The Boeing B-17F "Flying Fortress" AFA-317th Chapter Aircraft

"It has served, unlike any other bomber, through all of the Second World War. It had become a legend in its time. A tribute to the men who had conceived, designed, and built it-and a monument to the remarkable young men, most of them boys who flew it. These men, and this plane, accomplished one of the most frightening missions ever demanded of men and aircraft. Together they helped end history's last "Glorious War".


AFA-317 Blogspot created and maintained by Benny F. Benitez, FAA -Airframe / Powerplant and FCC-Ham Radio Lic.) VFW Life Member, Former Chapter President (2009-2010). Current Chapter Vice President of Special Projects

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Air Force Association Miami Chapter, The 317th Leadership Commences Private Support / Relief Flights To Haiti OPERATION HAITIAN RESTORATION 2010

Miami, Florida, AFA-317th Chapter Secretary Catherine Smallwood is "Boots on Ground" at Haiti Port Au Prince Airport. While "In Country" and on station flying over Haiti, AFA-317th Chapter Secretary Smallwood acted as Reconnaissances Officer and Observer, as she photographed many areas of city and the various U.S. support / relief assets both at the airport and anchored off shore
AFA-317th Chapter member Mr. Chris Walston owner / operator of Walston Aviation L.L.C., an established, licensed and insured Part 135 operator based out of Tamiami Regional Airport conducts the weighing of all bags. Mr. Walston was the Mission Commander / Pilot in Command on board the flight
AFA-317th Chapter Secretary and the 94th AeroClaims-Aviation Consultant Group (94th ACG) Chief Pilot and Consultant Director of Flight Operation Catherine Smallwood, FAA-CFI, CFII, MEI & Gold seal Flight Instructor acts as the Second Officer / Mission Specialist of the Flight which included duties as Flight Observer and Reconnaissance Officer for the mission (Mission # HR-001)
The Piper Chieftain which was manned by two members of the AFA-317th, N4117K sits on the deck in Haiti preparing to launch back to Tamiami. Note the "Jerry Cans" of extra fuel that were pre-position into Haiti by the crew in the event of low fuel status. Complement to our friend within the Department of Defense / USAF for the consideration and provision
Shown with AFA-317th Chapter President Benny F. Benitez, Founder & CEO of the 94th AeroClaims-Aviation Consultant Group (94th ACG) upon her return to Tamiami Airport is Doctor Natalie W. Geary a Pediatrics Specialist from West Palm Beach. Doctor Geary was grateful to the (94th ACG) for the free ride back to the U.S. after being in Haiti for two weeks. Present but not pictured was Doctor Larry Sherlie from Boston, Massachusetts who also was airlifted back to the U.S by AFA-317 members. It should be noted that currently there is no scheduled commercial air service to and from the besieged nation
While on the deck in Haiti, AFA-317th Chapter Secretary Catherine Smallwood took this photo of an HH-60H helicopter belonging to U.S. Navy Squadron HS-15 "Red Lions" based out of Jacksonville, Florida and attached to the U.S. Navy Carrier, the U.S.S. Carl Vinson CVN-70, hovers over a large collection of relief material at the airport.
An example of what matter for the support of the Haitian effort is "Airlift" Shown here close to the 94th AeroClaims-Aviation Consultant Group aircraft, which was crewed by a member of the AFA-317th, Chapter Secretary is a Canadian Armed Forces Boeing C-17A Globemaster III cargo aircraft landing
AFA-317th Chapter Secretary, Catherine Smallwood noted that Airport at Port Au Prince, Haiti appeared to look more like a front line combat theater as evident of the amount of Military hard ward present. Shown is an U.S. Air Force Special Operation MC-130. Despite being out of its element as its main mission concerns and deals with "Special Operations" nonetheless, its a C-130 that could haul food, medicine and supplies

