An early member of the FASF, Charlie Overstreet, took his final flight two weeks ago from his home in El Paso, Texas. He was also an active member of the El Paso Daedalian Flight 24 and one of its former Captains. Charlie, over the past ten years, has also been one of our FASF Aviation News Reporters. He was a long-time docent at Santa Teresa’s, New Mexico’s War Eagles Air Museum (WEAM), and was an active member of its Board of Directors. Both the Daedalians, the WEAM, and the FASF will sorely miss Charlie’s positive personality and his incessant “can do” spirit. Here, below, is his Daedalian Flight’s Memorial headline honoring his long service (his wife of 61 years, Mayre Sue, is at the far right with Charlie at a Daedalian gathering):
Charles “Charlie” Overstreet passed away on February 3, 2022. He was born in 1937 to Charlesand Zelma Overstreet.Charlie’sdad was a Coast Guard officer and his earliest memories were of being at Coast Guard Air Stations all around the country, watching airplanes with his dad and younger brother Lane Overstreet. This inspired a lifelong passion for aviation and patriotism.
Upon graduation from the University of Miami, Where he was a member of the AFROTC unit, Charlie was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in the USAF.
He entered pilot training at Big Spring, Texas where he met his future wife Mayre Sue. They married in the summer of 1961 when he finished B-47 Stratojet bomber training and was assigned to Forbes AFB, Kansas. While in Kansas, Charlie and Mayre Sue had two sons. The oldest Charles Overstreet was born in the middle of the Cuban Missile Crises, Charlie had to take a couple of hours off a nuclear alert to be at the hospital. James Overstreet was born just before his dad left for B-52 Stratofortess bomber combat crew transition training at Castle AFB, California. In 1969 Charlieand his B-52 combat crew joined the conflict in Vietnam, where he flew 55 combat missions during Operation ArcLight. Upon returning from South East Asia, Charlie left active duty with the USAF.
In 1971 the US Customs Service Sky Marshal program hired Charlie and in 1972 he was promoted to a Special Agent/Pilot position in San Antonio, TX. He transferred to DEA in 1973 as one of the initial stand-up cadre. Within a couple of years, he helped stand up the air branch supporting sensitive counter narcotics’ operation, sometimes doing things with airplanes that are generally frowned upon today.
In 1985 he transferred to El Paso, retiring from DEA in 1994. Refusing to slow down, for 17 years Charlietaught as a substitute teacher at Coronado High School. After retiring from teaching Charlie became a volunteer at the War Eagles Air Museum, he just loved being around airplanes. Charlie enjoyed working with his colleagues on the War Eagle museum staff and as a docent for visiting students.
One of his most recent and passionate endeavors was honoring our Texas and New Mexico veterans through the organization and development of the Santa Teresa Veterans Memorial Park in Santa Teresa, New Mexico. He enjoyed hunting, skeet/trap shooting, cigars, and traveling around the world with his family and friends. Charlie was a member of Safari Club International, The Order of the Daedalians, and the FASF.
Charlie2nd from Right with his fellow Daedalians (L to R) Roger Nichols, Bob Pitt, Ric Lambart, and at far right, Mario Campos, all at Holloman AFB (HAFB), NM.
Charlieintroduces WEAM CEO, Mike Epp at Daedalian Meeting just this past November 3, 2021
Charlie at Daedalian Meeting Podium this past November 2021
Charlie at Daedalian luncheon table with his wife, Marye Sue, and Colonel Alan Fisher at left.
Services were held at Martin Funeral Home, in El Paso, yesterday (Monday), February 14,2022.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations for Charlie may be made to the Veterans Project-Santa Teresa Charitable Foundation, 2660 Airport Road #780, Santa Teresa NM 88008. We already miss you, Charlie.
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. Johnhad 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’stalk 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 Johnfeels most significant is its highly successful Young EagleEvents. 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’stopic, 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 Signorinois 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!
More of John.
John makes a point.
L to R: Colonel Fisher gives John a token of Flight 24’s appreciation.
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.
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 1570at 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 Fisherand 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, Johnanswers 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 NMPAPresident, 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’sopening remarks. CAP Lt. David Bjorsness(center in 2nd row, in CAP uniform) has joined Lt. Alma Villezcasand Col. Fisher as one of the seven CAP members that took part in the Vision Seminar. At far left above is Stan Croftof Casas Adobes Airpark.Dr. Ellman’shumorous 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. Ellmangave 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
The world’s first operational jet, was the German invented WWI Fighter-Bomber, the Messerschmitt ME-262, which was first produced in 1944, but abruptly terminated when Nazi Germany surrendered to the Allied Forces on May 7, 1945. But, as this series explains, the Germans were actively working on this revolutionary aircraft way back in the 1930s. The below three videos produced in Great Britain and Germany by Bismarck, who hosts the Military Aviation Channel.
The Messerschmitt Me 262, nicknamed Schwalbe (German: “Swallow“) in fighter versions, or Sturmvogel (German: “Storm Bird“) in the fighter-bomber configurations, was the world’s first operational jet-powered fighter aircraft. Design work started before World War II began, but problems with engines, metallurgy and top-level interference kept the aircraft from operational status with the Luftwaffe until mid-1944. The Me 262 was faster and more heavily armed than any Allied fighter, including the British jet-powered Gloster Meteor.One of the most advanced aviation designs in operational use during World War II,the Me 262’s roles included light bomber, reconnaissance and experimentalnight fighter versions.
In the relatively short period of its operation the ME-262 pilots claimed a total of 542 Allied aircraft shot down,although higher claims are sometimes made.The Allies countered its effectiveness in the air by attacking the aircraft on the ground and during takeoff and landing.
Strategic materials shortages and design compromises on the Junkers Jumo 004 axial-flow turbojet engines led to reliability problems. Attacks by Allied forces on fuel supplies during the deteriorating late-war situation also reduced the effectiveness of the aircraft as a fighting force. Armament production within Germany was focused on more easily manufactured aircraft.In the end, the Me 262 had a negligible impact on the course of the war as a result of its late introduction and the consequently small numbers put in operational service.
Captured Me 262s were studied and flight tested by the major powers, and ultimately influenced the designs of post-war aircraft such as the North American F-86 Sabre, MiG-15 and Boeing B-47 Stratojet.Several aircraft survive on static display in museums, and there are several privately built flying reproductions that use modern General Electric J85 engines.
In addition to our thanks for Bismarck’squality videos shown below, we also need to recognized the fine research and writing skills of the people at WikiMili, who are the principle contributors to this background information of this famous German jet.
The below video is 6:53 long.
And, here follows Bismarck’s video about the ME-262’s basic history. 23:32
And, here below is part II of the “inside the cockpit of the ME0262” at 11:22
Several years before World War II, the Germans foresaw the great potential for aircraft that used the jet engine constructed by Hans Joachim Pabst von Ohain in 1936. After the successful test flights of the world’s first jet aircraft—the Helsinki He 178—within a week of the Invasion of Poland to start the war, they adopted the jet engine for an advanced fighter aircraft. As a result, the Me 262 was already under development as Projekt 1065 (P.1065) before the start of World War II.
The project originated with a request by the Reichsluftfahrtministerium (RLM, Ministry of Aviation) for a jet aircraft capable of one hour’s endurance and a speed of at least 850 km/h (530 mph; 460 kn). Dr. Waldemar Voigtheaded the design team, with Messerschmitt’s chief of development, Robert Lusser, overseeing.
Plans were first drawn up in April 1939, and the original design was very different from the aircraft that eventually entered service, with wing root-mounted engines,rather than podded ones, when submitted in June 1939. The progression of the original design was delayed greatly by technical issues involving the new jet engine. Because the engines were slow to arrive, Messerschmitt moved the engines from the wing roots to under wing pods, allowing them to be changed more readily if needed; this would turn out to be important, both for availability and maintenance.Since the BMW 003 jets proved heavier than anticipated, the wing was swept slightly, by 18.5°, to accommodate a change in the center of gravity.
Funding for the jet engine program was also initially lacking as many high-ranking officials thought the war could easily be won with conventional aircraft. Among those were Hermann Göring,head of the Luftwaffe, who cut the engine development program to just 35 engineers in February 1940 (the month before the first wooden mock-up was completed);Willy Messerschmitt, who desired to maintain mass production of the piston-powered, 1935-origin BF-109 and the projected ME-209; and Major General Adolf Galland, who had initially supported Messerschmitt through the early development years, flying the Me 262 himself on 22 April 1943. By that time, problems with engine development had slowed production of the aircraft considerably.
