In Memory of
Leon E. Jansen, a Sheffield School mentor & guide, and an American hero.
(April 21, 1919 – December 8, 2009)
Jansen, Leon E., 90 of Plantation, FL, passed away at home, December 8, 2009. He was a decorated WWII Veteran serving with the 57th Fighter Group as a Fighter Pilot with the Army Air Corp, and again during the Korean Conflict. He went on to work with Eastern Airlines, where he retired after 40 years of service as a Chief Flight Dispatcher.
After his retirement he continued teaching at the Sheffield School of Aeronautics. Leon was a member of Elks Lodge 2273, Lauderdale Lakes Moose Lodge, and a Life member of the VFW. Leon is survived by his wife Joyce; three sons, Ronald (Jan), Gregory (Julie), David; grandchildren: Shaun, Natalie, Christopher, and our angel, great-granddaughter, Maddison. A Funeral Service was held Tuesday, 10:30 a.m., followed by burial with Military Honors at South Florida National Cemetery, in Lake Worth, FL. In his memory, the family suggest in lieu of flowers donations be made to the Fellowship Center, 1901 Clinch Ave., Knoxville, TN 37916. Arrangements entrusted to T.M. Ralph Funeral Home, 7001 NW 4th St., Plantation, FL 33317 954-587-6888 www.tmralph.com
We at Sheffield School of Aeronautics were honored to be associated with Mr. Leon Jansen. He was one of the leading authorities in the world of Airline Operational Control. Leon was a mentor and school friend. His philosophy of hard work and objectives of educational quality and “anti-minimalism” have always had a home at Sheffield. We will always respect and admire his continuous efforts to strive for improvements in the aviation industry.
Leon E. Jansen, the eldest of three children born to Mr. and Mrs. Nels L. Jansen, that grew to adulthood was born April 21st, 1919 in Wichita, Kansas. His father was employed as a locomotive Fireman/Engineer by the Missouri Pacific Railroad, and most of Leon’s early life was spent in Wichita and Yates Center where his father was based.
Following the Crash of the Stock Market and the ensuing Great Depression Leon’s parents were faced with cutbacks and layoffs from the railroad and ultimately returned to the sole source of livelihood which was farming.
Most of Leon’s elementary schooling was in local country schools in the area in which his parents resided in south central Kansas. He attended and graduated from Attica Senior High School at Attica, Harper County, Kansas.
Shortly after his graduation from High School Leon’s parents moved to the State Of Wyoming. Leon’s fortunes seemingly failed even though he spent some time in the Civilian Conservation Corps before returning to Kansas and Oklahoma in search of better opportunities. This never occurred and he eventually extended his search for greater opportunities to the State Of Washington. Jobs were easier to find in the State Of Washington and the pay was considerably better, however, opportunities for advancement in manual labor and farming type employment is very limited, hence he continued his search for better opportunities to make a livelihood.
Experiencing some of adulthood’s trails and tribulations he learned a great deal more about what life is all about during the two years he spent in Washington. With nearly four years in the College of Hard Knocks at the University of Experience and the growing turmoil of war throughout much of the world it seemed to him that much greater opportunities existed in the State Of California where a great deal of activity was taking place in the manufacture of wartime equipment, specifically in Leon’s mind the aviation industry. In the spring of 1941 Leon arrived in Los Angles where he had previously enrolled in the Anderson Aviation School of Engineering with expectations of subsequently obtaining a job in the aviation manufacturing industry.
Previously while living in Wyoming Leon was required to register for military service in accordance with the Selective Service law. Not long after he began his training at Anderson Aviation Engineering School it became evident that the number of men being drafted was steadily increasing and in all probability he would soon be called into the military service. With the passing of time this probability was rapidly reaching the point of action. So being Leon and three of his classmates at the school all joined the army and was initially assigned to a coast artillery unit. Leon grasped an opportunity to accept a short discharge for the convenience of the government and reenlisted for a four year term in order to get reassigned to an Army Air Corps unit. This transition occurred and he soon found himself in the Aircraft Armament School at Lowry Field, Denver, Colorado. Upon graduation from the Armament School he was ordered to remain there as an instructor. When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor he was told not to request a transfer as all instructors were frozen in their current assignment for the duration of the war. Initially this sounded like a great break, however, after a period of time a voice from within kept urging him to press forward.
