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Society for Aviation History

P.O. Box 5344, Petaluma, CA. 94955

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2011 SAH General Meetings, Tours,
and Educational Programs

Our December 3, 2011 Meeting

Aviation Lockheed Skunk Works Panel: XP-80, to U-2 and SR-71

The Lockheed Skunk Works panel, L to R, Tom Tilden, Joe Szep, John "Cabi" V. Cabigas, B.C. Thomas, and moderator Byron May.

Eighty-one Society for Aviation History members, along with a sprinkling of lucky guests were on hand for the 2011 Christmas Luncheon held at the Crowne Plaza in Burlingame. The panel of guest speakers was organized and moderated by member Byron May (SAH 98), and consisted of Joe Szep, Tom Tilden, John V. Cabigas (Cabi. Also present was B.C. Thomas, a previous guest speaker, who is the highest time SR-71 pilot.

Joe Szep: His 35-year career with Lockheed began in 1936 when he was 20 years old. His early design work included the Model 12 Electra Junior, Model 14 Super Electra and the pressurized XC-35. Szep worked on the structural design of the legendary XP-38 Lightning and in 1943 he was one of the first group of 23 engineers selected by Kelly Johnson when he created what became known as the Skunk Works to develop the prototype for the first production american jet fighter, the ground breaking XP-80 Shooting Star. Szep is the last remaining member of the original Skunk Works Engineering Team.

Tom Tilden is a Flight Test Captain with United Airlines. He flies maintenance checks on United's Airbus A-320 and Boeing 747, 757, 767, and 777 aircraft. During his last seven years in the Air Force, Tilden was a test pilot flying the SR-71 from Palmdale, Calif. He retired from the Air Force in 1989.

John V. Cabigas, USAF (Ret.) grew up in San Jose, Calif., and earned his private pilot's license at NAS Moffet Field. Attended USAF Undergraduate Pilot Training at Vance AFB, OK where he stayed on as an Instructor Pilot. In 1992, he was accepted into the special duty assignment flying U-2s at Beale AFB, CA. He flew U-2s operationally for 18 years (continuously) completing 26 deployments worldwide and participated in every conflict and natural disaster support from 1992-2010.

Sixth Annual Toys for Teens Drive

At our meeting, the generosity of the society's members was evident. The sixth annual teen toy drive was a huge success, and we thank everyone that donated. We received sports equipment, make-it-kits, board games, puzzles, etc., that were donated to the San Mateo County Fire Department. The kindness of our members provided a verry happy Christmas to many local families. We look forward to doing it again nex year.


Our October 1, 2011

Aviation Episodes of the Twilight Zone



Film expert and SAH Member Andy Melomet reviewed several aviation episodes of the science fiction TV series The Twilight Zone. They were:

The Odyssey of Flight 33

 The Last Flight

The Arrival

King Nine Will Not Return

Nightmare at 20,000 Feet

Andy Melomet has generously given a number of programs in the past and his presentations always get rave reviews!

Please bring some canned food for those less fortunate. Each year we deliver the canned food collected to the Second Harvest Food Bank. Last year we topped 200 pounds (!!!) and we look forward to meeting or exceeding this goal again this year.

Meeting Location:  Francesco's Restaurant - Oakland, CA,



SAH Tank Museum Tour: July 23, 2011

Through Richard Thomas and Nick Veronico, the Society for Aviation History will tour the Military Vehicle Technology Foundation’s collection of armored vehicles on July 23 at 10 a.m. The cost is $25 for SAH members and $30 for non-members*/guests payable by check or Paypal.

The tour will take approximately 3 hours, most of it standing or walking. Please dress in layers and wear comfortable shoes. We will meet in Redwood City at 9 a.m. to form carpools as parking at the museum is extremely limited. Directions to the tour will be handed out at this time.


About Our Last Meeting: Saturday June 4, 2011

State of the B-17 World in 2011

The B-17 remains a favorite of the warbird crowd, and lots of changes have occurred in the past few years in the continuing saga of the four dozen plus airplanes that remain. A few airplanes have returned to the air, and a few have now been grounded. Several interesting new restorations are now underway including that of the only surviving B-17D, and what were only piles of scrap ten years ago are now becoming B-17s once again. Plus, there are two exciting new projects that may eventually result in the brand new construction of both a B-17C and a B-17F.

Author Scott Thompson has long documented the history of the post-war Flying Fortress and the individual stories of each of the 48 surviving airplanes. His book Final Cut, originally published in 1990, has been updated with the release of an expanded and updated 4th edition in May of this year. Come and explore the current B-17 world in this review of the interesting current events in the story of this popular World War II bomber.

Copies of the new 4th edition of Final Cut: The Post War B-17 Flying Fortress and Survivors were available at the meeting ($24.95). For more B-17 information and updates, visit www.aerovintage.com.

Meeting Location:  Francesco's Restaurant - Oakland, CA, June 4, 2011



Our last Meeting: Saturday April 9, 2011

Final Flight: A Mystery in the High Sierra

In October 2005, two mountaineers climbing above Mendel Glacier in the High Sierra found the mummified remains of a man in a World War II uniform, entombed in the ice. The "Frozen Airman" discovery created a media storm and a mystery that drew author Peter Stekel to investigate. What did happen to the four-man crew who perished on a routine navigation training flight in 1942, 150 miles off-course from its reported destination?

Stekel found bad weather, bad luck, and bad timing. Empty graves, botched records, and misguided recovery efforts. Then, in 2007, the unimaginable happened again. Stekel himself discovered a second body in the glacier. Another young man would finally be coming home.

Copies of Stekel's book Final Flight: The Mystery of a WWII Plane Crash and the Frozen Airmen in the High Sierra were available at the meeting. Visit Stekel's website at: www.FinalFlightTheBook.com.

Lunch at the Moffett Field Museum was catered by everyone's favorite Emergency BBQ!



Our Last Meeting: February 5, 2011

Junkyard Jets — Airliner Dismantling, Recycling, and Movie Making

(new SAH President Alice Hendricks and speaker J. Douglas Scroggins)

The February meeting was J. Douglas Scroggins III, managing member and co-owner of ARC Aerospace Industries and owner of Scroggins Aviation, both Nevada-based companies specializing in commercial part sales, teardowns, salvage and recovery, and the occasional movie mockups. Scroggins comes from the film and television entertainment field as a director of photography, director, and producer, and created/produced the program Scrapping Aircraft Giants – a Discovery Channel TV documentary on commercial aircraft scrapping.

Most recently, on the TV side, Scroggins was involved in the show LOST, and provided the crashed airliner for NBC-TV’s 2010/2011 series The Event. Working with SAH member Nicholas A. Veronico, Scroggins co-authored the book Junkyard Jets, which was released in January 2011 by Stance and Speed Publishing .

Scroggins’ talk will detail the end of the life of an airliner, from storage, to part-out, to dismantling, and will cover some of the TV and movie work he’s done.

Meeting Location:  Francesco's Restaurant - Oakland, CA, February 5, 2011


(new and past SAH past president Alice Hendricks and Nick Veronico)

To see some more of our past meetings, click below

2010 meetings

2009 meetings

2008 meetings

2007 meetings

2006 meetings

2005 meetings

2004 meetings

2003 and earlier

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