One particularly acute problem arose with the lack of an alloy with a melting point high enough to endure the high temperatures involved, a problem that by the end of the war had not been adequately resolved.
The aircraft made its first successful flight entirely on jet power on 18 July 1942, powered by a pair of Jumo 004 engines, after a November 1941 flight (with BMW 003s) ended in a double flameout.
The project aerodynamicist on the design of the Me 262 was Ludwig Bölkow. He initially designed the wing using NACAairfoilsmodified with an elliptical nose section.Later in the design process, these were changed to AVL derivatives of NACA airfoils, the NACA 00011-0.825-35 being used at the root and the NACA 00009-1.1-40 at the tip. The elliptical nose derivatives of the NACA airfoils were used on the horizontal and vertical tail surfaces.
Wings were of single-spar cantilever construction, with stressed skins, varying from 3 mm (0.12 in) skin thickness at the root to 1 mm (0.039 in) at the tip. To expedite construction, save weight and use less strategic materials, late in the war, wing interiors were not painted.The wings were fastened to the fuselage at four points, using a pair of 20 mm (0.79 in) and forty-two 8 mm (0.31 in) bolts.
In mid-1943, Adolf Hitlerenvisioned the Me 262 as a ground-attack/bomber plane rather than a defensive interceptor. The configuration of a high-speed, light payload Schnellbomber (“fast bomber”) was intended to penetrate enemy airspace during the expected Allied invasion of France. His edict resulted in the development of (and concentration on) the Sturmvogelvariant.
It is debatable to what extent Hitler’s interference extended the delay in bringing the Schwalbe into operation; it appears engine vibration issues were at least as costly, if not more so.
Albert Speer, then Minister of Armaments and War Production, in his memoirs claimed Hitleroriginally had blocked mass production of the Me 262, before agreeing in early 1944. Hitlerrejected arguments the aircraft would be more effective as a fighter against the Allied bombers destroying large parts of Germany, and wanted it as a bomber for revenge attacks. According to Speer,Hitler felt its superior speed compared to other fighters of the era meant it could not be attacked, and so preferred it for high altitude straight flying.
The Me 262 is often referred to as a “swept wing” design as the production aircraft had a small, but significant leading edge sweep of 18.5° which likely provided an advantage by increasing the critical Mach number. Sweep, uncommon at the time, was added after the initial design of the aircraft. The engines proved heavier than originally expected, and the sweep was added primarily to position the center of lift properly relative to the center of mass. (The original 35° sweep, proposed by Adolf Busemann, was not adopted.)On 1 March 1940, instead of moving the wing backward on its mount, the outer wing was re-positioned slightly aft; the trailing edge of the midsection of the wing remained unswept.Based upon data from the AVA Göttingen and wind tunnel results, the inboard section’s leading edge (between the nacelle and wing root) was later swept to the same angle as the outer panels, from the “V6” sixth prototype onward throughout volume production.
On 19 April 1944, Erprobungskommando262 was formed at Lechfeld just south of Augsburg, as a test unit (Jäger Erprobungskommando Thierfelder, commanded by HauptmannWerner Thierfelder)to introduce the 262 into service and train a corps of pilots to fly it.
On 26 July 1944, Leutnant Alfred Schreiber with the 262 A-1a W.Nr. 130 017 damaged a Mosquito reconnaissance aircraft of No. 540 Squadron RAF PR Squadron, which was allegedly lost in a crash upon landing at an air base in Italy.Other sources state the aircraft was damaged during evasive maneuvers, and escaped.
Major Walter Nowotny was assigned as commander after the death of Thierfelder in July 1944, and the unit re-designatedKommando Nowotny. Essentially a trials and development unit, it mounted the world’s first jet fighter operations. Trials continued slowly, with initial operational missions against the Allies in August 1944, and the unit made claims for 19 Allied aircraft in exchange of six Me 262s lost.
Despite orders to stay grounded, Nowotny chose to fly a mission against an enemy bomber formation flying some 9,100 m (30,000 ft) above, on 8 November 1944. He claimed two P-51Ds destroyed before suffering engine failure at high altitude.Then, while diving and trying to restart his engines, he was attacked by other Mustangs, forced to bail out, and died. The Kommando was then withdrawn for further flight training and a revision of combat tactics to optimize the 262’s strengths.
On 26 November 1944, a Me 262A-2a Sturmvogel of III.Gruppe/KG 51 ‘Edelweiß’ based at Rheine-Hopsten Air Base near Osnabrück was the first confirmed ground-to-air kill of a jet combat aircraft. The 262 was shot down by a Bofors gun of B.11 Detachment of 2875 Squadron RAF Regiment at the RAF forward airfield of Helmond, near Eindhoven.
Others were lost to ground fire on 17 and 18 December when the same airfield was attacked at intervals by a total of 18 Me 262s and the guns of 2873 and 2875 Squadrons RAF Regiment damaged several, causing at least two to crash within a few miles of the airfield. In February 1945, a B.6 gun detachment of 2809 Squadron RAF Regiment shot down another Me 262 over the airfield of Volkel. The final appearance of 262s over Volkel was in 1945 when yet another fell to 2809’s guns.
By January 1945, Jagdgeschwader 7 (JG 7) had been formed as a pure jet fighter wing, partly based at Parchim, although it was several weeks before it was operational. In the meantime, a bomber unit—I Gruppe, Kampfgeschwader 54 (KG(J) 54)—re-designated as such on 1 October 1944through being re-equipped with, and trained to use the Me 262A-2a fighter-bomber for use in a ground-attack role. However, the unit lost 12 jets in action in two weeks for minimal returns.Jagdverband 44 (JV 44) was another Me 262 fighter unit, of squadron (Staffel) size given the low numbers of available personnel, formed in February 1945 by Lieutenant General Adolf Galland,who had recently been dismissed as Inspector of Fighters. Gallandwas able to draw into the unit many of the most experienced and decorated Luftwaffe fighter pilots from other units grounded by lack of fuel.
During March, Me 262 fighter units were able, for the first time, to mount large-scale attacks on Allied bomber formations. On 18 March 1945, thirty-seven Me 262s of JG 7 intercepted a force of 1,221 bombers and 632 escorting fighters. They shot down 12 bombers and one fighter for the loss of three Me 262s. Although a 4:1 ratio was exactly what the Luftwaffe would have needed to make an impact on the war, the absolute scale of their success was minor, as it represented only 1% of the attacking force.
In the last days of the war, Me 262s from JG 7 and other units were committed in ground assault missions, in an attempt to support German troops fighting Red Army forces. Just south of Berlin, halfway between Spremberg and the German capital, Wehrmacht’s 9th Army (with elements from the 12 Army and 4th Panzer Army) was assaulting the Red Army’s 1st Ukrainian Front.
To support this attack, on 24 April, JG 7 dispatched thirty-one Me 262s on a strafing mission in the Cottbus-Bautzen area. Luftwaffe pilots claimed six lorries and seven Soviet aircraft, but three German jets were lost. On the evening of 27 April, thirty-six Me 262s from JG 7, III.KG(J)6 and KJ(J)54 were sent against Soviet forces that were attacking German troops in the forests north-east of Baruth. They succeeded in strafing 65 Soviet lorries, after which the Me 262s intercepted low flying L-2 Sturmoviks searching for German tanks. The jet pilots claimed six Sturmoviks for the loss of three Messerschmitts. During operations between 28 April and 1 May Soviet fighters and ground fire downed at least ten more Me 262s from JG 7.However, JG 7 managed to keep its jets operational until the end of the war. And on the 8th of May, at around 4:00 p.m. Oblt. Fritz Stehle of 2./JG 7, while flying a Me 262 on the Erzgebirge, attacked a formation of Soviet aircraft. He claimed a Yakovlev Yak-9, but the plane shot down was probably a P-39 Airacobra. Soviet records show that they lost two Airacobras, one of them probably downed by Stehle,who would thus have scored the last Luftwaffe air victory of the war.
