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Behind the Wings

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Wings Over the Rockies has a new podcast! Based on our hit YouTube and PBS series of the same name, the Behind the Wings podcast will cover everything from aviation history to the future of space exploration with thought leaders and experts in the industry. This one's going to be cool!


United States


Wings Over the Rockies has a new podcast! Based on our hit YouTube and PBS series of the same name, the Behind the Wings podcast will cover everything from aviation history to the future of space exploration with thought leaders and experts in the industry. This one's going to be cool!






(303) 360-5360


Episode 30 - America's Secret MiG-23s

An American MiG-23 pilot reveals long-held secrets in this in-depth conversation about a declassified program, Constant Peg. On today's show, we’ll meet John Mann who flew in the first-of-its-kind adversary training program, Constant Peg, and take a deep dive into some of the most popular questions we got from you, our listeners. Established in 1977, this top-secret program aimed to train American pilots against the very same MiGs they may one day see in combat. Mann was an instructor who flew the MiG-21 and 23, and co-host John Barry flew in the program as a trainee. This one is going to be cool! If you missed Part One, check that out on Wings Over the Rockies YouTube channel: America's Secret MiG-23s | Behind the Wings - YouTube. Episode 30 marks the end of Season 3 of the Behind the Wings Podcast. We'll be taking a short break and will be back in the new year for Season 4. Key Takeaways: Resources: Red Eagles: America’s Secret MiGs by Steve DaviesCONSTANT PEG: Secret MiGs in the Desert > National Museum of the United States Air Force™ > Display ( Eagle BriefMikoyan-Gurevich MiG-23 MLD "Flogger" | Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum ( Eagles : a history of top secret U.S. aircraft programsAF Declassifies Elite Aggressor Program (


Episode 29 - The World's First Astronomers

This episode will dive into the history of some of the world’s first astronomers, exploring how their knowledge has been passed down for more than 60,000 years. We are going to the southern hemisphere to learn about Australia’s Indigenous astronomy, and the impact it has on our world today. Our guest today is Peter Swanton! Peter is a Gamilaraay man from Mackay, Queensland, an astrophysics graduate, and cultural astronomer. He is actively involved in Indigenous astronomy, outreach, and research, and has a passion for the challenging yet critical subject of dark sky preservation. Peter will highlight the scientific importance of Indigenous star knowledge and the challenges and opportunities in preserving that history. Join us as we hear the stories of Australia’s Indigenous Peoples, why constellations and star clusters are so impactful, and how issues like light pollution threaten the very field of astronomy itself. There is a LOT to learn in this episode! Key Takeaways: Resources: Aboriginal AstronomySonglines: Tracking the Seven Sisters | National Museum of Australia ( The art of navigating the Indigenous world - Australian National Maritime Museum ('s First Astronomers


Episode 28 - Red Tails and Blue Skies: Tuskegee Today

The Tuskegee Airmen were an experiment by the US Army Air Corps to determine whether Black pilots could handle military flying. It turns out they could! But the Tuskegee Airmen fought a second battle – one against racial discrimination. With an impressive combat record and war accomplishments, the success of the Tuskegee Airmen helped influence then-President Harry Truman's decision to desegregate the armed forces in 1948. Our Guests today are Bill Shepard and Col. James Harvey. Bill is the former Vice President of Education for the Commemorative Air Force (CAF), and former CAF Red Tail Squadron Leader. On today’s show, he explores with us the path that led him to proudly fly the P-51C Mustang for the CAF Red Tail Squadron. We will also hear from Col. James Harvey who was a Tuskegee Airman, and his personal journey as one of the first Black Aviators in the US military. From Bill's journey with aviation, to the history of the Tuskegee Airmen, there’s a LOT to explore in this one! Key Takeaways: Resources: Home | CAF RISE ABOVEBlacks in the Army Air Forces During WWII: The Problems of Race Relations ( Air Force Integrates 1945-1964 ( Tuskegee Flight Surgeons (


