HEXAGONKH-9Spy satellites that helped the U.S. counter Soviet threats during the Cold War are the focus of a program on Tuesday, Feb. 25, at 10 a.m. at the LAX Flight Path Museum, 6661 W. Imperial Highway, Los Angeles.Col. Stephen Soukup, USAF-ret., who monitored production and testing of HEXAGON KH-9 satellites for the National Reconnaissance Office for 20 years, will discuss his experiences. The program is part of the Flight Path Speaker Series. Admission and parking are free.

Intelligence insights provided by HEXAGON photographic images directly influenced U.S. policy and defense posture during the Cold War era, according to Soukup. The program was declassified in 2011, 25 years after its final space mission.

“This is a wonderful opportunity to gain inside information about a program that was top-secret for many years,” said Flight Path President Nancy Niles. “Colonel Soukup’s presentation will be of real value to anyone interested in the vital role of satellite technology in our country’s military intelligence.”

Following a 29-year U.S. Air Force career, Soukup held senior management positions at The Aerospace Corp. in El Segundo where he was involved with several USAF-related space programs, including the Global Broadcast System, Defense Communication Satellite System and Wideband Global SATCOM System. Retired from Aerospace two years ago, he continues work on these programs in a consulting role.

Soukup, a South Bay resident, holds a bachelor of science degree in aeronautical and astronautical engineering from Purdue University and a master of science degree in astronautical engineering from the University of Tennessee Space Institute. He is a graduate of the Air Force War College and the National Security Agency Senior Cryptologic College.

The Speaker Series is part of Flight Path’s ongoing educational programs. The museum and learning center is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., conducted by nonpofit Flight Path in cooperation with Los Angeles World Airports, the City agency which operates LAX. Admission and parking are free. For more information call 424-646-7284 or visit the museum’s website www.flightpathmuseum.com



Nancy Niles
Photo by Jay Berkowitz, LAWA

Nancy Niles was elected president and board chair of Flight Path during a recent meeting of the nonprofit organization’s board of directors. Flight Path operates an aviation museum and learning center in the Imperial Terminal at Los Angeles International Airport.

Niles, a resident of Pacific Palisades, previously served as Flight Path’s corporate secretary and is a longtime member of the board. She is former director of the airport Community Relations Division and has been active in LAX area community organizations.

Niles succeeds Rowena Ake of Westchester, who chaired the Flight Path board for 13 years. Ake will continue on the board as immediate past president and will serve as liaison to the museum’s advisory board.

Other new officers are Lynne Adelman of Westchester, vice president; Robert Smith of Hawthorne, chief financial officer and treasurer; and Lori Keir of Westchester, corporate secretary. Smith, the board’s former corporate secretary, succeeds CFO John Garstka of Westchester, who passed away recently.

Named to chair standing committees are Ethel L. Pattison of Manhattan Beach, museum operations; Vincent Migliazzo of Westchester, flight simulator training programs; and Robert Acherman of Torrance, electronic communications. Continuing in office are Lee Nichols, executive director, and Beverly Migliazzo, recording secretary. Bill Miller of Virgin Australia Airlines was approved as a new member of the board.

Appointed to the Flight Path Advisory Board were Gen. Kevin Chilton (USAF-ret.), former astronaut and head of the U.S. Strategic Command, and Alan Wayne, a retiring member of the museum’s board of directors.



GalaXVII013Flight Path photo by Ron Williams
Rowena Ake was presented Flight Path’s Guiding Light Award at the museum’s Gala XVII fundraiser on October 10, 2013, recognizing her long service as museum president and her tireless promotion of its educational mission in the community.  She is pictured above at the Gala receiving the third annual award from Clay Lacy, CEO of Clay Lacy Aviation,  longtime Flight Path scholarship donor and  previous Guiding Light honoree.
The Guiding Light Award award is represented by one of the yellow and blue taxiway lamps which guide aircraft at LAX from runway to terminal.  Honorees are nominated and selected by the community based Flight Path Board of Directors, a group of active and retired aviation and airport professionals.
Ake is a longtime resident of the Westchester community north of LAX, where she has long been active in business and community organizations.  She previously was honored as  25th Senate District Woman of Distinction and with the Boy Scouts’ coveted Silver Beaver Award.  She is past president of the Westchester Rotary Club and the LAX Coastal Area Chamber of Commerce.”We are very fortunate to have Rowena as our strong advocate in the community,” said Morrey Plotkin, Flight Path chairman emeritus.  “She has helped generate vital support for our educational programs, including scholarships for deserving aviation students and participation in our flight simulator training classes.”


Major contributors to the Southern California aviation and airport community will be honored in a beautiful new display area in the Westchester business district north of Los Angeles International Airport.  Flight Path is working in cooperation with Drollinger Properties to create the site in the Ralphs shopping center on Sepulveda Boulevard where names of honorees will be inscribed.
The Flight Path Board of Directors has unanimously approved the first three Honorary Service Awards, according to Rowena Ake, Flight Path president.  They are the Bob Hope Hollywood USO at LAX, the late Howard B. Drollinger and the late David Tallichet.
A tribute ceremony will take place when the new display area is completed in early 2014.”Our criterion for this recognition,” explained Ake, “is that each honoree has provided significant contributions or services for the advancement of the Southern California airport community.”
The Bob Hope Hollywood USO at LAX has for many years welcomed military service personnel enroute to or from their assignments. The USO staff provides information, recreation and other assistance for these men and women, many of whom are unfamiliar with LAX and the Los Angeles area.
Howard B. Drollinger operated a property management firm in the LAX area.  He was a key developer of Westchester’s upgraded Sepulveda Boulevard “gateway” to the airport, including shopping, parking and other amenities of benefit to travelers and area residents.  Mr. Drollinger was a faithful supporter of Flight Path and the preservation of Southern California’s aviation heritage.
David Tallichet was owner-operator of a group of restaurants, including the iconic Proud Bird adjacent to the LAX south runway complex. Under Mr. Tallichet’s direction, the Proud Bird became a showcase of aviation history, including replicas and models of significant aircraft on the grounds plus a large collection of aviation photos and other memorabilia inside the restaurant.  Mr. Tallichet also was a strong supporter of Flight Path and its educational mission.
The Honorary Service Awards are a supplement to Flight Path’s exisiting Aviation Walk of Fame on Sepulveda Boulevard in Westchester.  The 51 bronze plaques on the Aviation Walk of Fame honor aviation pioneers and innovators, many with a connection to Southern California.

Gala Celebrates Museum’s 10th Birthday

The Flight Path Museum celebrates its 10th birthday in the LAX Imperial Terminal with a festive Gala benefit “open house” on October 10.   The Gala’s “birthday party” theme will showcase Flight Path’s progress as a learning center and museum since first opening in October 2003.
This is Flight Path’s 17th annual fundraising Gala, the events having started several years before the museum opened.The Gala, scheduled from 5 to 9 p.m., will feature an international buffet, wide selection of beverages, musical interludes and airport tours, according to Event Chair Lynne Adelman of the Flight Path board of directors.  More than 300 guests are expected.
A highlight of the evening will be presentation of the museum’s annual Guiding Light Award to Rowena Ake in tribute to her long service as Flight Path president and board chair and her work in building community support for the museum’s educational mission.
fpgalarowenalacy172 GUIDING LIGHT AWARD:
Rowena Ake, Flight Path president and board chair, will receive the museum’s annual Guiding Light Award at this year’s Gala fundraiser in tribute to her long service building support for the museum in the community.  She is pictured presenting a previous Guiding Light Award to Clay Lacy, CEO of Clay Lacy Aviation and a major Flight Path scholarship donor.  The award replicates a blue taxiway lamp that guides aircraft at LAX from runway to terminal.

“The museum has welcomed more than 100,000 visitors in the past decade“ said Adelman. “The Gala will celebrate this important milestone as well as salute those organizations and individuals who have made it all possible.“

Emphasizing Flight Path’s educational mission, each Gala also features presentation of the Clay Lacy and Charles “Pete” Conrad scholarships to students planning careers in aviation. Competitive selections are made by aviation professionals.