Miami, Florida / Port a Prince, Haiti 27th January 2010: Very well being the ONLY Air Force Association Chapter to take part in the direct support and relief efforts into Haiti, elements of the Air Force Association Miami Chapter, the 317th organized, loaded up and crewed a support flight to Haiti on 27th January 2010.
Having been established by the 94th AeroClaims-Aviation Consultant Group (94th ACG), the parent company of the Chapter President and in a joint operational effort with an associated alliance companies such as Hunes McCoy Aviation which is based in Atlanta, Georgia and Walston Aviation LLC of Miami, Florida, an FAA FAR-135 operation, set the wheels into motion to provide airlift for the representatives of a major, U.S. national child adoption agency who traveled to Haiti to commence the return of children slated for adoption.
The the flight crew consisted of two AFA-317th Chapter Members thus being Mr. Chris Walston Mission Commander, Chapter Member and Catherine Smallwood Chapter Secretary who acted as Mission Specialist. Both crew members are fully rated and experienced flight instructors as well as seasoned commercial airline pilots from the cargo and regional passenger side of the industry.
AFA-317th crews are slated to again undertake a series of flights back and forth to Haiti while again utilizing the the Piper Chieftain aircraft, N4117K and a 30 passenger seat SAAB-340 turbo prop aircraft.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Air Force Association Miami Chapter, The 317th Visits The Kendall Regional Airport Memorial To The Bay of Pigs A-26 Invader

The Douglas company began delivering the production model A-26B in August 1943 with the new bomber first seeing action with the 5th Air Force in the South West Pacific theater on 23 June 1944, when they bombed Japanese-held islands near Mankowari
The redesignation of the type from A-26 to B-26 has led to popular confusion with the Martin B-26; Although both types used the R-28000 engine, they are completely different designs
In early 1961, about 20 B-26Bs, most converted from B-26C configuration, were 'sanitized' at Duke Field (aka Auxiliary Field Three at Eglin AFB). They had defensive armament deleted, and were fitted with the Eight-gun nose, underwing drop tanks, rocket racks, etc.
General characteristicsCrew: 3
Length: 50 ft 0 in (15.24 m)
Wingspaan: 70 ft 0 in (21.34 m)
Height: 18 ft 3 in (5.64 m)
Wing area: 540 ft² (50 m²)
Empty weight: 22,850 lb (10,365 kg)
Loaded weight: 27,600 lb (12,519 kg)
Max takeoff weight: 35,000 lb (15,900 kg)
Powerplant: 2×
Pratt & Whitney R-28000-27 "Double Wasp" radialss, 2,000 hp

Miami, Florida 27th January 2010: April 15th the day we here in the States all known as “Tax Day” — the day we must all have our income tax forms filed with the IRS. In 1961 this day became infamous as this was the day the Fuerza Aérea de Liberación (Liberation Air Force) launched an aerial attacks against the Cuban mainland utilizing eight Douglas twin engine A‑26 Invader aircraft, thus began the Bay of Pigs Invasion (La Batalla de Girón, as it is known in Cuba). Controversy exists today regarding CIA and other US governmental assistance and that will be left to others for essay as well as heated discussion. There is no controversy that many were lost, on both sides.
But regardless as to how history may have embraced this event, the fact of the matter is that history for these two Countries the United States and Cuba was written with a U.S. Air Force aircraft, the Douglas A-26 "Invader".
Shown above is the new and wonderfully constructed memorial at Kendall Regional Airport (KTMB) which pays honor to the men who trained and flew the venerable A-26 Invader, as this article pays homage to the aircraft. Chapter President Benny F. Benitez view this memorial and was pleased to see the overall condition of the aircraft. Despite the humid and corrosive condition to aircraft that is South Florida, aircraft "931" appears to be cosmetically in great condition.
Having a Chapter member, Mr. Stan Bodner who flew A-26's in Germany in the 1950's, the 317th hopes to hold a seminar on and about the aircraft at the site for the benefit of local Civil Air Patrol Cadets and the public in the months to come.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Air Force Association Miami Chapter, The 317th Commends Homestead Air Reserve Base SrA. Airmen Romaine Pryor

SrA. Romaine Pryor with his lovely Fiancee who were celebrating their anniversary on the very same day of the schedule banquet
SrA. Airmen Romaine Pryor addresses the audience at the Civil Air Patrol Tamiami Composite Squadron 335th annual banquet on Air Force core values

