Mike Epp, at left, is the new Director of the War Eagles Air Museum (WEAM) at nearby Santa Teresa International Jet-Port. When long-time FASF member Robert “Bob” Dockendorfretired last year we all wondered who would fill his large shoes as Director of the museum. The mystery is now over: It is Mike Epp. Mikewas the guest presenter at last week’s monthly meeting of Daedalian Flight 24 in El Paso, Texas.
Still showing a less than average turnout as the result of the long shut-down from the pandemic, Mike still had a good sized Daedalian group assembled to witness his show, as the following photos reveal (click on any photo to see in full resolution):
L to R: Larry Spradlin and Mike Epppose for our photographer as the Daedalians and guests arrive.
L to R above: Charlieand Mayre Sue Overstreet, Col. Bob Pitt (back to camera), Larry Spradlin, Julie Pitt. guest Mary Barnes, and Colonel Melissa Fisher.
L to R: Mike Epp in discussion with an old friend, Flight Treasurer, Virg Hemphill
L to R: Colonels Mario Campos, previous Flight Captain, and Melissa Fisher.
L to R: Jerry Dixon, Col. Mario Campos, Larry Spradlin, Virg Hemphill (his back) Mike Epp, Ulla Rice and Pete Brandon. Flight Captain, Col. Alan Fisher is at podium getting ready to call the meeting to order.
L to R:Col. Fisher, Roger Springstead, Col. Fisher, Mary Barnes, Charlie Overstreet, Julie Pitt with Col. Pittgiving his Flight Adjutant’s report.
Colonel Alan Fisherasks Charlie Overstreet, a long-time Docent at the WEAM, to introduce Mike Epp.
Charlie Overstreetintroducing the meeting’s speaker, Mike Epp.
Charlie describing Mike’s background.
Presenter Mike Eppstarts his show.
Mikeproceeds to describe the WEAM and its plans for the future, with F-51 Fighter of WWII fame on screen.
L to R: Mike, Alan Fisher, Charlie Overstreet, Melissa Fisher, Mayre Sue Overstreet, Col. Bob and Julie Pitt, and Roger Springstead.
L to R: Mike explains the antique car collection, also a feature of his WEAM as Fishers listen.
L to R: Mike Epp, Julie Pitt (back to camera) Melissa and Alan Fisher, Col. Bob Pitt,Charlie and Mayre Sue Overstreet. On screen is one of the WEAM displays, a Cessna T-37 jet trainer.
Mike describes some of the museum’s most unique aircraft, such as the Russian MIG fighter depicted on the screen.
Mike tells the audience of his career in aviation, and how it began at an early age. After High School he joined the Army and served as an Avionics Technician in Germany. After four years service in the Army, he used the GI Bill to earn his degree to become licensed as an Aircraft and Powerplant (A&P) specialist, a skill he used in his much loved General Aviation and in its Corporate Aviation world. In 1989 he took a position with the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) as an A&P mechanic and as an Avionics Technician, where he was stationed in South America. After five years in that capacity, he left the Agency to join the Border Patrol as an Officer in San Diego, CA. After three years with the Border Patrol, he switched back to the DEA again, but his time as an Agent in his much beloved El Paso, Texas. In 2014 he retired from the Agency and became a volunteer Docent at the WEAM, and ultimately, after seven years, its Director.
L to R: Flight Captain, Col. Fisherlistens to questions asked of the Director by Charlie Overstreet as his wife, Mayre Sue listens.
The Daedalians and guests listen intently as Mike brings his presentation to a close.
A very pleased Mike Eppgratefully accepts Colonel Fisher’sDaedalian gift as token of appreciation for his time and effort.
After the successful and informative presentation,Mikeand Col. Fisher pose for our Photographer.
This past Wednesday, at El Paso’s Fort Bliss golf club, Daedalian Flight 24 entertained some of the upper class AFROTC Cadets from New Mexico State University’s (NMSU) Detachment 505.
This gave the Cadets a good chance to get to know an active duty Air Force pilot, the luncheon’s presenter, along with a number of Daedalian former USAF, Navy and Marine aviators, as well.
Many of the Daedalians, all of whom are long time FASF members, also entered the USAF from ROTC units. The guest visit was arranged by FASF member, Air Force Academy graduate, and Daedalian Flight Commander, Colonel Alan Fisher.
