Looking for My Next Adventure

Ryan Keough piloting B-25 MitchellHello folks! It has been a long time since I last updated the personal website, so I might as well fill everyone in on what I have been doing for the last few years! Basically I have been from Arizona to New York and back with a WHOLE lot of states in between! And now I am back in Tucson, Arizona ready for the next chapter in my career.

In a somewhat radical turn of events three years ago, I moved from Phoenix, AZ to Western New York in January of 2013 and proceeded to embark on a few years of intense travel and adventure as a full time crewmember aboard the Collings Foundation’s Wings of Freedom Tour — flying to over 33 states annually aboard the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress, Consolidated B-24 Liberator, North American B-25 Mitchell, and the North American P-51 Mustang. It was two seasons worth of excitement as I worked as the Sales Director for the flight experience program — basically selling rides and flight training for visitors aboard the aircraft at the 110 airports we visited over a 10 month period each year.

It was amazing work and I literally met tens of thousands of people. It was also one of the few jobs where you ended the day knowing that you made the dreams come true for many people. That reward counteracted the 10-12 hour days and grueling 7-day-a-week schedule while living out of a suitcase at three new hotels a week on average. Making those dreams come true and honoring the veterans who flew them 70 years ago in World War II was worth it!

It was also an amazing way to see the country we live in from only 1000 feet above ground most times. We visited every corner of the United States and experienced the local culture in every region. We met a lot of wonderful people, experienced the general good hearted nature of most folks, and became friends with a great many of them. I also saw, first hand, how wonderful the General Aviation community is in America. There are tons of hard working folks at airports big and small that have put their passion to work and have overcome some incredible odds to make their businesses survive and grow. It was a great eye-opener and further reinforcement as to why we, as a nation, need to preserve and protect our freedom to fly and prevent privatization of our airspace system to avoid the massive amount of cost to users through projected user fee adoption.

But I digress… many of these stories and opinions can come later on. The main focus of this note is to let everyone know that I am “free agent” here in Tucson, AZ now and looking for the next adventure in my career. My passion and devotion to aviation has always been proven from my work, but I believe that my dedication, skills, and experience can translate to a wide range of other industries and I am excited to move forward and find new challenges.

So, if you are looking for a proven candidate with a strong background in marketing and sales with an entrepreneurial spirit, look no further!

Take a look at my qualifications at my LinkedIn profile (https://www.linkedin.com/in/rkeough) and reach out to me at keough.ryan@ryankeough.com or 520-505-1928

Ryan Keough | LinkedIn

Established Ryan Keough Consulting and The Radial Group to provide freelance and contract support for clients in the development and execution of detailed marketing & PR strategies, promotional campaigns, social media engagement, and media contact planning. Developed an aviation-focused client base of small to medium-sized businesses and non-profit organizations in the general aviation, airshow, and aviation history segments.

Forgotten Flyers: The Fairchild Aircraft Model F-45

Fairchild Aircraft Model F-45A Cutter Flying Service NC16865 s/n 4011I think I have always had a soft spot for the forgotten or overlooked parts of aviation history and as a result, I end up learned a lot about some fairly obscure aircraft, pilots and airports as I work my way around the web.  I actually like this trait of mine as it makes me feel really special when I uncover something really mysterious.  I’ll write about such finds later in future blog posts, but I might as well start with something that is a bit of ongoing research for me.

About a month ago, I read a blog post on the Antique Airplane Association website (by the way, an OUTSTANDING site that’s always being updated with new content!) about the recent court win in an ongoing battle to obtain the Approved Type Certificate (ATC) drawings/data held by the FAA, for those restoring antique/classic aircraft – something that has been extremely restricted for no real good reason by bureaucratic red tape and Federal Agency excuse-making in my opinion.  The case stemmed from a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for the Fairchild 45 drawings/data by AAA Executive Director Brent Taylor that was denied by the FAA and lead to the legal action against the FAA and the now-defunct Fairchild Corporation to obtain them.  As I followed this case, it occurred to me that I had never heard of the Fairchild F-45 and it caught my interest.

