Tag Archives: Virg Hemphill

From Virg Hemphill – Take a Ride Along with the Blue Angels

Aviation Scout Virg Hemphill

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.

HAVE YOU FLOWN INTO THE WORLD’S “BEST AIRPORT” YET?

Virg Hemphill

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.”

FASF-Daedalians Bid Farewell to Flight Captain, Roger Nichols

The speaker scheduled for this last Spring meeting fell ill and couldn’t make the luncheon, so the El Paso General “Nick” Nichols’ Flight 24 simply 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 Lambart presided.  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 Overstreet and Julie Pitt.

L to R: Col. Norm Rice and Roger Nichols.

L to R: Mary Barnes arrives with Flight Chaplain, Roger Springstead.

L to R: Bob Pitt, Virg Hemphill, Pete Brandon, Mary Barnes and 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 with Julie 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 Springstead and Ric Lambart give 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 Hemphill listens as Roger Springstead shares his Naval Aviator career, while his friend, Mary Barnes listens

L to R: Mary Barnes listens as Pete Brandon describes 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 Barnes listen

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 Fisher talks 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 Spradlin tells of his own USAF aviator experiences

L to R: Charlie Overstreet describes 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 Pitt listens and her husband, Colonel Bob Pitt, tells of his experiences over Viet Nam, flying both the F-101 and F-4 fighters, while Roger Nichols take 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 Pitt pose, after Roger was presented with a special going-away gift from the Flight

 

Roger Nichols Briefs Daedalians on “Linebacker II” in Vietnam

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’s WWII 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 Nixon Administration’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 link to a number of other films made of that same campaign.

The presentation by Roger was 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 Nichols holds 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.

An Oldie – Dean Martin & Foster Brooks: The Airline Pilot

 Virg Hemphill

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.

Dockendorf Briefs Daedalians About War Eagles Air Museum

Honored guest speaker at this month’s Daedalian meeting in downtown El Paso, Texas, was Bob Dockendorf, long time member of the FASF and Executive Director of the War Eagles Air Museum (WEAM) at nearby Doña Ana County International Jetport.

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 Fisher listen to Mr. Dockendorf

While the museum was initially the singular philanthropic enterprise of its founders, the MacGuires, Bob has 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 MacGuire passed away in 2001, his wife Betty maintains 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 Ginn and 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 Nichols and Ammber 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

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: