Captain Zoom Archives
Courtesy of Bill Robie


Go to your local library and look these up for yourself.  They probably have this stuff on microfilm.

From THE NEW YORK TIMES, June 17, 1983.
"A Gripping End to Cross-Country Trip"

The story behind the story...

James R. "Captain Zoom" Campbell left the west coast with flying companion Patricia Trusty on what was billed as an "Around-the-World" ultralight flight. He basked in the adulation of his heroics at the planned stop at Oshkosh that year, inviting a number of luminaries to autograph his Ultralight. Funny thing, though, he was flying a Pterodactyl then... and by the time he got to New York, he was flying a Phantom [or its design predecessor].

What happened?

Well, it seems that by the time he got to Wood County airport in Bowling Green, Ohio, his ground crew was fed up with him and refused to go any further. They turned around and went home, leaving him in need of support. The next thing you know, "Zoom" was having to hustle support from another manufacturer.

No matter... off around the world! But first, a stop in New York... Call the press! Here comes Captain Zoom... out to promote the safety of ultralight flying. To commemorate the end of the continental crossing [hardly a "first" by ultralight, and... with the long delay in Ohio... hardly a speed record] a landing at the base of the Statue of Liberty.

That's the ticket! That'll surely get the cameras out!

Jim lands first and poses for the press. Here comes his partner for her landing. The cameras are whirring, ready to capture the event, when suddenly... Jim senses that the girl is in trouble! She needs to be saved... this is a job for...


Mindless of the cameras, he leaps to the rescue. Did he actually yell, "I'll save her!"? Nobody is sure... it was all a blur... Captain Zoom to the rescue... but then...



The sound was heard 'round the statue as Captain Zoom led with his nose and blocked the rushing wing... knocking him flat on his ass! Then...


The sound echoed... as the plane, diverted by Zoom's heroic probiscus, crashed into the base of the revered statue. [That's Zoom to  the right of the picture and the UL is seen at the left.]

Park Rangers to the rescue! Captain Zoom sits forward as a healing cloth is applied to his battered nose. What?... is that a silk flying scarf that we see dangling from his neck? What a super hero! What a guy!... brings his own tourniquet with him!

Is it just a coincidence that the New York based "20/20" television rolled out the classic "Ultralights--Flying or Dying?" segment before the year was up... could Captain Zoom's brave "rescue" have instigated the axe job that nearly toppled an aviation industry... putting many of the top manufacturers out of business? One can only wonder, but the timing sure is interesting.

Oh... that was the end of the "Around the World" flight, by the way.


Updated 04-18-98