After one has flown, he will forever walk this earth gazing skyward, for he has been there and will always long to return…



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A U.S. Marine Corps VH-3 Sea King operating as ‘Marine One’ hovering over the front lawn of the White House. Public Domain image via Wikipedia. Date of photograph unknown.

Above and Below: With the change in U.S. Presidents on 20 January 2017, ‘Marine One’ was once again tasked to transport an outgoing Chief Executive and adopt the call sign of ‘Executive One’.

U.S. Marine Corps Sikorsky VH-3D Sea King of VH-3D ‘Marine One’ over Washington, DC, May 2005. U.S. Marine Corps photo 050521-N-0295M-097 by PH2AW Daniel J McLain.


AC-130A at Ubon Royal Thai Air Base in 1969. Photo: USAF 120517-F-DW547-012


AC-130J “Ghostrider”. USAF photo 160405-F-ZT531-025.JPG

Bristol Bombay Mk. I L5838 on a test flight from Aldergrove, County Antrim, before joining No. 216 Squadron in the Middle East. RAF photo by B.J. Daventry. Photograph CH 2936 from the collections of the Imperial War Museums.


A USAF 9th Maintenance Group aircraft mechanic inspecting a T-38 Talon after a sortie 5 Dec 2016 at Beale AFB CA. USAF Photo by Airman Tristan D Viglianco 161205-F-ZH169-059.JPG

A USAF 9th Maintenance Group aircraft mechanic inspecting a T-38 Talon after a sortie 5 Dec 2016 at Beale AFB CA. USAF Photo by Airman Tristan D Viglianco 161205-F-ZH169-059.JPG

2013 Vidalia Onion Festival Air Show


Big Joe coverReunion of Giants DVD cover

QF-4 Phantoms fly over hundreds of spectators during the QF-4 “Phinal Phlight” event on 21 December 2016 at Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico. (USAF photo by MSgt Matthew McGovern)

Above: Icons retire. A formation of QF-4 Phantoms flew over hundreds of spectators during the QF-4 “Phinal Phlight” event 21 December 2016 at Holloman Air Force Base, N.M. The event included an air demonstration, formal retirement ceremony and a “pet-the-jet” expo with static displays of the QF-4 Phantom, QF-16 Fighting Falcon and E-9 “Widget” to mark the end of the type’s 53 years of service to the U.S. Air Force.



21 December 2016: The U.S. Air Force’s only remaining F-4 Phantom II departs Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico, on the aircraft and type’s final military flight. USAF photo by SSgt Eboni-Prince.

161105-N-VR008-0332 PACIFIC OCEAN (Nov. 5, 2016) Royal Air Force test pilot and Squadron Leader Andy Edgell enters the cockpit of an F-35B Lightning II aircraft equipped with inert 500-pound GBU-12 Paveway II laser-guided test bombs on the flight deck of amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA 6) during flight operations. The F-35B short takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL) variant is the world’s first supersonic STOVL stealth aircraft. America, with Marine Operational Test and Evaluation Squadron 1 (VMX-1), Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 211 (VMFA-211) and Air Test and Evaluation Squadron 23 (VX-23) embarked, are underway conducting operational testing and the third phase of developmental testing for the F-35B Lightning II aircraft, respectively. The tests will evaluate the full spectrum of joint strike fighter measures of suitability and effectiveness in an at-sea environment. (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Kyle Goldberg/Released)

Royal Air Force test pilot Squadron Leader Andy Edgell enters the cockpit of an F-35B Lightning II on 5th November 2016 aboard the U.S. Navy amphibious assault ship USS America. U.S. Navy photo by PO3 Kyle Goldberg.

Above: A U.S. Navy 11th November 2016  press release and the Air Force Association (via a 16th December 2016 electronic newsletter story) are reporting that Royal Air Force and Royal Navy, and Royal Australian Air Force, pilots have been test flying Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning IIs off US aircraft carriers as part of the United Kingdom’s “regeneration” of carrier strike capability. The British and Australian pilots have been operating from USS America. (The history of joint shipboard training with the Mother Country and Commonwealth forces is notable; for instance, during the Second World War some Royal Navy pilots were carrier qualified upon successfully completing deck landings aboard the U.S. Navy’s Lake Michigan-based training carriers USS Wolverine and USS Sable.) In exchange, and commencing in 2021, U.S. Military F-35Bs will operate from the Royal Navy’s new Queen Elizabeth Class Aircraft Carriers. The U.S. Navy press release states the following: “The integration of the U.K. Royal Air Force (RAF) and Royal Navy within joint squadrons and operations worldwide hearkens back to RAF Harrier and Royal Navy Sea Harrier initiatives to economize and streamline operations by leveraging resources and personnel operating across common platforms.” For the most part the referenced British programs were undertaken in the 1970s and 1980s.


Tom Butkhalter, author, adventurer & world traveler



Photo by JR Hafer

Photo by JR Hafer

 Civil Air Patrol integrating with U.S. Air Force after joining the “Total Force.”

The January 2017 issue of the Air Force Association’s Air Force Magazine reports (CAP Joins the Total Force by Tim Mathews) that the Civil Air Patrol (CAP), which has been in existence for 75 (and U.S. Air Force’s auxiliary for 68) years, is now increasingly a partner in major missions. In August 2015 U.S. Air Force (USAF) updated its doctrine to include CAP’s volunteers in its definition of the service’s “Total Force,” which had previously consisted only of Regular Air Force, Air Force Reserve, Air National Guard, and civilian personnel employed by USAF. USAF command leaders are now directed to consider all Total Force elements “when determining the most effective and efficient ways to complete the mission.” CAP operates border-to-border and coast-to-coast within the continental U.S., Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands. In recent years, the emergency services mission has expanded into counterdrug surveillance, fighter interceptor training, critical infrastructure surveillance, and noncombat support missions. Currently, CAP members fly nearly 100,000 hours per year performing missions under the direction of Air Force, state, and local agencies. In Fiscal 2015, CAP aircrews flew 79,003 hours on Air Force-authorized missions alone, 47 percent more than a decade earlier. CAP possesses a fleet of about 550 aircraft. The Fiscal 2015 buy included 21 Cessna 172S aircraft, and Fiscal 2016 saw the purchase of 17 Cessna 182Ts and two Cessna 206s. In fact, with 35 Cessna 206s, 194 Cessna 172s, and 343 Cessna 182s, CAP operates the most Cessna aircraft in the world. Read the full article by clicking here.


Willie Rogers, Oldest Surviving Tuskegee Airman, Dies at Age 101

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The RCAF MEMORIAL PLAQUE at KGIF Winter Haven, FL  RCAF Floridians plaque at RCL post 144 - photo by Ian Darling 11 January 2016


My Bookcase JRH

Below: 20th Century Aviation Magazine book recommendations.


Everything We Had Book Cover

Read the review of Mr. Burkhalter’s book by clicking on the cover (below) of the book. 


Interview with Author David McGowan (coming Soon)

Book Review Delta ShotGun, (To be Posted soon)



416 pages of readable, interesting, instructive, enjoyable and entertaining history

Review Coming soon!


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