Homestead, Florida 23rd January 2010: In an outstanding display and example of U.S. Air Force core values, SrA. Romaine Pryor who serves on the Homestead Air Reserve Base Junior Enlisted Council spoke to the Cadets of the Civil Air Patrol, Tamiami Composite Squadron 335 at their annual banquet. 
SrA. Pryor drove home the point to the Cadets of the 335 that determination and wiliness to succeed and applying ones potential in whatever one strides for and that working together as a team will ensure success. 
The Cadets were challenged by SrA. Pryor in that he expects to see them working again as a team at this year Homestead Air Reserve Base Airshow. We at the Air Force Association Miami Chapter, the 317th wish to thank and congratulate SrA. Pryor for an excellent display of U.S. Air Force core values toward the young Cadets. In appreciation, the 317th through a donation from the 94th AeroClaims-Aviation Consultant Group, shall provide SrA. Pryor a one year individual member to the AFA and sign him on as a Chapter member.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Air Force Association Miami Chapter, The 317th Supports The Civil Air Patrol 335 Tamiami Composite Squadron "The Black Sheeps"

In attendance as a guest speaker at the Civil Air Patrol Tamiami Composite Squadron 335 annual banquet was Sr. Airmen Romaine Pryor USAF from the Junior Enlisted Council at Homestead Air Reserve Base who commended the troops of the 335 for their effort and assistance during last year airshow at Homestead Air Reserve Base and looks forward to their assistance for this year showThe special quest speaker at the event was three time Miami Dolphin Super Bowl Champion Mr. Eugene "Mercury" Morris who spoke about what core values means to him and as to how the cadets of the Civil Air Patrol, Tamiami Composite Squadron, the 335 embodies those value
The Invocation at the event was led by Major Joseph Molodon Tamiami Composite Squadron Chaplain The "Head Table" from left to right shown are Lt. Col. Manuel Alfaro, Group 7 Commander, Lt. Col. Steve Schack, Tamiami Composite Squadron Commander and Captain Manuel Pelati, Tamiami Composite Squadron Deputy Commander for Cadets. Not shown in the photograph but of worthy mention is Major Manuel Pelati, Tamiami Composite Squadron Commander for Seniors

Standing outside the enter to the VFW Post 4127 "The Friendly Post" are the Tamiami Composite Squadron, 335 Color Guard proudly displaying the colors
Homestead, Florida 23rd January 2010: In an effort to promote, establish and project the presence and abilities of the Miami Chapter Air Force Association, the 317th leadership led by its President Mr. Benny F. Benitez proudly represented the 317th at the Civil Air Patrol, Tamiami Composite Squadron 335 annual banquet, which was held at the Homestead VFW Post 4127. Accompanied by the Chapter Secretary, Ms. Catherine Smallwood, who also serve as the Chapter Public Affair Office photographer, the Miami Chapter Air Force Association not only showed its presence and support toward the Cadets of 335, but handed out various AFA awards to the distinguished Cadets.
Given the opportunity by Lt. Col. Manuel Pelati, Group 7 Commander the AFA-317th President addressed the audience about the Miami Chapter Air Force Association and as to how the Chapter under his leadership looks forward to working with the Cadets of the Tamiami Composite Squadron.
Chapter Secretary Catherine Smallwood who is an FAA Certified Flight Instructor with all applicable ratings held a side bar conference with the leadership of the Tamiami Composite Squadron about assisting with her time and talent within their flight operations department.
As a foot note the Tamiami Composite Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol was stood up back in 1980 and in 1982 it established itself at Tamiami Regional Airport (KTMB) and in 1987 in took up residence at its current facility, the Wings Over Miami Air Museum, formally known as the Weeks Air Museum.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Air Force Association Miami Chapter, The 317th Conducts a Technical Reviews and Inspection Of The New Dornier SeaStar

