Tag Archives: Oshkosh




The greatest aviation extravaganza on earth has come to an end but before it concluded, Ace Abbott and Peter Buffington got to rub elbows with the current aviation icon, “Sully” Sullenberger. The photo-op session was followed by a brief chat and Sully revealed that he is even cooler in person than he is on TV. A calm placid demeanor emanates from him and he exudes a quiet confidence that is part of having “the right stuff.” Sully’s ongoing work with the enhancement of aviation safety is very important to the aviation world. When he speaks, people listen, as they did when he stood in front of the Aviation Congressional Sub-committee three years ago and very emphatically stated that increased pilot salaries were necessary to attract the best quality people into the cockpit of commercial airliners.

The EAA AirVenture once again proved to be an exciting venue for anyone remotely interested in aviation. Although the Thunderbirds or the Blue Angels were not allowed to perform—local area residential safety considerations—the Blue Angels had one of their pilots and aircraft available for the masses to ogle over. The Air Force had an F-16 on static display that also provided the hordes of aviation aficionados with ear-shattering fly-bys and spectacular aerial demonstrations. The many hangars were filled with aviation paraphernalia and bags of “swag” were being toted by most of the attendees. A nice review of the event is available if you click on the following link: http://airventure.org/live/.


Meanwhile, in the continuing saga of commercial aviation chaos we will take a look at just a few of these bizarre scenarios:

An Alaska Airlines passenger may face charges after police say he launched into an expletive-laced tirade against a fellow flier who declined to turn off her reading light.

The incident happened early Saturday morning on an overnight Alaska Airlines flight from Honolulu to Bellingham, Wash. Washington State Patrol spokesman Keith Leary tells The Bellingham Herald the passenger – a 50-year-old man from Tacoma whom police did not identify – apparently became upset when a woman seated in front of him refused to turn off her overhead reading light.

Police tell the Herald the man then went to talk to the flight attendants to demand that the woman’s reading light be turned off. When the attendants told the man that the woman was entitled to keep the light on, he flew into a rage, Leary tells the Herald.

Leary tells the Herald the man is accused of shouting expletives at both the woman and others on the plane. He also threatened to annoy the woman for the duration of the flight by hitting the back of her seat over and over again, a ccording to

Other than the threat of being a nuisance, however, Leary says the man apparently didn’t make any other explicit threats against passengers or the flight. “(B)ut he did drop a few F-bombs,” the Herald adds.

The man, who was traveling with his adult son and daughter, was met at Bellingham International by five sheriff’s deputies, according to the Herald. He was questioned and allowed to continue on to his home in Tacoma

For additional lunacy please read the following account of chaos in the clouds:

A man was kicked off of a Spirit Airlines plane at O’Hare International Airport
in Chicago after getting into an altercation over his wardrobe with a flight attendant.

CBS Chicago reports that the man and a female companion were boarding a flight fromO’Hare to Orlando, Fla., over the weekend when an attendant asked him to pull up his saggy pants.

According to a Spirit Airlines spokeswoman, the man became “verbally abusive” andthreatened physical harm after he was told that his pants were “excessively low”as they were hanging below his buttocks. The airline requires passengers to wear”adequate” clothing in its code.

There is more!

Camera In Air Sickness Bag Causes Airplane Scare

Last night, a United Airlines flight from Newark, headed to Geneva Switzerland, was diverted to Boston’s Logan Airport when a suspicious item was found in a seatback pocket. Fighter jets were summoned to help escort the plane to Logan-but it turned out that the suspicious item, inside an air sickness bag, was a… camera.
So, is this better or worse than a flight being diverted due to a cellphone chargingin a bathroom? Or a game of backgammon?

The camera was found in an unbooked seat, and the flight was diverted “out of an abundance of caution,” according to the TSA. NORAD confirmed that “two F-15 fighterjets were scrambled to intercept the flight at about 9:00 p.m. Eastern, shortly after it departed from Newark,” saying, “The fighters were scrambled, then interceptedand shadowed the aircraft.”

Now that we have taken the meaning of overreact to its highest level, would you care for a nice chicken salad sandwich?

Another sewing needle has turned up in a passenger’s airline meal, this time on
a Monday night Air Canada flight from Victoria, British Columbia, to Toronto.
(The previous italicized anecdotes are excerpts from the Curt Lewis & Associates newsletter).

This blog is prepared by Ace Abbott, the author of The Rogue Aviator and Dead Tired




All roads— and many airways— lead to Oshkosh, Wisconsin where the greatest aviation show on earth is in full swing. The EAA AirVenture is an experience that no attendee will ever regret or forget. If you are not there now, start making travel plans. One need not be an aviation aficionado to enjoy the biggest and best air show in the world. I have been to Sun ‘N Fun in Lakeland Florida and it was kind of like the county fair in Central Illinois compared to EAA AirVenture at Oshkosh. Furthermore I have been to the Paris Air Show—at Farnborough, England (the alternating site)—and that event pales in comparision to Oshkosh.

If you have not been there, immediately Google EAA Air Venture and you will be provided with a good overview of this fabulous gathering of aviation—and non-pilot-people as well—soaking up more airplane encounters than is barely imaginable. There are numerous webcams on site which provide a current view of the festivities. The static displays of aircraft alone, is worth the price of admission. Expect to see: numerous military aircraft such as the C-5A, the F-16, an array of helicopters; antique airplanes such as the old Ford Tri-Motor, gussied-up DC-6s, P-51 Mustangs, and of course, the fabulous “Douglas Racer/ Gooney Bird/DC-3 (still operational throughout the world, particularly in Latin America and the Caribbean). You will have the opportunity to get up close to a Blue Angel aircraft and its pilot at a static display—a great photo-op scenario.