Several two-seat trainer variants of the Me 262, the Me 262 B-1a, had been adapted through the Umrüst-Bausatz 1 factory refit package as night fighters, complete with on-board FuG 218 Neptun high-VHF band radar, using Hirschgeweih (“stag’s antlers”) antennae with a set of dipole elements shorter than the Lichtenstein SN-2 had used, as the B-1a/U1 version. Serving with 10. StaffelNachtjagdgeschwader 11, near Berlin, these few aircraft (alongside several single-seat examples) accounted for most of the 13 Mosquitoes lost over Berlin in the first three months of 1945.Intercepts were generally or entirely made using Wilde Saumethods, rather than AI radar-controlled interception. As the two-seat trainer was largely unavailable, many pilots made their first jet flight in a single-seater without an instructor.
Despite its deficiencies, the Me 262 clearly marked the beginning of the end of piston-engined aircraft as effective fighting machines. Once airborne, it could accelerate to speeds over 850 km/h (530 mph), about 150 km/h (93 mph) faster than any Allied fighter operational in the European Theater of Operations.
The Me 262’s top ace was probably HauptmannFranz Schallwith 17 kills, including six four-engine bombers and ten P-51 Mustang fighters, although fighter ace OberleutnantKurt Welter claimed 25 Mosquitos and two four-engine bombers shot down by night and two further Mosquitos by day. Most of Welter’sclaimed night kills were achieved by eye, even though Welter had tested a prototype Me 262 fitted with FuG 218 Neptun radar. Another candidate for top ace on the aircraft was OberstleutnantHeinrich Bär, who is credited with 16 enemy aircraftwhile flying Me262’s out of his total of 240 aircraft shot down.
The Me 262 was so fast that German pilots needed new tactics to attack Allied bombers. In the head-on attack, the combined closing speed of about 320 m/s (720 mph) was too high for accurate shooting, with ordnance that could only fire about 44 shells a second (650 rounds/min from each cannon) in total from the quartet of them. Even from astern, the closing speed was too great to use the short-ranged quartet of MK 108 cannon to maximum effect.
Therefore, a roller-coaster attack was devised. The 262s approached from astern and about 1,800 m higher (5,900 ft) than the bombers. From about five km behind (3.1 mi), they went into a shallow dive that took them through the escort fighters with little risk of interception. When they were about 1.5 km astern (0.93 mi) and 450 m (1,480 ft) below the bombers, they pulled up sharply to reduce speed. On levelling off, they were one km astern (1,100 yd) and overtaking the bombers at about 150 km/h (93 mph), well placed to attack them.
Since the 30mm MK 108 cannon‘s short barrels and low muzzle velocity (only 540 m/s (1,900 km/h; 1,200 mph)) rendered it inaccurate beyond 600 m (660 yd; 2,000 ft), coupled with the jet’s velocity, which required breaking off at 200 m (220 yd; 660 ft) to avoid colliding with the target, Me 262 pilots normally commenced firing at 500 m (550 yd; 1,600 ft).Gunners of Allied bomber aircraft found their electrically powered gun turrets had problems tracking the jets.Target acquisition was difficult because the jets closed into firing range quickly and remained in firing position only briefly, using their standard attack profile, which proved more effective.
A prominent Royal Navy test pilot, Captain Eric Brown, chief naval test pilot and commanding officer of the Captured Enemy Aircraft Flight Royal Aircraft Establishment, who tested the Me 262 noted:
“This was a Blitzkrieg aircraft. You whack in at your bomber. It was never meant to be a dogfighter, it was meant to be a destroyer of bombers . . . The great problem with it was it did not have dive brakes. For example, if you want to fight and destroy a B-17, you come in on a dive. The 30mm cannon were not so accurate beyond 600 metres [660 yd; 2,000 ft]. So you normally came in at 600 yards [550 m; 1,800 ft] and would open fire on your B-17. And your closing speed was still high and since you had to break away at 200 metres [220 yd; 660 ft] to avoid a collision, you only had two seconds firing time. Now, in two seconds, you can’t sight. You can fire randomly and hope for the best. If you want to sight and fire, you need to double that time to four seconds. And with dive brakes, you could have done that.”
Eventually, German pilots developed new combat tactics to counter Allied bombers’ defenses.
Me 262s, equipped with up to 24 unguided folding-fin R4M rockets—12 in each of two under wing racks, outboard of the engine nacelle—approached from the side of a bomber formation, where their silhouettes were widest, and while still out of range of the bombers’ machine guns, fired a salvo of rockets with strongly brisant Hexogen-filled warheads, exactly the same explosive in the shells fired by the Me 262A’s quartet of MK 108 cannon. One or two of these rockets could down even the famously rugged Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress,from the “metal-shattering” brisant effect of the fast-flying rocket’s 520 g (18 oz) explosive warhead. The much more massive BR-21 large-caliber rockets, used from their tubular launchers in under nose locations for an Me 262A’s use (one either side of the nose wheel well) were only as fast as the MK 108’s shells.
Though this broadside-attack tactic was effective, it came too late to have a real effect on the war, and only small numbers of Me 262s were equipped with the rocket packs.Most of those so equipped were Me 262A-1a models, members of Jagdgeschwader 7.This method of attacking bombers became the standard, and mass deployment of Ruhrstahl X-4 guided missiles was cancelled. Some nicknamed this tactic the Luftwaffe’s Wolf Pack, as the fighters often made runs in groups of two or three, fired their rockets, then returned to base. On 1 September 1944, USAAF General Carl “Tooey” Spaatz expressed the fear that if greater numbers of German jets appeared, they could inflict losses heavy enough to force cancellation of the Allied bombing offensive by daylight.
The Me 262 was difficult to counter because its high speed and rate of climb made it hard to intercept. However, as with other turbojet engines at the time, the Me 262’s engines did not provide sufficient thrust at low air speeds and throttle response was slow, meaning in certain circumstances such as takeoff and landing, the aircraft became a vulnerable target.
Another disadvantage that pioneering jet aircraft of the World War II era shared, was the high risk of compressor stall and if throttle movements were too rapid, the engine(s) could suffer a flameout. The coarse opening of the throttle would cause fuel surging and lead to excessive jet pipe temperatures. Pilots were instructed to operate the throttle gently and avoid quick changes. German engineers introduced an automatic throttle regulator later in the war but it only partly alleviated the problem.
The plane had, by contemporary standards, a high wing loading (294.0kg/m2, 60.2lbs/ft2) that required higher takeoff and landing speeds. Due to poor throttle response, the engines’ tendency for airflow disruption that could cause the compressor to stall was ubiquitous. The high speed of the Me 262 also presented problems when engaging enemy aircraft, the high-speed convergence allowing Me 262 pilots little time to line up their targets or acquire the appropriate amount of deflection. This problem faces any aircraft that approaches another from behind at much higher speed, as the slower aircraft in front can always pull a tighter turn, forcing the faster aircraft to overshoot.
“I passed one that looked as if it was hanging motionless in the air (I am too fast!). The one above me went into a steep right-hand turn, his pale blue underside standing out against the purple sky. Another banked right in front of the Me’s nose. Violent jolt as I flew through his airscrew eddies. Maybe a wing’s length away. That one in the gentle left-hand curve! Swing her round. I was coming from underneath, eye glued to the sight (pull her tighter!). A throbbing in the wings as my cannon pounded briefly. Missed him. Way behind his tail. It was exasperating. I would never be able to shoot one down like this. They were like a sack of fleas. A prick of doubt: is this really such a good fighter? Could one in fact, successfully attack a group of erratically banking fighters with the Me 262?”
Luftwaffe pilots eventually learned how to handle the Me 262’s higher speed and the Me 262 soon proved a formidable air superiority fighter, with pilots such as Franz Schall managing to shoot down seventeen enemy fighters in the Me 262, ten of them American P-51 Mustangs.
Other notable Me 262 aces included Georg-Peter Eder, with twelve enemy fighters to his credit (including nine P-51s), Erich Rudorfferalso with twelve enemy fighters to his credit, Walther Dahl with eleven (including three Lavochkin La-7s and six P-51s) and Heinz-Helmut Baudach with six (including one Spitfire and two P-51s) amongst many others.
Pilots soon learned that the Me 262 was quite maneuverable despite its high wing loading and lack of low-speed thrust, especially if attention was drawn to its effective maneuvering speeds. The controls were light and effective right up to the maximum permissible speed and perfectly harmonized. The inclusion of full span automatic leading-edge slats,something of a “tradition” on Messerschmitt fighters dating back to the original BF-109’s outer wing slots of a similar type, helped increase the overall lift produced by the wing by as much as 35% in tight turns or at low speeds, greatly improving the aircraft’s turn performance as well as its landing and takeoff characteristics.As many pilots soon found out, the Me 262’s clean design also meant that it, like all jets, held its speed in tight turns much better than conventional propeller-driven fighters, which was a great potential advantage in a dogfight as it meant better energy retention in maneuvers.
