Congratulations to pilot Steve Hinton that was given the Lifetime Achievement in Aviation award by the Commemorative Air Force on November 6, 2014. Steve has flown over 9,000 hours, has won 6 Unlimited Races and 2 World Championships. For 10 years he held the world speed record in a piston engine aircraft. Well done Steve on winning an award that is so well deserved!
The 2014 Airventure is underway at Oshkosh, Wisconsin. EAA expects attendance to top the 508,000 attendees from last year. Visitors will come from 70 different countries and the entire campground of 35,000 sites is filled. Singer Kenny Loggins kicks off the evening entertainment tonight. Of course, there is a daily airshow at 3:00 P.M. with the Thunderbirds slated to perform on August 1-3.
100 years ago, on January 1, 1914 commercial aviation was born in the United States. Peter Jannus piloted a Benoist XIV aircraft for the first paying passenger from Tampa to St. Petersburg, Florida. The flight lasted 23 minutes and the route was 18.6 miles long. At that time the alternative was an 11 hour train ride to reach St. Petersburg. The flight cost $400 and ultimately, 1,024 passengers were flown on the St. Petersburg – Tampa Bay Boat Liner. The venture ended when the boat liner was no longer subsidized as the tourist season ended in St. Petersburg.
Happy 1st Anniversary X-37B space plane. The X-37B is a reusable unmanned space plane also called an Orbital Test Vehicle (OTV). The OTV is 29 feet long and 15 feet wide and has a payload about the size of a pickup truck. It has a solar array powered system and is controlled by the U.S. Air Force. Its mission is a complete mystery as all information has been classified. The Air Force is not saying when the X-37B will come back to earth but it will mostly likely land at Cape Canaveral.
America has lost a treasured ace fighter pilot and one of the most decorated pilots in the Korean and Vietnam wars. RIP Brig. Gen. Robinson Risner who passed away at 88 years old after suffering several strokes. Risner had achieved ace status after downing 8 MIG-15 fighters in Korea. He went on to be awarded the Air Force Cross for bravery in Vietnam and then a portrait of Risner was pictured on the front cover of Time magazine on April 23, 1965.
General Risner was unfortunately shot down and, when captured, was the highest ranking officer in the infamous “Hanoi Hilton.” He spent 7 ½ years as a POW and the first 4 years were spent in solitary confinement in nearly complete darkness. More of his “hero” nature came out when he was allowed to mingle with some of the other POWs. He organized the men with acts of defiance and boosted morale even though it meant spending more time in solitary confinement. One of his noted acts of resistant was when he organized a church service in 1971. As he was being lead back to confinement more than 40 other POWs sang “The Star Spangled Banner.”
Such was his bravery and heroics that he was awarded the Air Force Distinguished Medal, the Silver Star, and the Distinguished Flying Cross. In 2001, the U.S. Air Force constructed a 9-foot tall statue in Risner’s honor at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs.
Wishing you Blue Skies & Tailwinds!™