Von E.10


Once more while researching for Greeks in foreign cockpits i found a remarkable man for whom i never learned. Nobody ever taught me about a great Greek parentage flying doctor, a man who gave so much to the early days of aviation and contribute to the medical science leaving his mark in neurology. The following research is not from our team. I collected every available source on the net and im very happy to present here a true pioneer, both in aviation and medicine. Constantin Economo von San Serff was born in Brăila, Romania, to Johannes and Helene Economo, a wealthy family with large holdings in Thessaly and Macedonia. The Economo (Οικονόμου, Oikonomou) family originated from Edessa, in the Ottoman Sanjak of Salonica (modern Edessa, Central Macedonia, Greece) where some of Constantine's ancestors were notables, and his family included many bishops. In 1877, the family moved to Trieste, Austria-Hungary, and Constantin spent his childhood and youth in Trieste. Constantine and his brother Leonidas were....

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Von E.16
vas 1


Charles Vasiliades is probably one of the most combat-proven Greek Americans in the USAF. However, this tribute to Charles's service in USAF and his Greek heritage is only partially researched from our team, especially finding details of his roots with his family members. The honor belongs to the late Robert Dorr, an exceptional researcher, and author who was one of the most respected aviation historians worldwide. Without him, we would probably not know Charles in Greece. Robert interviewed the Greek-American pilot many times and wrote about him in his books and in various articles in some of the most known and respected aviation magazines. In fact, he became a close friend of Charles and his family. So, along Vasiliades we would also like to tribute and honor a great man whose work inspired a new generation of researchers including myself. Although called Charlie by his beloved wife Joan, every other person in the universe called Vasiliadis as Vas, after all, it was easier for the non-Greeks to pronounce his surname. In the inner sanctum of the fighter pilot fraternity, they knew Vas as a stick-and-rudder guy and a combat leader...

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vas 2
Lambrides 16


Paul David Lambrides was born in 1933 in Maryland. He was the son of John Lambrides from Asia Minor and Elizabeth Lambrides. He Commissioned as "Distinguished Graduate" from ROTC (University of Maryland) on June 9, 1956, and called to active duty on September 8, 1956. During 1958-59 he served with 50th Tactical Fighter Wing, based in Toul-Rosieres, France as an F-100 pilot. From 1659-61 the Wing moved to Hahn AB, Germany and Lambrides became an Instrument school instructor. During his stay in Germany, he flew the F-100 in (statistically), the worst flying weather in the world. His next assignment was in 401th Tactical Fighter Wing in England AFB, LA for the next 4 years between 1961-65. The role of the wing was primary CASAF Alert and Nuclear Alert Rotational Squadrons. The Greek American pilot was alerted for the Berlin crisis in 1961, the Cuban crisis in 1962, and Vietnam in 1963. The 401st TFW was the first USAF unit to...

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Lambrides 17
Badavas 2


Charles Badavas was born on February 6, 1921, in Newburyport, MA from Greek parents. His father Athanasios Badavas was from Megalopolis, in Arcadia district and along with his wife Maria, also from Peloponnesus, immigrated to the United States few months after their marriage, seeking for a better life. According to Ellis island archives they entered in the United States on November 18, 1912 along with their first born daughter, Bessie, who was only nine months old. Athanasios changed his name to Arthur or Athas and began working as a grocery man, before he opened his own grocery store in pursuit of his American Dream. The couple created a big happy family with three more children following Bessie (1912), all of them boys. First was Percy (1917), followed by Peter (1919) and Charles (1921). Charles enlist your the USAAF on February 1943 and completed his training 9 months later on November 1943. He was named 2nd lieutenant (O-817871) gaining his silver wings. Until May 1944...

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Badavas 1
Patterakis 6


Maj. Patterakis was born on July 23, 1935, in Van Houten, New Mexico. He was the son of Gregory Patterakis from Crete and Eleni (Helen) Katsufrakis, also of Greek heritage, who had also two more children Grace Patterakis and Emmanuel Patterakis. At the age of six, his family moved to Modesto California where Patterakis finished the School in 1953. He enlisted to the USAF and served for 4 years in the Military Police before he applied for pilot and accepted. He went to the pilot training school in 1961 in Texas and later he became an instructor himself. His flying skills and his will to fly with the Air Force Demonstration Team, the famous Thunderbirds bear fruits when he had been selected to fly the No. 2 position as left-wing on the 1966-1967 team flying the F-100 Super Sabres, becoming the first Greek American who joined this elite aviation group. During 1967-68 he was trained in the mighty F-4 Phantom, in F-4 Replacement Training Unit, Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz. He later flew 315 combat missions (60 over the North) during the Vietnam War, flying F-4C Phantom II based...
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Top Gun Aggressors


CDR Christopher ‘POPS’ Papaioanu was born in Fontana, California, son of George and Lynda Papaioanu. The family immigrated from Greece to the United States in the early 1900s. Christopher’s grandmother, Athanasia Gianniosis, was born in 1907 in modern-day Artemisio. In 1914, Athanasia immigrated to the United States with her mother and brother, eventually making their way to Pasadena, California. Christopher’s grandfather, Andreas Papaioannou, was born in 1894 in modern-day Kefalovryso. Andreas immigrated to the United States in 1918 through Ellis Island. Upon entering Ellis Island, local officials said his name was too long and made him take out two letters. On the spot, Andreas changed his last name from Papaioannou to Papaioanu, and it has retained the new spelling ever since. Andreas worked for a time with a family.... 

