Coach Mikki and Friends

Nick Spark, Producer - The Remarkable Life and Legacy of Aviator Pancho Barnes - S3E25

November 30, 2023 Coach Mikki Season 3 Episode 25
Coach Mikki and Friends
Nick Spark, Producer - The Remarkable Life and Legacy of Aviator Pancho Barnes - S3E25
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Fasten your seat belts as we take flight into the remarkable story of Pancho Barnes, a trailblazer in the world of aviation, told through the lens of our esteemed guest, filmmaker  Nick Spark. You're in for a high-flying soiree as we explore Barnes' pioneering achievements as the first female stunt pilot in Hollywood, her audacious challenge to Amelia Earhart's airspeed record, and the creation of her legendary Happy Bottom Riding Club, the  rendezvous spot for the aviation elite of yesteryears. 

We've got unheard stories of Barnes' intrepid spirit and resilience, from her friendships with flight legends, Bob Hoover and Chuck Yeager, to her survival during the Great Depression and the devastating fire that razed her beloved Ranch.  Get ready to soar with us as we celebrate the extraordinary life, relentless spirit, and enduring legacy of Pancho Barnes - a true role model for women empowerment.

We look forward to seeing you succeed! - www.KeepOnSharing.com - Code - KOS

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Speaker 1:

Hey, I'm Coach Mickey. Thank you so much for joining us today and if this is your first time stopping by, thank you so much. I'm so glad that you did. And if this is times that you come in on a regular basis, thank you so much. I love having your comments, your questions and your suggestions, and thank you so much for supporting all of my guests and all the people, whether it's through the podcast or here on the YouTube channel. You guys are awesome. So today, you guys know I am so thrilled with all my guests. But you have no idea today how excited I have been and waiting up to this date to have this guest, because a lot of you know that I'm a huge aviation buff. I do a lot of research. I've had an opportunity to work and meet with the Women Air Force Service Pilots. You know how much I like Poncho Barnes and that is why I am excited about today, because after three years of searching, I have finally found someone who could come on to our podcast and actually talk about Poncho Barnes. So thank you so much for joining me today. He is a filmmaker, he is a historian. He has got a plethora of information about Poncho Barnes. Thank you for being with us today. Nick Sparks, how are you?

Speaker 2:

I'm great and thrilled to be here. Thank you so much for having me and thanks for your interest in one of the 20th century sort of lesser known characters but really important woman in aviation history and beyond.

Speaker 1:

I agree, and if you are not familiar with Poncho Barnes, you're in for a treat, because she is an amazing person. She was an amazing person what she did and who she was. I don't think she got enough credit for what she did to help the pilots through World War II. I mean she was, yes, as the Women Air Force Service Pilots were very important. Poncho Barnes was kind of a, she was a trailblazer and she broke a lot of glass ceilings and she really did a lot for our country and she has. You don't even hear about it. People don't even know who she is half the time. So I'm going to let you just jump right in and share with everyone who Poncho Barnes is.

Speaker 2:

