07.07.2011 Uncategorized No Comments

Rare photos of the Boeing 247D

The Boeing 247D was built in 1933 and carried ten passengers, two pilots and one flight attendant.
The approximate airspeed was 155 mph.  New York to Los Angeles with 7 stops took 20 hours, which was a record in 1934.

Boeing 247D over Chicago en route to Oshkosh, Wisconsin.
Copyrighted 1999 by the late Don Jiskra  and Pete Rosendale, former UAL photographers. Used with permission by Pete Rosendale.  Not for commercial use or forwarding.
Photographer Peter Rosendale:  Finelight2002@aol.com
07.04.2011 Uncategorized No Comments

Greenleaf’s recent appearance on Fox

Clint Greenleaf, CPA, is the founder and CEO of Greenleaf Book Group.  GBG is an Inc 500 Company and Clint is a publisher and distributor with several NY Times and Wall Street Journal bestsellers. Clint blogs for Inc.com and is a regular guest host on Fox Business Network.  He sits on the AOL Small Business Board of Directors and has been featured on CNN, MSBNC and in the WSJ and Forbes. Clint trained with the U.S. Marines in various aircraft.

Watch Clint now on Lou Dobbs:



06.26.2011 Uncategorized No Comments

Brig. Gen. Steve Ritchie and the Rescue of Roger Locher

Steve Ritchie, then a captain, shot down his fifth MiG-21 on Aug. 28, 1972, making him the only U.S. Air Force pilot ace in the Vietnam War, but his most thrilling aerial dogfight took place nearly two months earlier, when he shot down two MiGs with three missiles in 1 minute, 29 seconds – not bad, considering a bone specialist told him when Ritchie was in high school that he’d never play football nor anything else that strenuous again.

Ritchie was born in June, 1942 in Reidsville, N.C., where he was a football and academic standout. He broke his leg twice, once during eighth grade and again during ninth grade, but despite being told he would never play again, continued to carry the ball, becoming a star quarterback for his high school team. Gaining admission to the U.S. Air Force Academy, he continued to play football. Beginning as a “walk-on” in 1960, he became a starting halfback for the Falcons in 1962 and 1963, finishing his football career with a final game in the 1963 Gator Bowl.

Capt. Richard

Capt. Richard “Steve” Ritchie is pictured beside his aircraft in South Vietnam in 1972, following the mission where he became the first Ace in the Vietnam War.



06.25.2011 Uncategorized No Comments

Former fighter pilot speaks about communication

From David Rohlander, the CEO’s Coach, who is a former USAF fighter pilot with 208 combat missions flying the Phantom II, RF-4C and F-4D:

The Science and Art of Effective Communication: This is a presentation to USC Alumni on the USC OC campus in a “Lunch & Learn” format.
David Rohlander with the T-38 TalonDavid Rohlander at pilot training with the T-36 Talon






06.22.2011 Uncategorized No Comments

Aircraft that relies on ground effect to stay aloft


06.22.2011 Uncategorized No Comments

Demand for airline pilots set to soar

From USA Today reporter Charisse Jones



06.21.2011 Uncategorized No Comments

Statement on the recent B-17 crash

From Ray Fowler, the chief pilot for the Liberty Foundation: 


Statement from Liberty Foundation Chief Pilot:

June 14, 2011 – First, let me start off by sincerely thanking everyone for the outpouring of support that we are receiving. I am sorry that I have not yet had the opportunity to return the many phone calls, text or e-mails that I am receiving offering to help. Again, thank you for all of the kind words that we are receiving and for incredible offers to help emotionally, financially and/or with the recovery process. I hope this statement will help fill in a few details that everyone is wondering about that led to the loss of our “Liberty Belle”.

Yesterday (June 13, 2011) morning, both our P-40 and B-17 were scheduled to fly from Aurora, Illinois to Indianapolis, Indiana. We were in Aurora for the weekend as a part of our scheduled tour. Over the course of the previous week, we completed a scheduled 25-hour inspection on the B-17 which was completed by Saturday. On Saturday, the weather stayed below the required ceiling to give any passenger flights, however the B-17 flew in the morning on a routine training proficiency flight, performing several patterns. Following the flight, other maintenance issues arose that required us to cancel our Sunday flying schedule for repairs. The maintenance performed has not been, in any way, associated to the chain of events that led to Monday’s fateful flight, but is being considered in the preliminary investigation. However, due to the media’s sensational (mis)reporting, there is a large amount of misinformation that continues to lead the news.