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Benoit Antoniou heritage is from Greece. His grandparents left from Greece and search for a better luck in France the past century. He entered the Armée de l'air in 1993 and graduate as a fighter pilot in 1997. . He joined the Escadron 1/5 "Vendée" in 1998 and served for 8 years from the cockpit of Mirage 2000s. As a pilot of French Air Defense Quick Reaction Forces, he participated in the Alysse Operation (Better known with the American name as Operation Southern Watch) in Saudi Arabia twice. He also took part in lots of exercises in various countries (especially in Greece in 2005). From 2005-2008 he was attached to a unit near Paris in which he was responsible for flight crew equipment programs (replacement of MK4 seats with MK10L on the Alphajet fleet and commissioning of new flight helmets) while he was in direct communications with the military industry during various programs development ensuring that these were aligned with the financial resources and the strategy of the armed forces. For the next four years he was posted to Mont de Marsan and acted as a Director of the Combat Training Center (distributed simulation) and he was engaged in training of Armée de l’air and foreign air forces personnel. As part of this command, with a team of 5 instructors he trained ....

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Scarlatos 3


Paul Skarlatos, Navy Captain, United States Naval Academy, Class of 1954,  was born in Rochester, NY, USA, in 1930 to Nicholas Skarlatos and Ioanna (maiden name -  Triandafilakos) Skarlatos. His father was born in the village of Grammousa, Greece and his mother was born in Filisi, Greece, both from Laconia district. Nicholas was a business partner of Ioanna’s first husband, George Andrew Lembaris. They all emigrated to the United States between 1917 and 1924,  became naturalized American citizens, and Nicholas and George established a restaurant in Rochester, NY (the South Ave. Candy Kitchen – known for its homemade chocolates and ice cream).  Ionanna (known as Joan) married George in 1925, and they had two sons together, Andrew and George. When..

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Scarlatos 6
EPA F-4E 01525


"If you can master the F-4, you can master any aircraft in the world". These were some wise and later to comprehend words, an instructor once told young Lieutenant Ioannis (Yannis) Tsolekas during his pilot training at the F-4 training squadron, back in the mid ‘90s. Yannis realised and still realises how true those words are throughout his flight test career until this very day that this article is written. The F-4 is maybe one of the most “strange” fighter jet aircraft designs that were ever built, but so widely and so successfully used for many years by many Air Forces around the world. This design failed most of the military standards against which it was called to comply with, based on the certification process the USAF uses for every new military aircraft design. The unique flying characteristics of this design, required significant pilot compensation and at the same time excellent piloting skills and complete knowledge of aerodynamics. This was because the specific airplane required the pilot to be way ahead of it, and would forgive very few mistakes. The pilots who would quickly realise that, and those who had the skills to understand its uniqueness, were the ones who were able to fly the airplane to its full effectiveness.

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Photo 62
memorial kenji


After 20+ years of research, the story of Sabe Legatos with heritage from the beautiful Greek island of Cephalonia in the Ionian Sea will be told. Hopefully, the killed in action Greek American US Navy Hellcat Pilot will return to his home in Sacramento CA, if his niece's DNA will match with those from unaccounted pilots found in Japan. However, whatever the results might be, the combined efforts of the Greeks in Foreign Cockpits team, the Japanese researcher Kenji Sudo, the Sacramento Greek American community leading in this matter by Nick Alexander and the US Government ( Congressional staff member Greg Holt) already produced results as the final moments of Legatos and Japanese Army Air Force pilot, Matsunaga revealed to us. Kenji presented a self-published work about these two heroes which he kindly sent copies for us in Greece. A month ago in Sacramento, a memorial ceremony took place for Sabe with the presence of all those mentioned above, albeit without us. For that reason, we wrote a small letter addressed to the Greek American community, which was given to all the participants.

A small tribute and preview of things to come in our Volume C of GREEKS IN FOREIGN COCKPITS regarding Sabe Legatos can be accessed in the following link.


Also, you can read Kenji Sudo and Nick Alexander's speech (and the video from Kenji speech) as well as our letter which addressed to the Greek American community of Sacramento in the link below:



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