Posts Tagged ‘Flying Wing’

Peter Allen talks about Johnny Myers – Part 1

October 23, 2009
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Warren Christopher – Secretary of State, Friend to Johnny Myers

September 4, 2009

 

Warren Christopher with Director RJ McHatton

Warren Christopher with Director RJ McHatton

It was a sunny day in Century City.  I was there at the headquarters of the famous law firm O’Melveny & Myers to interview Warren Christopher for my documentary “Flying Man: Life and Times of Johnny Myers.”  Warren Christopher is the former Secretary of State under President Bill Clinton, and a man who has dedicated his life to service.  Warren Christopher knew Johnny Myers for many years.  They both were members of the Sunset Club and both had worked for O’Melveny & Myers.  Warren told me some great stories about Johnny Myers.  Warren felt that Johnny Myers represented the Walter Mitty in every attorney because he lived such an adventurous life, even though he started as an attorney.  Warren told me the history of the O’Melveny and Myers law firm.  He told me about how Johnny Myers’ father was Supreme Court Justice in California who went partners with O’Melveny to create one of the nation’s most successful and prestigious law firms.  Warren Christopher told me the story about how John Myers became the nation’s first entertainment attorney, representing many famous Hollywood actors including George Murphy and Bing Crosby.  He talked about how Johnny’s passion for flying led him to become the Chief Test Pilot for Lockheed, then going over to Northrop for the P-61 and the Flying Wing.  Johnny Myers was one of the only test pilots who worked for both Lockheed and Northrop at the same time.  Warren talked about how he and Johnny Myers enjoyed great friendship and experiences as members of the Sunset Club.  He talked about how Johnny Myers had such a contagious laugh.  In the later years, Johnny Myers would still come by the office sometimes.  One time John Myers did a slideshow of his flying exploits for the O’Melveny & Myers team.  Warren talked about how even today new hire attorneys are told about the history of the firm, about the two founders and their values and integrity, and also about the fun and exciting adventures of Johnny Myers.  Warren talked about the courage and character of his friend John Myers.  Warren talked about how John Myers was a man with strong values, like his father.   Warren talked about the sense of humor or John Myers.  He told the story about John Myers was flying once with this very heavy set lawyer and they were flying from the East Coast to the West Coast.  Evidently the plane was having trouble making it over the Rocky Mountains with such a heavy load, so John Myers dropped off the lawyer and had him take a train or bus to the other side of the Rockies where he picked him up and on they went on their journey.  I really enjoyed meeting Warren Christopher and appreciate him taking the time to talk about John Myers.

Eric Rhoads – Personal Jet & Helicopter Pilot for Johnny Myers

July 14, 2009
Eric Rhoads w RJ

Director RJ McHatton with pilot Eric Rhoads

Eric Rhoads is a lucky guy.  He was hired to be the personal jet and helicopter pilot for the legendary aviator and businessman Johnny Myers.  We drove down to Redondo Beach to meet with Eric for our new documentary “The Flying Man” about the Life and Times of Johnny Myers.  Eric sat down and started grinning as he remembered “Myers” as he called him.  Eric first met John Myers about three years before he died, when Eric was hired to be his pilot.  Over the years they became good friends.  Eric said that his life was changed for the better because of the wisdom and character and integrity he learned from John Myers.  Eric said that “Myers” was a “hand-shake” type of a guy.  Someone who was bigger than life, someone who once he became your friend, you could count on being a friend for life.  Eric talked about John’s love for the outdoors and for his dog Gus.  He told great stories about flying with John Myers and Gus.   He said that John Myers might not be well known in the general population community, but that among the pilot friends he knew, John Myers was a true to life hero.  Eric said that everywhere he went, he saw how people lit up with enthusiasm when they met John Myers.  Eric said that John was well respected among people all around the world.  Eric talked about when he flew with John to the Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C.  when they introduced the P-61 Black Widow Night Fighter that John Myers was the original test pilot.  He talked about the man he was fortunate to call friend.  Eric talked about his many tripw with John Myers up to the Flying M Ranch in Merced, where John ran a real cattle ranch.  He said that John Myers loved cattle and ranching.  We talked about John Myers love for boating up at Big Bear and his joy for driving fast cars.  Overall Eric kept talking about the wisdom and integrity and character of John Myers.  He talked about the good friendships that John Myers had built up over a lifetime well into his 90s.  He talked about the last time John Myers flew a helicopter and how thrilling it was to see the master fly it perfectly.  I could tell that Eric enjoyed his time with John Myers and that he would never forget the lessons he learned from that tall man with the dog.