Uniquely enough, well over twenty years earlier, Col. Fisherhad been the Air Force Commander of these Cadet’s own AFROTC Detachment 505 at NMSU.
The guest speaker, Major Max Weaver, USAF, is from Arizona. He was raised in a family that valued service; his father served in the US Army and both his parents were police officers. In high school Maj Weaver joined the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) which gave him his first actual flight experience flying in CAP unit Cessna 172s. After High School, he majored in Foreign Area Studies at the Air Force Academy and spent a semester abroad in Nanjing, China where he learned their Mandarin dialect. He graduated with honors and was commissioned in 2011.
Next he attended joint Undergraduate Pilot Training with the Navy at Naval Air Station (NAS) Whiting Field, flying the Texan T-6B II. See below photo.
U. S. Navy T-6 III Trainer
Maj. Weaver earned his wings in the T-1 “Jayhawk” at Vance AFB in 2013. Photo below:
USAF Multi-engine Trainer, Beechcraft T-1 Jayhawk
His first post flight training assignment was flying the C-17 Globemaster at McChord AFB, Washington. He accrued over 1,000 hours in the C-17 and saw duty in Afghanistan, Iraq, Germany, Japan, and many other countries delivering mission critical cargo and supporting Presidential operations. Globemaster III photo below.
McDonnell Douglas C-17 Globemaster III
In 2016 he began training on the MQ-9 “Reaper” at Holloman AFB, NM. His next assignment was to Ellsworth AFB, SD where he flew the Reaper Drone a total of 1,100 hours. These Close Air Support missions were flown in Iraq and Afghanistan to support ground forces fighting ISIS in the liberation of Raqqa and other territories. Reaper photos below.
he USAF MQ-9 Reaper Unmanned Air Vehicle (UAV – or Drone)
The Reaper has also been found useful in fighting forest fires.
As can only be experienced as a UAV or Drone pilot, Major Weaverflew all of these combat missions from a safe haven at an Air Force Base in the continental U.S. In 2020 he was transferred to Holloman AFB as an MQ-9 instructor pilot. He currently serves in that capacity and also as a Wing Flying Safety Officer while instructing students in the Air Force’s largest MQ-9 formal training program.
In his presentation to the Daedalians and guest AFROTC Cadets, he used the projector screen to show us some of the aircraft in which he accumulated his flight experience . . . including the Reaper.
Here, below, are some of the photos from Wednesday’s event. To see them in full high resolution simply click on the photos:
Colonel Fisher,Daedalian Flight Commander, greets arriving members and guests.
L to R: Cadets Preston Kaplan and Patrick Sambrano waiting be be introduced.
L to R: Colonel Mario Campos, Cadets Sukarno, Malone, Baca, Soliz, Kaplan and Sambrano.
L to R: Mayre Sue Overstreet, with Col. Bob Pitt, Larry Spradlin, and Colonel Mario Campos
L to R: Charlie Overstreet, his brother,Lane (a former AF fighter & bomber pilot, PAA pilot), and Roger Springstead
L to R: Pete Brandon pours water for Colonel Pitt, whose head of hair is at right.
L to R: Cadet Dzaki Sukarnoand USAF Pilot to be, Cadet Joshua Soliz
Roger Springstead, Lane Overstreet, Virg Hemphill, Jerry Dixon, Charlie Overstreet, Cadets Sukarno, Solizand Mayre Overstreet
Flight 24 Captain Colonel Alan Fisher opens the meeting
USAF Cadet Dzaki Sukarnoexplained his Cadet status and USAF intentions.
L to R: Mayre, Charlie and Lane Overstreet, Cadet Soliz, Roger Springstead Virg Hemphilland Cadet Sukarno
L to R: Cadet Kaplan and Larry Spradlin listen to Cadet Sambrano speaking – while Shelly Schlick servesLarry
Major Weaver puts his beloved C-17 Globemaster III on screen to describe his experiences piloting it
Next Major Weaver showed slides of what it looked like from a Tanker aircraft while refueling the C-17
Daedalians and guests listen intently as Major Weaver related his USAF career path to date
After his presentation, Colonel Fisher (R) presented Major Weaver (L) with a token of our appreciation for his talk
FASF Aviation News Scout and Daedalian, Virg Hemphill (R) engaged in USAF banter with Major Weaver (L)
Cadets posed with Major Weaver after the luncheon . . . L to R: Kameron Baca, Patrick Sambrano, Joshua Soliz, Maj. Max Weaver, Dzaki Sukarno, Preston Kaplanand Daniel Malone.
Once again, from Aviation News Scout, Virg Hemphill, at left, come this short 1:40 minute video clip from an Australian TV Station about the American built personal (Cirrus SF50 “Vision”) Jet arriving down under. Anyone with just a private pilot’s license can fly this new flying machine. At almost $2 million dollars, this is not for every private pilot, but it is, comparatively speaking, about the most inexpensive, yet commodious of such jets available for personal use. It caries the pilot and five passengers in modular seating.
And, the above short (1:35) video about this Vision Jet is by TIME Magazine.
Just so we don’t think this is the only jet sold and/or used for purely personal purposes, let’s take a look at some of the other “private” jets now flying around the world. Here, below, is a video about the “10 Most Expensive Private Jets in the World”. The video is 10:37 long:
And, let’s not forget the new home-built “Experimental” personal “Subsonex” JSX-2jet), the leader is mass produced single place single engined self-build home kits. This video is only 3:40 long. This new airplane is built by SONEX Aircraft, LLD
This summer, the company came out with a two (2) place version, which self-built kit will cost about $114,000, however the single place version will come in at well below $100,000. Their manufacturing facility is in Oshkosh, WI, the home of the world’s largest annual air show.
From what we know, the first personal kit-plane designed personal jet, is still probably the smallest of them all, and was first built and flown back in the early 1970’s, the ship, its kit built by the Bede corporation, was named the BD-5, and it appeared all across the U.S. in many airshows, where it performed numerous crowd-pleasing aerobatics. Here is their website.
And here. above, is an 11 minute video from the cockpit of a short flight in the BD-5. The video that follow this above one, will show you the kit used to make it..
No need to add much text to this one-of-a-kind video clip of the one-and-only Navy’s Blue Angels Exhibition Team at work.
From the slot position to the lead aircraft – and then from number one’s belly, you get views once unheard of. Amazing videography, not to mention aerobatic precision.
These barrel rolls, loops, inverted climbing turns and “bursting bomb” maneuvers are breathtaking from the deck, but from onboard these sleek McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornets your view is really spectacular. This video was taken just last month over Puget Sound as the Blues performed over Seattle Washington’s annual Boeing SeaFair Air Show 2019.
We’ve put a composite photo down below showing the different aircraft used by the “Blues” since they first began to thrill the crowds at the end of WWII. The main video is only 6:19 long.
Don’t hesitate to enjoy this high-resolution video in full-screen mode.
Click the above and below group shots to see them in full resolution.
The 2019 Team Members pose for the official group portrait. Click on the photo to see their names at their web site.
Thanks again to our reliable News Scout, Virg Hemphill (at left), we have this short (3:38) video of the new Singapore Airport. Its latest expansion seemed to spare nothing, and cost some 1.3 BILLION dollars to complete. It might have been worth it. What do you think? It’s now held that prestigious title for some seven (7) years running. Its new lifestyle hub is appropriately entitled the “JEWEL.” The airport itself is called “Changi.”
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
At yesterday’s regular monthly meeting at the El Paso Club in downtown El Paso, Texas, Daedalian Flight 24 (more affectionately known as the General “Nick” Nichol’s Flight – named after Roger’sWWII Ace Dad), listened intently as their immediate past Flight Captain, Roger Nichols, shared a power point – video briefing about the historic American Linebacker II heavy-bombing campaign against the North Vietnamese.
The time was December 1972, when the NixonAdministration’s Henry Kissinger, representing the U.S. interests at the Paris Peace Accords, had just failed to reach a peace agreement with the North Vietamese’s Le Duc Tho in Paris, France. Kissinger had just over-optimistically announced to the press that “Peace is at hand.”
With the Accords in shambles, the U.S. mounted a massive bombing campaign over the North Vietamese capital of Hanoi. It was code-named “Linebacker II.” Fellow Daedalian Fllight and long-standing FASF member, Charlie Overstreet, had been one of the pilots who took part in that huge aerial assault on North Vietnam, The majority of Flight 24’s aviators flew during that distant Southeast Asian war.
For those of you who might be interested, here is the short (12:13) segment I of the longer documentary of that “Linebacker II” campaign, which was produced by the son of General Glenn R. Sullivan, who commanded the 17th Air Division out of U-Tapao Air Base in Thailand at the time. Here is a linkto a number of other films made of that same campaign.
