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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

Our December 5th, 2015 Meeting

Vees for Victory! The Story of the Allison V-1710

Dan Whitney is a retired mechanical engineer who works with the warbird community to keep the old liquid-cooled engines, specifically the Allison V-1710 and Rolls-Royce/Packard Merlin V-1650 engines running smoothly. He's advised owners and racers of P-38s, P-40s, P-51s, both the P-39 and P-63, as well as the P-82. He has written the book, "Vees for Victory! The Story of the Allison V-1710" which describes the history, development, use and engineering built into the engine. Copies were available at the meeting..

Whitney shared some of the stories and interesting features of these marvelous V-12 engines.

The Society's tenth annual toy drive was held at the December 5th meeting in Oakland. Everyone was encouraged to bring an unwrapped new toy, suitable for a teenage child. The toys wwere collected and taken to a local fire department for distribution to families in need. Over the last nine years the Society's generous members have donated many wonderful items to less fortunate children.

Franseco's Restaurant in Oakland

October 3, 2015 Meeting - The Evolution of Carrier Aviation

Our meeting was held at the Moffett Field Museum to hear about the life and career of Naval aviation pioneer Vice Adm. Frederick "Trap" Trapnell. A pilot of calculated courage, "Trap" entered the Navy when test pilots were more like stuntmen than engineers. Airplanes had not yet come into their own as weapons of war, and they had an undeveloped role in the fleet. His vision and leadership shaped the evolution of naval aviation through its formative years and beyond.

After World War II, Trap returned as commander of the Naval Air Test Center to lead the Navy through the challenges of transitioning to jets. Trap was not only the first U.S. Navy pilot to fly a jet, but is also recognized for defining the operating requirements for carrier-based jet propelled aircraft.

Trap's story is told in the highly acclaimed new book Harnessing the Sky, written by our speaker, Frederick M. "Fritz" Trapnell Jr. and Dana Trapnell Tibbits. The author had books available for sale and signed them.

Our meeting was held at the Moffett Field Museum - Mountain View

Our members showed their generosity for the tenth consecutive year by donating food and several checks to the Second Harvest Food Bank.


June 6, 2015 Meeting - Vietnam War Helicopter Art


Vietnam was the first truly mobile war, where troops were transported into battle by air and deployed, without the use of parachutes, and where the concepts of air mobility and air assault were introduced.

No longer were runways and the infrastructure for fixed-wing aircraft needed as helicopters could, and did, land in the hot spots, deploy their troops and cargo, and do it while under enemy fire. In these situations, machines take on a personality of their own and gain names of endearment, or names commemorating people, places, and actions relating to the war, or to popular culture of the time.

We we're very proud to have John Brennan as our featured speaker at the June 6 meeting. Brennan has assembled a first-rate collection of helicopter nose art and he presented color images of nose art from his hugely successful Vietnam War Helicopter Art books. He had copies available for sale and signed them for those that already had these books in their library.

Brennan is a native "Oaklander" with pioneer roots dating back to the original Spanish settlers to the Bay Area. His experience with U.S. Army helicopters began with a 12-month tour in the Mekong Delta region of Vietnam assigned to the Army's 114th Assault Helicopter Company as a Flight Operations Coordinator. After Vietnam he earned a B.A. degree in American Studies from California State University at Chico and upon graduation worked for the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum Library.

Later, when the 114th Assault Helicopter Company formed an Association he served as the unit's historian. Today, he is happily retired after thirty-one years of Federal service and has since produced four Vietnam War helicopter books. John resides with his family in Chico, California.

Our meeting was held at the The Old Spaghetti Factory - Redwood City

Castle Air Museum - May 16, 2015

The Society for Aviation History's second group tour of 2015 was held at the Castle Air Museum, located on the former Castle Air Force Base, in Atwater, Calif. on Saturday March 16. Norm Jukes (SAH 003) coordinated the tour with the museum's curator, Tony Rocha. The purpose of the tour was to allow SAH members and their guests exclusive access to cockpits selected by our Board members Roger Cain, Ron Close, Byron May, Ron Strong, Rick Turner, and Nick Veronico.

With our group of twenty-two members and seven guests, Tony began the tour as scheduled at 11:30 a.m. In two and a half hours, we visited six aircraft (in the following order): Avro Vulcan B.Mk2, Boeing KC-97L Stratofreighter (first cockpit picture above), Consolidated B-24M Liberator, Curtiss C-46D Commando (second cockpit picture above), Boeing KC-135A Stratotanker, and the Convair RB-36H Peacemaker.

Following the cockpit portion of the tour, many members visited the indoor museum area and other static aircraft displayed on the museum grounds before heading for home. See our Summer edition of the newsletter for more pictures and a complete article by Ron Close.

For additional information about the museum and directions, log on to their website at Castle Air Museum

Our April 11, 2015 - Meeting - Flying Carpets, Flying Wings

Barbara Schultz and our SAH President, Nick Veronico (photo by Ron Close)

The Society for Aviation History held its second general meeting of 2015, at Michael's at Shoreline Restaurant in Mountain View, Calif.

Pilot Barbara Schultz is the author of Flying Carpets, Flying Wings, a biography of test pilot Moye W. Stephens, his friends, and his achievements in aviation. During the 1920s, Stephens flew with Eddie Bellande, Jack Northrop, Allan Hancock, Howard Hughes, William Boeing, and many other aviation notables. This led to a career flying Ford Tri-Motors for Maddux, TAT, and TWA. From 1930 to 1932, Stephens flew author Richard Halliburton around the world in a Stearman C-3B named the Flying Carpet. This is the first and only factual narrative of that flight. In 1939, Stephens was one of a select few who founded Northrop Corporation when he flew several Northop prototypes including the N-1M flying wing. Stephens' well-researched and definitive biography covers nearly 80 years of aviation history. Schultz had books available for purchase after her presentation.

Our Nike Missile Site Tour - March 14, 2015

Society members and their guests attended a tour of Nike Missile site SF-88 on Saturday, March 14, 2015. Located at the Marin Headlands immediately north of the Golden Gate Bridge, Nike Site SF-88, was one of 12 Nike Ajax sites built in the San Francisco Bay Area. This site was opened in March 1954, with the principal objective of protecting key military targets from Soviet bomber aircraft. We had a great tour by the National Park Service guide, along with three voulnteers that were stationed at Nike Missile Sites, one of which was based here. We were able to tour several display rooms with along with the radar station, the missile bay, and they operated one the Nike Hercules Missiles from the bay up to launch position. For additional information about Nike Site SF-88 and directions, log on to their website at National Park Service - Nike Missle Site

Our Last Meeting was Saturday, February 7th, 2015

Bill Yenne: Area 51 Black Jets

Bill Yenne and our new SAH President, Nick Veronico

When most of us think of Area 51, we think of aliens, UFOs, and controversial government cover-ups. It's easy to forget that, since the mid-1950s, the United States' famed extension of Edwards Air Force Base has served as a top-secret CIA testing ground for many of the most groundbreaking advancements in American military aviation technology. Author and military historian Bill Yenne presented a chronology of Area 51's most famous aircraft projects, including Lockheed's U-2 "Dragon Lady" and SR-71 "Blackbird" reconnaissance planes, drones ranging from the early Lockheed D-21 to the modern-day General Atomics MQ-1 Predator, and the famous F-117 Nighthawk stealth fighter produced by the Have Blue program during the 1970s. Yenne also covered a handful of the many classified experimental programs carried out at Area 51 over the years, such as Have Doughnut, Have Ferry, and Have Drill - secret undertakings that successfully reverse-engineered such enemy aircraft as the Russian MiG during the Cold War.

Back Forty Texas BBQ - Pleasant Hill

Tough Trivia Contest, compliments of Bill Stubkjaer

To see some more of our past meetings, click below

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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