Episode 27 - AI in Aviation

This episode will dive into the cutting-edge realm of AI in aviation, with a particular focus on its military applications. From autonomous wingmen drones to predictive maintenance, we will explore the opportunities and risks of AI as it transforms the landscape of aerial warfare. Our guest today is Col Tucker Hamilton, callsign “Cinco”. As the Chief of AI test and operations for the USAF, Col Hamilton is at the cutting edge of researching, testing, and implementing artificial intelligence in the realm of military aviation. Col. Hamilton began his career as an operational F-15C pilot, supporting Red Flag exorcises, and real-world Operation Noble Eagle missions, at times escorting Air Force One and the U.S. President. He served as a Chief Instructor, Test Pilot, and has more than 2,000 flying hours in the F-35, F-15, F-18, F-16, A-10, and more than 20 additional aircraft. Is there anything he hasn’t done? We’re about to find out! Join us as we unravel the intricate web of AI technologies shaping the future of aviation, while gaining unique perspectives from a seasoned military leader at the forefront of this transformative field. There’s a LOT to explore! Key Takeaways: Resources: A.I. Brings the Robot Wingman to Aerial Combat - The New York Times ( AI agents successfully pilot XQ-58A Valkyrie uncrewed jet aircraft > Air Force > Article DisplayAir Force Wants $5.8 Billion to Build AI-Powered Unmanned Aircraft (


Episode 26 - Manufacturing the New Artemis Lunar Drill

On today’s show we’re getting an inside look at the design, testing and manufacturing processes at Honeybee Robotics, as they build a key component for the Orion Spacecraft, and a new lunar drill. Don your bunny suits, because we are excited to bring you inside a clean-room and experience first-hand how space hardware is made from prototype through manufacturing! Tune in to hear from Andrew Maurer and Isabel King of Honeybee, as we get a behind the scenes tour at their production facility in Longmont, CO. THIS is going to be cool! We’ve explored the Artemis program on the show before, if you missed those episodes go back and give a listen to episode 10 to hear from an Orion spacecraft engineer, and episode 21 as we compare Apollo and Artemis with former NASA Astronaut Harrison Schmitt, and historian Dr. Teasel Harmony-Muir. Key Takeaways: Resources: Design and Test of the Orion Crew Module Side HatchNASA Selects 12 New Lunar Science, Technology Investigations | NASAApollo to Artemis: Drilling on the Moon | NASAHoneybee Robotics


Episode 25 - Hypersonic Flight & Heat Management

This episode will dive into the world of hypersonic flight, and how new methods of heat management could help usher in a new era for high-speed flight. Join us as we look through the lens of a heat management company, Reaction Engines who is pushing the limits of technology in engines, to enable the next generation of hypersonic flight. Hypersonic flight refers to speeds of more than five times the speed of sound, or Mach 5. Once you start talking about hypersonic speeds, there are lots of challenges that come into play from propulsion limitations to materials that can withstand high temperatures, economic feasibility, communications, physics, and more. Adam Dissel, President of Reaction Engines, helps us dive into many of these topics today, to get a better sense of the state of hypersonic flight, and where the cutting-edge of aerospace is headed. Be sure to strap in, because there is a LOT to learn in this high-speed episode! Key Takeaways: Resources: Reaction Engines - Making Beyond PossibleHypersonics: Past, Present, and Potential Future (


Episode 24 - A Chief’s Take on Aviation in the Vietnam War

Explore the pivotal role of aviation in the Vietnam War alongside former USAF Chief of Staff General Ron R. Fogleman (Ret). Join us as we talk with Ron Fogleman, who takes us along his personal journey to becoming Chief of Staff and helps us uncover the strategic importance of aircraft during the Vietnam War. Ron has over 8,500 hours of flight time, including 315 combat missions where he logged 806 hours. During one of those missions, he was shot down while flying the F-100 Super Sabre and was rescued by clinging to the side of an AH-1 Cobra. Ron retired as Chief of Staff in 1997, after 34 years in the Air Force. He shares with us his pathway to becoming Chief of Staff, lessons he’s learned from the cockpit, and insight about aviation during the Vietnam War. THIS is going to be cool! Key Takeaways: Resources: Ron Fogleman | National Air and Space MuseumRon Fogleman Air Force BioRon Fogleman WikiForward Air Controllers (FAC)


Episode 23 - Gas Stations in Space!