A few days later, while at work, Mr. Bill Cutter brought the AAA newsletter article on the case in to me and asked me if I could check to see if the aircraft pictured in the article (s/n Cutter Flying Service, Fairchild Pegasus Magazine, March 19454015, now owned and flown by George Riffle) was one of the F-45’s his father, William P. Cutter, operated in Albuquerque in the late 30’s and 40’s.  Evidently Cutter Flying Service was the primary Fairchild Dealership in the Southwest and William P. Cutter had quite a few Fairchilds in his logbook after a time.  Mr. Cutter even had an article written about him in the Fairchild Corporation magazine, “The Pegasus” in March 1945 about his use of Fairchild’s in the Southwest… and that article showed two photos of an F-45 he was operating at the time (click on the image at right for a PDF of the article or click this link to the article).  We later determined that the aircraft in the article was actually s/n 4011, NC16865 – but the process of looking up this limited-production, clean design, executive monoplane really got my research juices flowing.

The five-place, retractable gear Fairchild 45 first flew on May 31, 1935, powered originally by a 225 hp Jacobs L-4 radial engine.  Later production models had a more powerful 320 hp Wright R-760 radial engine instead.  Including the prototype, only 17 aircraft were constructed as the market at the time was considered to not be able to support more aggressive sales as the United States was just beginning to slowly recover from the Great Depression.  Other executive low-wing monoplanes like the Spartan Executive and Harlow PJC-2 also saw low production numbers during this time with the Spartan having only 34 produced and a mere 11 Harlow PJC-2’s produced.

Of the 17 produced, three aircraft were sold to the Honduran Air Force (s/n’s 4001, 4005, 4010) and two to the Argentine Navy (s/n’s 4007 & 4008) and another being registered in the U.S. then sold in 1937 to the South African Air Force (s/n 4002).  Another two aircraft were impressed into the US Army Air Corps as the UC-88 (s/n’s 4004 and 4013) in 1943 as General Aviation more-or-less came to a standstill during World War II.  One more F-45A was impressed into the U.S. Navy as a JK-1 in 1943 as an executive transport (s/n 4006).  This left a precious few to be sold and flown by civilian operators – and luckily Cutter Flying Service was one of them.

I was able to construct a fairly complete list of the entire production line of the Fairchild F-45 and F-45A and have created a preliminary table of them, their Civil Registrations, Serial Numbers, last known history, and if they are on the current U.S. Civil Aircraft Register. 

Click here to see that table with links to photos where I was able to find some.

Now I am just trying to determine what happened to the rest and to fill in the blanks… some of the aircraft seem to just disappear, meaning that they were destroyed, are sitting somewhere derelict, or met another fate.  ANY assistance to track these aircraft down would be wonderful… as I’d like to build a complete history of each if at all possible.

Again, visit the Fairchild F-45 & F-45A Aircraft Table here as far as I have assembled it.  Email any updates to me at keough.ryan@gmail.com or comment publicly here on this post.  Thanks!

17 Signs that Your Airplane Preservation Hobby may be Impacting Your Home and Family Life…

The 17 Signs That Aviation Preservation is Impacting Your Life - Ryan KeoughWhy only seventeen? Because we’re too busy with the airplane project to come up with three more!

Hope you enjoy the chuckles… and hope they don’t hit too close to home!


When your wife says your son was caught with dope and you get excited and run to the garage and turn on the lights.

When your new $25,000 truck sits outside in the snow while you protect $800 worth of wood and metal in the garage as you procrastinate in building one of your wings.

When you don’t understand why your wife is mad at you for using the master bath shower stall as a spray booth — I mean, those parts aren’t going to zinc chromate themselves!

When you’ll spend $400 on gas, three days on the road, and 30 hours sifting through a junkyard in Wyoming in the middle of winter to find three good turbocharger cores, but can’t stand waiting for more than 5 minutes holding a purse outside the dressing room at Macys

When the local stray cat goes missing, but weeks later you find him after “smelling” something in the backyard — and it take 6 hours and a 12 pack to extricate him from the pile of parts in the yard.

When you go to an airplane museum for fun and end up needing to rent a trailer to come home.

When your idea of interior design is mounting pieces of battered metal “scored” from your wreckchaser friend on the walls, and you show your wife in all seriousness that Moto Art website when she says she wants a new dining room table.