A desire born when as a child he became enthralled at seeing huge flying machines fly over his grandfather’s farm. This desire grew and in 1939 a private pilots certificate was obtained. While instructing in the Aircraft Armament School at Lowry Field Leon became friends with an Air Corps pilot based at Lowry and expressed his desire to fly for the Army Air Corps. Leon and his new found friend knew the monstrous obstacles that they must overcome in order to get him into the Army Air Corps Aviation Cadet Program. Their efforts succeeded and Leon was accepted into the Aviation Cadet Class of 43-H. Classified for pilot training he successfully completed the pilot training course and was commissioned a 2nd Lt. with a pilot rating in the Army Air Corps, August 30, 1943.
Following graduation he was assigned to a Operational Training Unit where he checked out in the Republic P-47 Thunderbolt, the newest and heaviest front-line single engine fighter plane in the Air Corps inventory. Completing this operational training he was ordered overseas for combat duty. The first of Feb. 1944 he was assigned to the 57th Fighter Group, 66th Fighter Squadron where he flew a total of 155 combat sorties, a total of 353 hours 55 minutes of combat time in the P-47 before being returned to civilian life in 1945.
Forty-five days after his release from military service he began a forty year career with Eastern Airlines. This included eight years as a station operations agent and in 1953 he was promoted into the flight dispatch department where he remained until his retirement in April 1984 and later recalled under contract to flight operations where he monitored and built computer flight plans for nineteen different airlines buying the computer flight plan services of Eastern Airlines. At the termination of his services with Eastern he did Airline Flight Operations consulting work for a period of time and for the past ten years has been assigned to the Sheffield School of Aeronautics located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida as an FAA Designated Aircraft Dispatcher Examiner.
Associate Member of the International Society of Air Safety Investigators. Member Alabama Air National Guard for seven years flying P-51’s from 1945-1953.
2 Distinguished Flying Cross’s
10 Air Medals
1 Bronze Star
2 Presidential Unit Citations
1 French Qroix-de-Guerre with Palm
Eastern Airlines Dispatcher 7/5/53-5/30/76 Dispatcher
Eastern Airlines Chief Dispatcher 6/l/76-4/30/84 Rt, Chief Dispatcher
Eastern Airlines Special Assignment 1987 (Worked on Computer Flight Planning System when Federal Airways changed.)
Graduated USA Air Corps flight training, Aug. 1943.
Flew two tours of combat W.W.II fighter type a/c single engine. Recalled to active duty.
Korean conflict, flew single engine fighter type recips and jets.
Eastern initial/recurrent training Martin 404, Convair 440, DC-9, B-727, B-720, DC-8, L-188, L-1011, Airbus 300, & B-747.
Nine years as National Safety Director of Air Safety & Standards Air Line Dispatchers Association.
Member Int 111 Federation Air Line Dispatchers, Airline Operational Control Society.
Leon accepting his ADF Lifetime achievement award in October, 1999
Leon enters Eastern Airlines Hall of Fame!!
Eastern Airlines Hall of Fame Inductees 1999
Leon was born in Wichita, Kansas. He attended and graduated from the local schools of the various communities where the family resided and said that he was named the most likely student not to succeed.
The family moved to Wyoming where he spent a period of time in the civilian Conservation Corps. In 1941 enlisted in the US Army and was assigned to a Coast Artillery Unit. He took and passed an aptitude test for assignment to the Army Air Corps.
In 1942, Leon was accepted as an Aviation Cadet. He was classified as a Pilot, completed preflight and primary training, then basic and single engine advanced, graduating in August 1942. Checked out in the new P-47 thunderbolt fighter and completed operational combat training, during this training he experienced and survived an emergency parachute jump in an out of control inverted spin. On Christmas Eve 1943 he sailed overseas to North Africa. In January 1944 he flew his first combat mission out of Italy. He flew 110 combat missions dive-bombing and low level strafing attacks to destroy enemy transport. In October 1944 received R & R leave and was promoted to Captain. Returning to his Unit in early 1945 as Squadron Operations Officers, flying an additional 45 combat missions for a total of 155 and 343 hours, 55 minutes of combat time. In July 1945 was placed on Inactive Duty and was returned to the US.
Leon joined Eastern only 45 days later as an Operations Agent at Birmingham August 18, 1945 and remained there in a supervisory position until November 1950 when he was recalled to duty for service upon the start of the war in Korea. Released from duty in June 1953 and returned to Eastern holding no less than 18 US decorations and the French Croix De Guerre.