The many hangars are filled with aviation-oriented products that will amaze and entice. Every form of aviation paraphernalia imaginable can be purchased. Last year I took a simulator flight in the ICON amphibian aircraft and I could have ponied up a few thousand dollars for a “purchaser’s slot.” If you did not bring your platinum American express or MasterCard, fret not, for you shall be able to accumulate bags and bags of vendor, give-away “swag.” One could spend the entire week perusing the cool aviation products. It is the ultimate cornucopia of pilot goodies.


If you are mechanic of any sorts there are more seminars than you can attend relating to many aspects of aircraft building and repair. When you leave the highly informative seminar you can go outside and watch one of the many aerobatic events that will leave the average viewer slack-jawed in awe. Some of the maneuvers that are performed by these world class aerobatic pilots seem to defy all elements of physics. Many of the basic tenets of aerodynamics such as angle of attack, stall, lift, drag, yaw, and gravity appear to be defied.

For a more sedate experience, The Warehouse, (adjacent to the control tower) will provide a wide variety of souvenir items but more importantly, you can access author’s corner where nearly every aviation book ever published is available for purchase. You can also interact with some of these authors as they provide signed copies of their book along with free “hangar-talk.” Ace Abbott (yours truly) will be in attendance for the third straight year selling and signing his book, the third edition of The Rogue Aviator: in the back alleys of aviation, as well as his just released book, Dead Tired: Pilot Fatigue: Aviation’s Insidious Killer. Aviation literature can provide the surreptitious joys of aviation while sitting in the recliner.

This blog is prepared by Ace Abbott, the author of The Rogue Aviator and Dead Tired (www.therogueaviator.com)


F-4 Phantom Predators Searching For Prey

Before you read this posting, be sure and whet your fighter pilot appetite by watching this You Tube Video: http://military.discovery.com/videos/top-ten-fighters-f4-phantom.html

The fabulous McDonnell-Douglas F-4 Phantom, the stalwart, mainline fighting air machine of the US military, could possibly return to haunt us! On Friday evening, January 13, the NBC evening news showed a film clip from the area of the Straits of Hormuz that revealed F-4 Phantoms operated by the Iranian Air Force that were patrolling the area. As the saber-rattling intensifies the possibility of NATO or US military forces incurring battle with American-made F-4 Phantoms increases. Perhaps as the old saying goes, “what goes around comes around.”

The more interesting question regarding this issue that we shall now ask is, “How did the Iranian Air Force acquire American-made F-4 Phantoms?” For that answer, I will send you rummaging through my previous blogs.  The first bit of research will require a review of the January 3rd posting (John Lear), Refer to the brief passage regarding “October Surprise” (A little known but powerful incident in international geopolitics). As you will soon discover the high speed spy plane a “Blackbird” or SR 71, (see January 11, of posting regarding Area 51) and connect the dots. The conclusion will reconfirm that President “Ike” Eisenhower was very prescient in his statement, “beware of the military industrial complex.”

And now back to the primary theme, “the fabulous F4 Phantom aircraft,” that was first flown on May 27, 1954.  It was the workhorse in the air war over North Vietnam, and saved thousands of American GIs, in its ground support mission in South Vietnam. McDonnell-Douglas built 5057 F-4 Phantoms and in Japan, Mitsubishi built 138 F-4 Phantoms.  Approximately 275 F-4 Phantoms were lost in the Southeast Asian conflict.  In 1966 and 1967 McDonnell-Douglas was producing 63 Phantoms per month. Even as late as 1991 the F-4 Phantom was used by US military forces in the Desert Storm invasion of Iraq.

Currently there are eight nations that are still using the F-4 Phantom as a military tool.  At one time nearly every country in Europe and the Middle East and Southeast Asia had F-4 Phantoms in their aviation inventory. Additionally there are nearly 100 F-4 Phantoms in aviation museums in the U. S. A lengthy litany of this aircraft’s accomplishments, along with its speed and altitude records, places it very clearly as the greatest fighter jet ever built. The cover of my book The Rogue Aviator has a picture of an F-4 Phantom. During book events and presentations, and particularly at air shows, nearly everyone immediately identifies the F-4 Phantom.

Off all the good fortune that has been bestowed upon myself, flying this amazing aircraft rates at the very top. Two years ago at the Oshkosh air show, as I was signing books at Author’s Corner when I heard the loud high-pitched squeal of J-79 engines that powered the F4 Phantom. It immediately got my juices flowing, and I soon discovered there was an F-4 Phantom at Oshkosh. Unfortunately, it was grounded for the duration of the show with a freak mechanical problem. The rookie GIB (guy-in-the-back) was told by the Aircraft Commander to close the canopy. Murphy’s Law intervened and the GIB pulled the canopy jettison lever rather than the canopy close lever.

A bit of a follow-up to this story is that I discovered that it is possible for a civilian to get a back-seat ride in the F-4 Phantom. A group called the Collings Foundation, operates an F-4 Phantom that is located in Houston, Texas at Ellington Air Force Base. For information regarding a back seat F-4 Phantom ride.  You can call the Collings Foundation at 978-562-9182. It will require a large bite out of the platinum American Express card. In lieu of that, you can read, The Rogue Aviator and watch F-4 You Tube videos. Be sure to fasten your seatbelt, cinch down your shoulder harness and keep your air speed up in the turns.

This blog is prepared by Ace Abbott, author of The Rogue Aviator, (www.therogueaviator.com).