Lone Star Aero Club - 1999 Meetings

• January 7, 1999 -
Jay Miller gave what has become his annual slide show, but this year with a twist. Jay gave a presentation on the photographic gear and techniques he uses when photographing aviation subjects. Jay is quite a Nikon fan, so we all got to see some pretty nice (and expensive) equipment. In other news, the Texas Airplane Factory's Me-262s have been disassembled and moved to Seattle, Washington as a result of the continuing legal aspects of this unusual project seem to have taken a turn for the worse. TAF's next project is the restoration of Doug Champlin's Nakajima Oscars...

• February 4, 1999 - This month's speaker was
Norman Poff, Ed. D. Norman is an education specialist with NASA's Aerospace Education Services Project, and gave an excellent video and slide presentation on NACA and NASA research aircraft.

• March 4, 1999 - Aviation photographer
Will Blunt showed us about 160 slides of commercial airliners, focusing on post-war piston engine airliners and first-generation jet engine airliners. Will's father was in the photography business, and Will has been taking aircraft photos since 1954. His collection now covers over 60,000 individual aircraft from over 4,500 different airlines. On the side, Will runs Aviation Photo Files Worldwide and sells photographs to professionals and enthusiasts all over the globe.

• April 1, 1999 -
Claud Platt was our guest speaker this month. Claud was a member of the elite Tuskegee Airmen during WWII. Claud was the first black cadet at Randolph Field north of San Antonio. He had learned to fly at the Tuskegee Institute during the 1930s and volunteered into the Army Air Corps when the war moved into high gear. Claud flew combat missions in the P-51 Mustang and P-47 Thunderbolt.

• May 6, 1999 - NASA
Space Shuttle Pilot, astronaut James F. Reilly, II was this month's guest. James was selected by NASA to be an astronaut in December 1994. As a Mission Specialist he flew on STS-89 in January 1998, logging over 211 hours in space. STS-89 was the eighth Shuttle-Mir docking mission, transferring over 9,000 pounds of scientific equipment, logistical hardware and water and crew replacements from Endeavor to Mir. Although James has flown around the world for 138 orbits (about 3,600,000 miles) he was gracious enough to drive in all the way from Mesquite, TX (about 30 miles) for our meeting.

• June 3, 1999 - This month we welcomed retired Wing Commander
Michael C. Brooke, AFC MRAES RAF as our guest speaker. Mike joined the Royal Air Force in 1962 and became a low- level/strike attack pilot in English Electric (BAC) Canberras. After three tours as an instructor pilot, he attended the Empire Test Pilots School (ETPS) in 1975 and, upon graduation, worked as an experimental test pilot at Royal Aerospace Establishment (RAE) Farnborough. After two years as Commanding Officer of the Radar Research Squadron, he returned to ETPS as a fixed- wing tutor, instructing undergraduate pilots in Jet Provost and Hawker Hunter trainer aircraft. Mike retired from the RAF in 1994 with over 7,000 hours in 125 aircraft types including vintage biplanes, helicopters, sailplanes and supersonic fighters. Mike now owns his very own Hawker Hunter (N617NL) and a NAMC CJ6.

• July 8, 1999 - A special treat this month, as we travelled to Ft. Worth to see the
X-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) full scale mockup at Lockheed Martin's Fighter Enterprise Center at LMTAS' production facility at Air Force Plant #4. We were also briefed on the JSF Program by LMTAS officials Jim Gross, JSF Community Relations, and Jim Lair, Manager of JSF and US Navy Business Programs. Special thanks to Tom Blakeney of LMTAS for arranging and organizing this special event.

• August 5, 1999 - Long-time club member
Dick Atkins presented the history of Vought Aircraft, a company that traces it's origins to at least 1917. Dick showed many slides of past Vought products, from VE-7s to F8Us.

• September 2, 1999 - A history of aerial surveillance in the US was presented by
Vance Duffy. Vance joined the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in 1966 as a special agent. During his tenure he founded the FBI's Aviation Unit and went on to pioneer the use of special tactics and equipment, including the "fast rope" deployment method from helicopters, stabilized optical systems for aerial surveillance, and air-to-ground sniper systems and procedures. Vance has logged approximately 29,400 hours in over two hundred different fixed-wing aircraft and thirty- six different rotary-wing aircraft (helicopters).

• October 7, 1999 - This month we welcomed US Navy
TOP GUN Instructor "Horse" Caulk. "Horse" briefed us on his experiences in TOP GUN and his involvement in the movie of the same name. Did you know they had to put phone books in the seat of the F-14 to boost actor Tom Cruise during the filming of those ground shots???

• November 4, 1999 - This month we learned of little-known night-time over-water operations by Bell OH-58D helicopters during Operation Desert Storm from two that were there, pilots
Erik Erikson and Scott Baxter. Their description of flying at sea-skimming altitudes of less than 50 feet at night with no lights in hostile airspace were truly impressive. Also impressive was their description of one flight that ended, um, "below" sea level...

• December 2, 1999 - We close out the year with a presentation by the
Marauder Men of the Metroplex, a group dedicated to preserving the memores of the Martin B-26 Marauder. Our presenters were all former B-26 crew members, but unfortunately I did not record their names. In addition to their personal recollections of the Marauder, they also showed a short video of the Marauder's operational career.

A sad note to pass on,
Dr. John Paul Stapp passed on on November 13, 1999. He was an accomplished and wonderful man and his contributions to the community will not soon be forgotten. Dr. Stapp gave a memorable presentation to our group on May 2nd, 1996.