Sure? Well, let me preface this by saying that, if you haven't seen it yet, I made with Amanda Pope a film called the Legend of Poncho Barnes, which is widely available. You can stream it for free on Amazon Prime and the film was on PBS for many years. It won the LA Area Emmy Award, which we're really pleased about. And you know, when you talk about women in 20th century aviation, most people come up with one name, which is, you know, amelia Earhart, or they might say, sally Ride. But it turns out, you know, in the early 20th century, as aviation was getting its start, there were, you know, not a huge number, but there were a group of probably about 30 or 40 women pilots, or the term they used back then was aviatrixes, which I love that. I don't know that word, I never got to use it in Scrabble but you know these were all gals who tried to make their mark as pilots, some of them, for you know, more like for publicity reasons. There were a couple of starlets who, you know, got their pilot's license so they could get in the papers. But then there were some people who were some women, were really serious pilots, and Poncho Barnes was, was one of these figures and you know we can talk about the some of the things she achieved. But she was the very first female stunt pilot in Hollywood and extremely active among the stunt pilot community and she challenged Amelia Earhart in not just a famous air race but she broke Amelia Earhart's airspeed record and you know her career was truncated by the Great Depression but she had a big impact. And my introduction to to all things Poncho Barnes is from this book right here which, for the podcast listeners who can't see it, it's the right stuff by Tom Wolf. You know, what happened to me is that in in around 1987. As a high school student, I read this book, which I think a lot of people my generation did, and was really blown away by it. But there's one section of it that caught my attention, which is it's. I'm looking at it now. It's just a couple of pages about and it says here this is this book. If you haven't read it or you haven't seen the movie, which I encourage you to do, this book is all about Edwards Air Force Base and this crucial moment after World War Two when the space age really started, as they say. You know the place the future began and at era there were. There were a lot of, you know, the best pilots in the world at Edwards Air Force Base and there was this, well, what Tom Wolf describes as a rickety wind blown 1930 style establishment called Poncho's fly in, owned by Poncho Barnes, and this was my introduction to to this incredible lady. She, after I referenced that she stopped flying because of the Great Depression but after that happened she moved up to what became Edwards Air Force Base and opened this bar, slash ranch, slash motel, which was, you know, known as Poncho's fly in, but sort of that. The the bad boy and wonderful name that it Poncho known by was the happy bottom riding club, and anyway, this was a place that all the greatest test pilots in the world congregated. And what's interesting about the Tom Wolf book is it describes that that Poncho had a rapport with some of the greatest pilots of the 50s you know that and and the late 40s, like people like Chuck Eager, who broke the barrier, obviously, and Bob Hoover and any number of other folks, even Scott Crossfield, and you know I remember reading this book in 1987 and kind of scratching my head and saying who is this woman that it says in here she was a test pilot and that she was, you know, had had had broken Amelia Earhart speed record. How come? I've never heard of this woman? And and that stuck out in my mind. And many years later, when I was working for an aviation history magazine and the editor, mike Machott, said I am going to have a special edition of our magazine in honor of the anniversary of the release of the right stuff. If I didn't have any ideas for an article, I immediately jumped on this idea. What if I could write an article about Poncho Barnes and find out? You know, use it as an excuse to find out a lot more about her. You know, mike was not very enthusiastic about this, because if you've seen the movie or you've read the book, you know that one of the things that happened is that Poncho's famous happy bottom writing club, it burned to the ground in 1953 and it was completely destroyed. And Mike said you know, nick, I run a, you know a magazine where we print a lot of nice glossy photos and make it look interesting. And you know there's nothing left of, you know, poncho's ranch and there's no photographs, everything burned up in that fire. You're not going to find anything. And you know I took that as a challenge, which you know, because I've learned that if you start looking around, sometimes you can find things that people don't believe actually still exist. And in this case I got this lead. There was a person affiliated with Edwards Air Force Base who said there's a guy in Pasadena you ought to contact who has some apacheal barns, this stuff. And so I found myself about two weeks later standing in the living room of a wonderful man named Dr Lou Delea, who he had assembled a group of about 10 bankers boxes in the room, and he said that he had recently acquired these and that they, you know, represented, you know, some collections related to Poncho. So you know, I opened the first box and you know my jaw kind of hit the floor because there was a photograph of Poncho with General Jimmy Doolittle, you know the man who led the Doolittle raid on Japan and who was a famous air racer, and you know they were like embracing, like they were best friends. And then, right below that was a photograph of Poncho with Amelia Earhart, and there was Amelia Earhart, I'm sorry. There was a Poncho's aviation flying pilot's license that was signed by one of the Wright brothers. And this, this box, was incredible All of the photographs of the ranch. Some of these things were singed because, according to Dr Delea, when this fire broke out at Poncho's fly in people, the place was so beloved and it was such a touchstone for the pilots up at Edwards Air Force Base that people ran into the burning building and pulled photographs and things off the walls in hopes of saving them. So anyway, I looked at this collection of stuff, got through all 10 boxes and was just delighted because I realized I could, you know, actually write an article about this incredible woman and her ranch and get it in the magazine. And then Dr Delea said something funny. He said you know, I don't know if you have some more time, but I have a few more boxes that you could look through. And I said, okay, well, you know what do you got. And he took me down the hall and he opened the door and there was a room that was like it must have had 100 boxes in it. So it turned out he had kind of a forgotten treasure trove of stuff related to Poncho and this was all a collection that had been saved by her fourth husband, mack McHendry, and Mack McHendry had recently passed and Lou Delea blesses heart, he had, he and his partner, mike, had rescued it and preserved it and there it was. And when I saw that, I realized we could not only you know, I could not only make an article about Poncho, but maybe I could make a documentary film. And maybe I thought, wow, this is an opportunity to actually meet, an excuse to meet some of these incredible people like Chuck Yeager, bob Hoover, bob Cardenas and Buzz Aldrin, who, you know, all of them were still alive at that time. And and that began this journey that I had into the world of Poncho Barnes.

