SE-4661:   FAA Administrator Langhorn M. Bond v James R. Campbell.     

Summary and analysis written by Ron Wanttaja
and posted on rec.aviation.homebuilt 11-09-97.
The original message is available here.

[Ed. note:]  I've added links to relevant parts of SE-4661.
NOTE:  Use the back button on your browser to
return here after a link takes you to se-4661.

Subject: Re: ZZZzzz NTSB SE-4661 Summary (was Re: ZZZzzz Info)
From: (Ronald James Wanttaja)
Date: 1997/11/09
Message-ID: <645pk4$en6$>
Newsgroups: rec.aviation.homebuilt

In article <>,
JasDuffy wrote:

> Who can give us a brief capsule summary of NTSB 4661? Inquiring minds
> want to know...
A *brief* summary? You've asked the wrong man. :-)
Summarizing the transcript from NTSB SE-4661 is a difficult task, but 
I'll take a crack at it. Readers should understand that I have no
legal or medical background, and am a rather outspoken critic of US
AVIATOR magazine and J. R. Campbell.
Plus, any time a "summary" of such a long document (almost 300 pages) 
is made, some detail, some nuances are lost. If you're interested in
the subject, you should obtain a copy of the report and judge for
In early 1980, the FAA seized the medical certificate of James R. 
Campbell. Campbell demanded and received a hearing by an NTSB
Administrative Law judge, as was his right. After hearing the evidence
and Campbell's testimony, the NTSB Judge sided with the FAA, ruling
that Campbell " not medically qualified to exercise the privileges
of any class of airman medical certificate now or for the next two
years, due to the fact that he does have a personality disorder..."
[Judge Capps, NTSB SE-4661]
To put it bluntly, Campbell lost his medical because he was a liar who 
could not stop. He lied about his flight experience and
qualifications, he lied about his background, and he lied about
tragedies occurring to people close to him. He accused those who
complained about him as having low morals, committing felonies,
engaging in a "vendetta," operating illegally, or out for personal
Evidence presented during the hearing included statements from 
employers, co-workers, and acquaintances from over several years.
Returning to Judge Capps again: "Some of the characteristics of what
Dr. Powers [one of the two psychologists who testified] diagnosed as a
mixed personality disorder with narcissistic and borderline features
are such things as an inappropriate and intense anger shown by the
Respondent on occasion, unpredictable actions, some instances of
transient psychosis even, where he would be completely out of touch
with reality.
"Such a person suffering from this mixed personality disorder would 
have illusions of grandeur, is the way I've always heard it. Dr. Powers
said it was a grandiose sense of self importance and of one's own image
of himself as being an unique person."
"Such a person constantly is seeking attention and admiration. A lot of 
the instances of overt acts in this case illustrate and give credence
to many of these different characteristics that have been
cited....Another characteristic of the personality disorder syndrome
would be the ability of the Respondent to manipulate others, many times
through very devious devices -- either by outright lies, by charm
itself, or sometimes by intimidation."
All right... in 1980, James R. Campbell was "looney tunes" [Statement 
from former co-worker quoted in NTSB SE-4661
]. What does that has to
do with the Campbell of 1997?
The problem is, his current actions and public statements are eerily 
similar to those reported in the NTSB transcript. Back in 1980,
Campbell told several people, including the FAA investigator, that he
had a which did not exist.
A couple of years ago, in a USA
editorial, he AGAIN claimed to have a son...a statement that was a
surprise to his employees, acquaintances, and his then-fiancÈe. She
subsequent contacted the person who supposedly was the mother. The
woman was a flight instructor in California with whom Campbell had
attempted to become romantically involved. There had never been any
relationship, nor any child.
And you'll note that Campbell, in his magazine and web page, attributes 
the breakup of his marriage to outside forces...but when talking to the
FAA psychiatrist back in 1980 about a past relationship, the Doctor
relates that "...the relationship ended rather abruptly in June of '76
which Mr. Campbell attributed primarily to interpersonal problems
between himself and the girl's father
." Similar "outside forces"
twenty years ago?
Later, the Psychiatrist relates that Campbell went back to visit his 
former girlfriend, and "...he was quite shocked and dismayed to find