The presentation by Rogerwas both educational, and also nostalgic for those in the Flight who had fought in the skies above Southeast Asia, and who had lost some of their closest friends and fellow aviators in that now historic conflict. The meeting had an element of sadness, also, because Roger will soon be moving to Oklahoma to be closer to his children and grand-children. Fortunately, Roger’s many interests in El Paso (where he was born), including the Daedalians, will bring him back on regular visits.
(Click on any photo below to see it in full high-resolution()
Former USAF aviators (L to R): Pete Brandon, Alan Fisher, Mario Campos, Roger Nichols and Bob Pitt
Mrs. Ulla Rice, wife of Colonel Norm Rice, and Col. Bob Pitt
Roger Nichols(seated) prepares for his presentation with help of Flight Captain, Col. Mario Campos
Colonel Bob Pitt, Vietnam fighter Pilot, who was wounded over ‘Nam, briefs Daedalians on upcoming events.
Flight Captain Mario Campos presides over business part of meeting as Roger Nichols looks on.
Pete Brandon(L) and Alan Fisher listen to Colonel Campos.
L to R: Roger Nichols, Mario Campos and AFROTC Cadet Captain, Ammber Valverde (Daedalian Pilot-Training Scholarship Recipient), listen to Alan Fisher (whose finger is seen at lower left) . . .
L to R seated: Mario Campos, Ammber Valverde, and Roger Springstead, listen to Roger describe the Vietnam War’s operation Linebacker II.
Roger Nicholsholds latest edition of the War Eagles Air Museum Quarterly Magazine, which includes a story by FASF Aviation Scouts and Daedalians Charlie Overstreet, and Virg Hemphill. The article by Charlie is entitled “Memories of a B-47 Pilot,” while Virg’s story is simply titled “Virgil Hemphill – Fighter Pilot.” Roger, himself, also has an article in this same edition. It’s called “Christmas Greetings,” which is about the “Linebacker II” campaign.
No words will do this short video clip of the Dean Martin show justice, so let’s simply let the 4:56 long clip speak for itself. Again, we need to thank the sharp eyes of our Aviation News Scout, Virg Hemphill, for this find. Of course, as many of you know, besides being a USAF fighter pilot, Virg was a REAL airline pilot for many, many years. The video’s “Airline Pilot” is Foster Brooks.
Any of the following photographs may be seen in full high resolution by simply clicking on them.
Bob Dockendorf describes the history of the WEAM
Bob described the museum’s history and how it was started by fellow El Pasoans, John and Betty MacGuire, both of whom were avid aviators, 32 years ago.
L to R: Roger Springstead, Charlie Overstreet, and Col. Bob Pitt.
Earlier this year Bob was elected to the El Paso Aviation Hall of fame in recognition of his many years of outstanding service to the local aviation community since taking command of the WEAM.
L to R at right: Bob Dockendorf, Col. Mario Campos, Larry Spradlin, Virg Hemphill, Roger Nichols, and USAF ROTC Cadet and Daedalian Flight Training Scholarship Awardee, Ammber Valverde.
His historical operation had 17,000 visitors this past year, guests who came to enjoy and learn from the museum’s exhibit of some 36 WWII, Korean and Vietnam era “war birds,” many of which are still in flying condition.
L to R: Alan Fisher, Roger Springstead, Charlie Overstreet, Bob Pitt, Scott Drake, Bob Dockendorf, Mario Campos (Flight Captain), Larry Spradlin, Virg Hemphill, and Roger Nichols, past Flight Captain.
In addition to the display of these vintage aircraft, this native of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, oversees a colorful collection of over 50 antique automobiles and motorcycles. Bob has been an enthusiastic car collector for many years, and has also been both a student of aviation and history since he was a young man growing up in the Midwest.
Dave Ginn, who just returned from a quick tour to Iraq, describes his experience.
The WEAM also boasts an intriguing climate-controlled library consisting of thousands of books, periodicals, photographs and other documents, mostly related to aviation, automobiles and history.
Flight Captain, Colonel Mario Campos conducting flight business. To his right, above (left to you) is his guest, former Army aviator and test pilot, Scott Drake.
The War Eagles keeps its admission prices low in order to expose the greatest number of people its educational exhibits and materials. Students are admitted free of charge and veterans, seniors and military personnel are welcomed with a discounted admission price.