Speaker 1:

She was extraordinary. I mean, besides doing the helping with the pilots, I know she also started the Union for in the movie industry with the stunt pilots because they were really risking their lives every time they went out there and they, she put up a big you know against Howard Hughes and Howard Hughes, you know, was, you know, a very powerful and and never knew, you know, I knew him back then. But for her to take on somebody like that in you know, just to be had the safety for everybody she was working with made her, you know, made her extraordinary and she always seemed to get what she wanted. She was definitely a spicy one gal, she, she pretty much held her own weight. But, yeah, so what was it like meeting all these other individuals? I mean, what was there? What did they say about Poncho?

Speaker 2:

Well, let me get to your comment about Howard Hughes, because I think it's really interesting. You know, poncho was a person who came from a very wealthy family. You know her grandfather, thaddeus Low, was actually something of aviation royalty. To start with, he had built the Union balloon corps during the Civil War, which spied on the Confederacy, and he liked to say he was the most shot at man in the war. He was also a very wealthy man and Poncho grew up in the lap of luxury and and and what's interesting is that Howard Hughes was also, you know, born with a silver spoon in his mouth and when Poncho got into the world of stun flying it seemed, maybe sort of inevitable that the two of them were going to clash. I mean, they they had a lot in common because I think they were not used to being told no, and she turned out to be one of the very few people who could stand up to a person like Howard Hughes and just didn't care that. You know, he was one of the most powerful men in Hollywood and you know, in that era flying stunts it was the Wild West. You know, famously a couple of people died making the blockbuster film Hell's Angels, and that was really just because of the you know sort of recklessness of Howard Hughes. And there was also people were were being there was kind of a rush to the lowest bottom dollar to do certain types of stunts and nothing was standardized, there was no union. And Poncho kind of stepped into that gap and created this motion picture stunt pilots union and you know she not only flew stunts but she the you know her big contribution to Hell's Angels was she had a very big, powerful plane and she flew all the sound for that movie. They put a microphone in the sky and she flew you know loops and and barrel rolls and everything else around that microphone. Anyway, I don't think she and Howard Hughes got along that well but it's a pretty interesting moment in her life story. It was incredible to get to meet some of these really storied pilots. I think of course Bob Hoover and Chuck Yeager really stand out as people who were not only respected Poncho Barnes but they were really personal friends with her. I mean Chuck Yeager was somebody who she took under her wing at his time at Edd's Air Force Base and she took trips to Mexico with him. I mean they were personal friends and that was really clear in discussions with him. I think he really respected her because she had served as a test pilot for Lockheed in the early era, in the late 20s. Briefly, it wasn't something she did for a long time, but she understood the risks that all these pilots at Edd's Air Force Base were facing and I think that was pretty unique. I don't think there were many people, male or female, that they could have related to from her generation. It's really interesting. I loved listening to Chuck Yeager just talk about his level of respect for her, because if you know the man, he spoke very critically of almost every other pilot. In fact, I sat in a room with him and listened to him talking about Neil Armstrong in very sort of disparaging terms Well, one of two men to be the first to land on the moon, obviously, and first to walk on the moon. But that's General Yeager for you.

Speaker 1:

Poncho to me when I was doing the research and I've seen, like I said, I've seen your films, I've seen your documentary, I've researched on my own. One of the things that stands out about her that really drew me to who she is as a person is she genuinely cared. She loved what she did. She genuinely cared about these pilots. She always looked out for their safety. She kind of made the happy bottom club her home. They made a home for them. Because these guys were getting ready to leave for a war, she took it upon herself to make sure that they were ready to go. When they came back, the first place they went was to see her. That tells you a lot about a person, not only because of her expertise and what she could do, but also how genuine she was and cared about each and every one of these guys in every one of these pilots, the gals that actually were there with her too for part of that her farm, her ranch.