Too fast to catch for the escorting Allied fighters, the Me 262s were almost impossible to head off. As a result, Me 262 pilots were relatively safe from the Allied fighters, as long as they did not allow themselves to get drawn into low-speed turning contests and saved their maneuvering for higher speeds. Combating the Allied fighters could be effectively done the same way as the U.S. fighters fought the more nimble, but slower, Japanese fighters in the Pacific.
Allied pilots soon found that the only reliable way to destroy the jets, as with the even faster Me-163B Komet rocket fighters, was to attack them on the ground or during takeoff or landing.
Luftwaffe airfields identified as jet bases were frequently bombed by medium bombers, and Allied fighters patrolled over the fields to attack jets trying to land. The Luftwaffe countered by installing extensive flak alleys of anti-aircraft guns along the approach lines to protect the Me 262s from the ground—and by providing top cover during the jets’ takeoff and landing with the most advanced Luftwaffe single-engined fighters, the Focke-Wulf Fw 190D and (just becoming available in 1945) Focke-Wulf Ta 152H.Nevertheless, in March–April 1945, Allied fighter patrol patterns over Me 262 airfields resulted in numerous jet losses.
As the Me 262A’s pioneering Junkers Jumo 004 axial-flow jet engines needed careful nursing by their pilots.
These radically new jet aircraft were particularly vulnerable during takeoff and landing.
Lt. Chuck Yeager of the 357th Fighter Group was one of the first American pilots to shoot down an Me 262, which he caught during its landing approach.On 7 October 1944, Lt. Urban Drew of the 365th Fighter Group shot down two Me 262s that were taking off, while on the same day Lt. Col. Hubert Zemke,who had transferred to the Mustang equipped 479th Fighter Group, shot down what he thought was a BF-109, only to have his gun camera film reveal that it may have been an Me 262.On 25 February 1945, Mustangs of the 55th Fighter Group surprised an entire Staffel of Me 262As at takeoff and destroyed six jets.
The British Hawker Tempest scored several kills against the new German jets, including the Messerschmitt Me 262. Hubert Lange, a Me 262 pilot, said: “the Messerschmitt Me 262’s most dangerous opponent was the British Hawker Tempest—extremely fast at low altitudes, highly maneuverable and heavily armed.”Some were destroyed with a tactic known to the Tempest 135 Wing as the “Rat Scramble”:Tempests on immediate alert took off when an Me 262 was reported airborne. They did not intercept the jet, but instead flew towards the Me 262 and Ar 234 base at Hopsten air base.The aim was to attack jets on their landing approach, when they were at their most vulnerable, travelling slowly, with flaps down and incapable of rapid acceleration.The German response was the construction of a “flak lane” of over 150 emplacements of the 20mm Flakvierling quadruple auto cannon batteries at Rheine-Hopsten to protect the approaches.After seven Tempests were lost to flak at Hopsten in a week, the “Rat Scramble” was discontinued.
Adolf Busemann had proposed swept wings as early as 1935; Messerschmitt researched the topic from 1940. In April 1941, Busemann proposed fitting a 35° swept wing (Pfeilflügel II, literally “arrow wing II”) to the Me 262,the same wing-sweep angle later used on both the American F-86 Sabre and Soviet Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15 fighter jets. Though this was not implemented, he continued with the projected HG II and HG III (Hochgeschwindigkeit, “high-speed”) derivatives in 1944, designed with a 35° and 45° wing sweep, respectively.
Interest in high-speed flight, which led him to initiate work on swept wings starting in 1940, is evident from the advanced developments Messerschmitthad on his drawing board in 1944.
While the Me 262 V9 Hochgeschwindigkeit I (HG I) flight-tested in 1944 had only small changes compared to combat aircraft, most notably a low-profile canopy—tried as the Rennkabine (literally “racing cabin”) on the ninth Me 262 prototype for a short time—to reduce drag, the HG II and HG III designs were far more radical. The projected HG II combined the low-drag canopy with a 35° wing sweep and a V-tail (butterfly tail). The HG III had a conventional tail, but a 45° wing sweep and turbines embedded in the wing roots.
Messerschmitt also conducted a series of flight tests with the series production Me 262. Dive tests determined that the Me 262 went out of control in a dive at Mach 0.86, and that higher Mach numbers would cause a nose-down trim that the pilot could not counter. The resulting steepening of the dive would lead to even higher speeds and the airframe would disintegrate from excessive negative G loads.
The HG series of Me 262 derivatives was believedcapable of reaching transonic Mach numbers in level flight, with the top speed of the HG III being projected as Mach0.96 at 6,000 m (20,000 ft) altitude. After the war, the Royal Aircraft Establishment, at that time one of the leading institutions in high-speed research, re-tested the Me 262 to help with British attempts at exceeding Mach1. The RAE achieved speeds of up to Mach0.84 and confirmed the results from the Messerschmitt dive-tests. The Soviets ran similar tests.
After Willy Messerschmitt’sdeath in 1978, the former Me 262 pilot Hans Guido Mutke claimed to have exceeded Mach1 on 9 April 1945 in a Me 262 in a “straight-down” 90° dive. This claim relies solely on Mutke’s memory of the incident, which recalls effects other Me 262 pilots observed below the speed of sound at high indicated airspeed, but with no altitude reading required to determine the speed.
The pitot tube used to measure airspeed in aircraft can give falsely elevated readings as the pressure builds up inside the tube at high speeds. The Me 262 wing had only a slight sweep, incorporated for trim (center of gravity) reasons and likely would have suffered structural failure due to divergence at high transonic speeds. One airframe—the aforementioned Me 262 V9, Werknummer 130 004, with Stammkennzeichen of VI+AD,was prepared as the HG I test airframe with the low-profile Rennkabine racing-canopy and may have achieved an unofficial record speed for a turbojet-powered aircraft of 975 km/h (606 mph), altitude unspecified,even with the recorded wartime airspeed record being set on 6 July 1944, by another Messerschmitt design—the Me 163B V18rocket fighter setting a 1,130 km/h (700 mph) record, but landing with a nearly disintegrated rudder surface.
About 1,400 planes were produced, but a maximum of 200 were operational at any one time. According to sources they destroyed from 300 to 450 enemy planes, with the Allies destroying about one hundred Me 262s in the air.While Germany was bombed intensively, production of the Me 262 was dispersed into low-profile production facilities, sometimes little more than clearings in the forests of Germany and occupied countries.
Through the end of February to the end of March 1945, approximately sixty Me 262s were destroyed in attacks on Obertraubling and thirty at Leipheim;the Neuburg jet plant itself was bombed on 19 March 1945.
Large, heavily protected underground factories were constructed – as with the partly-buried Weingut I complex for Jumo 004 jet engine production – to take up production of the Me 262, safe from bomb attacks, but the war ended before they could be completed. Wings were produced in Germany’s oldest motorway tunnel at Engelberg, to the west of Stuttgart. At B8 Bergkristall-Esche II at St. Georgen/Gusen, Austria, slave labourers of concentration camp Gusen II produced fully equipped fuselages for the Me 262 at a monthly rate of 450 units on large assembly lines from early 1945.Gusen II was known as one of the harshest concentration camps; the typical life expectancy was six months.An estimated 35,000 to 50,000 people died on the forced labor details for the Me 262.
After the end of the war, the Me 262 and other advanced German technologies were quickly swept up by the Soviets, British and Americans, as part of the USAAF’s Operation Lusty. Many Me 262s were found in readily repairable condition and were confiscated. The Soviets, British and Americans wished to evaluate the technology, particularly the engines.
During testing, the Me 262 was found to be faster than the British Gloster Meteor jet fighter, and had better visibility to the sides and rear (mostly due to the canopy frames and the discoloration caused by the plastics used in the Meteor’s construction), and was a superior gun platform to the Meteor F.1 which had a tendency to snake at high speed and exhibited “weak” aileron response.The Me 262 had a shorter range than the Meteor and had less reliable engines.