that she had undergone what he estimated as being a personality change
and that her opinions had become quite negative towards him; she was
very bitter and really was a quite different person..."
Campbell might well make the same claims about both Laurel Ramey (his 
former Managing Editor and fiancÈe), and Vicki Cruse. Both are
extremely negative about him, now. Ms. Cruse refers to her ex-husband
as "Psycho Boy," and hired a bodyguard when she attended Oshkosh last
summer. She has also retained Tony Pucillo (who is currently suing
Campbell for libel, fraud, and civil RICO violations
) as her attorney
as a creditor in the Airdale Press bankruptcy.
In USA, he claimed to have flown relief missions in Ethiopia, a claim 
strongly disputed by a participant in this newsgroup who DID fly in
Ethiopia. But back in the '70s, Campbell told an employer that
"...while he was in Vietnam he got a shrapnel wound in the jaw, and the
beard was hiding that
." [Testimony of FAA Inspector Sandra Taylor].
He, of course, had never been in Vietnam.
Back in the '70s, Campbell claimed aeronautical experience and 
aeronautical ratings (e.g. parachute rigger) he didn't have. He
falsely claimed to be an AOPA ground instructor, and falsely
claimed he was affiliated with the USPA while trying to set up
a skydiving club at a college. In fact, he had been suspended by
that organization. He claimed to have been a stunt
man in action movies
and various TV series.
Nowadays? Well, he now claims over 13,000 flying hours and almost a 
thousand different aircraft types flown. He claimed over a thousand
hours in 1980
, and the "13,000 hours" claim popped up about 14 years
later. That's a lot of flying for someone whose medical had been
suspended for over three years of the time in question, and starting
his first magazine in 1989 would have cut down on his available time.
With the medical suspension on his records, he would have had extreme
problems finding a flying job that would put him in the cockpit in any
sort of scheduled service.
And I've already posted about that "almost a thousand different types 
claim"...the Guinness Book of World Records shows the record as being
about 480...about 600 if you count airplanes that are flown *in*, as
opposed to PIC. Given he *already* is on record as lying about his
flight experience in late '70s...why should anyone believe him now,
when he claims double the recognized record?
Here's a then-and-now comparison that anyone can appreciate. Back 
during the NTSB testimony, the FAA investigator discussed here
interviews with Campbell's acquaintances. Here's one quote: "...he
told me that one of the reasons [Campbell] had to be fired was because
Mr. Campbell was telling his students stories about his parachuting
while they were supposed to be getting flight instruction,
and his
students were beginning to complain that they weren't receiving the
flight instruction that they were paying for."
How much of US AVIATOR...and his web page...has been dedicated to his 
own personal problems, rather than the aviation articles customers
thought they were paying for?
As part of that campaign, Campbell has repeatedly claimed that his wife 
and female employees have been threatened with rape. But back in the
'70s, when a police-officer acquaintance asked Campbell how he got a
scar on his leg, Campbell told him he'd been shot while rescuing an 11-
year-old girl from rapists in Reno
It appears that saving women from rape is another theme common to the 
1980 Campbell and 1997 Zoomer.
Campbell goes to a Fly-In, his web page reports that he was encouraged 
by hundreds, even thousands of well-wishers, all on his side. Back in
the '70s, when Campbell was about to be fired from a job as a college
instructor in New England, the FAA investigator reports that Campbell
"...said that he had a student rally in the auditorium of Daniel
Webster College, with approximately two hundred people there and it
made the faculty look foolish because the students were on Mr.
Campbell's side.
" [NTSB Transcript]
Comparisons abound. There are a number of people in this newsgroup who 
have been threatened with lawsuits, or worse, by James R. Campbell.
This is the same sort of threats by Campbell reported at the NTSB
hearing...."I wrote a letter to Mr. Campbell that afternoon, which he
received personally. After reading, it, he stormed into my office. He
was obviously infuriated, especially about the prohibition against the
parachute club meeting. He accused me of taking away his livelihood and
he screamed that he was going to sue me and the school, following which
he slammed the door violently and he left the building." [Letter from
the Dean at the school where Campbell taught]