Speaker 2:

Well, that's absolutely you're getting into. She was an incredibly generous person her entire life. I think that that was part of her downfall, actually, especially when we talk about why did she stop flying right around the time of the Great Depression. In part, it was because when the Depression hit, like I said, poncia was born with a silver spoon in her mouth. She famously not only tried to feed all her fellow stunt pilots who were out of work, she apparently bought an apartment building to let them stay in, to keep them off the streets. She was extraordinarily generous. Now it cost her everything because she literally did go bankrupt during the Depression. What happened is she traded one of her very last properties. She traded for this little paradise that she had spotted up in the Mojave, which is what became the Happy Bottom Riding Club. At that time was called the Rancho Oroverde. It was just an alfalfa ranch. She built that place up Again when she started actually making quite a bit of money running a hotel. She had a shit little airport out there that people could fly into. She had a restaurant, she had a dance hall and she had a dairy. She was doing pretty well. Again, she was extremely generous she. You mentioned the Women's Air Service Pilots. She had a little flying school out there. We interviewed a woman named Babe Story who became a wasp. That was through Poncho's generosity and also scheming, because they set up a civilian flight program pre-war to try and get people in the pipeline to eventually be pilots. If war broke out, poncho wink, wink, nod, nod put Babe's credential in so that you couldn't tell that this was a woman who was applying for a license and got away with it. That's how Babe actually got a pilot's license and ended up in the Women's Air Service Pilots the same with another pretty famous name, kirk Kirkorian, who eventually built the MGM casinos and owned an airline and had many other incredible accomplishments. He wanted to learn to fly and literally mucked stalls at Poncho's barns in exchange for flying lessons. He was the first to acknowledge that without Poncho being that generous to him, he probably never would have achieved what he did in life. She did a lot of favors for people. Unfortunately, she didn't really get that back. She got in desperate times when that struck, when her place was burned to the ground. We can get into what happened with that because it's a pretty famous moment. She really was left high and dry and lost everything for a second time and never really recovered from that, which is a big tragedy in her life.

Speaker 1:

How did that fire start? I'm actually not familiar with that. I knew there was a fire, but I don't know the background story to it.

Speaker 2:

Well, yeah, it's a really complicated story. The Air Force started as the US Army Air Force and it didn't become an independent service until after World War II. When it did, there was a move to try and really uphold a very high standard. There was also a shift from some of the stuff that happened right after the war and during the war was by the seat of your pants. There was an attempt to make things on a higher level. It went from being test pilots who were aces from World War II, like a Chuck Yeager, to people who were graduating from college with engineering degrees. I think we can all appreciate that moment. At that time, right about that time, there came in new administration at Edwards Air Force Base and there was a fellow named General Holtner who took over and he had some considerable disdain for Poncho and the fact that she was running a bar and restaurant that had a little notoriety right next to the Air Force Base. I mean, keep in mind the place was supposed to be called the Rancho Orro Verde or Poncho's Fly-In, but a lot of people referred to it as Poncho's Happy Bottom Riding Club, which was, you know, a little bit of a naughty name, especially because there were beautiful hostesses who worked there. Poncho got a lot of out-of-work actresses and entertainers from Los Angeles who wanted to come out to the desert and have, you know, serve some drinks and play the piano and entertain some really handsome test pilots. I mean, what Gal wouldn't want to do that in that era, and you know so there was kind of a buzz that maybe the Happy Bottom Riding Club was actually a brothel. And in light of all this General Holtner put Poncho's place off limits and that was devastating to Poncho. I mean, here she was the granddaughter of Thaddeus Low who, like I said, had kind of established the very first US Air Force with his balloons during the Civil War. And here she was friends with people like General Jimmy Doolittle and Hap Arnold and, you know, chuck Yeager and Bob Hoover and crew had famously celebrated breaking the sound barrier at Poncho's restaurant. And all of a sudden she was persona non grata. And it got much more frightening when, in the midst of all this, the Air Force announced that they wanted to take her place, take her hotel, take the Rancho Oroverde, because they wanted to extend the runway of Edwards Air Force Base, and said that you know this place is in the way. They offered her very little money for it relative to what she thought it was worth, and so she ended up in a lawsuit against the Air Force, which, you can imagine, that was not a step that she would want to take, but she felt she had to. It got very ugly very quickly because there were again these accusations that she was running a brothel while General Holtner found one person on the base who said that he would testify to that effect. So this became big publicity and it became known as the War of the Mojave, and Poncho had a great attitude about it. I mean, she really saw, you know, this fight coming and she, you know, actively campaigned in the press. She represented herself in the trial and did get some legal help eventually. But one of the funniest things she did was she had this logo for the Happy Bottom Riding Club, which is a gal riding on a horse, and she put the initials AF on this logo right between the gal's backside and the saddle. So you know, the Air Force is a pain in my ass, is what she was saying. That's difficult, poncho. Anyway, in the midst of this lawsuit and this fight over her place, there was a mysterious fire and no one knows, you know what happened? Who said it? If it was arson, it's just really unclear. That was the end of the Happy Bottom Riding Club and this whole wonderful era at Edwards Air Force Base, where these test pilots had Poncho as a resource, because once the place burned down it was not going to get rebuilt and Poncho lost almost everything in that fire and I don't think she got a great insurance settlement and although she did eventually settle with the Air Force and they bought her property, you know she was never really able to recover from that. I think it was emotionally devastating for her and that's something we chronicle in the film. So again, I encourage you to see that. But yeah, that's the story of the fire. And, by the way, if you go out to Edwards Air Force Base which is not easy to do because it is a pretty secure location, but you can still see the ruins of the Happy Bottom Riding Club out there, there's actually quite a bit of ruins that remain because they never did extend the runway through her property and so you can see like the famous circular swimming pool that she built, and there's a fountain that was shaped in the form of the Air Force logo. So it's really interesting to go out there because you know you can feel the ghosts. I mean, there was so much fun and excitement that happened in that place and there was, you know, you can kind of imagine the clinking of the glasses that day that they managed to break the sound barrier and it was celebrated right there and at the time it was it was top secret that that had happened, but of course Poncho knew all about it.

Speaker 1:

Well, when I was researching and looking, one of the first thing that I ever saw about Poncho Barnes and you're probably familiar with it was Poncho Barnes, the movie that was made with Valerie Bertinelli and that, and I don't know, I know how sometimes things get a little changed. You know, when they're writing stories, but when you see that movie and then you look at some of the things, such as yours with the documentary, yours is a lot more extensive, yours is a lot, has a lot more information that would just kind of raises over her story, but a lot of it is so true and, and just to know, someone of that caliber during that timeframe had such a pulse on the war and the people in it and the flying and surrounding yourself with these incredible people and, like you said, she really never got the recognition that she's really deserved. Unless you bring it up, because I bring it up all the time. I'm like you know, I'm excited, I've got someone on to talk about Poncho Barnes and like who? I'm like, oh my gosh, it's like you. And then you tell them the story and they're like I didn't know, I didn't know, and so for, for my guests, you know, for my circle of friends, all of your information is going to be listed below in the YouTube channel, but also in the podcast will all be embedded. But while we're on that subject, nick, where can they find, you know, your documentary, so they can look this up and see it?

Speaker 2:

Right. Well, the film is available for streaming for free on Amazon Prime and you can also get it on DVD. And I encourage you to get the DVD simply because it does have a bunch of bonus features Some segments we couldn't include in the movie and some other little segments that we built that were just kind of really interesting. And I should also mention that we made two different versions of the movie, because when you make a film for PBS, it turns out there are certain words and things you can't say on public television but you can put them on a DVD. So my favorite is that there's a famous quote when you're making a film for public television, for PBS, there are certain words that you can't say on the air. You might not really even be aware of this, but, for example, bob Hoover, the wonderful pilot, he loved to use the expression flying balls out, which all that means is that the throttle in the airplane has a little plastic ball on it, and when you're flying balls out, your throttle is wide open, but you can't say balls out on public television. And the quote that I love is that supposedly somebody came into the bar during the attempts to break the sound barrier and said to Poncho you know Chuck Yeager is going to die. He's he. There's no way he's going to be able to break the sound barrier. He's going to be killed doing this. No pilot can break the sound barrier. And Poncho supposedly grabbed him and said you know, chuck Yeager could fly up your ass, tickle your eyeball and fly out. You'd have no idea what was happening, except you'd be farting shockwaves. And we couldn't put that on the PBS version either. But if you check out the DVD, it's on there. So so yeah that's great.