Here is what we do know… Flying in the left seat of the B-17 was Capt. John Hess. John has been flying our Liberty Belle since 2005 and one of our most experienced B-17 pilots. He is an active Delta Air Lines Captain with over 14,000 hours of flying experience and flys a variety of vintage WWII aircraft. In the right seat was Bud Sittig. While Bud is new to the Liberty Foundation this year, he is also incredibly experienced with over 14,000 hours of flying time in vintage and hi-performance aircraft. He is a retired Captain with Delta Air Lines.

The news misidentified the P-40 as flying chase during the accident. I was flying our P-40, however I had departed 20 minutes prior to the B-17’s takeoff on the short flight to Indianapolis to setup for the B-17’s arrival. The aircraft flying chase was a T-6 Texan flown by owner Cullen Underwood. Cullen is one of our rated B-17 Captains and an experienced aviator tagging along as a support ship.

The takeoff of both aircraft was uneventful and proceeded on-course southeast. Prior to exiting Aurora’s airport traffic area, the B-17 crew and passengers began investigating an acrid smell and started a turn back to the airport. Almost immediately thereafter, Cullen spotted flames coming from the left wing and reported over the radio that they were on fire.

As all pilots know, there are few emergency situations that are more critical than having an in-flight fire. While an in-flight fire is extremely rare, it can (and sometimes does) indiscriminately affect aircraft of any age or type. In-flight fires have led to the loss of not only aircraft, but often can result in catastrophic loss of life. It requires an immediate action on the flight crew, as the integrity of aircraft structure, systems and critical components are in question.

Directly below the B-17 was a farmer’s field and the decision was made to land immediately. Approximately 1 minute and 40 seconds from the radio report of the fire, the B-17 was down safely on the field. Within that 1:40 time frame, the crew shutdown and feathered the number 2 engine, activated the engine’s fire suppression system, lowered the landing gear and performed an on-speed landing. Bringing the B-17 to a quick stop, the crew and passengers quickly and safely exited the aircraft. Overhead in the T-6, Cullen professionally coordinated and directed the firefighting equipment which was dispatched by Aurora Tower to the landing location.

Unlike the sensational photos that you have all seen of the completely burned B-17 on the news, you will see from photos taken by our crew that our Liberty Belle was undamaged by the forced landing and at the time of landing, the wing fire damage was relatively small. The crew actually unloaded bags, then had the horrible task of watching the aircraft slowly burn while waiting for the fire trucks to arrive. There were high hopes that the fire would be extinguished quickly and the damage would be repairable. Those hopes were diminished as the fire trucks deemed the field too soft to cross due to the area’s recent rainfall. So while standing by our burning B-17 and watching the fire trucks parked at the field’s edge, they sadly watched the wing fire spread to the aircraft’s fuel cells and of course, you all have seen the end result. There is no doubt that had the fire equipment been able to reach our aircraft, the fire would have been quickly extinguished and our Liberty Belle would have been repaired to continue her worthwhile mission.

Let me go on the record by thanking the flight crew for their professionalism. Their actions were nothing short of heroic and their quick thinking, actions and experience led to a “successful” outcome to this serious in-flight emergency. John and Bud (and Cullen) did a remarkable job under extreme circumstances and performed spectacularly. While the leading news stories have repeatedly reported the “crash” of our B-17, fact is they made a successful forced landing and the aircraft was ultimately consumed by fire. Airplanes are replaceable but people are not and while the aircraft’s loss is tragic, it was a successful result.

This leads me into discussing the exceptional safety record of the Boeing B-17 and to hopefully squash the naysayers who preach we should not be flying these types of aircraft. Since we first flew the “Liberty Belle” in December of 2004, we have flown over 20,000 passengers throughout the country and if you count our historic trip to Europe in 2008, worldwide. Of the other touring B-17s, some of which that have been touring for over 20 years, they have safely flown hundreds of thousands of people. The aircraft’s safety record is spectacular and I am certain the overall cause of our issue, which is under investigation, will not tarnish that safety record. In fact, as many of you know, other B-17 have suffered significant damage (although not as bad as ours!), only to be re-built to fly again. From a passenger carrying standpoint, I can think of few aircraft that offer the same level of safety as the 4-engine “Flying Fortress”. As mentioned earlier, in-flight fires are extremely rare and certainly could affect any powered aircraft under certain circumstances. I would put my children today in any of the other touring B-17s to go fly. I suggest to anyone that was thinking of doing so when a B-17 visits your area to do so without giving our loss any thought.

There is wild speculation going on as to the cause of our fire and the affect to other operators. Please let the investigation run its course and report the findings. The NTSB and FAA were quickly on the scene and we are working closely with them to aid in the investigation. As soon as we receive some additional information, we will release it via the website.

The ultimate question remains, where does the Liberty Foundation go from here? After the investigation and recovery, we will determine our options. We are still committed to the restoration and flying of World War II aircraft. Again, we appreciate the support and people offering to help get us back flying.

Please check back for updates. I will close by thanking everyone that made our tour so successful. From the first day of the B-17’s restoration, thank you for all of you who labored to get her flying over the initial restoration years and to everyone that has worked on her out on tour since. Thank you to the crewmembers, tour coordinators and volunteers who gave up weekends and countless hours to support her on the road. And finally, thank you to the passengers, donors and media patrons that flew aboard and everyone who supported our cause. Hopefully, this will not be the end of the story, but a new beginning.

Ray Fowler
The Liberty Foundation, Chief Pilot

06.11.2011 Uncategorized No Comments

Fighter pilot Virgine Guyot’s historic flight


The 2010 squadron is lead for the first  time by a woman, Captain Virginie Guyot. The eight-jet Patrouille is one of the best precision jet teams in the world and in the elite company of the United States Air Force’s Thunderbirds and Britain’s RAF Red Arrows. Its tight formation aerobatics is breath-taking, daring and unforgettable. Every Bastille Day their flight over the city of Paris is one of the highlights of the parade.

06.11.2011 Uncategorized No Comments

An incredible event in aviation history

In October, 1942, the XP-59, the USA’s first jet aircraft, rolled out of Bell Aviation at Edwards AFB.




05.31.2011 Uncategorized No Comments

Teamwork at High Speed

From former Air Force test pilot Danny Cox


Only a few feet separate the lead pilot’s tailpipe from the nose of my supersonic fighter as we rip through the sky at speeds in excess of 500 miles per hour.  I feel the blast from his engine vibrating through my feet on the rudder pedals and through my right hand on the control stick.  There are seven more jets behind me packed just as tight in our nine-ship formation.

Sonic Boom Salesman breaks the barrier once more.



Almost with one motion, the nose of each fighter gently drops below the horizon.  The airspeed builds until the lead pilot pulls back on the stick.  The nose of every fighter rises in perfect symmetry as the “g” forces build.  I feel the blood being forced into my legs and feet.  All nine of us are now experiencing the same 5 “g” force ––5 times our body weight.  We tighten our leg and abdominal muscles to keep blood in our upper extremities to avoid blacking out.

I concentrate on keeping my hand on the throttle.  If it slips off, the “g” force will push it down between the side panel and my ejection seat.  I will lose my ability to make minor throttle adjustments and hold precise position.  As we curve over the top of our perfect loop, the world switches places with the sky.  The “g” forces diminish down the backside.  I steal a millisecond glance at the two rear view mirrors.  Everyone is still tucked in tight.  The “g” pressure builds again as our lead pilot pulls the nose back up to level flight and eight pilots follow in perfect unison.

The lead pilot takes us through a series of horizon tumbling rolls followed by a formation shift to a nine-ship diamond.  It’s my turn to fly center position as we make a high-speed, low-level pass over the airfield.  The noise of eight other jets in front and back, and on both sides, flying two to three yards from wingtip to wingtip is deafening.  It’s high performance flying right to the edge.  There is only one word to describe it: exhilarating.  WOW!  How I love it!

It’s the ultimate team experience.  The difference between life and death can be how well we learn from our successes and failures.  Our synergy comes from courage, creativity, and being there for each other, no matter what.  After leaving the Air Force and entering the corporate world, I had to transfer the principles of individual and team high performance to new challenges.

I had to make some tremendous adjustments, but my drive to again be a part of a high performance team was strong.  I sought out advice and counsel from the most successful people I could find in various industries.  What they taught me, along with some innovations of my own, put my new team into a supersonic climb.  In five years, we increased production 800 percent, morale soared and turnover dropped to nearly zero.

So now it’s your turn. You’re clear for take-off followed by an afterburner climb.

Photo below:  Danny preparing for a supersonic flight in a F-16 with the 113th Air Wing,
Andrews AFB, Maryland.