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Society for Aviation History

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

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SAH General Meetings, and Educational Programs

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Our December 2, 2017 Meeting

Top Eagle Driver: "Rico" Rodriguez' F-15 Aerial Victories

2014-2107 SAH President Nick Veronico (left) with "Rico" Rodriguez

Col. Cesar A. "Rico" Rodriguez, Jr. (USAF ret.) entered the Air Force in 1981 as a graduate of The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina, ROTC program. His last assignment was the 355th Mission Support Group Commander, Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona. Rodriguez is a command pilot with more than 3,100 fighter flight hours, 350 of which are in combat operations Desert Storm and Allied Force.

In combat operations, Rodriguez distinguished himself in aerial combat where he is credited with downing three enemy fighter aircraft: an Iraqi MiG-29, an Iraqi MiG-23, and a Yugoslavian Air Force MiG-29, and commanded the 332nd Expeditionary Operations Group, Al Jaber Kuwait during Operations Southern Watch and Iraqi Freedom.

Col. Rodriguez was on hand to detail his aviation career at the December meeting and discussed his aerial victories while flying the F-15 Eagle.

The Society's 12th annual toy drive was held at the December meeting at the Radisson Hotel in Oakland, CA. 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 twelve years the Society's generous members have donated many wonderful items to less fortunate children.


(left to right) Ron and Barbara Strong handling registration, Darlene Cain and Alice Hendricks (past SAH President)

Members and guests once again struggle to complete the trivia contest prepared by Trivia Master, Bill Stubkjaer. (Booooooooo!)

Our past meeting, October 7, 2017

Early Aviation in Northern California: 1910 to 1939

The Society for Aviation history held its fourth meeting of 2017 on Oct. 7 at Back Forty Texas BBQ in Pleasant Hill. Our guest speaker was author Allen Herr who presented selections from his books covering early aviation history in the Bay Area. Society President Nick Veronico called the meeting to order thanking everyone who donated to the annual food drive for Second Harvest Food Bank. He also mentioned that our December meeting would be the annual teen toy drive and asked the members to consider donating a toy for a teen who are often under represented during the holidays.

Ron Close introduced the second recipient of the Col. Ben Donahue memorial scholarship award, Cadet Tech Sergeant Michael Fretz (pictured below)from San Marin High School in Novato. Cadet Fretz was awarded a $250 scholarship donation from the society to aid in his scholastic endeavors. Cadet Fretz and his father Brian were able to attend this meeting and meet with some of the society members.

Author Allen Herr discussed pre-war aviation in the Northern California region. He covered Col. Frank H. "Millionaire" Johnson who made several "first" flights in the Sacramento Valley. He also spoke about three of his favorite topics - Frank Bryant and his flying student and later employer, Silas Christofferson; Marina Field pilots and flying operations 1919-1924; and Ernie Smith and the first race to Hawaii.

Back Forty Texas BBQ - Pleasant Hill

Brian and Cadet Tech Sergeant Michael Fretz, Ron Close

Our June 3, 2017 Meeting

Panic on the Pacific, How America Prepared for a West Coast Invasion

After a wonderful Back Forty Texas BBQ buffet lunch, Trivia Master Bill Stubkjaer subjected the members and guests present to one his challenging trivia contests. The title of Bill's contest was "If it's not Boeing, I'm not going." Christopher Teodorou had the most correct answers, 13 out of 16 questions.

Guest speaker Bill Yenne gave a fantastic presentation about the fear and panic that occurred on the West Coast in the months after the Pearl Harbor attack. Yenne has written a new book on the subject, entitled - Panic on the Pacific: How America Prepared for a West Coast Invasion, which was available at our meeting.

Back Forty Texas BBQ, Pleasant Hill

Our April 8, 2017 Meeting

Certifying the Red Bull-Stratos Capsule for the Record Jump


At the April meeting Robert A. Rowe talked about his experiences on the Red Bull-Stratos supersonic freefall experiment team. Rowe was responsible for certifying the Red Bull-Stratos capsule to an altitude of 123,000 feet to ensure it was safe for Felix Baumgartner to make his October 14, 2012, record-setting parachute jump from 127,852.4 feet.

Rowe is uniquely qualified to pass judgment on all things high altitude as he's spent a lot of time above 60,000 feet. He graduated from the USAF Academy in 1979, eighth out of his class of 902 cadets - and was the only triple major (Operations Research, Aeronautics, and Mathematics). From 1986 to 1989, he flew the U-2 from Beale AFB, Calif., before attending and graduating from the USAF Test Pilot School. In 1993, he transferred to the Air Force Reserve and while continuing to serve began his civilian test pilot flying career, first with McDonnell Douglas on the C-17. Later that year he joined Lockheed and from 1997 to 2016 served as the company's Chief U-2 Test Pilot - he's the world's high-time U-2 pilot with 5,327 hours in type.

Rowe's time in pressure suits at high altitude made him the go-to man to judge the safety and airworthiness of the Red Bull-Stratos capsule and Baumgartner's pressure suit. Rowe tested both capsule and pressure suit at the Wyle altitude facility in San Antonio, Texas, and was there for every step of the certification.

Spaghetti Factory, Redwood City

Our February 4, 2017 Meeting

Airborne Science: At the controls of NASA's Flying Telescope

The Society for Aviation History held its first general meeting of 2017 on Feb. 4 at the Moffett Field Museum. Our guest speaker, NASA pilot Emmanuel E. "Manny" Antimisiaris, captivated our group with his fascinating talk that chronicled his Air Force and commercial airline careers, highlighted a few current NASA programs, and presented an overview of NASA's Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA). His SOFIA discussion described the modified Boeing 747SP (Special Performance) aircraft, the German-built infrared (IR) telescope, types of research missions flown, and his duties as "bus driver" (his candid characterization) flying the missions.

Antimisiaris is a 10,000+ flying hour research pilot and navigator in the Flight Crew Branch of the Flight Operations Directorate at NASA's Armstrong Flight Research Center, Edwards, California. An employee of NASA contractor Integration, Innovation, Inc. (i3-Corps), Antimisiaris is one of the pilots of the highly modified Boeing 747SP that serves as the platform for the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, or SOFIA, flying observatory. He also flies NASA Armstrong's Beechcraft B200 mission navigator on the NASA's DC-8 airborne science flying laboratory.

SOFIA flies 10-hour missions, overnight, conducting astrophysics missions studying star formation, planets, comets, the black hole at the center of our Milky Way Galaxy, astrochemistry, and much more. SOFIA is fitted with a 2.5-meter telescope and seven instruments that collect data at infrared wavelengths.

Before joining NASA, Antimisiaris flew various aircraft for several airlines, including 747s for Southern Air Transport, DC-8 and DC-9 aircraft for Airborne Express, 737s for American Airlines, the LR-45 for Flexjet, and A-320s for JetBlue Airways.

Antimisiaris was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Air Force through the Reserve Officers Training Corps in 1983. His initial assignment was as a navigator on B-52 bombers. He was selected for undergraduate pilot training in 1988 and returned to the B-52 as a pilot. He also flew the E-3 AWACS on more than 40 combat support missions during Desert Storm.

Moffett Field Historical Society Museum, Mountain View

To see some more of our past meetings, click below

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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