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Society for Aviation History

PO. Box 7081 San Carlos, CA 94070

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SAH General Meetings and Educational Programs

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Our Next Meeting ~ Saturday, October 5, 2019

Dennis Jenkins Discusses The Space Shuttle Program

Everything you wanted to know about the Space Shuttle, but didn't know who to ask...

Dennis R. Jenkins worked as a contractor to NASA for 33 years, mostly on the Space Shuttle Program in a variety of engineering and management roles. After supporting the first few space shuttle launches at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC), he spent five years activating the Vandenberg Launch Site in California before the facility was closed following the Challenger accident.

Returning to KSC, he supported recovering from the accident and a variety of special projects. During the late 1990s Jenkins was the ground systems lead for the X-33 program. Afterward, he managed a variety of upgrade projects at KSC. Jenkins spent 2003 on the staff of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board (CAIB), 2004 as staff to the PresidentŐs Commission on the Future of Human Spaceflight and as technical staff to the Return-to-Flight Task Group evaluating the readiness of space shuttle to support STS-114, 2005 as the Verville Fellow at the National Air and Space Museum, and then returned to KSC as a consultant to United Space Alliance. In 2010, he became the United Space Alliance project manager to deliver the remaining Orbiters to their Display Sites. Afterward Jenkins became the project director for the Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center that will ultimately display Endeavour as a full-launch stack.

Jenkins has written extensively on aviation and space history including the official NASA history of the X-15 program and the NASA history of aviation pressure suits. He has recently released his three-volume Space Shuttle: Developing an Icon history of the Space Shuttle Program.

Be sure to bring a friend to this rare opportunity to talk Space Shuttle with a man who was there from the first launch to his work today building the best display ever! Please note that we'll be conducting our annual Canned Food Drive, so please bring a non-perishable food item for subsequent distribution to those less fortunate than us.

Date/Time: October 5, 2019

11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Livermore, CA

Cost: Member - $40 per person.

Non-Member - $45 per person.

Menu Entree Selections:

*Top Sirloin Steak - A flavorful 8oz sirloin steak


*Lemon Herb Chicken - Chicken breast basted with our fat free lemon herb


*Teriyaki Chicken - Chicken breast marinated in our homemade teriyaki sauce


*Grilled Atlantic Salmon - A thick cut boneless filet, broiled to perfection, served with dill sauce and lemon


*Pasta Ravioli - Vegetarian ravioli served with a seasonal sauce

"The Fixings" are included with each entree: baked potato, All-you-can-eat salad, Ranch-style Beans, Sourdough bread, coffee, soda and tea. Plus dessert!

Non-Hosted Bar Beverages (guests will enjoy cocktails with lunch) - Each guest is responsible for paying for their own alcoholic beverages as they are ordered.

Select from the arrow on the right near the price and click on the "Add to Cart" button below to make reservations via PayPal or see below for check instructions.


                 Top Sirloin Steak
                   Lemon Herb Chicken
                   Teriyaki Chicken
                   Grilled Salmon
                   Pasta Ravioli

At the request of our bank, please make checks payable to Society for Aviation History (not SAH). Please send check to: SAH, P.O. Box 7081, San Carlos, CA 94070 RSVP: Reservations must be received by October 1. To make a menu choice, please write your selection in the memo area of your check or on a note. Reservations made after October 1, or arriving without a reservation will cost $50. You must pay to attend.

***Please Read: Do not arrive before 11:30 a.m. as the venue will NOT BE OPEN***

Note: If you can't make it and have already placed your reservation, we must receive notice by October 1 or we will be unable to give you a refund.

Click on this link to see our Policies and Procedures Page

Our Saturday, June 1, 2019 meeting

Pan Am at War

Mark Cotta Vaz and SAH President Ron Close

Our featured speaker was Mark Cotta Vaz. He has authored more than 30 books, including four New York Times bestsellers. Vaz was there to discuss his book Pan Am At War which he co-authored with John H. Hill. Gen. Henry Harley "Hap" Arnold and others, such as Billy Mitchell, understood that the future of American defense would be domination of the oceans by air power. Gen. Arnold and Juan Trippe were two of the founders of Pan Am and the company was the first and only airline that flew across the oceans at the time.

During 1941, Arnold and Trippe secretly met with Winston Churchill to discuss ocean air transport as it related to military strategy. Pan Am agreed to open transport military supply lines from Brazil to North Africa. The book also goes into more detail about Billy Mitchell and his court martial.