The USAAF compared the P-80 Shooting Star and Me 262, concluding that the Me 262 was superior in acceleration and speed, with similar climb performance. The Me 262 appeared to have a higher critical Mach number than any American fighter.
The Americans also tested a Me 262A-1a/U3 unarmed photo reconnaissance version, which was fitted with a fighter nose and a smooth finish. Between May and August 1946, the aircraft completed eight flights, lasting four hours and forty minutes. Testing was discontinued after four engine changes were required during the course of the tests, culminating in two single-engine landings.These aircraft were extensively studied, aiding development of early US, British and Soviet jet fighters. The F-86, designed by engineer Edgar Schmued, used a slat design based on the Me 262’s.
The Czechoslovak aircraft industry continued to produce single-seat (Avia S-92) and two-seat (Avia CS-92) variants of the Me 262 after World War II. From August 1946, a total of nine S-92s and three two-seater CS-92s were completed and test flown. They were introduced in 1947 and in 1950 were supplied to the 5th Fighter Squadron, becoming the first jet fighters to serve in the Czechoslovak Air Force. These were kept flying until 1951,when they were replaced in service by Soviet jet fighters. Both versions are on display at the Prague Aviation museum in Kbely.
In January 2003, the American Me 262 Project, based in Everett, Washington, completed flight testing to allow the delivery of partially updated spec reproductions of several versions of the Me 262 including at least two B-1c two-seater variants, one A-1c single seater and two “convertibles” that could be switched between the A-1c and B-1c configurations. All are powered by General Electric CJ610 engines and feature additional safety features, such as upgraded brakes and strengthened landing gear. The “c” suffix refers to the new CJ610 power plant and has been informally assigned with the approval of the Messerschmitt Foundation in Germany(the Werknummer of the reproductions picked up where the last wartime produced Me 262 left off – a continuous airframe serial number run with a near 60-year production break).
Flight testing of the first newly manufactured Me 262 A-1c (single-seat) variant (Werknummer 501244) was completed in August 2005. The first of these machines (Werknummer 501241) went to a private owner in the southwestern United States, while the second (Werknummer 501244) was delivered to the Messerschmitt Foundation at Manching, Germany. This aircraft conducted a private test flight in late April 2006, and made its public debut in May at the ILA 2006. The new Me 262 flew during the public flight demonstrations.Me 262 Werknummer 501241 was delivered to the Collings Foundation as White 1 of JG 7; this aircraft offered ride-along flights starting in 2008.The third replica, a non-flyable Me 262 A-1c, was delivered to the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum in May 2010.
Dr. McGee(Left) is a Senior Research Associate at the NASA Center for Aerospace Exploration and Technology Research at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP).
Retired from the U.S. Air Force, Dr. McGee served as an F-16 pilot, including multiple tours and Mission Commander experience. He was a Command Pilot, a Standards and Evaluation Pilot, and spent four years as an instructor pilot in the F-16 division of the Air Force Fighter Weapons School. He is also a Daedalian.
At a recent Daedalian Society meeting at the El Paso Club in downtown El Paso, Dr. McGee, most recently with California’s famous RAND Corporation, helped bring the Daedalians up to speed on UTEP’s latest Aero-Space developments and future plans.
All the local Daedalians are former or current military aviators as well as FASF members. Dr. McGeeeducated the Daedalian Flight about the new UTEP Program.
He observed that the recently retired former U.S. Secretary of the Air Force,Heather Wilson, PhD, is the new UTEP President, and is, as well, an instrument rated general aviation pilot in her own right. Her father was a commercial pilot. Ms. Wilson graduated with honors from the USAF Academy and served as a U.S. Congresswoman from New Mexico. Her unique background with its focus on aviation might help explain why Dr. Wilson has such a deep personal interest in helping this innovative new space-oriented program become airborne.
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Before the meeting began, members and guests socialized. Here, L to R are: Mario Campos, Mike McGee, Jerry Dixon, Mark Pfluger, Charlie Overstreet, and, seated, Schelmo Rocha, assistant to Colonel Norman Rice
L to R Standing: Roger Springstead, Dr. McGee, Mario Campos, Jerry Dixon, Mark Pfluger, Charlie Overstreet, Josianna and Gerry Wingett – Seated: Mr. Rocha, Norman Rice and his daughter, Timbiya Rice
L to R: Charlie Overstreetand Col. Mario Campos
L to R: Dr. Mike McGee and Jerry Dixon.
L to R: Mark Pfluger, and Jerry Wingett
L to R: Col. Camposand Flight Chaplain, Roger Springsteadget ready to start the meeting.
Colonel Campos opens the meeting.
Dr. McGeebegins his presentation.
Dr. McGee, explains the new air space challenges presented by the explosion in the numbers of drones in the U.S.
Dr. McGeepoints out the serious air safety challenges posed by the fact that Airline Departures at Airports are well published in advance, presenting serious security threats from ill-intentioned drone operators.
Dr. McGeedescribes the additional aviation security threat posed by the ability of large numbers of airborne drones to be “swarmed” – creating virtual “clouds” of them in the air space.
Presentation ended, Flight Capt. Col. Campos presents Dr. McGee with a gift in thanks for his educational program
L to R: Dr. McGee posed by the Daedalian Seal with Vice Flight Capt. Ric Lambart and Flt. Captain Colonel Campos.
Below is Dr. McGee’s entire presentation, provided here because of its widespread implications for public safety in the new drone age. The video is 41:47 in length.
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This Saturday, five active FASF members were again invited to join the base’s 49th Wing as it graduated the latest group of 11 new USAF Lockheed F-16 “Viper” fighter pilots, all members of the 8th Fighter Squadron’s Class 19-CBF.
Attending the evening’s celebratory dinner were Daedalian Flight 24’s Flight Captain, Colonel Mario Campos, it’s Adjutant, Colonel Bob Pitt,Ric Lambart,Colonel Miles “Cowboy” Crowell, and AFROTC Cadet Major, Ammber Valverde, Daedalian Scholarship recipient and currently the youngest member of the FASF. Ammber is a Junior at both the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) and New Mexico State University’s (NMSU) AFROTC Detachment 505.
A ‘Blue Team‘ F-16 from the 388th Wing, 421st Fighter Squadron, the “Black Widows“, flies high above the Nevada desert during a training exercise. Taking a break from the action below the clouds, this F-16 from Hill Air Force Base prepares to take on fuel from an awaiting KC-135 Tanker from the Washington State Air National Guard.
11 F-16 Viper student pilots graduated from the 8th Fighter Squadron’s F-16 Basic Course, during a ceremony at Club Holloman, Saturday, December 14th, 2019.
Graduating students, parents, wives, faculty and guest line up to enter the dining room for the graduation dinner.
The F-16 B-Course is a 37-week long course required for all student pilots. On average, B-Course students log 70 hours of flying time over 59 sorties in addition to roughly 245-hours of academic training and 69-hours of flight simulator training.
The dessert table had the class cake appropriately designated.
The 49th Wing is the Air Force’s premiere F-16 and MQ-9 Reaper aircrew training wing. Graduates of the F-16 B-course will be reassigned to operational flying units throughout the world as members of the combat Air Force.
L to R; Public Affairs Office Photographer, Staff Sgt.Christine Groening, listens to Col. Cowboy Crowell describe his tour in Vietnam conflict as Colonel Mario Campos listens. Both men are active FASF members.
Well into its middle age (it was 1st flown 45 years ago in 1974) the “Fighting Falcon” (it’s official original name, which has been almost thoroughly replaced by the more popular and honored name – The “Viper” – one assigned to it by its many pilots over all those years). As seen immediately below, the Viper remains the chosen exhibition jet for the renown USAF Thunderbirds, which have used its extreme maneuverability in their airshows for 36 straight years.
The above video shows some typical operational F-16 Squadrons carrying out their missions including some hi-resolution cockpit footage.
Colonel Bob Pitt and AFROTC Major, Ammber Valverde talking about her upcoming career in the USAF and of her intent to also become a fighter pilot. Both are active members of the FASF.
Here are the 11 proud members of the graduating Class19-CBF:
Capt. Justin Goar; 1st Lt. Seth Bolon; 1st Lt. Alexander Drakoulakis; 1st Lt. Austin Gillis: 1st Lt. Michael Kelvin; 1st Lt. Tyler Olson; 1st Lt. Colin Ruane; 1st Lt. Landon Santori; 1st Lt. David Schmitz; 1st Lt. Domenick Stumpo; and 1st Lt. Zachary Tarbox.