Photographed with aircraft D-ISEA at TurnBerry Aviation at Opa Locka Airport is Air Force Association Maimi Chapter, 317th member and liaision to the Israeli Defense Force Mr. Avi Mizarchi Carrying German civil aircraft registration of D-ISEA the Dornier SeaStar sit in a impeccably clean aircraft hangar at TurnBerry Aviation
Shown is Air Force Association Miami Chapter President Benny F. Benitez (center) accompanied by Mr. Julio D. Somarriba, Jr, President & CEO of Wisetouch Interiors an aircraft interior service company (left) and Mr. George Moussa of Triton Aviation, Inc., Aerospace Interior Consultant
The Doriner SeaStar is a Pratt & Whitney PT6 powered In line Turbo-Prop

Opa Locka, Florida 20th January 2010: Seastar is an ALL-COMPOSITE 12-seat, 10,000-lb. amphibious flying boat. The Seastar CD 2 series aircraft type is LBA and FAA certified to FAR Part 23 amendment 34. It is the top of the line version and will be the first to market. The aircraft is all composite and powered by two reliable Pratt & Whitney PT-6 turboprop engines. It will feature state-of-the-art cockpit avionics, exterior and interior design, layouts, accessories, and comfort systems. The advanced Seastar design incorporates more than 90 years of Dornier engineering know-how and experience in the operation of seaplanes.
The Air Force Association Miami Chapter, the 317th led by its President Benny F. Benitez, Chapter Secretary Catherine Smallwood and Chapter member Avi Mizarchi, undertook a detailed physical exterior inspection of the Doriner SeaStar, so as to learn of the aircraft technical and operational attributes. This included a review of the aircraft technical manuals for familiarity. Provided below are a few technical attributes that make this a one of kind aircraft.
General characteristicsCrew: One or two
Capacity: 12 passengers
Length: 12.46 m (40 ft 10½ in)
Wingspan: 15.50 m (50 ft 10¼ in)
Height: 4.60 m (15 ft 1 in)
Wing area: 28.48 m² (306.6 ft²)
Empty weight: 2,400 kg (5,291 lb)
Gross weight: 4,200 kg (9,259 lb)
Powerplant: 2 × Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-112, 373 kW (500 hp) each each

PerformanceCruising speed: 341 km/h (212 mph)
Stall speed: 115 km/h (72 mph)
Range: 1,850 km (1,150 miles)
Endurance: 9 hours 12 min
Service ceiling: 8,535 m (28,000 ft)
Rate of climb: 8.0 m/s (1,575 ft/min)
Takeoff Distance to 15 m (50 ft): 410 m (1,345 ft)
Landing Distance from 15 m (50 ft) (on land): 480 m (1,575 ft)
Being that leadership at the Air Force Association, Miami Chapter, the 317th is comprised of pure aviation professionals starting with their President, their Vice President and the Chapter Secretary and for the benefit of the Aerospace education, the Chapter plans to have various "Aircraft Reviews" for the student body of the local Miami-Dade Schools, Jr. AFROTC and AFROTC Det 155 at University of Miami.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Air Force Association Miami Chapter, The 317th Leadership Provides An Aviaton Safety Seminar to U.S.C.G & Law Enforcement Aircrews