Resuming his Eastern career he was promoted to Assistant Dispatcher in Atlanta in the fall of 1954, promoted to Dispatcher at La Guardia and then returned to Atlanta. Leon was assigned to develop and write the operational plan for our unique “Walk On” service between New Orleans and Houston. He served as National Director of Air Safety and Standards. He represented ALDA on the NTSB Operations Committee Investigation in the loss of Eastern Aircraft during fatal accidents in New Orleans and New York. He served his last 12 years as Chief Dispatcher, retiring in 1984. Later being recalled that same year under contract to Flight Operations building new computer flight plans and amending established plans required in the new jet airways system in the Eastern half of the US and also assigned to monitor computer flight plan files for the 19 different airlines buying Eastern’s computer flight plan system.
Leon’s obvious devotion, loyalty, competence to Eastern, its passengers, personnel to flight safety and industry and particularly his country and community have been well documented. Our recognition of his efforts through his election to our Hat in the Ring/Hall of Fame is more than well deserved in the opinion of those who knew and worked with him over his more than 40 years of service to Eastern and his Country.
What Role Did WW2 Fighter Pilots Have?
World War II fighter pilots played a critical role in air warfare. Their primary objective was to establish air superiority by engaging with enemy planes and protecting friendly aircraft. They also carried out escort missions for bombers and other aircrafts, strafed enemy ground targets, and provided reconnaissance over enemy territory to gather intelligence. Additionally, they were responsible for intercepting enemy planes and preventing them from attacking friendly forces. The bravery and skill of fighter pilots contributed significantly to the allied victory, and their contribution to the war effort cannot be overstated.
What Was the Best Fighter Pilot Plane of WW2?
The best fighter plane of World War II is a subject of much debate, as different planes had different strengths and weaknesses. However, some of the most highly regarded fighter planes of the war include:
- North American P-51 Mustang: This long-range fighter was highly maneuverable and had excellent performance at high altitudes. It played a significant role in escorting bombers deep into enemy territory and was credited with shooting down over 4,900 enemy aircrafts.
- Supermarine Spitfire: This iconic British fighter plane was highly maneuverable and had a superior rate of climb. It played a crucial role in the defense of Britain during the Battle of Britain and remained in service throughout the war.
- Messerschmitt Bf 109: This German fighter was highly versatile and saw extensive use throughout the war. It was fast and highly maneuverable, making it a formidable opponent for allied pilots.
- Focke-Wulf Fw 190: This German fighter was highly regarded for its speed and firepower. It had a robust and reliable engine, and it’s heavy armament made it a potent threat to allied planes.
- Republic P-47 Thunderbolt: The Republic P-47 Thunderbolt is a World War II-era fighter aircraft produced by the American company Republic Aviation from 1941 through 1945.
What Was the Republic P-47 Thunderbolt Top Speed?
The top speed of the Republic P-47 Thunderbolt varied depending on the specific variant and altitude. However, the maximum speed of the most widely produced variant, the P-47D, was approximately 426 mph (685 km/h) at 30,000 feet (9,144 meters) altitude. This speed was achieved with the help of the plane’s powerful Pratt & Whitney R-2800 Double Wasp radial engine, which provided 2,500 horsepower. The P-47 Thunderbolt was a versatile fighter bomber and was heavily used in ground attack roles in addition to its primary role as a high-altitude interceptor. Its rugged design, heavy armament, and excellent performance at high altitudes made it a formidable opponent for German fighters during World War II.
More About the Republic P-47 Thunderbolt Engine
The Republic P-47 Thunderbolt was powered by the Pratt & Whitney R-2800 Double Wasp radial engine, which was one of the most powerful aircraft engines of its time. The engine had 18 cylinders arranged in a double-row radial configuration, and was air-cooled. The R-2800 engine was capable of producing up to 2,500 horsepower, making it a very powerful engine for its time.
The engine was also relatively reliable, which was important for the P-47 Thunderbolt’s role as a fighter bomber. The plane was heavily used in ground attack roles, and its engine was able to withstand the stresses of repeated strafing runs and other ground attack missions.
Take a Class at Sheffield School of Aeronautics Today!
Sheffield School of Aeronautics is an FAA flight planning school that is here to make sure that our customers have some of the best aircraft dispatcher courses at their disposal through learning all of the aircraft dispatcher license requirements. We work diligently to make sure that our students receive the best attention possible through our in-person and online dispatching classes. Schedule an appointment with us today to learn more about making your FAA flight plan and to get on your way to earning your FAA dispatch license.