PAO Staff Sergeant Christine Groening and Colonel Bob Pitt.
Originally designed and manufactured by General Dynamics Corporation and then licensed to for production by Lockheed Martin Corporation, the newest model of the fighter was first put into action just four years ago. It is the newest variant of F-16 fighter jet, known as the F-16V “Viper.” The F-16’s cost the USAF about $38 million each – – – and it cost the USAF about $3 million to train each of these F-16 fighter pilots to master this nimble 4th generation fighter.
Lt. Col. Miles “Cowboy” Crowell and Cadet Major Ammber Valverde.
8th Squadron Commander, Lt. Colonel “Harm” Finch, addresses the audience to help kick of the ceremonies.
PAO Staff Sergeant Christine Groeningin action.
L to R: Col. Bob Pitt, LC Miles “Cowboy” Crowell,and Cadet Major Ammber Valverde
8th Tactical Fighter Squadron F-16 Flight Instructor,Capt. Brittany “Blitz” Trimble, who organized the entire event, addresses the audience.
View of North part of Dining Hall at the Holloman Club, with (L to R) in foreground, Cols. Bob Pitt and Miles Crowell
View to the SW in Holloman Club’s Banquet Hall. In foreground (L to R) are Cols. Mario Campos, Bob Pitt and Miles Crowell.
Event’s Guest Speaker, Brig. General Joseph McFall,Asst. Deputy Commander, U.S. Air Forces Central Command, and Asst. Vice Commander, 9th Air Expeditionary Task Force.
Graduating Student, Capt. Justin “Hamboar” Goar, presents the class’ thank-you to Guest Speaker, General McFall.
L to R: Captain Justin “Hamboar” Goar, one of the graduating students, presents Capt. Brittany Trimble,with a thank-you gift from the Squadron and its students for having masterminded and planned the entire graduation event – a complex program which unfolded without a hitch!
L to R: Captain Goar, of the 19-CBF graduating Class, presents THE BEST INSTRUCTOR AWARD to Major Locke.
FASF member and Daedalian Flight 24 Captain, Col. Mario Camposdescribes Daedalian History and the Flight’s Leadership Award.
L to R: Cols. Bob Pitt and Miles Crowell along with Cadet Major Ammber Valverde, watch the Daedalian Award presentation by Col. Campos.
Col. Camposcongratulates Leadership Award Trophy winner, Lt. Colin “Huds” Ruane, who will be in his new active duty assignment at Kunsan Air Base in South Korea in a few weeks.
Veteran Viet Nam Fighter Pilot, FASF and Daedalian Flight 24 member, Col. “Cowboy” Crowell presents the coveted “River Rat” trophy to Lt. Austin “Weed” Gillis, who will report to his duty station at Ft. Worth Air Reserve Base in Texas after this graduation ceremony. The “River Rat” award is bestowed upon the student with whom his fellow student fighter pilots would most want to have flying on their wing in combat. The river in the title is the “Red River” and the North Vietnamese Valley through which it flows. The pilots who flew in that theater during Vietnam were affectionately called the “River Rats.”
The 49th Wing Commander, Colonel Joseph Campo (L) presents the Distinguished Student Graduate Trophy to Lt. Domenick “ROK” Stumpo, who will report to Osan Air Base, South Korea, in January 2020.
Again, Col. Campo (L) presents the same “Distinguished Graduate” award to its dual winner, Lt. Seth “Faded” Bolon, who will be reporting to Kunsan Air Base in South Korea for his 1st post graduation duty assignment.
FASF members, (L TO R): Cols. Mario Campos, Bob Pitt, and “Cowboy” Crowell and Ammber Valverde, applaud the graduates as they received their diplomas.
L to R: Cols. Mario Campos, and Bob Pitt,Daedalian Awardee, Lt. “Huds” Ruane, Col. Miles Crowelland River Rat Awardee, Lt. “Weed” Gillis, and Ric Lambart.Photo courtesy of PAO Staff Sergeant, Christine Groening
L to R: Ammber Valverde, Capt. Brittany Trimbleand 49th Wing Commander, Col. Joseph Campo
L to R: Ammber Valverde, Capt. Brittany Trimble, Cols. Bob Pittand Joseph Campo.
Ammber Valverde (L) discussing USAF flight training program with Capt. Brittany “Blitz” Trimble.
Ammber is a Junior at UTEP and with the NMSU AFROTC Detachment 505. She wants also become a fighter pilot.
This was a good opportunity for Ammber to learn what’s ahead for her as she gets prepared for USAF active duty.
Ammberand Capt. Trimble continue to cover Ammber’s future prospects.
Colonel Campoand LC Crowell reliving some of their combat experiences. Col. Crowell, an FASF member and a Flight 24 Daedalian, is now retired from active duty with the USAF, and works at Holloman as a private contractor.
Col. Campos (L) talking with a Master Sergeant assigned to the 8th Fighter Squadron.
Captain Brittany “Blitz” Trimble and Cadet Major Ammber Valverdepose by the 8th Tactical Fighter Squadron’s official Emblem.
The Viper is broadly used throughout the world by powers friendly to the United States, and still remains the preferred aircraft for the world famous USAF Demonstration Team, the “Thunderbirds.“
The Oct. 16 flight in Fort Worth, Texas, marked the first time the venerable fourth-generation fighter flew with an advanced radar like those found on the fifth-generation fighters F-22 and F-35, according to a press release this week from Lockheed.
The F-16V includes an APG-83 active electronically scanned array scalable agile beam radar made by Northrop Grumman Corp. The company also makes so-called active electronically scanned array radars for the F-22 Raptor and the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.
The new radar steers beams electronically — without moving parts — and redirects them from one location to another, according to the Government Accountability Office. Unlike a passive version, the radar spreads signals over multiple radio frequencies, making them difficult to detect and jam, and allowing the aircraft employing the technology to remain stealthy.
The APG-83 “fire control radar provides 5th Generation air-to-air and air-to-ground radar capability,” Lockheed said in the release. It “will deliver a quantum leap in capability for the venerable F-16.”
The F-16V advanced avionics configuration also includes a new cockpit center pedestal display, a modernized mission computer and a high-capacity Ethernet data bus, according to Lockheed.
Yet the upgrades aren’t slated to hit the U.S. fleet of more than 1,000 F-16s. The Air Force last year canceled a plan to upgrade some 340 of the single-engine fighters with such enhancements due to budget limitations and instead decided to fund other programs, including the F-35.
So Taiwan is set to become the first country to begin flying the F-16V Viper.
Lockheed, the world’s largest defense contractor, faces competition from the British defense giant, BAE Systems Plc, in the international market to upgrade many of the 3,000 F-16s now flying in foreign armed forces.
Of those, roughly 1,000 are more than 15 years old — making them prime candidates for enhancements to avoid obsolescence. While the F-16 won’t ever compete in the skies with newer jets like the F-22 or F-35, upgrading fourth-generation aircraft is far cheaper than buying fifth-generation fighters.
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President Wes Bakerof the 555 Chapter of the EAA, at Las Cruces International Airport, arrives in his Vintage Cessna 140 for the meeting.
This past weekend, the RGAC (Rio Grande Aviation Council) held its Fall quarterly meeting at the WEAM (War Eagles Air Museum) at the Doña Ana County International Jetport in Santa Teresa, New Mexico.
In the words of one of the RGAC’s original two founders, Bob Dockendorf, “This newly formed organization is designed and purposed to improve and enhance communication between the many diverse groups that are involved in the regional aviation community.”
Thirteen (13) representatives of the some twenty odd member aviation industry concerned organizations attended. The two group photos below show those representatives who were able to attend this past Saturday.
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The RGAC’s governing member organizations include the following:
Amigo Air Sho
Cielo Dorado HO Association
Civil Air Patrol – Squadron 215 – El Paso
Civil Air Patrol – Squadron 24 – Las Cruces
Dust Devil Flying Club
EAA Chapter 1570 – Santa Teresa, NM
EAA Chapter 555 – Las Cruces, NM
El Paso Aviation Association
El Paso Remote Control Association
First Aero Squadron Foundation
Horizon City Remote Control Flyers
Las Cruces Aviators Flying Club
Mesilla Valley Model Airplane Club
Ninety-Nines – El Paso Chapter
Order of Daedalians – Flight 24 – El Paso
USAF Academy Association
USAF JROTC, Las Cruces HS, NM
USAF ROTC Det. 505, UTEP
USAF ROTC Detachment 505 NMSU
War Eagles Air Museum (WEAM)
L to R seated: Tania Privette, and WEAM Director and one of the RCAC founders, Bob Dockendorf, and EAA’s John Signorino work on meeting’s details.