When more than 20% of your home “junk drawer” in the kitchen contains either broken clecos, AN bolts, or odd shaped hydraulic fittings.

When Lava soap replaces that Aloe and Shea Butter pump soap at your kitchen sink.

When the stack of Aircraft Spruce catalogs, Trade-a-Planes, and EAA Magazines in your bathroom is declared a piece of furniture.

When you’ve got a half-finished deck and patio out back, two-thirds of your house has been covered in Tyvek wrap for a year, and the shed out back still has a roof covered in a blue tarp, but you pride yourself in engineering and constructing a wooden rib and longeron steamer in two weekends.

When the yearly tax-return in April always seems to vanish in May when the local “fly market” happens at the local airport — I mean, where else are you going to find those fairings for that Navion you may eventually buy when the kids graduate from college?

When you are the only family for at least 400 miles that has a microfilm reader on the bureau in your bedroom.

When you become insanely jealous and wish YOU had a dry lakebed where you could horde cool stray castoff projects.

When your shop vac gets more use than the Hoover in the hall closet does.

When your digital camera has taken only about a dozen photos of your kids playing teeball, but is credited with 2000+ photos documenting your project.

When you can’t hide your stray fingernail clippings in the carpet because they are all stained black from your overzealous usage of the parts cleaner.

and that’s it! Seek help now if any of these apply…

It’s been a while now hasn’t it…

Ryan is All Mixed Up - Ryan KeoughSo, while I am waiting for a batch of files to upload to my webserver, I happened to “Google” myself just for kicks (yes, we all do it from time to time!) and happened across my little ol’ blog here and noticed that it hasn’t seen much activity in months! Since I recently reclaimed my official domain name “ryankeough.com” from the clutches of an old hosting account I bought long ago on Yahoo! (way back in 1997) and redirected it to my own server on WebsiteSource.com (tell them Ryan Keough with the radial-group.com account sent ya!), I have been meaning to redesign that old website and develop it into my new blog / personal site with WordPress.

But in an ironic turn that would only happen to me, I haven’t been able to find the time to do so BECAUSE of WordPress… or rather the fact that I have been working on two web properties for Cutter Aviation (one being the company website) using WordPress as a CMS (and a pretty heavy implementation of the Pods CMS add-on package within it, which has been an eyeopener) and around a half dozen contract web projects using WordPress that I have been dreadfully falling farther and farther behind on because my learning curve in web development has started arching the other way. At one time, I was top-of-game and making pretty and slim websites with ease… html with some graphics and a little basic CSS and, voila! But now, I am a dinosaur, roaming the web without a toolbox of knowledge on PHP, CSS, MySQL, JavaScript, and the ever-present challenge of creating hacks to make each look and act right on Internet Explorer. I experimented with reverse engineering WordPress themes and could do well enough there… but anything custom has been a killer. Well… I guess I hit the Perfect Storm because everything I have been struggling with IS custom. But instead of capsizing and taking George Clooney down to the briny deep with me, I have been slowly damaging myself with longer and longer workdays, no weekends off, and now… with the exception of this brief spell to post this… no holidays off until everything is done. And once it is, then my stress will return to a naturally mild panic level as it always has been… well, at least it has been since eighth grade math class with Mr. Zentz — I never recovered from the PTSD of those days (Post Trigonometry Stress Disorder).

And I’ve decided that after all the side jobs are done, I am closing up shop and not going to do any more contract work on the side. The money may help make ends meet, but it really hasn’t been worth it when I look at my health and happiness… there are far smarter and more fun ways to grow financially and personally (and no, that ISN’T an open invitation to anyone who wants to pitch a MLM, Get Rich Quick, yada yada scheme on me too… I already have ideas and it doesn’t involve that kind of stuff).

If I do websites, they will be for me alone and my own enjoyment… and of course, I will be working on maintaining or growing sites that are part of my job at Cutter Aviation… though I admit that I will probably be relying more and more on knowledgeable, talented and punctual professional freelance developers (like the amazing Selene M. Bowlby of idesignstudios.com who literally saved me from checking in at the local insane asylum by assisting me with the Cutter project) to get those web development goals accomplished.