Pan Am amassed a plethora of data regarding aircraft maintenance, weather, ocean currents, and interfacing with different airports abroad. Even President Roosevelt spoke about the impressive accomplishments of the Pan Am and their "flying boats". Vaz's presentation is available on DVD through the SAH Lending Library. Please contact Byron May for more information about the DVD rental/purchase. Vaz's book is available on-line at Amazon.com.

This meeting was held at the Old Spaghetti Factory, Redwood City, CA

Our Saturday, April 6, 2019 Meeting

Seven at Santa Cruz: Fighter Ace "Swede" Vejtasa

Ted Edwards and new SAH President Ron Close

Historian and author Ted Edwards spent many years interviewing the participants of World War II, and his crowning achievement is the biography Seven at Santa Cruz: The Life of Fighter Ace Stanley "Swede" Vejtasa.

During the Battle of the Coral Sea, Vejtasa was flying an SBD Dauntless dive bomber from Yorktown and helped sink the Shoho, the first Japanese carrier sunk by the US Navy in World War II. The next day he was again flying a Dauntless when he outflew and out-gunned three Japanese Zero fighters. This made "Swede" the only dive bomber pilot to be awarded Navy Crosses for both dive bombing and aerial combat.

Months later, the day before the Battle of Santa Cruz, "Swede" was flying an F4F Wildcat fighter from the Enterprise and was ordered to fly predictably empty search legs which he knew to be insane. He followed his orders. On his return to Point Option the carrier was not there. He and his fellow pilots were low on fuel. He remembered seeing an oil leak from the Enterprise and he located this oil slick, following it to the new location of the carrier.

Having saved himself and his fellow pilots, "Swede" was able to fly again the next day, single-handedly downing two Japanese dive bombers and five torpedo bombers. Skipper Jimmy Flatley considered that this had saved the Enterprise from destruction and recommended "Swede" for the Medal of Honor. For reasons unclear, Admiral Kinkaid, who had been responsible for the mistakes in sending "Swede" and his comrades on the mission that nearly cost the whole group, downgraded the Medal of Honor recommendation to a Distinguished Flying Cross.

Ted Edwards is an historian, who has enjoyed international careers in education and gymnastics. He coached Virgin Islands gymnasts in three Pan American Games and served as Team Official in two Olympic Games, and has happily adventured in the Sierras, Rockies, Alps and the Nepal Himalaya. Edwards lives in Felton, with his wife Barbara Rose Johnston.

This meeting was held at the Back Forty Texas BBQ, Pleasant Hill, CA

About our meeting, February 2, 2019

Two Air Tragedies Linked to Moffett Field Remembered


Two aviation accidents linked to Moffett Field were examined by crash detective Dave Trojan. The first is a P-3A Orion crash mystery in Michigan that was unexplained until now. The second is a Navy Transport R6D Liftmaster that crashed on Oahu, Hawaii. The stories behind these accidents were described and what remains at both crash sites was revealed. The lasting effects from these tragedies were also explored. Artifacts recovered from both crash sites were recently put on display at the Moffett Field Museum and were displayed during the meeting.

The first aircraft was Lockheed P-3A Orion, Buno. 152172, assigned to VP-19 which departed NAS Floyd Bennett Field, N.Y., on July 4, 1966. Its intended destination was NAS Moffett Field, but the Orion crashed in Michigan during the cross-country flight. It was the first unexplained P-3 Orion accident to occur over land and it was immediately recognized that every effort must be made to insure that the cause of this accident be determined, but it never was until now. This accident became was one of the most comprehensive, in-depth, and longest running aircraft accident investigations in the history of aviation archaeology. Trojan was able to uncover new information which may have discovered the cause of this undetermined accident.

The second accident was a Navy R6D Liftmaster, Buno. 131612, that crashed on Oahu, Hawaii, on March 22, 1955, during a flight to Moffett Field. The R6D accident resulted in the loss of 66 lives, making it the worst air disaster in the history of Hawaii and the deadliest accident involving aircraft in the history of United States Naval Aviation. This tragic event was re-investigated and new information was discovered.

Crash detective Trojan has visited both of these crash sites and thoroughly investigated both of these tragic accidents. He revealed information and photographs that have never before been made public.

Our Meeting was held at the Moffett Field Historical Society Museum

To see some more of our past meetings, click below

2018 meetings

2017 meetings

2016 meetings

2015 meetings

2014 meetings

2013 meetings

2012 meetings

2011 meetings

2010 meetings

2009 meetings

2008 meetings

2007 meetings

2006 meetings

2005 meetings

2004 meetings

2003 and earlier

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