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Society for Aviation History

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

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SAH General Meetings, Tours,
and Educational Programs

December 6th, 2014

The I-400 Subs and their Seiran Aircraft

John J. Geoghegan and Alice Hendricks

John J. Geoghegan is author of "Operation Storm: Japan's Top Secret Plan to Change the Course of WWII," which "The Wall Street Journal" called, "a fascinating, meticulously researched, and deft account." He discussed Japanese submarine-based aircraft, their mission, and the technology needed to attain the goal of launching planes to bomb New York and Washington, D. C.

Additionally, Geoghegan shepherded the PBS documentary "Japanese SuperSub," about the I-400 subs and their Seiran aircraft, into production in addition to serving as writer and technical consultant. He has also written numerous articles for the "New York Times" Science Section, the "San Francisco Chronicle" Sunday Magazine, WIRED, "Smithsonian Air & Space," "Aviation History," and "Popular Science," among other publications in addition to a regular column about white elephant technology for the "Huffington Post."

Francesco's Restaurant - Oakland

The Society's ninth annual toy drive was held at the December 6th meeting in Oakland. Everyone was encouraged to bring an unwrapped new toy, suitable for a teenage child. The toys were collected and taken to two local fire departments for distribution to families in need. Over the last eight years the Society's generous members have donated many wonderful items to less fortunate children.

About Our last Meeting, October 4th, 2014

Hidden Warbirds: Recent Recoveries of World War II Aircraft

Our fourth SAH membership meeting in 2014 was another well-attended gathering that was held at the Back Forty Texas BBQ in Pleasant Hill for the first time. The restaurant was another good location for our meetings. It is also a location that is easier to get to for some of our members in the east bay.

Society past-president Nicholas A. "Nick" Veronico was October's featured speaker and discussed his most recent books Hidden Warbirds: The Epic Stories of Finding Recovering, and Rebuilding WWII's Lost Aircraft and its sequel Hidden Warbirds II. Nick has been a long-standing member of the society (member number 4) and this was his first presentation to the group.

In 1989, Nick got started searching for downed B-17 Flying Fortresses for parts to restore his G-model Cheyenne tail gunner's compartment. He has since collected more than a dozen aircraft gun turrets, and placed turrets or loaned parts to a number of aircraft restorations. Through his research, recoveries, and horse-trading, he's made wide contacts in the aircraft recovery field. Those restorers have shared their stories with Nick, and he's shared them with aviation enthusiasts the world-over through his books. Many Society for Aviation History members have generously shared photos for Nick's books and there were a number of their photos used in this presentation.

Some of the aircraft recoveries Nick discussed included the B-17E Swamp Ghost, the P-38 Glacier Girl, the sole surviving Brewster Corsair, a P-51 Mustang found in a garage, a couple of German fighters and bombers, and many others.

Veronico is the author of more than 30 books on aviation, military, and local history subjects and has been investigating and writing about aircraft wrecks for many years. His website, Wreckchasing.com is the on-line community for enthusiasts who want to know more about how to locate vintage airplane wrecks and then tell their stories.

Back Forty Texas BBQ - Pleasant Hill

Our members showed their generosity for the ninth consecutive year by donating more than 250 pounds of food and several checks to the Second Harvest Food Bank.


Our June 7, 2014 Meeting

From RAINBOW to GUSTO: Stealth and the Design of the Lockheed Blackbird

When the first flights of the U-2 spyplane over the Soviet Union were tracked by air defense radars, the CIA realized that it was only a matter of time before it would be shot down, and thus began a crash program to reduce its radar cross section. This effort evolved into a competition to design a follow-on aircraft that would be invisible to radar. Over a period of two years, Lockheed and Convair explored a variety of subsonic and supersonic designs and tradeoffs among performance, payload, and RCS, resulting in selection of the Lockheed A-12 Blackbird. While the efforts were not completely successful, they laid the basis for future developments in low-observable aircraft, such as the F-117 and B-2.

Paul Suhler is a computer engineer in the data storage industry, working for HGST in Santa Ana, California. A specialist in communication protocols and computer security, he has participated extensively in the development of computing standards, and received the 2009 Technical Excellence Award from the InterNational Committee for Information Technology Standards. He has published numerous conference and journal papers in parallel computing.

Suhler received the BSEE and PhD in computer engineering from the University of Texas at Austin, and the MS in computer engineering from the University of California, Berkeley. A former Regular Army officer, he has also been a research staff member at IBM T. J. Watson Research Center and a research assistant professor at the University of Southern California. He holds a commercial pilot license and a US Parachute Association C license. He is a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and a member of the Association for Computing Machinery.

Redwood City - The Spaghetti Factory

Our April 12, 2014 Meeting

The Aircraft of Howard Hughes

Aviation Historian Jim Lund was the featured speaker at the society's April meeting at the Moffett Field Museum. Lund discussed the aircraft associated with entrepreneur and aviation record holder Howard R. Hughes. The presentation featured a number of historic photographs along with Lund's collection of hand-built 1/72nd scale models. Since all of the models are in the same scale, viewers got the same sense of scale that they would have if they were up at the Evergreen Aviation Museum in Oregon. However, the museum does not contain a collection of Hughes' aircraft as extensive as this one. One of the features is the Hughes D-2 - Howard Hughes' biggest secret.

Over the years, Lund has been a student of Howard Hughes, his aircraft, and his aviation-related businesses. After years of digesting all of this material, Lund has come to a conclusion: because Hughes was such a complex and secretive individual, the door was open for too much artistic license in many of the millionaire's biographies. This allowed Hollywood producer/director Martin Scorsese to make a film titled "The Aviator", a parody, that if beleived, portrayed Howard Hughes as nothing more than a mentally disturbed loner. Lund shared his views of Hughes and his accomplishments at the meeting.

Note: The cost of the meeting included admission to the Moffett Field Historical Society Museum.

Moffett Field, Mtn. View


Our last meeting, February 8, 2014

China's Wings

Author Gregory Crouch was the featured speaker at the society's February meeting in Redwood City. Crouch is the author of China's Wings: War, Intrigue, Romance, and Adventure in the Middle Kingdom During the Golden Age of Flight, a chronicle of the development of China National Airways Corp. At the center of the book is American aviation executive William Langhorne Bond. In search of adventure, he arrives in Nationalist China in 1931, charged with turning around the turbulent nation's flagging airline business, the China National Aviation Corporation (CNAC). The mission will take him to the wild and lawless frontiers of commercial aviation: into cockpits with daredevil pilots flying-sometimes literally-on a wing and a prayer; into the dangerous maze of Chinese politics, where scheming warlords and volatile military officers jockey for advantage; and into the boardrooms, backrooms, and corridors of power inhabited by such outsized figures as Generalissimo and Madame Chiang Kai-shek; President Franklin Delano Roosevelt; foreign minister T. V. Soong; Generals Arnold, Stilwell, and Marshall; and legendary Pan American Airways founder Juan Trippe.

With the outbreak of full-scale war in 1941, Bond and CNAC are transformed from uneasy spectators to active participants in the struggle against Axis imperialism. Drawing on meticulous research, primary sources, and extensive personal interviews with participants, Gregory Crouch offers harrowing accounts of brutal bombing runs and heroic evacuations, as the fight to keep one airline flying becomes part of the larger struggle for China's survival. Crouch plunges readers into a world of perilous night flights, emergency water landings, and the constant threat of predatory Japanese warplanes. When Japanese forces capture Burma and blockade China's only overland supply route, Bond and his pilots must battle shortages of airplanes, personnel, and spare parts to airlift supplies over an untried five-hundred-mile-long aerial gauntlet high above the Himalayas-the infamous "Hump"-pioneering one of the most celebrated endeavors in aviation history.

Crouch's presentation was followed by a Q&A session and book signing.

Redwood City - The Spaghetti Factory

Our members and guests in deep concentration while working on the trivia contest.

To see some more of our past meetings, click below

2013 meetings

2012 meetings

2011 meetings

2010 meetings

2009 meetings

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2007 meetings

2006 meetings

2005 meetings

2004 meetings

2003 and earlier

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