I guess, in the end, I find more enjoyment out of creativity (which is one part of design) and communication (social and professional) and will be focusing more on how those two pieces can help me become a more strategic thinker and planner. I’d like to, for once, plan out campaigns for marketing channels and manage the process of implementing campaigns within each — the leader overseeing all the steps in the process from a higher level. Unfortunately it has taken me a long time to realize that the talents that have been the “differentiators” in my career — the fact that I could plan, write, design, produce, and monitor all by myself — were actually doing myself and my clients / employers a disservice. No one can do all those things and do all of them well enough to actually be that “golden employee” — at least, not for their entire career. Eventually a project will get dropped, a deadline will be missed, or an entire campaign gets ruined because one step in the critical path was skipped. And once that happens, either the employer loses trust in the “golden employee” and/or the “golden employee” cracks under the pressure to be perfect and goes into a literal motivational nosedive… losing incremental amounts of confidence in his or her talent with each thousand feet they fall. Unfortunately, I think there are a lot of my peers out there that are either there already or are headed that way. With social media and information overload, the pressure to produce is at an all time high. With tightening budgets and deadlines so “sales can meet quota before the end of the quarter” the time available to plan and test strategies is at an all time low and in many cases, you are understaffed to begin with. Then there is the ever-present pressure of the rockstars of the social media, marketing, and communications world… and the fact that you can’t show weakness because they never seem to! Their Tweets are timely and topical and you set your standards way too high because of it. I think that my generation is headed for another perfect storm… the mid-life crisis monsoon of Generation Y.

Sorry about that last bit… I guess this was more of a rant than I expected it to be! Oh well… ’til next time everyone!

One Six Right: Weeping on a Saturday Morning

One Six Right Aviation Documentary Film - Ryan KeoughIt only took me four years to actually do it, but I finally watched the acclaimed aviation documentary One Six Right this morning after buying the last copy of it at the local pilot shop at Mesa Gateway Airport last weekend. It had been on my Amazon list for a few years, but my frugality kept me from actually making the buy. In the end, it was the feeling of goodwill I mustered up to make, what most probably was, one of the only sales that the kind, old gentleman at the pilots shop made last Saturday.

Buy the film at Amazon.com by clicking on this link: One Six Right The Romance of Flying.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the film, One Six Right is something of a documentary of Van Nuys Airport – the business general aviation airport in the United States and one of the most historic airfields still in the Los Angeles area. It was created in 2005 by filmmaker Brian Terwilliger.

As Lil was using my office and the sole scanner in our household for the day in preparation for another large eBay sale today, I positioned myself in the living room with laptop and TV at the ready. Instead of watching the usual schlock of Doctor Who, Top Gear, or even (God forbid) one of those Worlds Wildest Police Videos shows in the background while I worked, I decided to take advantage of Lil’s absence and pop in the DVD of One Six Right.

Continue reading One Six Right: Weeping on a Saturday Morning

Missing My Mazda Miata Madly Mid-Makeover

1999 Mazda MX-5 Miata "Miyagi" - Ryan KeoughIf you had asked me last year at this time if I were capable of falling in love with a car, I would have laughed in your face. Cars? Me? Hardly something I was aware that someone could love! For me, airplanes were far superior in many ways and their ground-bound, four-wheeled cousins were hardly a match on so many levels.

Perhaps my sour opinion on cars were due to the fact I was driving a Dodge Stratus at the time — hardly a car one could ‘love’ per se.

However, over the past year, my contempt for the auto slowly turned to care as something slowly brought me around. Perhaps it was the day I caught a segment on England’s Top Gear by mistake and actually started enjoying the petrolhead banter of those smarmy Brits — so much so that I started watching it religiously. Perhaps it was the day I spent wading through Wikipedia reading up on the most basic of information on the art of motoring — allowing me to understand what a differential is, or what understeer and oversteer are, and of course, all the stuff that I could have understood about care and feeding of my car years ago if only I had paid attention to my brother.

Regardless, as the Dodge started to gasp it’s last breaths in the Fall, I started looking for it’s replacement. And dammit, I wasn’t going to get a loveless car again.