Dave Ginn and Alan Fisherlisten to Mr. Dockendorf
While the museum was initially the singular philanthropic enterprise of its founders, the MacGuires,Bobhas recently begun to transition the institution from a privately funded non-profit educational enterprise, to one of a more self-supporting and public nature. Although John MacGuirepassed away in 2001, his wife Bettymaintains almost daily contact with the Executive Director of her beloved museum.
Colonel Norm Rice enjoys his desert while his wife, Ulla, looks on.
The assembled Daedalians, all members of the FASF, and who all also know Bob well, expressed their enthusiastic appreciaton for his presentation. his fourth to this Daedalian Flight since becoming the museum’s CEO.
L to R: Dave Ginnand Alan Fisher
Mr. Dockendorf additionally explained his initiative for a new organization, The Rio Grande Aviation Council. The new group will be devoted to area aviation interests and development, and which will be composed of leaders from area aviation interests such as the CAP, EAA, Daedalians, The Quiet Birdmen, Amigo Airsho – – – and, yes, even the FASF.
L to R: Mario Campos and Jerry Dixon, and (sitting) Virg Hemphill and Roger Nichols
L to R: Virg Hemphill, Roger Nichols, and Ammber Valverde
Roger NicholsandAmmber Valverde
L to R: Scott Drake,Larry Spradlin, and Bob Dockendorf
Ammber Valverde and Virg Hemphill
L to R: Ammber Valverde, Jerry Dixon, Virg Hemphill and Roger Nichols
Ammber Valverde and Alan Fisher
L to R: Scott Drake, Roger Nichols, Virg Hemphill, Larry Spradlin, and Colonel Mario Campos
A F-35 Lightning II test aircraft undergoes a flight check. (Photo courtesy of Lockheed Martin)
All below photos may be seen in higher resolution by simply clicking on them, and the videos all have sound and may be viewed at full screen, also.
The FASF’s Ric Lambart(at left) just briefed the El Paso, TX Daedalian Flight 24 on his 2018 visit to Edwards Air Force Base, CA Flight Test Center and about his introduction to the new Joint Strike Fighter, the Generation 5 new weapons system, the most costly ever purchased by the Pentagon. Here is a depiction of its relative costs:
The F-35 is not just the most expensive warplane ever, it’s the most expensive weapons program ever. But here is exactly how much a single F-35 costs.
A single Air Force F-35A costs a $148 million. One Marine Corps F-35B costs $251 million. A lone Navy F-35C costs a mind-boggling $337 million. Average the three models together, and a “generic” F-35 costs $178 million.
And, you might wonder how much it costs per hour of flight time:
$41,000 per hour.
The U.S. is the first nation to design, manufacture and fly a 5th Generation Jet Fighter. The new F-35, the second “Gen Five” machine, will be operated by thirteen of our closest Allies. It was designed and manufactured by Lockheed Martin, who coincidentally also made its WWII namesake, the P-38 Lightning. It is produced in three (3) models, or “Variants,” as shown above. Notwithstanding its official name, the Lightning II, many of its operational pilots have given it another nickname: The “PANTHER.”
L to R: Colonel Alan Fisher and USAF ROTC Cadet, Ammber Valverde of UTEP and NMSU, chat after the F-35 Power Point presentation. Both are FASF members.
The F-35A model, for the Air Force, the B model, for the Marines and the C Variant, for the USN.
The Marine Corps B Variant can actually take off vertically, just like a helicopter, and can also land vertically. The below short (1:40) video show how this is done:
Here is another short (1:35) video of this USMC F-35B operating off a small WWII type special aircraft carrier, which has neither a catapult nor a slant deck as do all new generations of USN Aircraft carriers. Those features simply are no longer needed for this new USMC F-35 Variant:
Unlike all previous fighters, the F-35 “Lightning II” (named after the high-speed prop-driven Lockheed P-38 Lightning of WWII fame) is unique, not only because of its advanced stealth features, but because it is a flying combat information center, with advanced electronics capabilities never before seen in a new fighter.
It can also fly at supersonic speed for over 170 miles without even engaging its afterburner, which is called flying at “Super Cruise.” The F-35 was designed to work together with the only other 5th Generation fighter, the F-22 “Raptor.” The two ships will work as a team in various combat scenarios, should their help ever be needed.
While the F-22 Raptor is more maneuverable, the F-35 is designed to engage and take out enemy aircraft long before the enemy has even detected the presence of the new flying weapons system. It can carry a wide array of different missiles internally, rather than attached to its fuselage and/or wings. This of course does a great deal to enhance its stealth capabilities.
The Lightning II is actually capable of shooting down enemy aircraft beyond the horizon. The pilots of this futuristic weapons system can actually see in all directions; wherever they look: including directly behind and directly below the fighter. It the pilot looks down between his or her knees, they can see right through the fuselage as though it were invisible.
A number of electronic “eyes” are built right into the ship’s fuselage, and what they “see” is projected right onto the inside of the pilot’s helmet visor – – – a first. These futuristic helmets alone are some $400,000 each! Here is a short (1:28) video about this unique helmet:
Additionally, Inputs from both ground intel and airborne recon craft are all displayed on the F-35’s integrated glass panel touch screen display, again, unlike any of its 4th or 3rd Generation predecessors.
Much like the mysterious Area 51, the existence of which was never even recognized by the Air Force until relatively recently, Edwards Flight Test Center also presents a similar air of mystery, since access to it is so highly restricted.
While on active duty with the Air Force, this reporter often flew in the vicinity of Edwards, but was always kept at a substantial distance, because the air space around the Base was so highly restricted. As a result, this recent visit to the facility was anticipated with no small amount of excitement.
The local Daedalian Flight 56, at Edwards, invited a number of fellow Daedalians from around the country to make this special visit, so that they might learn about the United State’s newest and most advanced airborne weapons system. The 461st Flight Test Squadron, under the command of Lt. Colonel Tucker “Cinco” Hamilton (at right), played official host to the visiting Daedalians. An AFROTC graduate, Col. Hamilton has flown 30 aircraft from a zeppelin to a MiG-15 to an A-10, and, and managed the entire $3 Billion Joint Strike Fighter Developmental Test program out of the Pentagon for all three services. Cinco started his Air Force career as an operational F-15C pilot.
LATE BREAKING USAF NEWS: An officer at Edwards Air Force Base in California last month became the first female test pilot tofly an F-35. See below:
(L-R) Maj. Rachael Winiecki, the first female F-35 test pilot, and Airman 1st Class Heather Rice, her crew chief.
L to R: Colonel Mario Campos, Flight 24’s Commander, who operated the Power Point Show, and our top Aviation News Scout, Virgil Hemphill. Both are FASF members.
And below, is a final video (2:00 long) showing the F-35 in a number of different combat scenarios and roles as it completed its final test program:
Lambart also gave the history of how Edwards Air Force Base was named, as seen immediately below:
USAAF Captain Glen Edwards.
L to R: Ric Lambart and Laura Kelly, both Daedalians, pose in front of one of Edward’s test F-35’s . Kelly was an Army Helicopter Pilot.
An old archived photo showing some of the Base’s famous Pilots, including Chuck Yeager at the center, with his wife, Glennis, after whom he named his rocket ship.. Yeager was the fist man to break the sound barrier – all at Edwards.
“Pancho” Barnes, (center below) who owned the famous bar and resort, “The Happy Bottom Riding Club,” was one of America’s most famous female aviators in her own right. Aside from being one of Hollywood’s best stunt pilots, she was actually the organizer of the Hollywood film industry’s first Stunt Pilot’s Union. It was at the “Riding Club” that her good friend, Chuck Yeager managed to break some of his ribs just before becoming the first human being to break the mythically impossible Sound Barrier in the Rocket Research Ship, the X-1, which bore his beloved wife’s name, “Glamorous Glennis.” Of course Yeager didn’t tell anyone about his broken ribs for fear of missing this extraordinary opportunity to make history. This particular incident is an episode in 1983 smash hit movie about the early astronauts: “The Right Stuff.” Yeager is played by actor Sam Shepard. Pancho’s Bar and Grill was the favorite hangout of all those heroic early aviators who daily risked life and limb test flying our country’s most advanced new aircraft. The below photograph was for sale at Iconic Auctions, in 2017, at the first offer of $1,000.
L to R: Pioneer Female Pilots: Debie Stanford, Pancho Barnes and Amelia Earhart.
Immediately below, is the 2009 award-winning documentary film’s trailer about the Barnes’Riding Club and the famed aviatrix herself. It is 2:03 long: