Posts Tagged ‘P -61’

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


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.

Johnny Myers – Legend of Aviation

June 29, 2009