An Interview with Clay Lacy

July 12, 2009

 

clay lacy w RJ
Clay Lacy with director RJ McHatton

I drove down to Southern California to do several interviews for my documentary, “The Flying Man: Life and Times of Johnny Myers.” I first met Clay Lacy last December when I interviewed him for a short video we made for the “Legends of Aviation” celebration. That time Clay was very kind to me, driving me around his hangars and showing me some of his collection of very cool airplanes.

This time I was dedicated to getting an interview with Clay Lacy, asking him to talk about his good friend Johnny Myers for my new documentary, “The Flying Man.”

Clay Lacy is considered as one of the greatest aviators of all time. I have been told several times by several people that Clay has the most hours as a pilot among living aviators. Some say he has over 50,000 hours, some say its over 70,o00. Everyone agrees that Clay Lacy is a nice guy.

During our interview, Clay told some wonderful tales about his longtime friendship with Johnny Myers. He talked about how Johnny Myers saved Charles Lindbergh’s life. He told me about the days when Johnny Myers was the courageous test pilot of the P-61 Black Widow Night Fighter and the innovative but super dangerous Flying Wing.

The best stories from Clay Lacy came when he talked about how much Johnny Myers meant to him as a good friend. Over the years they had so many wonderful times together. Clay talked about the qualities of character and integrity that came natural to Johnny Myers.

In the end, I am so grateful for having been able to meet and interview Clay Lacy. He is the man who worked with Bill Lear and the aviator who did a lot of the aerial photography for big movies like “Top Gun” and “The Right Stuff.” Clay talked about how pilots are honest people. The more pilots I meet and interview, the more I begin to understand what he means. Men like Clay Lacy are the type of man we look up to and the type of man we need more of. Heroic, courageous, living life to the fullest.

Thank you, Clay Lacy, for your generosity.  I would love to do your video biography some day.

You can learn more about Clay Lacy at www.claylacy.com

 

Janice Merriweather – Interview for our documentary “The Flying Man, Life and Times of Johnny Myers”

July 12, 2009

janice m

Janice Merriweather

Janice Merriweather worked for Johnny Myers for over 26 years.  We drove down to the Long Beach Airport to the former office of Johnny Myers to interview Janice for our new documentary “The Flying Man” about the life and times of Johnny Myers.  John Myers was a legendary test pilot who did “First Flight” testing on the famous Black Widow P-61 and the Flying Wing.   In later years Myers was a successful businessman in the aviation industry.

Janice showed us John Myers’ office which has the best view of an airport I have ever seen.  As you walk into his office you can see a fantastic array of models of several different kinds of airplanes from WWII to jets.  Janice told us that John Myers these were some of the aircraft that Mr. Myers flew in his career.

Janice did a wonderful interview, telling fantastic stories about her years working with Mr. Myers.  She told me about the integrity and character of Mr. Myers.  He was a rare person.  A man with values.

We really appreciate Janice Merriweather’s help with our documentary.

Flying Wing & Black Widow at Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center

June 29, 2009

Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center — Air & Space Museum – Dulles International Airport

The Flying Wing

P-61 “Black Widow”

I drove over to Dulles International Airport to see the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, a new part of the Smithsonian Institute’s National Air & Space Museum. The Center was named for its major donor, Steven Udvar-Hazy.
I was there to get some pictures and video footage of the famous “Black Widow P-61” and the “Flying Wing.” Both of these aircraft were first flown by test pilot Johnny Myers years ago for Northrop. I am producing and directing a new documentary about the life and times of the great aviator Johnny Myers. Johnny Myers was a mentor to so many pilots. He passed away last year.
The P-61 was the first aircraft to primarily use radar and to fly at night during WWII. It was used at both the Battle of the Bulge and at Guadacanal.
The Flying Wing was really the early prototype for what eventually became the stealth bombers. Johnny Myers was the test pilot for the Flying Wings at Northrop.
Thanks to everyone at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center for their hospitality.

Johnny Myers – Legend of Aviation

June 29, 2009