Tag Archives: Virg Hemphill

Lambart Briefs Daedalians on U.S.’s new Joint Strike Fighter

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 to fly 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.

Maj. Rachael Winiecki, a developmental test pilot for Colonel Hamilton’s 461st Flight Test Squadron, flew her first test flight in the Air Force’s most advanced fighter jet this past Dec. 14, according to the USAF.

 

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:

 

MEMBERS PHOTOGRAPHED AT VARIOUS HOLIDAY EVENTS

The following photos were taken at the annual Christmas Luncheon for Daedalian Flight 24 at the El Paso Club,  All members of the Flight are active members of the FASF.  The guest of honor and presenter at the event was Army Aviator, General Laura Yeager (no relation to the famous American Test Pilot, Chuck Yeager!), who briefed the members on her mission at Fort Bliss as Commander of the JOINT TASK FORCE NORTH.  All of the below photos are in high-resolution and can be more fully appreciated by simply clicking on them.

FASF members, Col. Bob Pitt (L) chats with (at center) Aviation Hall of Famer, Bob Dockendorf, at Daedallian holiday event.  AT the podium, at right, in the background is Flight Captain Roger Nichols.

Daedalians and guests prepare for General Yeager’s presentation . . . Her staff is at left: Aide de Camp, Capt. Sperry, and USAF Sergeant Oliver.  The General’s Command is a Joint Command, composed of all the military services.

L to R: Julie and Col. Bob Pitt, Roger Nichols and Bob Dockendorf

L to R at wall: Alma Villezcas, Virg and Jenine Hemphill, Lt. Pfluger, David Ginn, Alan and Melissa Fisher, and forefront, Julie Pitt, District Court Judge Angie Juarez Barilland her husband, Patrick Barill

L to R: Loading up their buffet lunch, Bob Dockendorf, Judy Campos, Alan and Melissa Fisher

Brig. General Laura L Yeager opens her presentation

       General Yeager explains how her Command coordinates with many other Federal Agencies in its mission.

                                                          Col. Bob Pitt and General Yeager

L to R: Outgoing Flight Captain, Roger Nichols, Gen. Yeager, Sgt. Oliver, Capt. Sperry and Col. Pitt

L to R: Gen. Yeager chatting with Cadet Ammber Valverde, the youngest FASF member and UTEP student.

                                              Col. Alan Fisher speaking with Cadet Ammber Valverde

L to R: Ammber Valverde, Gen. Yeager, and Alma Villezcas, FASF Treasurer

The following photos and the video are of the Civil Air Patrol Squadron 24 Christmas party in Las Cruces, NM.

L to R: Michelle Phillips, William Benziger Juanita and Robert Macklin, Alan Fisher, and Walter Dutton, at whose home the event was held.

In front row kneeling or sitting are, L to R:  Alan and Melissa Fisher, Ric Lambart, Walter and Barbara Dutton,  and in the rear: Alma Villezcas, Travis McKenzie, Jim and Luann McConnell, Damien and Carol Blaschka, Robert and Juanita Macklin, William Benziger, Michelle Phillips, and Michael LeGendre. 

20th Century had B-1s and B-2s, but the B-21 is 21st Century

  Virg Hemphill

The USAF has decided to set aside its hi-tech B-1 Lancer and B-2 Stealth bombers for the new high-altitude, long-range stealth strike bomber, named the B-21 “Raider,” in honor of the famed General Doolittle Tokyo Raiders of WWII fame. This story is once again the result of information supplied by our Aviation News Scout, Virg Hemphill, at left.

This new advanced bomber clearly embodies some of the unique aerodynamic characteristics and shape of the WWII Northrup Aviation experimental Flying Wing, an airplane whose first versions were actually propeller powered.  But this new Northrup creation embodies features not even the material of dreams, when the first Flying Wings took to the air over California’s high desert.

While still a flying-wing airframe, having no vertical stabilizers or rudder, but rather a sharp squared wing, it does clearly remain true to the old Flying Wing theme, since there is no distinction between its fuselage and wing, they being one and the same overall structure.  Here are some informative videos about this new USAF transition.

Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James announces that the B-21 bomber will be called the B-21 Raider. The name represents the historically important role the new long-range stealth bomber will lead for the next 50 years.

Assisting Secretary James on stage (immediately below) to announce the name, was one of the original Doolittle Raiders, in fact, the last living Doolittle Raider, and Jimmy Doolittle’s co-pilot, 101-year-old Air Force Lt. Col. (ret.), Richard Cole.

It is suggested that you view all videos below in full-screen, to appreciate the hi-resolution used. All of the clips also have full complete audio tracks.

This first short (1:39 long) video shows the official USAF announcement of the B-21’s new name:

Second, this short (7:29 long) video by “The Infographics Show:

Third, this “New Update Defence” video, 4:08 in length (There is some computerized voice used in this clip, so be prepared for some clumsy English):

 

 

A Short Video Up Date On The Chinese Navy’s War Readiness

   Virg Hemphill

Thanks once again to our very alert Aviation News Scout, Virg Hemphill (at left), we bring you this insightful recruiting video of how the Chinese Navy stands battle-ready at the present time.

This is not a comparative video, but primarily a view of what the Chinese are up to at the moment.  Unfortunately, this degree of readiness for war requires that the U.S. react in kind, in order to maintain a balance of arms and general military preparedness.

The exceptional degree of high-caliber Chinese precision, coupled with their extreme level of teamwork and surprisingly high degree synchronous formations within their military ranks, as seen in this video, should certainly keep us alert in respect to their capacity, if not readiness, for effective warfare.

While part of what helped the U.S. prevail against both the Japanese and Germans during WWII was our superior equipment, it was also our exceptionally smooth teamwork, particularly among our pilots in their capacity fo fly as efficient fighting teams – – – in highly coordinated formation flights – – –  that led to our overwhelming success.

Clearly, the Chinese have not only learned from our skilled and superior military, naval, and aviation technology – and techniques – but they may have even surpassed us in regard to such military dynamics as in their smooth unified team movements, as is witnessed in their below formations – – and in their impressively sharp mass drill skills.

Also, one cannot help but notice the astounding similarity their aircraft, surface and underwater vessels have to some of our own war weaponry.  Have the Chinese actually, literally,  copied some of our military equipment designs?

CAP Squadron Commander, Natalie Franc, Briefs Daedalians

Major Natalie Franc, a native of Glenhrothes, Scotland, is the current commanding officer of the El Paso, TX Civil Air Patrol (CAP) “Composite” Squadron. As distinguished from a regular squadron, a Composite Squadron includes a CAP Cadet Corps, along with its Senior Members.

Natalie began her career with the CAP when living in Hawaii after having been in the Royal Air Force (RAF), in which she enlisted when 18 years old, after having first served, since she was 13, in the Air Training Corps of Great Britain.  In the RAF she was assigned to Intelligence, where she used her skills as a linguist with a fluency in the Russian Language.

When on active duty with the RAF she met and married her husband, Michael, who was also in the Intelligence branch of the U. S. Army.  When he was transferred back to the U.S. in 2002, she moved there with him.  Before finally settling in El Paso, Texas, Natalie had lived in Maryland, Hawaii, Arizona, and Germany.  As a civilian, in addition to her work with the CAP, she has worked in various capacities in Emergency Services and has been a volunteer with Army Family Programs and has also been an Armed Forces Caseworker.  Natalie now runs her own business in El Paso.

The Major showed a custom prepared Power Point slide show to the Daedalian Flight members, who are also members of the FASF.  The following photographs of this event are all in high-resolution, and can be seen full-size by simply clicking on them as they appear below.

L to R: Major Natalie Franc, Colonels Mario Campos and Bob Pitt.

L to R: FASF Aviation News Scout, Virgil Hemphill, Colonels Norman Rice (back to camera) and Alan Fisher. Colonel Fisher is also an active volunteer pilot for the Las Cruces, NM Squadron of the CAP.

L to R: Mark Pfluger, Active Duty Army Rotary Wing Pilot from Ft. Bliss’ Biggs Army Airfield, and his mentor, Flight Captain, Roger Nichols.

L to R: Maj. Franc, Col. Campos and his wife, Judy, Julie and Col. Bob Pitt, Retired USAF Colonels, Melissa and Alan Fisher, Virg Hemphill and Roger Springstead (USNR Ret.) Anselmo Rocha, Assistant to Col. Norman and Mrs. Ulla Rice, Jerry Dixon (USMC), Dave Ginn, Charlie Overstreet,  Jim Brandon, Col. Pete Brandon’s visiting brother, and just out of camera range to Pete’s left is his guest Skip Orrell.

Major Franc adjusts computer projector . . . as she explains that the CAP has the largest single-engined fleet of Cessna Aircraft in the world.  The powered aircraft total is about 560, and she reported that the CAP also owns 47 glider-sailplanes, which are used to train Cadet members, along with several Hot Air Balloons, which select Cadets are also taught to operate and fly.

The Major explains the National CAP organization’s composition . . . which inlcudes the Continental U.S., Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico.

In this set of slides, Major Franc gives some examples of the CAP role in Search and Rescue Operatrions (“SAR” Ops).

L to R: Melissa and Alan Fisher and Virg Hemphill listen to Maj. Franc explaining her El Paso TX CAP operation . . .

Here the CAP Commander explains the role of the CAP in disaster Relief Operations, noting her own squadron’s heavy involvement in Hurricane Harvey, which struck East Texas, in particular, the Houston area.

In this slide the Major explains that the CAP mission also includes other roles in addition to Search and Rescue and Disater Relief . . . pointing out that her squadron plays an important role in Border and National Air Space Security.

Here Natalie describes the numerouis mission qualifications in which CAP members work throughout the Squadrons.

And here she shows the Daedalians and their guests how the CAP stays in constant radio contact with its mission personnel and aircraft during operations . . .

Major Franc sums up her presentation and takes questions from the audience . . .

L to R: Major Franc and Flight Captain Roger Nichols study one of the slides shown during the presentation.

L to R: Col. Bob Pitt, Major Natalie Franc, Flight Captain Roger Nichols, and Colonel Campos, who invited the Major to make the presentation . . .

L to R: Flght Captain Nichols and newly inducted Daedalian, Dave Ginn, and Colonel Bob Pitt.

Mary Ellis, One of Britain’s WWII Ferry Pilots, Flies Into Sunset

Dateline Tuesday July 24, 2018 London UKMary Ellis (ne Wilkins) during WWII while on Flight Duty

Virg Hemphill

This story is thanks to FASF Aviation News Scout, Virg Hemphill (L)

One of the last few living British female World War II Ferry Service pilots, the legendary Mary Ellis, died peacefully at he home, at 101, on the Isle of Wight this past Tuesday evening, the 24th of July 2018.

Mrs. Ellis was a member of the Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA) and delivered Spitfires and bombers to the front lines during the conflict.

She said she had flown “about 1,000 aeroplanes” during the war, before moving to the Isle of Wight in 1950 to take charge of Sandown Airport.

ATA secretary John Webster described Mrs. Ellis as an “amazing” person.

While she was commonly known as the last-surviving female pilot from the war, in fact there are three others.

Mr. Webster said that one, Eleanor Wadsworth, lives in Bury St Edmunds, another, Nancy Stratford, lives in the US and the other, Jaye Edwards, lives in Canada.

 

The above short (1:19) Video is of interview with Mary Ellis about her WWII experiences.

Mary Ellis, then Mary Wilkins, joined the ATA in 1941 after hearing an advertisement for women pilots on BBC radio.

She said at the time they were known as the “Glamour Girls”, adding: “There were plenty of escorts around.”

                             Just last year, Mary posed by a restored WII Spitfire, 400 of which she successfully ferried.

                                  Mary chats with Prime Minister, Teresa May at 10 Downing Street, London

  Mary Ellis outside 10 Downing St., where she visited with UK’s PM, Teresa May, in celebration of her 100th birthday.

                                                     Mary Wilkins (Ellis) in formal ATA Portrait in 1941.

The following Spitfire Video is 7:46 in length.  Make sure your sound is on for both videos.

And this second Spitfire action video (below) is 3:48.

A Moving Video Tribute: How You Say “Au Revoir” To An Icon

Virg Hemphill

Video: Air France: Credits : Airborne Films for Air France and the French Air Force and the Patrouille de FranceKeep you sound turned up to hear the video’s scoring The Video length is 3:30.

This impressive video was shot on January 27th, two years ago, when a dozen jewels of French aviation met over the Camargue region of France. Eleven Alphajets from the Patrouille de France (the Patrouille is the French equivalent to our Thunderbirds and Blue Angels Military Exhibition Teams – but is the world’s oldest such team) and the last Air France 747 flew in formation as a salute to the Boeing Icon’s last days with the airline.

On 14 January 2016, Air France offered customers a tribute flight over the country’s landmarks. The flight number as AF747. More than 45 years after the first flight from Paris to New York on 3 June 1970 the Company saluted the Jumbo Jet’s last flight in style with a business class lunch along with champagne for all.

Since the early seventies, the Boeing 747 has been a showcase of modern innovations and has revolutionized air transport. Air travel became more widespread and we entered an era of mass tourism. For cargo, the Boeing 747 had pressurized holds, which were ventilated and protected against fire. Four times larger than the previous generation of Boeing, the 707, they could carry 122 tons of cargo! On both of my trips from Montreal to the Paris Airshow I flew on the Air France Combi 747.

Air France was one of the first airlines to operate this aircraft, making it the flagship of its long-haul fleet: New York, Montreal, the French West Indies, Reunion, Asia … most of the Company’s destinations have been served by the Jumbo.

Air France says, “We started innovating from the early seventies. The role of chief purser was created to coordinate the service and attention paid to customers in this aircraft which could carry up to 500 passengers. Inflight cuisine was of great importance, with menus designed by great French chefs: Paul Bocuse, Gaston Lenôtre and Pierre Troisgros. Finally, the cabin interior was designed by Pierre Gautier-Delaye, who paid particular attention to the comfort of the seat cushions and seatbacks.”