Baker, Ahles & Kaskovich

Trump on F-35: ‘I do hear that it’s not very good’

F-35 landing on USS Wasp
F-35 landing on USS Wasp Courtesy photo

The Donald doesn’t like the F-35.

According to a story in the Air Force Times, Donald Trump, the billionaire businessman and Republican presidential hopeful, questioned the need for the stealth jet fighter on a conservative radio talk show Oct. 22.

“When they say that [the F-35] cannot perform as well as the planes we already have, what are [we] doing, and spending so much more money?” Trump said on the Hugh Hewitt radio show, according to the Times.

The host asked Trump his thoughts on the fifth-generation fighter and the fact that it’s $160 billion over budget. Trump responded that he didn’t like what he had been hearing in security briefings.

“I do hear that it’s not very good,” he said. “I’m hearing that our existing planes are better. And one of the pilots came out of the plane, one of the test pilots, and said this isn’t as good as what we already have.”

Trump apparently was talking about the report on the military blog “War is Boring” that published a five-page report by an unnamed test pilot’s report about the plane’s capabilities. The blog post said the test pilot found that the “pricey new stealth jet can’t turn or climb fast enough to hit an enemy plane during a dogfight.”

Policymakers should take the report seriously, the Times quoted The Donald as saying.

But military officials and analysts have dismissed the blog post, saying that it “does not tell the entire story” and that the F-35 involved did not have the software to allow the pilot to see its enemy and fire its weapons without pointing the aircraft at its target.

Max B. Baker

Leader of mental health group to be feted

Patsy Thomas, president of Mental Health Connection of Tarrant County, will receive the Communicator of the Year Award from the Greater Fort Worth Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America at the fourth annual Worthy Awards dinner.

The Worthy Awards celebrate the region’s best in public relations and communications. The event is Thursday at the Fort Worth Club.

Thomas was chosen for her ability to communicate and create partnerships with public and private agencies, as well as individuals in need of behavioral health services and their family members, the organization said.

The Mental Health Connection of Tarrant County was founded in response to the 1999 shooting tragedy at Fort Worth’s Wedgwood Baptist Church. A gunman killed seven people and wounded several others before killing himself.

Thomas became president of the group in 2002, and through her leadership approximately 900 people at 13 agencies have been trained to help teens become more resilient. She also spearheaded development of a public awareness campaign on recognizing trauma in children.

Previous Communicator of the Year award winners include former Fort Worth ISD Superintendent Walter Dansby, Mayor Betsy Price and former Councilman Joel Burns.

An additional 50 awards will be given out to area public relations and communications professionals that evening. Individual tickets are $75 for members, $85 for nonmembers and $50 for students. Tables of 10 are available for $650 at

Father and son real estate startup

Longtime Fort Worth commercial real estate broker Rick Hopwood and his son, Matt, have teamed to form Hopwood Commercial Real Estate Services.

“It came as a real surprise when Matt said he wanted to get into the commercial real estate business,” said Hopwood, who will serve as president of the new company. “We discussed the ins and outs of working in commercial real estate for several months, before finally making the decision to start the firm.”

Matt Hopwood will serve as marketing director.

The two said they will work with tenants and investors in Fort Worth and Dallas, providing commercial real estate services for retail, office, industrial and multifamily brokerage and leasing.

Rick Hopwood has worked with such firms as Centra Partners, NAI Huff Partners, PM Realty Group, Red Oak Realty and NAI Stoneleigh Huff Brous McDowell.

Homebuilding firms merge

Longtime Northeast Tarrant County-based residential developers Paul Spain and Bobby Harrell of Terra Land and Bret Pedigo of Dallas-based Manna Land have merged their companies to create Terra Manna Llc., a residential development company.

“Terra needed a third partner that could help us find, analyze and secure more deals in the DFW area, after limiting ourselves to developing custom home communities in Southlake, Trophy Club, Colleyville and Westlake for the last 20 years,” Harrell said.

The two companies have developed master-planned neighborhoods in Forney, Southlake and Westlake.

After meeting in 2011, the three men began sharing office space and eventually helped each other find and secure new land deals with area landowners, the partners said, and within two years began working on developments together.

Andrea Ahles: 817-390-7631, @Sky_Talk

Sandra Baker: 817-390-7727, @SandraBakerFWST

Steve Kaskovich: 817-390-7773, @stevekasko