For those who have been here on r.a.h for a while, this should be 
familiar territory...haven't we all seen him scream about taking away
his livelihood, threaten to sue people, then metaphorically leave the
building? And how many times has he stormed back in to scream some
Back in 1980, the intimidation accusation was probably one that 
Campbell could *never* have overcome...because he attempted to bring
outside, political pressure *against the NTSB judge hearing his case*.
It's documented in the transcript: "So you thought you could get that judicially intervene and try to strong-arm me into
changing it?
Well, he found out differently - I can clue you into that.
I was ready to report him for attempting any type of judicial
intervention." [Judge Capps to J. R. Campbell, SE-4661]
Campbell, as Tony Pucillo has commented, seems to have a very poor 
grasp of what constitutes libel. He was no better back in 1980... He
claimed to be going to sue the Tulsa Tribune for their reporting of his
impersonation of a medical doctor. But at a different point in the
transcript, he admits, under oath, that "...Its content is basically
I mean, that's GOTTA hurt, if the libel case actually went
to trial...
Yet another common Campbell theme, today, is the supposedly high-level 
support he mentions but never identifies. Like on his web page a year
ago, when he said something along the lines of "Washington is finally
taking interest" in his fight against the "terrorists" besetting him.
Again, an old theme...back in 1980, in talking to the FAA Psychiatrist,
he was "...implying that, well, he had enlisted the support of the
offices of several Congressmen or two Congressmen
in the area and a
Senator, and that they had promised him that they would help him obtain
a speedy resolution of this bureaucratic snafu which had caused his
Medical Certificate to be suspended." [Dr. Powers, SE-4661]
No such support materialized, of course. And how often has he claimed 
in this web page and magazine that criminal charges were
imminent...charges that never happen?
One of the unchanging factors between the Campbell of 1980 and the 
Campbell of 1997 is his assessment of those who criticize him. Here's
a selection of how Campbell responds to his critics in the NTSB
"There were quite a few irregularities on the part of DWC [Daniel 
Webster College],
so I certainly throw very little weight to their
testimony because simply I think they are covering themselves in a lot
of respects." [J. R. Campbell]
"Mrs. Stuart and I have very divergent views on morality" [J. R. 

"I had some immediate problems with another flight instructor, ego 
problems, frankly. We did not get along." [J. R. Campbell]

"I arrive in Fresno; was told I would be getting $1,000 a month, a 
minimum of 100 hours flight time, various benefits and so forth. This
was not to be the case." [J. R. Campbell]

"...but then when some of these hundreds of articles hit the campus, 
there was an attempt to get rid of me. The President of the college was
running for governor that year." [J. R. Campbell, quoted by Dr. Powers]

"... for the first few months things were fairly good, despite the fact 
that I did refuse several flights by Mr. Brown, considering the fact
that his 135 Certificate was dropped, and these were of an air charter
nature." [J. R. Campbell]

"...The first thing that we did was to tell him why we were here and of 
the problems with Daniel Webster College. And, immediately Mr. Campbell
says that what Daniel Webster College is doing to him was a felony and
he currently engaged an attorney in Nashua and had a lawsuit against
Daniel Webster College." [Sandra Taylor, FAA]

"I got stuck in this clink with a group of homosexuals, murderers and 
petty thieves." [J. R. Campbell]

"Larry Brown was supposedly a friend." [J. R. Campbell]
"Specifically, I couldn't stand him and he couldn't stand me. The 
causes, in my opinion [include]... my refusal to cover for him on a few
matters with his wife; my refusal to cover on some 135 instances, and
so forth; also some questions on maintenance...." [J. R.

"Western Piper specifically -- I was promised a lot and given very 
little. " [J. R. Campbell]

"...I really question the methods and how this information was 
accrued." [J. R. Campbell]

"I brought [it] up because one of the policemen took this whole thing 
as a personal vendetta..." [J. R. Campbell]

You will note that his claims...and most particularly, the *implied* 
claims of illegality, immorality, being lied to, etc...are almost
identical to what appears in US AVIATOR and its associated web page.
Look for some of his current favorite phases and themes... "Supposedly
a friend", "Vendetta", attacking him to cover up their own illegal
operations, etc.
Again, I have no legal or medical background or expertise. But I am 
convinced that there is something seriously wrong with James. R.
I base my opinion on personal interaction; the things he said to me vs. 
the things I was able to determine on my own. The transcript itself
entered into the picture somewhat late in my interaction with Campbell.
I didn't try to obtain it until after Campbell had told me that it was
a forgery...."Real NTSB cases don't being with 'SE'," he said. Not
true, of course. During the same conversation, he'd threaten to sue me
if I ever told anyone about the contents of the supposed "Forgery." At
THAT point I contacted the NTSB to get a copy of the findings...merely
to find out whether I was at legal risk.
The transcript, on its own, probably wouldn't have completely convinced 
me. But the fact that he would lie to me about something so easily
disprovable absolutely stunned me. That he had problems earlier in his
life was neither here nor there...people change. But I saw no rational
reason for his rather stupid lie...other than as a manifestation of the
ability to "...manipulate others, many times through very devious
devices -- either by outright lies, by charm itself, or sometimes by
So, what does it all mean?
If Campbell *is* still suffering from the personality disorders 
diagnosed in would mean, in my opinion, that he is totally
unsuited to be a journalist. The man, back then, was an uncontrollable
liar. If I'm right, it means he's *especially* unsuited to be
journalist-publisher, with no one able to exert ethical control over
Several of the cases where he has displayed poor journalistic ethics 
have been explained on the net...a big editorial aimed primarily at the
marketing director of a particular homebuilt company, WITHOUT revealing
that the woman in question was his former fiancÈe who'd left him,
calling a legal action taken by another kitplane company "quasi-legal"
and "semi-sneaky" WITHOUT revealing that he, himself, was one of the
named targets of the action, etc.
Until either of the two current libel actions come to trial, NTSB SE-
4661 is the watershed of the Campbell controversy. If you believe the
FAA's action was justified *then*, the conclusion that Campbell still
suffers from the same Personality Disorders is fairly inescapable. His
1980 personality, as revealed by the transcript, is, in my opinion, too
similar to his 1997 one.
If you're the transcript. There is some material in 
Campbell's favor there. You may come to the conclusion that the FAA's
actions were incorrect. After all, the FAA did give him his medical
back in 1983.
But then, Campbell doesn't claim he was cured in those three years...he 
claims that the FAA admitted they made a mistake. In this very
newsgroup, Campbell claimed that the FAA had told him to respond to
medical questionnaires, etc. as if the suspension had never happened.
I agree someone who was employed by the FAA may have made such a 
comment...but no one in the medical or enforcement branch. In other
words, no one who was legally empowered to authorize such behavior by
We are then left with two options: The FAA made a mistake in taking 
away his medical, OR a mistake in giving it back.
If you believe the FAA was wrong when they took his medical away...then 
the NTSB judge and the FAA were either incompetent or corrupt, and the
two testifying psychiatrists were either quacks or perjured themselves.
The various employers who had reported Campbell were therefore all bent
on political gain or hiding their illegal or immoral activities. In
the years since he got his medical back, Campbell was then plagued by
Federal and local (Florida, West Virginia, Idaho, California, Arkansas,
Texas, Wisconsin, Maryland, etc.) police officials and District
Attorneys who refused to arrest and prosecute thieves, forgers,
murderers (yes, he has accused someone of murder) and terrorists (per
his web page) identified by Campbell, and that people ranging from
semi-retired attorneys to engineers to college teachers were unethical,
greedy, rape-plotting conspirators whose Bar Associations, editors,
ISPs and employers turn a blind eye to their nefarious ways. can believe the FAA was right in 1980. In which case, all the 
"troubles" reported by James R. Campbell are merely products of the
mental illness diagnosed in 1980. And that he got his medical back by
applying those abilities to "manipulate" and "charm" people so well
documented in SE-4661.
Occam's Razor, anyone?
Ron Wanttaja


Updated 04-19-05