"Zoomed" -- a personal account:

I posted the NTSB transcript (se-4661) on my home page in February 1998, then mentioned the URL in a message in rec.aviation.homebuilt.

Not long after that - on March 8, 1998 - at my home I received a telephone call from Jim Campbell. I immediately made notes about this call.

Campbell wanted to know whay I was attacking him when I'd never met him. When I told him that I had problems with his journalistic objectivity he wanted me to name each case so he could refute me. I declined to debate him.

He was polite, but indirectly threatened legal action. He said that I as a publisher (on the internet) was casting false light, and that as a publisher if he did that he'd expect to be sued. He did not directly demand that I remove it. He did ask several times where I obtained se-4661. He also said that SE-4661 has been removed or voided by the NTSB and he knew that I couldn't have got it from them. He complained about me using 20 year old information and said that there were errors in it, but the only one he cited was that his grandfather did not live in Mass. as stated in SE-4661. He declined my offer to post his rebuttal statement on my home page.

He suggested that I was being influenced by others to try to stop his magazine, He asked who put me up to this several times

He said he's been told by the FAA to answer "no" to the question about any medical problems when he updates his first class medical.

He told me how the FAA and NTSB experts called him for advice about homebuilts regularly, including accident investigation (not just the most recent one that was discussed in r.a.h). He specifically said that even the NTSB and FAA members that he had criticized called him for advice.

He also told me about his fan mail messages. He said that he's received over 17,000 in a year.

I found that Jim was a slick charismatic talker and I can see him selling himself (and advertising) to lots of people. However for several years I worked in a mental hospital with many sociopathic criminals that beat the system by pleading Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity, so I've often heard this kind of Bravo-Sierra before.

We talked (actually Jim talked and I listened) for about 30 minutes, however I did not answer many of his questions. I did tell him that I would think about my web page and e-mail him next week.

I did e-mail Jim Campbell on March 10, 1998 to tell him that I had decided to continue to post se-4661 on my home page, and received this reply.

Delivered-To: jouster@xxxx.net
Date: Tue, 10 Mar 1998 10:21:38 -0800
From: Jim Campbell
Reply-To: usav8r@gate.net
Organization: Aero-Media USA, Inc.
To: john ousterhout
Subject: Re: se-4661
References: <>

This is a private message. Note the legal restriction enclosed.

You seem to be laboring under several legal misconceptions. I hold an unrestricted
First Class medical... so your summation about history would seem to be incorrect.
That document is no longer available. You did not receive it from an official
source. You have apparently been counseled or in contact with persons who have
committed illegal acts to try and hurt this mag (ask your counsel about the
implications of THAT). Your receipt of the document, whether it be a real copy or
an altered/forged copy, may be the result of a criminal act. Your display casts me
in a false light and falsely harms my interests.
Worse; you would not confront me with your concerns, you would not give me a
legitimate reason for acting in a negative manner and you would not give me any
opportunity to question you as to your methods and reason.

My counsel has instructed me as to actions required prior to seeking legal
redress. They are being undertaken.

Your message has been forwarded to legal counsel for action. It will be pursued.
Govern yourself accordingly.

john ousterhout wrote:

> Mr. Campbell
> In our telephone conversation saturday I promised to send you a message to
> let you know of my decision about my web page.
> You are a public figure. se-4661 is a public document. I believe that your
> history is relevant.
> Therefore I have decided to continue to make se-4661 available on my web page.
> - John Ousterhout -

 March 26,  1998

I used www.landings.com to look at the U.S. Certified Airman database and look up James Richard Campbell. I discovered that the FAA has him listed as holding a second class Medical dated June 1996. This data is current FAA data as of Jan. 1, 1998.

Pilots Database Search Result

Pilot's Address : PO BOX 9132
WINTER HAVEN, FL, 33883-9132
Date of Medical : Jun, 1996
Class of Medical : 2
Pilot Certificates : Commercial Pilot
Ratings : Single Engine Land and Sea/Multi-EngineLand/Instrument
FAA Region : Southern

It's possible that the FAA records are wrong. It's also possible - with a high enough power to weight ratio and wings of sufficient lift - to make a pig fly.

Knowing how slowly the records are updated, it's possible that Zoom upgraded to a first class medical during the last 6 months and the update hasn't been posted yet.

It's also possible that Jim Campbell was lying when he stated I hold an unrestricted First Class medical in his e-mail to me.

What do you think?

I will look up this record regularly to see if it changes to a First Class Medical dated prior to March 1998.

April 27, 1998. The FAA databases have been updated (now current as of March 31, 1998). James Richard Campbell of Winter Haven, Florida is still listed as having a 2nd class medical dated June 1996. Under FAR, part 61.23, a 2nd class medical is valid for one year, after which the holder may only exercise the privileges of a 3rd class medical holder.

April 13, 1998

Jim Campbell telephoned at least one Chapter officer of my local EAA to complain that I am "defaming him". He told our Chapter Secretary / Newsletter editor to "expect to hear from EAA National".

I have removed the link from this page to the EAA chapter page, and the link from the EAA page list of links to my page. I apologize to my fellow EAA members for any any unpleasantness or embarassment that this has caused. This is entirely my issue and not theirs, and they do not deserve to be Zoomed.

April 14, 1998

I received this E-Mail from one of our EAA chapter officers this morning. I have removed the last names.

April 13, 1998

Date: Tue, 14 Apr 1998 06:41:12 -0700
From: Mike xxxxx
To: John Ousterhout
Subject: Re: Web page

Mr. Campbell also contacted our former president, Bill xxxxx yesterday. He was so threatening and harassing that Bill's wife, Kay, felt it necessary to leave him an urgent message at work and so on. The key words were of course "I'm going to sue your ass!"


April 14, 1998

Bob Mackey of the EAA telephoned the current president of my EAA chapter because he had received a complaint that the chapter web page contained material defaming Jim Campbell. Our president explained that the chapter web page never contained anything about Jim Campbell or U S Aviator. He was told that the Chapter web page had been linked to my web page and vice-versa, but that the links were removed (as soon as Zoom began to harrass chapter members.

April 21, 1998:

Jim Campbell has filed a lawsuit against 15 persons, myself included. All of these persons are contributers to the UseNet forum rec.aviation.homebuilt. Details are elsewhere in this Web page.


Jim Campbell has repeatedly threatened legal action against anyone that attempts to tell the truth about him, and frightened many of them into silence. This has been occuring for years.

From a summary by Ron Wanttaja: One of the unchanging factors between the Campbell of 1980 and the Campbell of 1997 is his assessment of those who criticize him. 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.

However the truth is that Jim Campbell has never successfully sued anyone for slander or libel. He once did receive a default judgement because the person he sued was victimized by an attorney that failed to file the necessary papers in time, but no one but Jim Campbell would call that a victory.

The NTSB does not void or rescind hearing documents. However copies are not readily available after 5 years. se-4661 is still a public record. I recommend that you read it carefully, noting the descriptions of Jim Campbell's behavior, the diagnosis of the Psychiatrist (and Jim's attempt to manipulate the Psychiatrist), and Jim's own statments. Then decide for yourself if the Jim Campbell of 1998 is the same as the Jim Campbell of 1980.

Jim Campbell's tagline on E-Mail and UseNet postings:
"To sin by silence when they should protest,
makes cowards of men." -Abraham Lincoln

My response:

"What a hypocrite!"

A warning for those who seek to tell truth:
"If the truth hurts most of us so badly that we don't want it told,
it hurts even more grievously those who dare tell it.
It is a two-edged sword, often dangerous to the user."
- Judge Ben Lindsey (1869-1943)    


Updated 07-25-98