Other profit-oriented or governmental organizations involved in local area aviation such as the Airfield Managers of KDNA (Dona Ana Jetport); LRU (Las Cruces International Airport); El Paso International Airport; Fabens Airport (Texas); The Commanders of Army Aviation’s Biggs Field and Holloman Air Force Base; Director of the UTEP Aero Apace Department; Managers of the Tenants at the New Mexico International Space Port and the Director of NMSU’s Physical Sciences Lab, along with the Elephant Butte Irrigation District . . . are engaged as members of the non-voting class of associate membership in the Council.
The actual governing of the Council is primarily determined by the non-profit educational aviation consumer oriented groups active in the region.
L to R front row: John Signoriino, Tania Privette,Ric Lambart– Back Row: Tracy Short, Aurora Navarro, Daniel Barcena, Mike LeGendre, Col. Mario Campos, Wes Baker, Eric Gensheimer, Todd Pasont, Bob Dockendorf, and Juan Brito.
Below, the group of representatives also gathered by the “Women in Aviation“ Display inside the WEAM main hangar (see below photo).
L to R: Ric Lambart, Aurora Navarro, Daniel Barcena, Tracy Short, Tania Privette, Mike LeGendre, John Signorino, Col. Mario Campos, Eric Gensheimer, Todd Pasont, Juan Brito, Wes Baker, and Bob Dockendorf – we don’t know the helmeted manikin’s name.
Long discussed and requested, it finally came to pass: The FASF presented its history, and how that history resulted in the actual creation of Holloman Air Force Base (HAFB), all our other Air Bases, Army Airfields and U.S. Naval Air Stations across the world, and, in fact, left virtually no place on earth unaffected by both the military and civilian aviation era that was born in Columbus, NM in 1916 and 17.
Yours truly had the privilege of presenting the unique First Aero Columbus history of how American Air Power was born during the Punitive Expedition of 1916, and of how American Civil Aviation was contemporaneously also re-born – – – and in the same place.
Thanks to a special invitation of the base’s Operation Group’s Commander, Colonel Jeff “Tank” Patton (left above), an FASF member, his troops had the opportunity to learn many new things about their own, the nation’s, and the Air Force’s actual history.
49th peronnel file into the HAFB Theater to hear more about their history. Photo by Col. Patton. The woman in the center left front row corner is the HAFB Historian, Martha Whipple.
Among the estimated 400 some odd airmen at the Base Theater on Tuesday of this week, only a small handful actually knew of this part of their history, the very history it is the mission of the FASF to help protect and preserve for future generations.
Colonel Patton is the Commander of the 49th Operations Group at Holloman. His Group maintains and manages Air Combat Command’s most complex and diverse airfield and airspace operations, with three live-fire air-to-ground ranges and more than 58 thousand square miles of military operating airspace.
The Group also supports remotely piloted aircraft (“RPA“), the deadly MQ-9 Reaper,” Air Education and Training Command’s F-16,German Air Force Tornado flight training, Joint test operations, and NASA, while providing combat ready Airmen for worldwide combat commitments. There are several RPA MQ-9 Reaper photos at the end of this post.
Here are some photos of this week’s event:
Colonel Patton (R) Discusses the program as Lambart (L) listens. This photo is courtesy of Lt. Colonel Trevor “Phantom” Merrell, the 49th operation Group’s 9th Attack Squadron Commander.
Lambartpointing to one of the FASF Power Point Slides during his presentation. Photo by Col. Tank Patton.
Lambartduring the lecture. This and the below photo were also taken by Lt. Col. Trevor “Phantom” Merrell.
Col. Patton presents Lambart with the special commemorative “Challenge Coin” of the 49th Operations Group in appreciation to the FASF for its presentation.
Here are some photos of the MQ-9 Reaper RPA’s and F-16 Vipers used by the 49th:
MQ-9 “Reaper” remotely piloted aircraft are lined up in the 49th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron hanger at HAFB. Taken by J. M. Eddins, Jr.
MQ-9 Reaper Firing an air to ground missile. USAF photo
The sun rises over an MQ-9 Reaper remotely piloted aircraft at Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico. Courtesy of J.M. Eddins, Jr.
A Reaper crew at their work-station ‘cockpit. From thousands of feet above the terrain, the Reaper crews can focus in on targets with incredible sharpness, often with enough magnification to read license plates on vehicles. USAF photo.
The 8th Fighter Squadron (Fighting Patch at left) has been with us since November of 1940, when it was first organized at Selfridge Army Air Field, in Michigan. Decommissioned for a while, it is now back in the front lines of our Air Defense against any would be adversaries. This weekend saw its first graduating class of new F-16 Viper pilots since its arrival last year at Holloman Air Force Base, near Alamagordo, NM. According to the Squadon’s commander, Lt. Colonel Mark Sletten,each of the evening’s graduates’ training has cost the Air Force about eight (8) million dollars.
The squadron is best known as the Black Sheep Squadronof World War II fame and for one of its commanding officers, Colonel Gregory “Pappy” Boyington, one of WWII’s top USMC fighter Aces, whose memoirs inspired the 1970s television show “Baa Baa Black Sheep,” later syndicated as Black Sheep Squadron, which dramatized the squadron’s exploits during the war.
Although the original “Black Sheep” group was composed of USMC pilots, their Squadron no longer exists, so it’s been reborne, but this time as a USAF Fighter Squadron, not a USMC outfit. (This clarification the suggestion of Capt. Robbie Ritchie).
“These guys get to be a part of a very special fraternity and we have absolutely trained them up well to go out and be a part of that fraternity, the combat arms we know and love,” said Lt. Col. Mark Sletten,8th FS commander. “For them to be a part of the greatest nation, the greatest
military, greatest service and of course the greatest platform – the F-16, leaving here tonight as qualified F-16 pilots makes us all proud.”
Getting all of the people shown below properly identified could not have been done without the indispensible assistance of the Daedalian Leadership Awardee, Captain Robbie “Ramm” Ritchie,* who made sure we properly identified all those shown. Prior to this specialized fighter training with the 8th, Captain Ritchie had been an instructor pilot. The name used for such already experienced new Basic students is FAIP, which stands for: First Assignment Instructor Pilot. This prior duty assignment helps account for Robbie’s rank of Captain.
Remember: Click on any photo below to show it in hight resolution and full-size.
L to R: Lt. Col. Mark Sletten, Commander of the 8th Fighter Squadron, Colonel Bob Pittand his wife, Julie.
L to R: Col. Pittin conversation with Captain Ely Smith, the evening’s Master of Ceremonies
L to R: Roger Nichols, son of the WWII Ace after whom the El Paso Flight is named, Julie and Col. Pitt,and Dr. Bryan Harris, USAF Colonel, Retired. Col. Harris, now a contractor, is in charge of all the F-16 Viper Maintenance for the 8th Fighter Squadron
All long-time FASF members, Roger Nichols, immediate past Daedalian Flight 24 Captain, looks over the evening’s coming program with the Pitts
L to R: Julie and Col. Pittwith Roger Nichols
Many families attended the graduation and wives and girlfriends of both the 8th’s staff as well as graduating students, busily used their phones to record the celebration. Above, to the the right of the Pittsis the wife of flight instructor, Major Jared Aschenbrenner, collecting memories of the event on her phone camera
Colonel Jeff (“Tank”) Patton, FASF Member, and Commander of the 49th Operations Group, poses with Nichols and Pitt.
View of part of the Dining Hall in the Holloman Club, at which the event was held
Colonel Jeff Patton and his wife, Tracy.
Photo on one of the several large projection screens, showing this Viper Fighter Class’ Students on an F-16’s wing
New Fighter Pilot Graduate,Captain Nicholas Atkins, gets the festivities underway
One of the classes’ distinguished graduates, Robert “Ramm” Ritchie,presented the award for the “Most valuable non-commissioned officer” to Master Sergeant Cope on behalf of its recipient, Sergeant Merril
L to R: Captain Ritchiepresented the most valuable Flight Instructor award to Major Nathan “Stuka” Lightfoot
L to R: Colonel Bob Pittdescribes the history of El Paso’s Flight 24, Order of the Daedalians and its Namesake, General Nick Nichols to the audience as 2nd Lt. Seth Bolonand Colonel Mark “Tyson” Sletten, Squadron Commander, look on. Lt. Bolon is a member of the new incoming 8th Fighter Squadron class.