AFA-317th President Benny F. Benitez is pictured next to an HU-25 ship number 2114. The HU-25's are used for long range open ocean patrols
AFA-317th President Benny F. Benitez and Chapter Secretary Catherine D. Smallwood present Captain Richard Kenin U.S.C.G, the Commanding Officer of Coast Guard Air Station Miami with a Flight 401 survivors autographed digital rendering of the Eastern Airlines Flight 401 Lockheed L-1011, N310EA The audience in which AFA-317th President, Benny F. Benitez and Chapter Secretary Catherine Smallwood lectured to concerning the 1972 crash of Eastern Airlines Flight 401, which established Crew Resource Management (CRM) consisted of over 220 U.S.C.G, Local, State and Federal Law Enforcement Aircrews
In supporting the Eastern Airlines Flight 401 Tribute Group, both Catherine D. Smallwood and Benny F. Benitez act as Technical Aviation Advisers to the Group and lecture on the post crash of Eastern Flight 401 and the subject of Crew Resource Management (CRM)
Coast Guard Air Station Miami is equipped with a complement of six (6) EADS HH-65 Daulphin Search and Rescue Helicopters. The HH-65 is manned by a crew of four (4) individuals, two Pilots a Rescue Swimmer and In-Flight Mechanic
Aside of their Rotary wing assets, Coast Guard Air Station Miami is also equipped with fixed wing aircraft such as the Dassualt Falcon 20 otherwise known within Coast Guard Aviation as the HU-25. The HU-25 has a crew of four (4) individuals, two Pilots a Drop Master and a Observer. The HU-25 is soon to be replaced by the new EADS Casa 235 twin engine Turbo Prop which shall be known as the HC-114
Opa Locka, Florida 5th January 2010: In the spirit of our Armed Force Active duty brethren and comrades, the Air Force Association Miami Chapter, the 317th through its members and leadership business connections and business clients operates in "Jointness Operational Mode" a tremendous assets to provide continuous exposure and awareness toward the Air Force Association.
With that said and through the Chapter President company, the 94th AeroClaims-Aviation Consultant Group and its subsidiary, the Digital Aircraft Factory, which is headed up and operated by the Chapter Secretary, Catherine Smallwood and through their support of the Eastern Airlines Flight 401 Tribute Group, they took the honorable mention and presence of the Air Force Association and the Miami Chapter, the 317th to over 220 USCG, Federal, State and Local Aviation Law Enforcement and Rescue Aircrews.
By invitation sent to Mr. Benitez by Captain Richard Kenin (USCG) Commanding Officer of Coast Guard Air Station Miami, the leadership of the 317th in assisting the Eastern Airlines Flight 401 Tribute (the 1972 crash of an Eastern Airlines L-1011, see provided the attending aircrews with an inside to the start of what is the foundation of all aircrew operational training "Crew Resource Management-CRM" that became an industry standard a result of the 1972 crash.
In meeting many State and Local Aviation Law Enforcement aviators, of which many were U.S. Veterans and Reservist, the AFA-317th capitalized on the opportunity to advocate and educate the attending audience on and about the Air Force Association its Miami Chapter and the benefits of joining and supporting the Air Force Association.

Air Force Association Miami Chapter, The 317th Starts Off The New Year With General Fraser and U.S. Southern Command

Benny F. Benitez AFA greets the Mayor of Coral Gables, the Honorable Don Slesnick, II at the U.S. Southern Command event held at the Grand Ball Room at Doral Resort. Mayor Slenick is a Vietnam Veteran and served as an Advisor to NATO Countries and Forces
The AFA-317th extended a greeting to Mrs Jeannett Slesnick who shared in rivting conversation with AFA-317th President Benny F. Benitez about the history of the City of Coral Gables
Shown from left to right are Mr. Brain C. Dawson, Sr. Account Executive for IBC Airways, Ms. Arlene York, U.S. Southern Command Protocol Specialist and Benny F. Benitez, President of the Miami Chapter of the Air Force Association, the 317th
AFA-317th President meets with dignitaries of Caribbean and Latin American Nations that support and play a U.S. National Security role through and with U.S. Southern Command. Show here is Benny F. Benitez with the Honorary Consul of Guyana, the Honorable Ramzan Roshanali

AFA-317th President Benny F. Benitez greets and shares a conversation with U.S. Southern Command Chief of Staff United States Marine Corp. Brigadier General David C. Garza
AFA-317th President Benny F. Benitez and General Frazer the Commanding General of U.S. Southern Command based in Doral section of Miami, Florida
Air Force Association Miami Chapter, the 317th President Benny F. Benitez is greeted by General and Mrs Fraser at the Doral Golf Resort U.S. Southern Command event to kick off the New Year

