Long-time FASF member, John “Cabi” Cabigas, (at Left) flew the famous BBC Commentator, James May, into Space in the First Aero’s Dragon Lady, and did it at the First Aero Squadron’s current location at Beale Air Force Base (BAFB)North of Sacramento, CA. Of course Cabiconducted that great space adventure while still on active duty with the USAF as one of the famed Lockheed U-2 Dragon Lady Instructor Pilots. Here is a short 30 minute summary of that memorable flight’s full documentary, which had, as its central figure, TV Journalist, James May, Most of the full-length documentary was made by the BBC, but some was shot by the USAF.
Here, below, is another flight aboard the Dragon Lady, but without either Cabi or James May. It is only :10 minutes long, but the resolution of the video is higher. But if you’d like to see both Cabi and James May, you’ll only see them in the first video above. In the meantime, Cabiadvises that Amazon Prime has the full documentary in high resolution, should you be able to view that version:
If you click right here, you will get chance to witness Cabiagain, as your webmaster interviews him, along with his fellow Dragon Lady Instructor Pilot, Bill Williams. Both gentlemen were video-taped at the 100th Anniversary of the First Aero Squadron’s birth, held at Beale AFB, CA.
Cabi lives nearby the Air Force base and keeps himself busy flying his own classic 1940 J3 Cub, which has a mighty 65HP engine to help it race aloft. Your reporter soloed in one of them – sans brakes and tail wheel – back in 1944. Since retiring from active duty in 2010, Cabihas remained an active member of his local chapter of the EAA and belongs to other aviation groups, as well.
When he graduated from San Jose State University in the AFROTC, he had also gained his FAA Certification as an A&P mechanic! That in and of itself was quite an unusual accomplishment.
Major Cabigas’USAF Pilot career spanned just shy of a quarter century, and involved 18 years of working with the Dragon Lady. He holds a FAA Certified Flight instructor (CFI) Rating along with both a Commercial and Airline Transport Pilot License. His activities with the EAA are largely motivated by his interest in sharing his love of aviation with the many Young Eagles who are lucky enough to get an airplane ride with this accomplished Air force Pilot, an American military aviator who was actually born in the Philippines!
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.
Long time FASF member and Founding President of Chapter 1570 of the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), John Keithly, (at left) decided to retire from the helm of this relatively new yet top-performing EAA unit.
The chapter is locatedat the Doña Ana County International Jetport (KDNA) in Santa Teresa, New Mexico, and meets at least once each month, at 11:00 AM, on the second Saturday at the War Eagles Air Museum (WEAM) at the Jetport.
Although a relatively new chapter among almost 1,000 chapters across the globe, the 1570 has already set some notable records: At their first promotional visit of the Ford Tri-Motor 1920’s Airliner, for instance, the new chapter set an all-time high number of rides, even compared to major cities across the U.S. The FASF had a post with videos of this event in April two years ago,right here.
The Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) is an international organization of aviation enthusiasts based in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, United States. Since its inception it has grown internationally with over 200,000 members, and hosts the largest aviation gathering of its kind in the world, EAA AirVenture Oshkosh.
Any photos in this post may be seen in full-size and high resolution by simply clicking on them.
At yesterday’s meeting, an election was held for the new officers for the coming year. Here are the results:
New President: Rick King
Vice President: John Signorino
Secretary: Andy Werner
Treasurer: Jorge Vielledent
Asst. Treasurer: Bob Dockendorf
Young Eagles Dir: Tomás Peralta
Scholarship Dir: Melissa Keithly
Membership Dr: Laura Ditlevson
Newsletter Editor: Kathleen Whelen
Before hearing from the guest speaker at the meeting, Melissa Keithly made an announcement about the progress of the EAA Chapter’s new Scholarship recipient flight students:
Name of Scholarship StudentOriginal GrantSpent to dateBalance Remaining
Jesse Tsougas $ 3,000 (2,914-) –
Laura Ditlevson10,000 (6,930-) 3,070
Caleb Molinar 3,000 (2,472-) –
Sergio Olague 4,000 (3,851-) 149
Ava Moreno 10,000 (10,098-) (98)
Robert Lopez Valazquez 10,000 (8,734- ) 1,266
Melissa reported that a total of $40,000 had already been granted for student Flight Training Scholarships. After sharing the above Scholarship Award Students’ financial status report with the members, she then announced that Robert Lopez(below 2 photos) had already soloed, and had also completed his solo cross-country flight.
L to R at rear: Melissa Keithly gives Robert Lopezhe souvenir SOLO T-SHIRT.
L to R: Robertodisplays his newly achieved SOLO T_SHIRT to the members at Scholarship Director, Melissa Keithly smiles with satisfaction..
After the election for new officers was held and various reports made, as that of Ms. Keithly’sScholarship Program, the speaker for the day, Terence“Mike” Epp was introduced by President Keithly, who described Mike’s colorful work history and explained that Mike had done some important work on both of John’sairplanes, as his official A & P (FAA Certified Airframe and Powerplant technician).
Long time FASF member, Bob Dockendorf (WEAM Executive Director),Mike Perez,,andMike Epp.