Speaker 1:

Well, I would love to have you back again because there is so much more information that we we can cover about Poncho. She was just like I said she was so extraordinary and just who she, who she was and what she did again is she was like the epitome of women empowerment. She really don't ever think you can't do something. What she was up against and what she did really was just said no, that's. You know, failure is not an option, you know.

Speaker 2:

I mean, you know, I think that you know people are right to embrace Amelia Earhart as a role model. She was an incredible pilot. You know she's the second person to ever fly across the Atlantic solo, after you know Lindbergh. But you know, just as much as Amelia Earhart was kind of a good girl of aviation and like to say that she flew for the fun of it, I mean Poncho was the bad girl of aviation. She was so much more fun in some ways. You know she said, you know, you know, if I couldn't fly, you know I would die. I mean that was how much she, you know, loved it, wanted to do it. And you know it wasn't just something she did for publicity, it's because she liked to achieve things. She's a lot of fun. And I would say also, you know, beyond our film, there are a couple of very good books. Both of the authors of the books are in the film, but there's a couple of very good nonfiction books about Poncho that are out there that you can find in any library. So I encourage you to find those.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I was just. I was just looking at my bookshelf because I have them up on my book and I meant to grab it before the video. And I'm looking and one of them I have is that Happy Bottom Writing Club, I mean, and that's. That's actually one of the has the information and then you know again, I've got some of the DVDs and I've got you know the other, you know the movie and that was that was a trick to find, but you can look up information and see who she is and what she was all about, and I do love the fact that my that is on my list of things to do. I really want to get out to Edwards and it's only about a two hour drive for me. You know, I just need to to get up there. I don't even know if you can even get on the base. I'm assuming you can. You can get on Pendleton if you've got a you know license and and your you know your registration. So I don't know if you know, like you said, they're pretty tight in the security.

Speaker 2:

I mean can you see? You know they used to have a party every year in honor of Poncho and the kind of golden era of Edwards Air Force Base at the ruins, but they no longer do that. But and it is that area is off limits, in fact, to go out there and film. We had to, you know, have base security, monitor us because you know they do live weapons tests and everything out there. So you don't want to be caught out there when they're doing something like that. But what's happening now at Edwards is they are trying to move the history museum. They're they're actively moving the history museum off the base and outside the gates and that museum is going to have a quite a big area devoted to Poncho and her legacy. And I think that if you want to get access to the base and see the current museum, all you need to do is contact the museum and get you know gate permission. But I can't, can't say the specifics of that.

Speaker 1:

No, that's fine, it's something we can, they can look up, or you know, even for myself. Well, I have had so much fun with you and I could sit here and we could spend hours talking about this because, like I said, this is my, my all time favorite. I love and I fly I'm a pilot myself. So so for me just to have anything to do helicopters I have a little bit of fixed wing, but mostly helicopters.

Speaker 2:

Wow.

Speaker 1:

So I for fun, for fun, not military, but I I love the history, I love what these women did, I love the. And honestly, you taught me something too, because I didn't realize Hap Arnold was out there with Poncho. I know she had a big you know that was Jackie Cochran's tie in, you know, with women air force service pilots. But I didn't know that Poncho had a connection with Hap also.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, they were apparently pretty good friends. It makes sense because Hap Arnold was one of the key people that set up what was Murroc, which was the original name of Edwards Air Force Base, because he was stationed out at March Air Force Base and he was looking for a place somewhat remote to Los Angeles where they could do test bombing and training and eventually testing of sophisticated aircraft. I think when he saw the giant lake beds out there he immediately understood that this was, you know, and you could test air conningian failure or some other problem. You could immediately land anywhere. And that was something that Poncho understood. That was why she, you know, traded her last assets to buy this little ranch right next to those dry lake beds, because I think she sensed this place is going to be an important place in aviation and so naturally they were friends. They encountered each other out there because at the time she was out there there was almost nobody out there, and especially nobody who you know was a former pilot. So I think she and Hap must have gone on famously. Can you imagine being in the room with those two?

