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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RCAF Siskin IIIDC circa 1937.
Photo: Public Archives of Canada photo.

Above: Just prior to the outbreak of the Second World War in September 1939, the Royal Canadian Air force’s front-line fighter was the archaic Armstrong Whitworth Siskin. No. 1 Squadron, while at Calgary, Alberta, was reequipped with Hawker Hurricanes in February 1939.

A B-1 Lancer from Dyess AFB, Texas, a B-2 Spirit from Whiteman AFB, Missouri, and a B-52 Stratofortress from Minot AFB, North Dakota, rehearse formations moments before performing a bomber trio in-trail flyover at Barksdale AFB, Louisiana, on 2 February 2017. The all-bomber flyover took place to commemorate the Eighth Air Force’s 75th Anniversary. Eighth Air Force, also known as “The Mighty Eighth,” which dates back to World War II houses all of the Air Force’s nuclear-capable and conventional bomber fleet. USAF photo courtesy of Sagar Pathak.

An Army AH-64 Apache helicopter is unloaded from an Air Mobility Command C-5M Galaxy at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, Feb. 22, 2017, in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve. The four Apache helicopters that arrived are part of a larger contingent of helicopters and personnel comprising of Operation Atlantic Resolve, a U.S. commitment to maintaining peace and stability in the European region. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Timothy Moore)

An RCAF CF-188 Hornet over Iraq on 4 March 2015. USAF photo by SSgt Perry Aston.

Airforce Magazine (2017, Vol. 40/No.3, pages 6-7), a publication of the RCAF Association, quotes Lieutenant-General Michael J. Hood, Commander of the Royal Canadian Air Force: “The Government has committed to . . . replace the fighter fleet. Meanwhile they will enter into discussion with the United States Government and Boeing to augment our present CF-188 fleet.”

QF-16 over Tyndall AFB FL 12 May 2016. USAF photo by Sara Vidoni 150512-F-GF899-313.

In the 22 February 2017 Air Force Association (AFA) Daily Report newsletter, the organization reports that a QF-16 aerial target drone flew operationally at Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico, for the first time on 10 February 2017. QF-16s are ‘retired’ General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcons that have been modified to fly as targets. AFA states the following: “Boeing contracted with the Air Force in March 2016 to produce 30 QF-16s. The new fleet will take over for the QF-4 unmanned target aircraft, which was officially retired in December 2016. The QF-16 reached initial operating capability in September 2016. Like the QF-4, the QF-16 can fly either manned or unmanned missions, and the initial Holloman flight was manned.”

A Voisin Type 8. National Air and Space Museum photo A19190007000CP03.

Above: The National Air and Space Museum’s extremely rare and original Voisin, a Type 8 that entered service with French night bombing squadrons in November 1916. This example represents “the oldest surviving aircraft that was specifically designed as a bomber. When manufactured in February 1916, it was equipped as a night bomber, with internal bomb racks, cockpit lights, and provision for landing lights.”

Above: Lt. Gen. Hal Moore, who actor Mel Gibson portrayed in the 2002 film We Were Soldiers, passed away on 10 February 2017 and was buried at Ft. Benning, Georgia. Moore was posted to Fort Benning in 1964 and commanded the newly-formed air mobile 11th Air Assault Division. As a lieutenant colonel during the Vietnam Conflict, he commanded the 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment during the pivotal 1965 Battle of Ia Drang. The Army Aviation Heritage Foundation provided and operated two Bell UH-1 Iriquois (aka “Hueys”) during the ceremony.

Fleet Air Arm Corsair Mk Is at NAS Quonset Point circa 1943. Photo: U.S. Navy.

A-10 Thunderbolt II over Turkey 6 Jan 2016 . USAF photo by SSgt Corey Hook.

USAF F-22 Raptor over Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson Alaska 28 March 2016. USAF photo by Alejandro Pena.

USAF B-1B Lancer 6 February 2017 at Andersen AFB, Guam. USAF photo by T/Sgt. Richard P. Ebensberger.

USAF Ospreys on 3 February 2017 over Hurlburt Field, Florida.
USAF photo by A1C Joseph Pick.

USS Enterprise at sea.
Photo: U.S. Navy

3 February 2017: USS Enterprise (CVN-65) decommissioned.

USS Enterprise (CVN-65), the world’s first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, was decommissioned on 3 February 2017. The ceremony took place in the very dry-dock in which her keel was laid on 4 February 1958. 20th Century Aviation Magazine salutes Enterprise and the many sailors and aviators who sailed aboard her over the decades.

USS Enterprise CVN-65. Photo: U.S. Navy.

Photojournalist John Stemple prepares for a flight in Preston Aviation‘s 1945 Boeing Stearman.
Photo: Peggy Preston / Preston Aviation.

Douglas DC-3 takes off beyond Piper Flitfires at LaGuardia Airport on 29 April 1941. Photo: Smithsonian Air and Space Museum.

An aerial view of the WW2 Avon Park Army Airfield/Lodwick Aviation Military Academy at Avon Park, Florida (KAVO). The hangar with the rounded top was used for storage of the school’s Boeing Stearmans and aircraft maintenance. The area just beyond this hangar and to the left was the ramp. There were no paved runways.
Photo: John Stemple/20th Century Aviation Magazine.

A 2017 aerial view of the renown Jack Brown’s Seaplane Base.
Photo: John Stemple

Preston Aviation’s 1945 Boeing Stearman departs KGIF’s ramp.
Photo: John Stemple

A venerable A-10C Thunderbolt II on 12 January 2017. USAF photo by A1C Janiqua P. Robinson.

Preston Aviation‘s beautiful Being Stearman at KGIF. Photo: John Stemple

AAHF’s 50th production Cobra under restoration. Photo: AAHF.

September 2017 (50 years ago) will mark the introduction of the AH-1G Cobra into the Vietnam Conflict. The Army Aviation Historical Foundation (AAHF) is restoring the 50th production Bell Cobra gunship. Donations to this worthy cause will be appreciated.

AH-1G Cobra of 334th Hel Co 145th Avn Bn over Vietnam in 1969. United States Army Heritage and Education Center photo.

Air Education and Training Command anniversary logo. USAF graphic by Michelle Deleon 170104-F-MS415-999

Above: Click here to access the story of AETC’s 75 years of contribution to USAF.

Note: View the USAF’s AETU 75th anniversary video by clicking this URL link.

This historical icon, which is perhaps the most famous Boeing B-17F Flying Fortress, was photographed on her way back to the U. S. on 9 June 1943. USAF photo 021001-O-9999J-009

Above: The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force’s newest exhibit.The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force announced that their iconic B-17F will be placed on public display beginning 17 May 2018, which will mark the 75th anniversary (17 May 1943) of her last combat mission.

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.

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.


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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Above: Kendra Davis and colleague recently reporting for 20th Century Aviation Magazine and Nanton Aviation Station from Bomber Command Museum of Canada in Nanton, Alberta.

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