Asst. Treasurer, at rear and standing, Bob Dockendorf, reports on the Chapter’s Financial Status. In foreground, L to R are chapter member, Elissa Huggins, and guest speaker, A&P Mike Epp. In background are (L to R): Melissa Keithly and Mary Dockendorf. Bobalso announced the details of the upcoming “A SALUTE TO VETERANS” Charity fund-raising extravaganza entitled “RADIO STARS OF THE 40’S / “ON the AIR” featuringBob Hope, Jack Benny, Red Skeltonand Jimmy Durante, presented by some exceptionally talented professional impersonators. Tickets for the event are limited to only 300 guests and the price per seat is $75.
L to R: A & P, Elliot Werner and John Orton (FASF Advisor – both are International Jet Port Advisory Board members), wait for the meeting to begin.
Among the Announcements made during the meeting, Daniel Barcena (at center rear) described the upcoming Fabens’ Airport Aviation and Automobile Event he created and his promoting for Breast Cancer Awareness, this coming October 26th and 27th. Danieland his fiance, Aurora Vargas, a cancer survivor, flew in to the meeting in his Van’s Experimental airplane. As usual, several other members also flew themselves into the Jetport for the meeting.
Long time FASF member and Chapter VP, John Signorino(above), reported on the Chapter’s Fly Outs and other events.
John Keithly announces his retirement as President and opens the floor for nominations, as the election takes place.
President Keithly introducing guest speaker, Terrence “Mike” Epp.
Mr. Epp opens his colorful talk about his some 40 years of flying experience from his first solo in his father’s Piper Tri – Pacer to more current times as both an A&P specialist and as a transport and DEA Contractor pilot. Mike was also Private Investigator , wildlife photographer, and novelist – to mention what seem like just a few of his talents and unusual life experiences.
Mike Eppconcludes his entertaining presentation on his aviation exploits and other adventures.
This past weekend, once again, EAA Chapter 1570, at the Dona Ana County International Jetport, produced its 5th successful Young Eagles event, an activity in which the Chapter members (most of them are also FASF members) gave free introductory airplane rides to children between the ages of 8 and 17. All aircraft used belong to the chapter’s members. The project’s Chairperson, once again, was Rotary and Fixed Wing Flight Instructor, Deb Rothchild. Here, below, are some photos to show the popular youth education program in action.
Remember: If you’d like to view any of the below photos in full high resolution, simply click on them. Then, if you’d like, please feel free to download or copy them for you own use.
Above, Melissa Keithly, wife of the chapter’s President,John Keithly, and one of event’s principal organizers, with back to camera, greets, and begins to sign up first arrival parents and their children who want to get their Young Eagles Flight . . .
Helicopter pilot,Priscilla Porras, (pointing to her left) gives instructions to those signing up for their first flights . . .
A group of the volunteer pilots for the day talk over the coming flights – L to R: John Keithly (Chapter President), Mike Robinson, Jim Foster, Danny Carter, and Bryce Daniels.
Chairperson of the entire event, Professional Flight Instructor, Deb Rothchild, explains to the crowd the procedures and safety precautions . . .
War Eagles Air Museum’s (WEAM) Executive Director, Bob Dockendorf, looks on as project gets underway. Bobhas been an active leader in the EAA Chapter 1570 since its earliest days and the Museum he directs is an integreal part of the Chapter’s success.
Chapter President, John Keithly greets his next Young Eagle for her flight.
Pilot John Signorino, El Paso business entreprenuer and Chapter Vice President, walks his Young Eagle to her first airplane flight in a Cessna Skylane.
Chapter Pilot, Dave Daniels, escorts his Young Eagle out to his plane, a vintage Piper Super Cub . . .
Pilot John Signorino, a former Army Air Services Pilot, helps his Young Eagle get belted in for her first adventure aloft.
Pilot Bryce Daniels, helps his Young Eagle adjust his seatbelt in readiness for his first flight. The plane is a Van’s RV 8 Experimental ship.
This Young Eagle gets his orientation before his flight from EAA Chapter 555 President, Wes Baker. His plane is a Classic 1948 Cessna 140, fully restored and in excellent ‘like-new’ condition. All General Aviation aircraft, regardless of age, must be fully inspected each year to assure that they fully meet established Federal Standards for their airworthiness.
Chapter President, John Keithly, describes their pending flight to his Young Eagle in his Chzech built “Dynamic” composite airplane. John and his wife, Melissa, just recently helped build their own new Van’s RV aircraft.
CEO and President of Red Arrow Flight Academyat the Dona Ana County Jetport, Tomas Peralta (R), explains how he has filled out his Young Eagle’s new Flight Log Book, while the young man’s father signs the Young Eagle Flight Certificate.
Chapter Pilot, Dave Daniels, completes his Young Eagle’s Flight Log Book as her father looks on.
Chapter Pilot, Danny Carter, poses with his Young Eagle and his Mother, before they take off in his Piper Commanche aircraft.
Pilot John Signorinoand his Young Eagle pose before their flight in front of the Cessna 182 Skylane.