I wanted a fun car… something to take advantage of the nice weather in Arizona. I didn’t care much for practicality as Lil has the Jeep Liberty and that has enough practicality for our small family. I wanted something speedy, yet not a gas-hog… so a two-seater would be fine.

The recommendations came in… Honda S2000, Nissan 350Z, Mazda RX-8, and Mazda MX-5 Miata. The prices for the S2000 and RX-8 were a bit out of my range and the 350Z wasn’t really that nice-looking for my needs. The Miata reminded me of the British sports cars like the Triumph and the MG that I always liked, so I chose that.

Prices for Miatas were good too. I kept seeing $4k to $7k cars in on Auto Trader and other sites — a good price range for me! But I slowly began understanding why some were priced low… the harsh AZ sun wasn’t kind to the tops and interior of a lot of them… and others ran like a run-out, TBO’d Lycoming O-235 on a Fly-By-Night flight school plane. I found out that I had a task on my hands.

Eventually I came across the right car at the right price… and ironically it was at BMW of North Scottsdale — a place that you’d think wouldn’t be the first place for a deal on a used car. But they had a nice 1999 Miata in dark green (or Emerald Mica as they call it) with 55,000 miles. Nice interior, nice exterior, and a strong engine. I did a little haggling with my salesman (see John Sarno there… he’s a good guy and did right by me) and drove it off the lot a few days later thanks to a great auto loan deal from Wings Financial Credit Union.

Over the past few months I have fallen in love with driving. It’s the first standard transmission (5 speed) I’ve ever driven and I can’t imagine driving any other way. It’s quick and really fun to drive… and has made the morning commute to Sky Harbor far more enjoyable than the Dodge ever did.

But then a wayward rental car bonked into the back of her last Saturday, leaving a nasty looking scrape on her bumper and quarter panel. Though she was still fully drivable and in reality, the damage was far less than what I drove around with on the Dodge… it was just the pride and principal of the thing.

Luckily I have Progressive Insurance and the guy who hit me was the manager at the rental car place… and therefore no major headaches or delays. I could fix her right away.

So I took her to the collision shop today and dropped her off… and got a rental car for the next ten days while my baby is in the shop.

And I REALLY miss my Miata after driving this thing…

I got a Nissan Sentra as a loaner. It’s new enough and still has that new car smell, but who cares about new car smell on a boring box on wheels? It’s got lots of room… almost too much room for a sedan. My arms dangle on either side and the “well” where an arm rest should be on my right side is a gaping abyss with cupholders at the canyon floor that were obviously built for Big Gulps.

So evidently the product designers at Nissan found that the Sentra demographic have a sincere love for soft drinks I guess.

But, more than all other things missing, the two most important things missing on this Sentra that are standard on my Miata are the clutch pedal and balls.

My left foot feels extremely lonely and coming off stoplights or out of park, it stomps uselessly on the floor in search for some fun of it’s own. Now, it doesn’t get jealous of the right foot though… because the right foot really isn’t that enthralled with the lumbering lack of response when it steps on its pedal.

I just can’t go back to the lack of control that an automatic transmission seems to have. I can’t downshift, pull away, or control the engine in the ‘on-demand’ manner that the 5-speed gives me. I never thought I’d prefer a standard, but I really do!

Yes, the Sentra has the acceleration of a constipated walrus. But its actually a good thing that it doesn’t peel away from a stop like the Miata… lest my tiny body within this cavernous roadable hallway would thrash about like a “Wacky Waving Inflatable Arm-Flailing Tube Man“.

I know that some people love big, spacious cars… and with the number of Hummers, Cadillacs, and dual-axle jacked up pickups in this state, I think Arizonans are the kings of the cavern car enthusiasts. I am far more comfortable in the tiny comfort of the Miata — with the sensation I am wearing the car, not riding upon it. I love the feeling of going over the bumps in the road and how you sense every movement in the Miata. She has an elemental feeling about her… whereas the Sentra has this complete lack of element. The Sentra has this bubble feeling about it… completely isolating the driver from the road. That may be a perk for some, but certainly not for me.

So I have ten days to tolerate this tug boat and then, thankfully, I’ll get my Miata back for some “Zoom Zoom” action again. And I can’t wait…