Doral, Florida 9th January 2010: Despite the cold and frigged temperatures that has gripped and besieged the Miami area since the commencement of the New Year, all but the hardest of souls braved the elements to answer the invite call sent forth by the U.S. South Command Commanding General, General Fraser (USAF) to a post New Year gathering at the Doral Golf Resort.
Dignitaries from Foreign Allied Nations and Governments, as well as prominent local business leaders to include State, County and City officials were all in attendance to help General Fraser, his family and his Command celebrate the New Year! The Air Force Association Miami Chapter, the 317th had both and honorable mention and presences, as the Chapter President, Mr. Benny F. Benitez was in attendance and proudly representing the Air Force Association.
Seizing the opportunity, Mr. Benitez was able to hold side bar conferences with various ranking officers and visiting dignitaries. One such conversation was with U.S. Southern Command Chief of Staff, Brigadier General David C. Garza (USMC). Mr. Benitez explained to Brigadier General Garza the AFA-317th wiliness and ability to assit in morale and welfare of his troops through reorganization and the rendering of well earned awards. The General was delighted and extended an open door visitation to his office, so as to forge a stronger link between the community (AFA-317th) and the Command. Other such conversations and exposure of the AFA-317th were held withe Honorable Don Slesnick, the Mayor of Coral Gables and Honorary Consul of the Country of Guyana, the Honorable Mr. Ramzan Roshanali.
Other notable mentioned included Mr. Brain C. Dawson of IBC Airways a locally based Miami Airline which operates the SAAB 340 and Fairchild Merlin II Turboprop aircraft's often in support of U.S. Southern Command.
All in all the Air Force Association Miami Chapter, the 317th seized a tremendous opportunity to present itself to many and thus raising the awareness and value of the Air Force Association in Miami.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Air Force Association Miami Chapter, The 317th Vice President Rod Huete and His U.S.A.F Service In The F-16 & F-15

Shown next to his F-16 Falcon on sun baked flight line at Edwards Air Force Base back in the early 80's is AFA-317th Vice President, Col. Rode Huete USAF (Ret.) who flew as an F-16 Test Pilot
AFA-317 Chapter Vice President Rod Huete in the cockpit of an Embraer ERJ-170 as an FAA Test Pilot

Miami, Florida 8th January 2010: Rodrigo J. (Rod) Huete is presently a Test Pilot Consultant, recently retired from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), New York Aircraft Certification Office after having served the FAA for almost fourteen years. Rod also retired from the USAF in 1993 as a test pilot. He was a T-38 instructor Pilot, was a Flight Test Engineer in developmental testing of the F-15 and then was an F-15 fighter pilot in Germany.
He is a graduate of the USAF Test Pilot School, class 81A, stayed at Edwards AFB as an Air Launched Cruise Missile chase pilot, and then as chief of the Airframe Branch in the F-16 Test Force where he tested the first F-16 major electrical system upgrade, the LANTIRN pod structural verification and the first Digital Electronic Engine Control (DEEC) on a fighter engine. Rod was then assigned to the USAF TPS as an instructor test pilot where he was the lead instructor for spins and was triple rated in the F-4, T-38 and A-37.
Between flying duties Rod was assigned as special assistant to the Commander-In-Chief, US Southern Command in Panama where he programmed the requirements of Low Intensity Conflict technology such as the C-27 STOL aircraft, and the Caribbean Basin Radar Network (CBRN). He returned to flight testing at Edwards AFB as the Director of Safety flying the F-15 on APG-70 radar product improvements.
After retiring in 1993 Rod worked for the National Test Pilot School (NTPS) as an instructor test pilot and was assigned to Venezuela to complete the VF-5A/B avionics upgrade program which included a new weapons computer, a Heads-Up Display and it required a full air-to-ground weapons qualification. In the FAA Rod was the primary certification test pilot for all Bombardier jet products, he was part of several multi-pilot evaluations introducing glass cockpit concepts to Part 23 airplanes such as the Avidyne and Garmin G-1000.
As the Lead Flight Safety Officer for the Aircraft Certification Service Rod was integral in establishing the FAA Flight Test Risk Management process through FAA Order 4040.26; he was also the FAA lead for the NASA/FAA Flight Test Safety Database. Rod is type rated in the A-320, B-737, CRJ-100/200/700/900, Challenger 604/605, Challenger 300, Global Express and is also Seaplane and Glider rated. Rod is a two-time winner of the SETP Tony LeVier Flight test safety award (2000 and 2008).