Pilot Dave Daniels, whose son, Brycewas also piloting the children in another aircraft, has just explained to this Young Eagle what they will do during her first flight in this vintage Piper PA-18 Super Cub.
Pilot Danny Carter, announces his departure over the radio, and taxis out from the loading area with his Young Eagle, as she happily waves to the Chapter photographer.
Pilot, Mike Robinson (R), in front of the Cessna 172 Skyhawk airplane in which he just flew this Young Eagle and his father.
Pilot Wes Bakerexplains how to properly fasten the seat belt and shoulder harness to this Young Eagle before they depart.
L to R: Pilot Tomas Peralta, with his Young Eagle and young man’s father, after completing their flight in this Red Arrow Flght Academy Cessna 182 Skylane.
Dave Daniels walks back from his flight with this excited young lady, who has just completed her first Young Eagles airborne experience.
John Keithly fills out this happy young lady’s Young Eagle Flight Log Book, after her first experience aloft.
A view of a somewhat inpatient group of Young Eagles awaiting their call-ups for their first flights.
L to R: Airline Pilot and author of the new aviation novel, “Quantum,” Roxanne Lambie, poses by her book-signing table inside the WEAM Shop, with Ammber Valverde, AFROTC student at New Mexico State University, and DaedalianFlight Scholarship winner, who plans to become an Air Force Pilot.
Another photo of Pilot, Danny Carter, taxiing out for takeoff with two Young Eagles aboard his Piper Commanche.
Pilot, Dave Daniels, fills out the Young Eagle Flight Certificate after completing a flight with this young man.
View through the Cessna 172 Skyhawk’s windshield of Pilot Mike Robinson and both his Young Eagle, in the Co-Pilot seat, and young fellow’s father in the rear.
Dave Daniels poses with his next Young Eagle, who is adjusting his headset, as instructed by his host.
Pilot John Keithly and his grinning co-pilot Young Eagle, as they ready to start the engine in this Czech Dynamic.
John Keithly fills out this same Young Eagle’s Flight Certificate.
Pilot, Wes Baker, President of the Las Cruces, NM EAA Chapter 555, completes this happy Young Eagle’s Flight Log Book.
L to R: Roxanne Lambie, and Ammber Valverde, who has an autographed copy of Roxanne’s new novel under her arm, busily chatting with EAA members outside the War Eagles Air Museum main entrance.
L to R: Melissa Keithly, a Young Eagle’s father, Prescilla Porras., and Wes Baker at Registration Sign-In table.
L to R above: Melissa Keithly, Young Eagle with his father and Priscilla Porras, helicopter pilot, discussing the event.
John Keithlywith another Young Eagle seated and ready to go, as young man’s father and brother watch.
Pilot John Keithly gets ready to take this same intrigued Young Eagle aloft for his initiation flight in John’s Czech Dynamic Experimental Aircraft.
Mike Robinsongets ready to close the Cessna Skyhawk’s door in readiness for this young lady’s first Young Eagle Flight experience.
John Signorinoexplaining how the elevator and rudder controls work on this Cessna Skylane as his next Young Eagle and his mother take it all in . . .
During a short break, (L to R) Volunteer chapter Pilots, John Signorino and Tomas Peraltatalk over the ongoing Young Eagle event.
During the Young Eagle rally, many of the Young Eagles, their parents and visitors flocked in to view the great collection of airplanes, antique autos and motorcycles, and to also to buy souvenirs at the WEAM Gift Shop. Making change at the cash register is Kathryn Guerra, whose father, George, the Museum’s Operations Manager, is standing behind her in the light blue shirt.
Pilot Wes Bakerlistening to his Young Eagle trying to see if he properly understood Wes’ explanation of how an airplane climbs.
Piloting the helicopter back onto the tarmac, is Chapter Volunteer worker and chopper pilot, Priscilla Porras. The same model helicopter, owned by Chapter member Mike McNamee, gave some 17 Young Eagles their first helicopter ride during the project.
After an exciting first ride with both the Young Eagle, who’s also a Cub Scout, and his mother, Pilot John Signorinoposes alongside the Cessna 182 Skylane with the happy pair.
After completing a flight, Pilot Tomas Peraltagets ready to make out a Young Eagle Flight Certificate for this young man and his mother.
EAA Chapter 555 President, Wes Baker, an Air Force Academy graduate, gets ready to take this Young Eagle into the sky in his vintage Cessna 140.
After the successful flight, Wes completes this Young Eagle’s paperwork, as Wes’ wife, Carol,looks on.
Volunteer Pilot, John Signorino, walks out to the McNamee Cessna 182 Skylane with his next Young Eagle, whose mother also took the flight.
During another much-deserved break from the busy flight schedule, Pilot Mike Robinson (L) sits down to chat with fellow volunteer pilot, Wes Baker, on the Right.
Almost the end of the busy day of over 60 flights, the volunteer pilots were caught discussing the event. L to R: Dominic Austen (Pilot who conducted the Preflight Program),Tomas Peralta, John Signorino, Deb Rothchild, and Bryce Daniels.