This episode will dive into the world of orbital infrastructure – both the challenges and opportunities - through the lens of an on-orbit spacecraft refueling company, Orbit Fab, who aims to create gas stations in space. Join us as we talk with Adam Harris, the Chief Commercial Officer at Orbit Fab, who gives us insight on the state of LEO (low earth orbit), orbital infrastructure, and explains how on-orbit refueling could be a key part of enabling this new era in space activity more sustainably and efficiently. Orbital refueling is not a new idea, but as space technology, and the cost of launch has come down, the possibility for this type of service at scale is closer to reality than ever before. This is going to be cool! Key Takeaways: Resources: Orbit Fab WebsiteRisk Analysis of On-Orbit Refueling (


Episode 22 - Landing the A-10 Warthog Manually

This episode will dive into the story of Kim “KC” Campbell, one of the few pilots ever to land the Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II “Warthog” manually. Kim is a graduate from the United States Air Force Academy. She has flown 1,800 hours in the A-10 Warthog and more than 100 combat missions including in Iraq and Afghanistan. In 2003, Kim received the Distinguished Flying Cross for Heroism, as she skillfully recovered her battle-damaged aircraft following an intense close air support mission in Baghdad. Campbell has since retired from the Air Force and now is a guest professor, speaker, and bestselling author. She shares with us her pathway to becoming an A-10 pilot, and lessons she’s learned from the cockpit. THIS is going to be cool! Key Takeaways: Resources: Kim "KC" CampbellFlying in the Face of Fear: A Fighter Pilot's Lessons on Leading with Courage: Amazon Books


Episode 21 - Apollo Astronaut & Museum Curator Discuss Apollo's Legacy

The Behind the Wings Podcast is back for Season 3! This episode delves into the legacy of the iconic Apollo program and its profound influence on NASA's ambitious Artemis Program. In celebration of the 54th anniversary of Apollo 11 and the Apollo Program, we’ve got an exciting two-part conversation for today’s episode. Our esteemed guests, Dr. Teasel Muir Harmony, curator of the Apollo Collection at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, and NASA Astronaut Harrison Schmitt, who walked on the moon during Apollo 17 help us unravel the significance of Apollo's groundbreaking achievements, the scientific discoveries made, its political significance, and the lasting impact on human space exploration. Discover how the Apollo program paved the way for Artemis, fueling our dreams of returning to the moon and exploring even further into the cosmos. There is a LOT to learn in this episode! Pack your bags, or at least your spacesuits, as we are taking one giant leap back to the moon. THIS one is going to be cool! Key Takeaways: Resources: Teasel Muir-Harmony | National Air and Space Museum ( Teasel E. Muir-Harmony: books, biography, latest updateThe Honorable Harrison H. Schmitt | NASAReturn to the Moon: Exploration, Enterprise, and Energy in the Human Settlement of Space: Schmitt, Harrison: 9780387242859: Books


Season 3 Trailer | Behind the Wings

Calling all aviation lovers, space nerds, history buffs, and futurists – The Behind the Wings® Podcast is back for Season 3! Ready or not, strap in, because we have 10 great episodes coming up. It’s time to Go... Behind the Wings! We’ve got a lot to explore – stories about how history shapes aviation today, trailblazers in space, and up-close looks at iconic aircraft of the past, present and future. New episodes are published every other Monday, starting on July 17th, 2023. You can find the Behind the Wings podcast wherever you listen. For past episodes and show notes visit: We’ll see you next time on Behind the Wings!


Episode 20 - Pioneers, Pacesetters, Possibilities

What is it about Colorado? Coloradans have had a major impact across every aspect of aviation and space exploration. Our state produced the first American flying ace, the first civilian helicopter ambulance service, and the first female airline pilot. We’ve grown astronauts and executives, entrepreneurs and visionaries, and the aerospace industry has brought hundreds of thousands of jobs and hundreds of billions of dollars into our state’s economy. In fact, Colorado has the nation’s second largest aerospace economy, and aviation is the fastest-growing industry segment in the Denver area. Aerospace research and technology developed in Colorado’s schools and labs is out there exploring other planets—and a lot of it finds its way into products you use every day. Key Takeaways: Resources: Pioneers – Pacesetters – Possibilities | Colorado on the Aerospace Frontier - Wings Over The Rockies ( Stout - Wings Over The Rockies (


Episode 19 - Colorado's First Lady Fighter Pilot

This episode will dive into the story of Tracy "JackieO" LaTourrette, Colorado’s first lady fighter pilot. LaTourrette graduated from the United States Air Force Academy before women were even authorized to fly combat aircraft. After working in the back of an AWACS airfract, she moved to a window seat, becoming one of the first female fighter pilots in the Air Force and flew the F-16 Fighting Falcon, earning numerous accolades for her skill and leadership. LaTourrette flew direct Presidential protection missions and in a classified location for Operation Iraqi Freedom. "JackieO" is known for breaking barriers, from the sound barrier to beyond. This one’s going to be cool! Key Takeaways: Quotes:


Episode 18 - What is the Space Force?

Gain insight into the newest branch of the U.S. military- the Space Force. In this episode, we explore the creation and operations of the Space Force, the newest branch of the United States military. From its roots as a small office within the Air Force to its current status as a fully-fledged branch, we delve into the challenges and successes of the Space Force as it works to defend and protect American interests in space. Our guest, Colonel Marcus Jackson, is the Commander of Space Base Delta 2, headquartered at Buckley Space Force Base, Colorado. As commander, he leads an 857-member team providing Base Operating Support to more than 757 military, Department of Defense civilians and contractor personnel serving at 14 operating locations world-wide, executing critical United States Space Force Missile Warning and Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance missions. In addition, SBD2 hosts 6 wings (or equivalents) and 92 tenant organizations as well as supporting over 14,000 base personnel and a 98,000-retiree population. THIS is going to be cool! Key Takeaways [ChatGPT was used to generate these key takeaways] Resources www.spaceforce.mil


Episode 17 - Pilot Pathways: A Chick in the Cockpit

Explore the topic of pilot pathways – how people navigate the path to becoming a pilot. Our guests are Erika Armstrong and Val Blome. We will dive into Erika’s personal journey as outlined in her memoir “A Chick in the Cockpit”, where she shares her experiences as a woman in a male-dominated industry. The book provides a behind-the-scenes look at the aviation industry, including the challenges and joys of flying, the grueling training process, and the personal sacrifices necessary to succeed. Val Blome will also share her personal journey to becoming a pilot and provide insights into the larger trends she sees people encounter on their journey to becoming a pilot. THIS is going to be cool! Key Takeaways Resources A Chick in the Cockpit - Aviation, Pilot, Aviation ConsultantValerie Blome | LinkedInPilot Pathway - Wings Over The Rockies ( Young Eagles Flights | EAA


Episode 16 - The Tuskegee Helmet that Forged a Friendship

Meet the unlikely cast of characters who came together to reunite Col. James Randall with a piece of his past. We will get into many topics today all connecting back to one long-lost helmet belonging to an F-105 pilot who went down during the Vietnam War. The helmet belonged to Retired Col. James Randall. Col. Randall was a proud member of the Tuskegee Airmen, who were some of the first Black aviators in the US military and helped to desegregate the US armed forces in 1948. They proved themselves as elite aviators with an impressive combat record and war accomplishments. Col. Randall served 36 years in the U.S. Air Force, both on active duty and in the Reserves. Randall joined the Army Air Corps in 1945, flew 75 combat missions in the Korean War, and 44 in the Vietnam war. Col. Randall was a recipient of the Legion of Merit and the Purple Heart. His career as a fighter pilot, and his story is nothing short of remarkable. Our guests include Essie Randall, Roberta Rollins, Gary "Paco" Gregg, and Chuck Stout. There is a LOT going on this episode, so stick with us. THIS one is going to be cool! Key Takeaways Resources Tale of Colorado Springs Vietnam war vet's lost helmet spans globe, decades | News | gazette.comHelmet returned to Air Force pilot shot down in Vietnam | FOX 2 ( reunited with his helmet nearly 50 years later ( Randall > Veterans in Blue > Veterans_Library ( of the “Shaw 14” and the civil rights movement > U.S. Army Central > News | U.S. Army Central


Episode 15 - Accessibility in Space Exploration

There’s space for everybody.” But we know little about how differently-abled people will respond to low-gravity environments and the unique challenges that can arise in human space flight. Mission: Astro Access - a crew of disabled scientists, aerospace professionals and artists based in America - is planning its second mission to explore how different people navigate space travel. What challenges arise, and surprisingly, what advantages might different abilities have? Our guests today are Eric Ingram and Lindsay Yazzolino. Eric, a wheelchair user, and Lindsay who is blind are two of the crew members who set out to find answers to these questions on board Mission: Astro Access's parabolic flights where they experienced zero gravity, and gravity-simulating the moon and Mars. On the mission, the ambassadors will explore questions like: How would you navigate if the lights went out on your spacecraft? How would you communicate if it's too loud to hear? The experiments on Astro Access will benefit all future explorers, as the learnings are passed onto players in the space industry, making spacecraft and space stations safer, easier to navigate and adaptable to the diversity of humans who will one day visit, live and work in space. Key Takeaways Resources The Right Stuff ( Live: AstroAccess - Advancing Disability Inclusion in Space Exploration - YouTubeAccess All: Disability news and talk: 'It was magical' - the first disabled crew to fly in zero-gravity on Apple PodcastsAmbassadors2 - AstroAccessThe mission to break barriers to space travel for people with disabilities


Episode 14 - Design, Deploy, Discover: The James Webb Space Telescope

In this episode of Behind the Wings, we are talking about the James Webb Space Telescope! A next generation deep-space telescope that NASA launched in December 2021. It’s the most powerful telescope ever built, with the ability to see further and clearer into space than any previous telescope. It’s advanced design, sensors, and technology will allow it to time travel to some of the first galaxies that formed, learn about exoplanets that could be capable of supporting life. We are joined by Lee Feinberg, the Optical Telescope Element Manager for the James Webb Space Telescope. Lee shares with us the fascinating story of how he became involved with the project and the challenges he and his team faced in developing the telescope. He discusses the cutting-edge technology being used in the construction of the James Webb Space Telescope and the groundbreaking science it will enable us to explore. Tune in to learn more about this exciting project and the impact it will have on our understanding of the universe. There is a LOT to explore with this one, and the scientific research is only really just getting started. This one is going to be cool! Key Takeaways: Resources


Episode 13 - Delivering Blood, Organs & Pizza with Drones

Today, we are going deeper with a company called MissionGo who is using drones to do a variety of things from infrastructure inspections to medical and commercial cargo. Our guests are MissionGo President Chris Corgnati and Director of Flight Operations Ryan Henderson. Last time on episode 4 we discussed drone soccer, and the regulatory challenges that this quickly growing industry faces as it takes on autonomous flight, air taxi services and more, so if you want a great introduction on drones go check that out. Infrastructure inspections are certainly important, and I know a lot of companies are out there doing that and it is where many of them are able to make money today, but I’m really excited about the medical applications. In April 2019, MissionGo did the first-ever drone delivery of an organ transplant, and since then they have delivered everything from pizza, to blood, and life-saving medication. We should probably say the pizza and organs are separate delivery packages right, but in all seriousness, this is such a cool and important use case that I think we’re going to see more and more. Key Takeaways: Support Behind the Wings by making a financial contribution to Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum’s Annual Fund! ( References: MGV100 - MissionGOWatch first-ever drone delivery of organ for transplant | CNNMicrosoft PowerPoint - 15 Drone Package Delivery-Newest Member of the Supply Chain - Adam Greco ( Race For Last Mile Drones | Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (


Episode 12 - How Eileen Collins Blazed a Trail in Space

Strap in folks, we are going to Space with a very special guest who blazed her own trail, defying the grip of Earth’s gravity, and breaking a glass ceiling into the cosmos. Our Guest today is Retired NASA Astronaut Eileen Collins. Col. Collins has lived an amazing life, and though she has retired from the NASA astronaut program, her mission to share her story and inspire the next generation of explorers is far from over. Many of us can only dream of a career like hers - from her achievements as the first woman to command an American space mission and the first to pilot the space shuttle to her early years as one of the Air Force’s first female pilots. Eileen is one of those pioneers who forever changed the trajectory of space exploration - this one's going to be cool! Key Takeaways: Support Behind the Wings by making a financial contribution to Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum’s Annual Fund! ( References: