Lone Star Aero Club - 2003 Meetings

• January, 2003 - no meeting this month, Happy New Year!!!

• February 6, 2003 - Aero Club member
Charlie Harrison assembled another panel discussion group, this time on the General Dynamics F-111. The panel included Val Prahl, Chief Test Pilot, F-111 First Flight, Dan Heth, USAF F-111 Pilot, O. D. Lively, F-111 Test Engineer, Dale Ford, F-111 Flight Test Engineer, Willard Bennett, RAAF F-111C Project Manager, Knox Bishop, USAF F-111 Pilot and of course Charlie Harrison, F-111 Flight Test Engineer. Their recollections of the early days of the F-111 program and the operational experiences of the pilots made for a great evening.

Michael Hilgert also displayed his impressive collection of F-111 scale models in the lobby. Michael spent many months finishing each model in fine detail. Thanks Michael!

• March 6, 2003 -
Robert Hopkins Ph.D gave a memorable presentation on the many variants of the venerable Boeing C-135. Robert covered the tanker versions, transport versions, recon versions, test beds and the ELINT versions. Robert told us how he overcame his disappointment at not being a 'fighter jock' and never looked back as he enjoyed flying many of the -135 models, going places and doing things he never would have been able to do as a fighter pilot. Be sure to ask Robert about those big SLAR radars in the cheeks of an RC-135. Robert is the author of the AeroFax publication Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker: More Than Just a Tanker, and is a contributing author to publications like World Air Power Journal, and was editor of the Journal of Military Aviation.

• April 2, 2003 - World War II fighter pilot
Leo Moon honored us by relating numerous flying experiences from Republic P-47s and Bell P-39s, two of the 104 different military types of aircraft he's successfully piloted, many as a U.S. Air Force test pilot.

• May 1, 2003 -
Melvin Schuetz gave a presentation entitled "Chesley Bonestell: Space Pioneer", based upon over three decades of research and collected publications covering the renowned astronomical artist Chesley Bonesteel. Mr. Schuetz, the foremost authority on Chesley Bonestell (1888-1986), is a former USAF and private industry satellite controller; acclaimed author; senior member of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), and Association of Former Intelligence Officers; and Education/Research Manager for the Soviet Space Exhibit at the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History.

• June 5, 2003 - Bell Helicopter Textron's Flight Test Team of
Roy Hopkins and Dwayne Williams shared their experience of the Bell/Agusta BA609 civilian tilt-rotor flight test program, including the first flight of this revolutionary aircraft - or is it rotorcraft? The local chapter of the American Helicopter Society joined us for this unique presentation, swelling our meeting attendance to well over 140!

• July 2003 - (no meeting, 4th of July holiday)

• August 7, 2003 -
Rich Graham, Col. USAF (Ret.), renowned SR-71 Blackbird pilot and author, gave a presentation on the development and history of this record holding spy plane. Rich's stellar Air Force career includes flying many Vietnam missions in F-4C/D Phantom IIs. Colonel Graham was selected to enter the SR-71 strategic reconnaissance program in 1974. In January 1980 he was selected as Squadron Commander of the 1st Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron. Various other Air Force assignments led to a 1986 position as the 9th SRW Vice Wing Commander flying U-2, T-38, KC-135Q and SR-71s and in June 1987 he was selected as the 9th SRW Wing Commander. In September 1989 he retired from the USAF and flew MD-80s for American Airlines. After retiring from AA in August 2002 Rich wrote two books, "SR-71 Revealed" and "SR-71 Blackbird Stories, Tales and Legends".

• September 3, 2003 -
Col. Robert P. Purcell presented a program entitled "Aviation History (post-Korean era) Through His Eyes". Col. Purcell flew the F-105 Thunderchief in Vietnam, was shot down and spent seven years as a POW in North Vietnam. Bob was a Flight Simulator Instructor at American Airlines for fifteen years before retiring.

• October 1, 2003 - another of our Panel series, this time featuring the
B-36 Peacemaker. Panel members were O.D. Lively, Harry Hillaker, Glen Loveall, Walt Douglas and George Savage. Our appreciation is extended to Bill Plumlee, Bob Adams and the B-36 Museum Group for helping assemble this interesting and informative presentation.

• November 6, 2003 - We returned to Bodacious BBQ in Arlington for a presentation by
Dale Ross Stith, Vance Duffy and Gen. George Walker on Lockheed Schweizer X-26B, based on the Schweizer SGS-32 glider. These aircraft were considered forerunners in the field of low- signature (stealth) aircraft. Under the designation QT-2 and QT-2PC the aircraft carried dedicated sensors over enemy territory during the Vietnam War. Entering production as the YO-3A, many now serve with border patrols and other law enforcement agencies, as well as NASA as an acoustic signature research vehicle.

• December 4, 2003 - We joined forces with Bell Helicopter's chapter of the American Helicopter Society to present a
Bell Helicopter AH-1 Cobra Gunship panel program at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Bedford. The presentation covered Cobra development, historical highlights, prototype/production flight test, and combat deployments. If anyone has a list of panel members for this presentation please email me. Thanks!