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Legends of Airpower

Next Airing: Sat, May 30th, 2020 at 10:00 AM on UEN-TV

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Thirteen men and women who made America's air power the most respected in the world are profiled in this award-winning series. The series features exclusive interviews with Legends such as Chuck Yeager, Jim Lovell, Buzz Aldrin, and Paul Tibbetts. Spanning the first century of flight, Legends of Airpower effortlessly relates the life and times of these heroes.


  • Lorraine Zilner Rodgers

    Lorraine Zilner Rodgers was a member of The Women Airforce Service Pilots, known as the WASP, the first group of women pilots to serve the United States Army Air Force in WWII. Out of 25,000 women who applied to the program, Rodgers was one out of 1830 who were accepted. Given the task of ferrying aircraft across the country, to allow the men to be available for combat, Rodgers often had to deal with the stigma of being a woman pilot. The WASP did everything the men did with equal ability, but lacked the equality of full military benefits. After many years of fighting for military recognition, Rodgers and her fellow female pilots received their veteran status on March 8, 1979 and cemented their roles in WWII, as well as the history of aviation.

    Next Airing: Sat, May 30th, 2020 at 10:00 AM on UEN-TV
    Length: 00:24:45
    Usage rights: 2/27/2019 to 8/26/2020
  • James Stockdale

    James Stockdale spent his time as a prisoner of war in Vietnam defying orders and doing everything in his power to stay true to his country. Stockdale remains one of the most highly decorated officers in the United States Navy, leading the U.S air squadron in the Gulf of Tonkin and earning 26 personal combat decorations, including four Silver Star medals. When his A-4 SkyRaider was hit by anti-aircraft fire, he was forced to eject from the aircraft and was taken prisoner upon landing. Stockdale spent the next seven years as a P.O.W., doing everything from beating himself up to avoid being paraded in public, to slitting his own wrists to show he would rather die than talk. Released in 1973, he received the Congressional Medal of Honor in 1976.

    Next Airing: Sat, Jun 6th, 2020 at 10:00 AM on UEN-TV
    Length: 00:24:45
    Usage rights: 3/6/2019 to 9/2/2020
  • Glenn Curtiss

    Glenn Curtiss, an aviation pioneer, started out building gasoline engines and eventually went on to build his own aircraft company. Named the "fastest man on Earth" in 1907, when his motorcycle set a speed record of 136.3 miles per hour, Curtiss began constructing engines for airships. The first U.S. Army aircraft, was powered by a Curtiss engine. Curtiss aircrafts were present at many firsts in the history of aviation. Curtiss' friendly rivalry with the Wright brothers ended when the two aircraft manufacturers merged in 1929, to become the Curtiss-Wright Corporation.

    Next Airing: Sat, Jun 13th, 2020 at 10:00 AM on UEN-TV
    Length: 00:24:45
    Usage rights: 3/13/2019 to 9/9/2020
  • David Lee 'Tex' Hill

    David Lee "Tex" Hill was recruited to the American Volunteer Group, the group known as the Flying Tigers, in 1941. Under the leadership of General Claire Chennault, Hill was one of the top aces in the unit. After the deactivation of the Flying Tigers, Hill went on to fight with the 23rd Fighter Group, as well as the 75th Fighter Group. Throughout his career, he destroyed 18 plus enemy aircraft, one of them being the first Zero shot down by a P-51. He continued to fight through the end of WWII and in 1946, he joined the Air National Guard as the youngest Brigadier General in the service's history.

    Next Airing: Sat, Jun 20th, 2020 at 10:00 AM on UEN-TV
    Length: 00:25:00
    Usage rights: 3/20/2019 to 9/16/2020
  • Albert Scott Crossfield

    Albert Scott Crossfield's military career spanned from flight and gunnery instructor to test pilot and record-breaking flyer. After attending an experimental flight test pilot school at Edwards Air Force Base, the outbreak of the Korean War left him to take full responsibility for the Edwards test program. Under his leadership, the program flourished. Undaunted by any plane, he made his first flight in the X-1 rocket plane in 1951 and when the windshield iced over, he used his own sock to clear a hole large enough to allow him to land the plane safely. The X-15 became Crossfield's pet project and on November 15, 1960, Crossfield exceeded Mach 3, becoming the first man to accomplish such a feat and live to tell about it.

    Next Airing: Sat, Jun 27th, 2020 at 10:00 AM on UEN-TV
    Length: 00:25:00
    Usage rights: 3/27/2019 to 9/23/2020
  • Richard Bong

    Richard Bong was the top scoring ace of WWII, shooting down 40 enemy aircraft. He began flying his P-38 in the Pacific Theater in late 1942 and had already surpassed Eddie Rickenbacker's 26 kills by April of 1943. Bong achieved his 40th and final kill in 1944. He went on to become a test pilot of jet fighters, but died tragically on a routine flight when his P-80 malfunctioned after takeoff, on the same day the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima.

    Next Airing: Sat, Jul 4th, 2020 at 10:00 AM on UEN-TV
    Length: 00:25:00
    Usage rights: 4/3/2019 to 9/30/2020
  • Amelia Earhart

    Amelia Earhart's remarkable aviation career was tragically cut short when Earhart and her navigator went missing over the Nukumanu Islands. Before her disappearance, Earhart's name became a household one, in 1932, when she was the first woman to make a solo-return transcontinental flight. Earhart flew her Lockheed Vega from Harbor Grace, Newfoundland to Londonderry, Ireland, on the fifth anniversary of Charles Lindbergh's famous flight. In the remaining years of her life, she went onto break numerous speed and distance records.

    Next Airing: Sat, Jul 11th, 2020 at 10:00 AM on UEN-TV
    Length: 00:25:00
    Usage rights: 4/10/2019 to 10/7/2020
  • Eddie Rickenbacker

    Eddie Rickenbacker's love of speed started in the form of auto racing. Rickenbacker raised the money to buy Indianapolis Speedway in 1927, where he had raced in the first Indianapolis 500 in 1911. His attention turned to airplanes during WWI, when he enlisted in the army and after aerial gunnery training was assigned to the 94th Aero Pursuit Squadron, quickly becoming an ace fighter. During WWII, Rickenbacker and his B-17 crew were lost at sea for 24 days, after their B-17 overshot its mark. He credited his wife, who convinced General "Hap" Arnold to extend the search for another week, with saving his life and the lives of his crew. Rickenbacker later went onto own Eastern Airlines.

    Next Airing: Sat, Jul 18th, 2020 at 10:00 AM on UEN-TV
    Length: 00:25:14
    Usage rights: 4/17/2019 to 10/14/2020
  • John Boyd

    John Boyd was known as "Forty-Second Boyd" throughout the Air Force because of his promise to beat anyone in simulated air-to-air combat in forty seconds or less. He was taken up on his offer many times and never lost. Boyd turned his natural combat skills into teaching tools for his fellow pilots, coining his famous Energy-Maneuverability Theory, which completely changed the way fighter pilots fought. His theory was even employed in the future design of aircraft, allowing manufacturers to design planes that had great maneuverability. His theories changed tactical fighting forever.

    Next Airing: Sat, Jul 25th, 2020 at 10:00 AM on UEN-TV
    Length: 00:25:00
    Usage rights: 4/24/2019 to 10/21/2020
  • Charles Bolden

    Charles Bolden has logged more than 6,000 hours of flying time in his lengthy aviation career. Bolden enlisted in the Marine Corps after graduation from the Naval Academy and went on to fly more than 100 combat missions in North and South Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. Bolden graduated from the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School and flew numerous test projects as an ordnance test pilot. In 1980, Bolden was picked as an astronaut candidate. His space career has allowed him to participate in many historic space flights, such as pilot of the Space Shuttle Discovery in 1990, which successfully deployed the Hubble telescope, and as commander of STS-60 in 1994, which marked the first joint U.S./Russian Space Shuttle mission.

    Next Airing: Sat, Aug 1st, 2020 at 10:00 AM on UEN-TV
    Length: 00:24:45
    Usage rights: 5/1/2019 to 10/28/2020
  • Richard Steve Ritchie

    Richard "Steve" Ritchie was the only Air Force pilot named an ace during the Vietnam War. After completing his training at the Air Force Fighter Weapons School at Nellis Air Force Base Ritchie in 1969, he became one of the youngest instructors in the school's history. In 1972, his second combat tour in Southeast Asia allowed him to rise to ace status, bringing down 5 MiG 21s during Operation Linebacker in 1972. In addition to becoming the only ace since the Korean War, Ritchie is also the only American pilot to destroy 5 MiG 21s.

    Next Airing: Sat, Aug 8th, 2020 at 10:00 AM on UEN-TV
    Length: 00:25:00
    Usage rights: 5/8/2019 to 11/4/2020
  • Harry Combs

    Harry Combs started his love affair with aviation at the age of 13 with a $2.50 ride in the cockpit of a mail plane. By his mid-teens, Combs was building his own flight-worthy aircraft. His education led him to try investment banking, a path that he would later modify to successfully run Combs Aircraft. It seems Harry Combs has done it all, from working with President Kennedy on the increasing demand for air travel to rebuilding the struggling Gates LearJet company. His close friendship with Neil Armstrong even served as a catalyst for Combs' great interest in letting the world in on the secrets of the Wright Brothers, leading to both a novel and a video documentary about the pair. Today, Harry Combs continues to nurture his passion for aviation and his love of everything America has to offer.