Speaker 1:

Wow, I know and I said now I got my information because I looked at, I read the biography from Jackie Cochran. But Jackie was really about herself, so I really didn't share too much information about Amelia and Poncho or other people she was. It was her biography about what she did and who she was. But again, no, it absolutely makes sense. I mean the soap beds. That's the reason you know, chuck Ayer did break the sound barrier. I mean you had that long flat area, you know, to be able to do what you needed to do. Yeah, I love it. And there's, like I said, there's just so much, so much history and I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall. Just the stories, just the stories themselves, because, like I said, I had an opportunity to meet a lot of the women Air Force service pilots before they passed away, and I've gone out to Indio and I've done a lot of events with them and it's not the stories that you see in the book that the people have written about, it's the stories that they tell you when you're sitting around having a cup of coffee, you know, or a drink, and when they get together and start sharing stories, you're like, oh my gosh, this is not in the history books. Oh yeah, no this is not the information you're hearing.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, that was the. You know, the wonderful thing of like hanging out a little bit with Bob Hoover and Chuck Yeager was some of these stories. You know, for instance, talking about going on an all night bender at ponchos and then having to get up at six o'clock in the morning and jump in jets to do test flights and, just, you know, being on the verge of the limits of human endurance because of, you know, having a hangover and trying to, you know, fly a high performance jet. I love those stories. And the two of them were telling us this crazy story about how Bob Hoover I mean, these guys are just cast out of different iron. He at one point discovered there was a flight school in Los Angeles where there was a very attractive female flight instructor and he signed up for lessons, pretending that he, of course, didn't know how to fly at all and, you know, actually showed up and, you know, did some flights with her and then invited Chuck Yeager to come over when he was supposed to do his solo. And of course he gets in the plane and starts doing like the most ridiculous wingovers and, you know, getting close to the ground and she is just completely freaking out and losing her mind and then, of course, realizes after about two, three minutes my God, this guy knows how to fly a plane and you know, that was just the kind of crazy stuff they would do. And of course, yeah, you would not read that in the official history, but they were an incredible duo, yeager and whoever. They were best friends, they were wingmen, they did a lot of stuff together and that could have been a whole other movie just the relationship of those two guys, wow.

Speaker 1:

Well, nick, I unfortunately we have run out of time and, like I said, I could sit here and just go through more and more and I know everybody because I have a lot of people that love these stories about history and what you've got is a plethora. So I would love for you to come back and share some more that you can, especially from some of the things we didn't get a chance to cover about Poncho. You know how she, you know how she gets started and you know again what she did and her life and a lot of it is just brought her to where she. You know where we are now and then also, I'd like to love to hear some more of those stories from some of the other people you met because, like you said, shark Yeager are just on his own. I would love to hear that could be a podcast on his own, because I'm sure you've got some good information there. But once again, I would like to just go ahead. Where can they find your information? I would love for everybody to reach out and experience it and understand who Poncho Barnes is, and I think what you put together really does it justice. It really does celebrate her life and who she is.

Speaker 2:

Well, I appreciate that very much. And again, yeah, the film is called the Legend of Poncho Barnes. It's on Amazon and I think we still have a website, legendaponchobronscom, so check it out.

Speaker 1:

It's on Amazon. So thank you so much, nick. I appreciate you. It was so much fun. We again. You know, I would definitely want to have you back because we got so much more to discuss.

Speaker 2:

All right, be my pleasure.

Speaker 1:

Thank you. All right, you guys, thank you so much for being with us today and again, please reach out and see what Nick's movie is about. You really, really will enjoy it. If it's something you didn't know, it's going to be so much information about history and who she is, and not only that. Like I said, for many of you that do watch and you follow me, you know I'm all about doing. The most crazy thing you can do is be yourself, and Poncho Barnes definitely was the epitome of that, and that's probably why she's one of my favorite people to follow. So I will see you again. Look for us. We have other guests coming up on our next podcast. No-transcript.

The Legacy of Poncho Barnes
Poncho Barnes and the Riding Club
Poncho Barnes and Aviation History