (Lufwaffe) specialist, Dominic Austen, from chapter 1570, chipped in and did his part, too.  His first Young Eagle of the day is seen above: Zion Hernandez.

Jada Gaton is now a Young Eagle, and her mother, Arecely poses by her, as Pilot, Dominic Austen, approvingly looks on.

Andrea Rayos eagerly moves the control yoke in the Cessna 182 Skylane in which she achieved her Young Eagle status, as did her brother, Daniel, who flew with John Orton earlier. Dominic watches from the door.  The short (11 second) video below shows Dominic and Andrea as they start the engine to taxi to the runway.

His Young Eagle securely belted in, Andy Werner, gets ready to start up his A240 Aerotek Light Sport Aircraft for their flight.  His Co-Pilot is already properly uniformed in his flight suit and aviator’s sunglasses.

L to R: Yound Eagle to be, Michelle Hernandez’ mother, Adriana, takes photos of her daughter, while Volunteer, Charles Crawford looks on, while Michelle poses and Andy Werner describes his Chech built Light Sport airplane to Michelle’s Dad.

FASF Advisor John Orton Joins CAP Composite Squadron 024

The Las Cruces, NM, Civil Air Patrol (CAP) has just welcomed another long-time active FASF member to its ranks.  Colonel (USAF Retired), John Orton, who is the only former Trustee who flew his own airplane to FASF Board Meetings over the years, has just become a Senior member of the same CAP Squadron which already boasts several other FASF enthusiasts.  Two years ago, both the FASF Treasurer, Alma Villezcas, and President, Ric Lambart, were recruited into the same CAP unit by another early FASF member, Colonel Alan Fisher.

REMEMBER: To see any photos in high resolution, simply click on them.

                                 John Orton looks up while working at his laptop’s FEMA training syllabus.

At this past weekend’s monthly CAP SAREX (Search And Rescue Exercise) operation, held at the Las Cruces Municipal Airport, John experienced his first opportunity to take part in one of these regular SAREX programs.  During the afternoon, the Squadron also demostrated how it operates to several AFROTC Cadets from NMSU, one of whom is the youngest active member of the FASF, Cadet Captain, Ammber Valverde.  Each cadet received an introductory flight in one of the CAP’s Cessna 182 Aircraft during their orientation.  These cadets all hope to become pilots in the United States Air Force after they graduate from New Mexico State University.  Ammber has already received a Pilot Training Scholarship from the Daedalian Society.

A Short 3 minute long video clip at the bottom of this page shows part of the briefing of several Cadets by one of the squadron’s pilots, Travis McKenzie.

Here are some more of the photos of John, and of the other FASF-CAP members at work:

L to R: Michelle Phillips, John Orton, Travis McKenzie.

                                                                   Travis McKenzie and Alma Villezcas

                                                                                Walter Dutton at work.

L to R: Jim McConnell, William Benziger, and John Orton

L to R: Michelle Phillips, John Orton, Travis McKenzie, and Larry Burns

L to R: Jim McConnell, William Benziger, and Mike Legendre

Laptop shows one of the large inter-squadron group instructional pages for the SAREX

L to R: Alan Fisher, Cadets Josh Soliz, Daniel Malone, Race Cannedy, and Ammber Valverde alongside Cessna

L to R: Cadet Race Cannedy, Col.Alan Fisher, cadets Daniel Malone and Ammber Valverde get pre-flight briefing

                    Colonel Fisher describes upcoming familiarization flight with Ammber Valverde

L to R: Travis McKenzie explains seat belt arrangement to Cadet Soliz

Cadet Captain Ammber Valverde checks out the Cessna Flight Data Pad

                      Ammber gets instructed on cockpit procedures and instrument pane by Travis McKenzie

Cadets Soliz and Valverde give a ready to go thumbs up, as Pilot Travis McKenzie gets ready to start the Cessna