In the early 1960s, retired Air Force General
Dick Lassiter told actor Jimmy Stewart
(whom he’d gotten to know during a stint as a
technical advisor on war movies) about his
plan to launch a private jet charter service
for the powerful business executives and
celebrities. Stewart agreed to kick in money,
as did TV star Arthur Godfrey.
Another well-known military man, General Paul
Tibbetts (captain of the Enola Gay) got
involved, too. This crew launched Executive
Jet in centrally located Columbus in 1964,
and promptly bought the first Learjets that
rolled off production lines. Executive Jet
became the pioneer of private jet chartering,
known for its fast planes and attractive
stewardesses (Lassiter was said to have had
a taste for both). But the business went
through management shake-ups and was hit
hard by the oil crisis of the mid-‘70s.
Photo by courtesy David Stone
I did it my way by Frank Sinatra
Air Bahama Captain JD Stone
dedicated the song to General
Lassiter by making a speech on
the intercome during an Air
Bahama flight in June 1969!
Helene Brownson still has the
tape with JD´s powerful voice
to prove it! Helene was married
to Dick Lassiter at the time.
OLBERT F. LASSITER
US AIR FORCE BIOGRAPHY
US Air Force Combat Hero
444th Bomb Group (VHS)
58th Bomb Wing - 20th Air Force
Tony LeVeir (Lockheed), Gene May (Douglas),
Capt. Chuck Yeager (Air Force),
Fred Becher (Northup) and
Col. Olbert "Dick" Lassiter
CHIEF OF THE U.S. AIR FORCE COMMAND POST
General Lassiter was chief of the U.S. Air Force
Command Post, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, was
assigned to his present duties in August 1963.
A command pilot, he started his military career
in the Florida National Guard while an engineering
student at the University of Florida.
WINNER OF GOLDEN GLOVES
An avid physical fitness student - he won the national
Golden Gloves title as a lightweight and welterweight.
Before graduation with an engineering degree, he spent
two years in the Florida National Guard and two years
as a radio operator in the U.S. Marine Corps.
Upon graduation, General Lassiter entered the aviation
cadet program. He won his wings and was commissioned
a second lieutenant in May 1940.
FIRST SOLO FLIGHT AT THE AGE OF 15
His first solo flight, however, was in Miami, Fla., in
1935. At the age of 15 he flew a small Aeronca airplane
to log his first solo. During World War II he flew 36
combat missions in P-38 and B-25 pursuit planes and 29
combat missions in B-29 bombers.
STUNT FLYER IN HOLLYWOOD
After the war, he did stunt flying in a P-38 in the
Hollywood movie "A Guy Named Joe," starring Spencer
Tracy and Irene Dunn. Later he flew in scenes for
the movie "Women Courageous," and in 1952 he was
technical adviser for Paramount Studios'
production "Strategic Air Command," starring
The two men later worked together on "Cowboy 57,"
when General Lassiter was a B-52 wing
commander at Westover Air Force Base, Mass.
|WORLD´S DISTANCE AND SPEED RECORDS|
In 1947 General Lassiter flew the B-29 "Pacusan Dreamboat"
for the world's distance record and the world's speed record
for 5,000 kilometers and 10,000 kilometers. In addition,
he broke the U.S. transcontinental record in 1948.
The world's distance record, set 1-2 Aug. 1947, was 9,002
miles without refueling, and stood until Dec. 15, 1960,
when it was broken by a SAC B-52G which flew 10,000 miles
without refueling. However, the record still stands for
the propeller-type aircraft.
General Lassiter was test pilot and project officer for
another record flight, the around-the-world, non-stop
flight of a B-50 bomber nicknamed "Lucky Lady."
COMMANDER OF THULE AIR FORCE BASE, GREENLAND
In 1950 he did much of the test flying on the new B-47
Stratojet bomber. He later served as SAC project officer
on other test programs at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.
After commanding the 55th Reconnaissance Wing at Forbes
Air Force Base, Kan., General Lassiter became the first
SAC commander of Thule Air Force Base, Greenland.
FLEW MORE THAN 300 TYPES OF AIRCRAFT
His record of having flown more than 300 types of
aircraft includes rocket, jet and turbo-prop
experimental planes. He completed B-52 training at
Castle Air Force Base, Calif., in 1958, and was
commander of the 99th Bombardment Wing (B-52) at
Westover Air Force Base, Mass.
Prior to his current assignment, General Lassiter was
commander of the 801st Air Division, Lockbourne Air Force
General Lassiter retired Dec. 31, 1964.
Died Dec. 6, 1973.
(Up to date as of November 1963)
Excerpt from Air Force Biographies -