L to R:Capt. Ely Smith,MC, 2nd Lt Seth Bolon, look on as Col. Bob Pitt presents the General Nichols Daedalian Leadership Awardto Capt. Robbie Ritchie, while Squadron CO., Col. Mark Slettencongratulates him on the achievement. Captain Ritchiewill head to Shaw AFB, South Carolina for his next duty assignment. His classmates are going to all corners of the globe for their new pilot assignments.
Colonel Pitthands the Daedalian Award to Captain Robert Ritchie,as the 8th’s Commander, Col. Sletten, proudly poses beside the new awardee. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kindra Stewart). Lt. Bolon in background
L to R: Colonel Miles “Cowboy” Crowell,with River Rat Awardee, Lt. Scott Lafferty,and fellow River Rat member, Colonel Jeff Patton. This award is given to the student of each class with whom his or her fellow pilots would most prefer to fly in combat.
L to R: Lt. Seth Bolon, looks on as Col.Sletten poses with Daedalian Trophy Winner, Capt Ritchie, as they hold his Graduation Certificate, while Captain Ian “Bear” Leeand Captain Allison “Bandit” Romanko, 8th Fighter Squadron Instructors, look on. Eight Viper pilot students graduated from the 8th FS’ first F-16 B-Course, nearly eighty years since the squadron’s induction on Nov. 20, 1940.
All eight graduates line up on stage for their class graduation portrait. R to L: Captain Daniel Rule, Captain Robert Ritchie, Captain Reese Black, Captain Bradley Beninati, 1st Lt. Evan Wade, 1st Lt. Scott Lafferty, 1st Lt. Kent Greer, and Captain Nicholas Atkins.
L to R: FASF and Daedalian Members, Ric Lambart, Roger Nichols and Col. Bob Pitt, flank Leadership Trophy winner, Capt. Robbie (“Ramm”) Ritchie
Roger Nichols discusses his father’s and his own USAF career with Leadership Awardee, Capt. “Ramm” Ritchie
Below, is the the class video, 11 minutes long, which shows many clips taken from the months of fllight and fighter training the eight members of this first graduating class of the 8th Fighter Squadronexperienced in their work with the Viper Fighter. Aside from a few inserts of actual wartime footage target anihilation (taken in the mideast), the video content was primarily taken by the students or HAFB Public Affairs videographers during their training activities. The video gives the viewer and unique insight into the experience these young men went through this past year at Holloman.
The film uses a number of special effects for the dramatization of some of the student experiences, such as refueling practice and of the TDY (Temporary Duty assignment) to Louisiana’s Bayou country. The video was produced by class member, Lt. Evan Wade, and also shows, quite graphically, to where each of the graduates will be going for their front line fighter assignment. This video can be seen best when your monitor is set to full-screen mode. Lt. Wade garners some top-gun kudos for his excellent production.
* Here is part of the official HAFB Public Affairs Office news release concerning Daedalian Award Recipient, Capt Robbie Ritchie:
This class’ recipient of the coveted Daedalian Flight 24 Leadership Award this
year, was Capt. Robert Ritchie. The Captain, one of the 8th Fighter Squadron F-16
Basic-Course graduates, always knew he wanted to be a fighter pilot.
Ritchie’sfather is a retired Air Force pilot who flew C-130s and T-38s, before
flying for a commercial airline out of Minnesota.
“I was one of those kids that built model aircraft and hung them from the ceiling,”
said Ritchie. “My childhood bedroom was one big aerial battle.”
Ritchiegraduated with an undergraduate degree followed by a Masters of Science in
aerospace engineering from the University of Minnesota, before leaving for Officer
Training School at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama.
Of the eight Viper pilots to graduate from Class 18-CBF, Ritchie was one of five who
were First Assignment Instructor Pilots “FAIP” trained on another aircraft before coming
“On behalf of Class 18-CBF, I can honestly say our experience training here on Holloman Air Force Base has been one of the most professional experiences that we have ever been
involved with,” said Ritchie.“From the jets, to the instructors, to the maintainers, to the air traffic controllers, how the base is run and everything in-between.”
The speaker scheduled for this last Spring meeting fell ill and couldn’t make the luncheon, so the El Paso General “Nick” Nichols’ Flight 24simply turned its focus back on its own members, and towards making sure its most recent past Flight Captain, Roger Nichols (General Nichols’ son), had a proper send-off.
Roger will soon leave to be near his children and grandchildren in Oklahoma. Because the Flight had some extra time, because of the absence of the scheduled speaker, it turned its attention towards gaining a more detailed insight into each of the member’s individual careers, both in the service, and in their later civilian lives. Here, below, are the photos of today’s event – and of each member sharing some of their unique personal history.
Today’s luncheon was also one to which the member’s wives and/or guests were invited. Because Flight Captain, Colonel Mario Campos, was out of state, Vice Captain, Ric Lambartpresided. He shared a group of photos which were taken over the weekend during the regular annual “Dining Out” celebration held at New Mexico State University (NMSU) by the local Air Force ROTC Detachment 505. Many years ago, flight Provost Marshall, Alan Fisher, had actually commanded that same AFROTC unit.
Both Mario and Ric had been invited to attend AFROTC event. Colonel Campos, once an AFROTC cadet himself, was the featured speaker. He shared what the cadets might expect during their own upcoming USAF assignments based on his own experiences.
(All of the below photos may be seen full-size and in High Resolution, by clicking on them)
L to R: Mayre Sue Overstreetand Julie Pitt.
L to R: Col. Norm Riceand Roger Nichols.
L to R: Mary Barnes arrives with Flight Chaplain, Roger Springstead.
L to R: Bob Pitt, Virg Hemphill, Pete Brandon, Mary Barnesand Roger Springstead.Col. Norm Rice‘s is seated in the foreground.
L to R: Mayre Sue Overstreet, Mary Barnes,and Julie Pitt
L to R: Mayre Sue Overstreet, Melissa Fisher and Mary Barnes, speaking withJulie Pitt (back of head to camera)
L to R: Flight Adjutant, Colonel Bob Pitt, engrossed in conversation with past Flilght Captain, Roger Nichols
L to R: Alan Fisher speaking with Virg Hemphill.Ulla Rice is in the foreground
L to R: Roger Springsteadand Ric Lambartgive a thumbs up to photographer, Jerry Dixon
L to R: Virg Hemphill, Mary Barnes, Pete Brandon, Alan and Melissa Fisher, Norm and Ulla Rice, with Charlie and Mayre Sue Overstreet just off camera to the right.
L to R: Jerry Dixon describes his USMC pilot experience as Virg Hemphill and Roger Springstead look on.
L to R: Virg Hemphilllistens as Roger Springstead shares his Naval Aviator career, while his friend, Mary Barneslistens
L to R: Mary Barnes listens as Pete Brandondescribes his extensive USAF and Northrup-Grumman careers
L to R: Virg Hemphill talks about his USAF Fighter Pilot and Airline experiences as Roger Springstead and Mary Barneslisten
Alan Fisher shares his own USAF experiences along with his current active engagements as a pilot with the Civil Air Patrol
L to R: Melissa Fishertalks about her own USAF career as both a RN and her later teaching years
L to R: Colonel Norm Rice relates his own Fighter Pilot experiences in the Air Force – and how he and his wife, Ulla,met, when he was stationed in Great Britain
Larry Spradlintells of his own USAF aviator experiences
L to R: Charlie Overstreetdescribes some humorous experiences as both an Air Force Pilot and also during his later 2nd career, piloting for the DEA, as his wife Mayre Sue enjoys the memories. Julie Pitt is at the right.
L to R: Julie Pittlistens and her husband, Colonel Bob Pitt, tells of his experiences over Viet Nam, flying both the F-101 and F-4 fighters, whileRoger Nicholstake it all in
Ric Lambart describes some of the photos taken at this past weekend’s AFROTC “Dining-Out” event at NMSU
L to R: Ric Lambart, Roger Nichols, and Bob Pittpose, after Roger was presented with a special going-away gift from the Flight