    Next Airing: Sat, Aug 15th, 2020 at 10:00 AM on UEN-TV
    Length: 00:25:00
    Usage rights: 5/15/2019 to 11/11/2020
  • Butch O'hare

    Born to a father rumored to have had ties to Al Capone and the mob, "Butch" O'Hare was a Navy pilot whose name marks one of the world's busiest airports. He graduated the Naval Academy in Annapolis in 1937 and had amassed much experience as a fighter pilot when he got involved in World War II. He was awarded the Medal of Honor in 1942 for single-handedly breaking up a Japanese attack on the Lexington. He continued his combat career and in the midst of the first successful carrier-based night interception, in 1943, O'Hare lost his life.

    Length: 00:25:00
    Usage rights: 11/21/2018 to 5/20/2020
  • Chappie James

    He was born in Pensacola, FL, and spread his wings at the prestigious Tuskegee Institute. A gifted pilot, "Chappie" James flew 101 missions in Korea and 78 in Vietnam; in addition, he also single-handedly prevented an attack from Muammar Qadaffi in Libya, and rose above racism to become the first African-American four-star general.

    Length: 00:24:45
    Usage rights: 11/21/2018 to 5/20/2020
  • Claire Chennault

    He was born in the small town of Waterproof, LA, but from an early age Claire Chennault thought big. He launched the theory of "defensive pursuit," and practiced what he preached as a leader of the Flying Tigers in China. A chain-smoking, hard-living man, Chennault seemed to come from another generation, but was beloved by all-even the notorious Chinese leader Chaing-kai Shek.

    Length: 00:24:44
    Usage rights: 11/21/2018 to 5/20/2020
  • Deke Slayton

    Wisconsin native Deke Slayton flew 56 combat missions in Europe during WWII, but is probably best known as one of the original Mercury 7. Though he was grounded due to a heart condition, Slayton filled a vital role well enough to fly in the early 1970s, and made his first space flight as pilot of the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project (ASTP) mission-a joint space flight between American astronauts and Soviet cosmonauts.

    Length: 00:25:29
    Usage rights: 11/21/2018 to 5/20/2020
  • George McGovern

    George McGovern has spent a large portion of his life in the political arena, holding office as U.S. Congressman for South Dakota for 22 years, as well as running as the Democratic presidential nominee in 1972. However, it is his outstanding military career that makes him a true LEGEND OF AIRPOWER. McGovern flew 35 combat missions as a B-24 bomber pilot. As the subject of historian Stephen Ambrose' book The Wild Blue, it is apparent just how much responsibility was heaped on such a young man. His bravery in WWII earned him the Distinguish Service Cross. Ambrose once remarked that "McGovern is one of the greatest patriots I know."

    Length: 00:25:00
    Usage rights: 2/20/2019 to 8/19/2020
  • Joe Foss

    He was born in 1915 to a Norwegian-Scots family in South Dakota. Though he grew up poor, Joe Foss was able to scrape together $65 for flying lessons, and from then on he was hooked. After joining the Marines, Foss fought in WWII, racked up 26 aerial victories, and was awarded the Medal of Honor. After the war, this intrepid Marine helped organize the South Dakota Air National Guard, fought in the Air Force during the Korean War, was elected Governor of South Dakota, and even became the first American Football League Commissioner.

    Length: 00:24:59
    Usage rights: 11/21/2018 to 5/20/2020
  • Robin Olds

    Triple-ace and salty-tongued Robin Olds literally wrote the book on tactical air power. The son of a major general, Olds was born for combat. His distinguished career included 107 combat missions in World War II and 152 in Vietnam, and 17 kills in each. And along with Daniel "Chappie" James, he became part of a flying duo known as "Blackman and Robin." And on his time away from battle, Olds even found time to marry a movie star.

    Length: 00:24:59
    Usage rights: 11/21/2018 to 5/20/2020
  • Sam Johnson

    A prisoner of war in Vietnam for over six years, Sam Johnson nevertheless was able to rise from his desperate situation to become a Texas congressman. This Legend served his country for over 50 years, flying F-86 Sabre jets in Korea and the F-4 Phantom II in Vietnam. After his release in 1973, Johnson stayed in the Air Force until his retirement in 1979. Today, the Honorable Legend serves the Third District of Texas in the U.S. House of Representatives.

    Length: 00:24:59
    Usage rights: 11/21/2018 to 5/20/2020
  • Thomas McGuire

    America's number two all-time ace, behind his good friend and rival Richard Bong, Thomas McGuire was born in Ridgewood, NJ in 1920. Although he only flew two years of combat in World War II, he was awarded America's highest awards, including the Congressional Medal of Honor, Distinguished Service Cross, six Distinguished Flying Crosses, three Silver Stars, three Purple Hearts, 14 Air Medals and many others. During the final days of the war, McGuire was killed while saving the life of a wingman.

    Length: 00:24:44
    Usage rights: 11/21/2018 to 5/20/2020