Guests will have an opportunity view aviation memorabilia and flight simulators in the museum and vintage and contemporary aircraft on the tarmac.  A silent auction and raffle will feature a variety of prizes, ranging from air travel to select wines.

Gala reservations at $75 per person are available by calling (424) 646-7284.  Opportunities are available for table sponsorships. Those sponsoring tables or    donating prizes will receive special recognition at the event.


Clayton John250The Flight Path Speaker Series continues on September 24 at 10 a.m., featuring John Clayton, former public relations director for Continental Airlines. Clayton’s program, “Continental Airlines: The Glory Years,” will recall the days when Continental  was  headquartered at LAX and was known as “the proud bird with the golden tail.” Continental now is merged with United Airlines.Since retiring from Continental,  Clayton, a South Bay resident, has worked locally in both television and radio broadcasting. He assisted Flight Path during a plaque dedication ceremony earlier this year, providing commentary on the life and achievements of one of the honorees, the late Robert Six, head of Continental Airlines during Clayton’s tenure there.

During his September 24 presentation, Clayton also will recall the years when the Continental hangar at LAX was the destination of Air Force One as the President arrived at the airport.  Clayton was responsible for coordinating news media accommodations for the Presidential arrival and for many other VIP arrivals at the hangar.

“All are welcome but we especially invite Continental Airlines retirees to come and enjoy this program,” said Flight Path President Rowena Ake. “This is a wonderful way to remember the days when flying was carefree and even glamorous.”

Flight Path Board Names 2013 Officers

Rowena Ake of Westchester was re-elected president and board chair of Flight Path for 2013 during a meeting of the nonprofit organization’s board of directors. Flight Path operates an aviation museum and learning center in the Imperial Terminal at Los Angeles International Airport.

Ake has served as Flight Path president since 1999. A resident of the Westchester-Playa del Rey area since 1952, she is past president of the Westchester Rotary Club and the LAX Coastal Area Chamber of Commerce. Ake is a charter member of the Westchester Vitalization Corp. and holds the coveted Silver Beaver Award for her extensive volunteer service to Boy Scouts of America. Ake was proprietor of a local dry cleaning business for 40 years and more recently has worked as a real estate broker.

The Flight Path Board elected Nancy Niles to the new position of president-elect, designating her to succeed Ake next year. Niles, a resident of Pacific Palisades, previously served as corporate secretary and as airport community relations director.

The board re-elected Robert Acherman of Torrance, Ethel L. Pattison of Manhattan Beach and Vincent Migliazzo of Westchester as vice-presidents, John Garstka of Westchester as chief financial officer, and Jo Ann Hudspeth of Playa del Rey as treasurer. Robert Smith of Hawthorne was named to succeed Niles as corporate secretary. Seymour Kahn of Playa del Rey, retiring after many years on the board, was appointed to the honorary Flight Path Advisory Board.

Flight Path is open to the public Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., in the LAX Imperial Terminal, 6661 W. Imperial Highway, Los Angeles. Admission and parking are free. For more information, call (424) 646-7284 or continue your visit here on our website.


Kevin P. Chilton

Kevin P. Chilton

Iris Cumming Critchell

Iris Cumming Critchell

Robert Prescott

Robert Prescott

Frank Robinson

Frank Robinson

Burt Rutan

Burt Rutan

Robert Six

Robert Six

Six new plaques for the aviation “walk of fame” on Sepulveda Boulevard in Westchester were dedicated recently at the Flight Path Museum in the LAX Imperial Terminal. Each honoree is credited with a significant contribution to the advancement of aviation.

Honored at the ceremony and luncheon were Gen. Kevin P. Chilton (USAF-ret.), NASA astronaut and former head of the U.S. Strategic Command; Iris Cummings Critchell, aviation educator and World War II Woman Air Force Service Pilot (WASP); the late Robert W. Prescott, founder of the all-cargo Flying Tiger Line; Frank Robinson, pioneer helicopter designer and manufacturer; Burt Rutan, aircraft and spacecraft designer; and the late Robert Six, airline industry innovator and visionary. General Chilton was featured speaker at the event.

Honorees were selected by the board of directors of Flight Path, a locally based nonprofit organization which operates the museum in cooperation with the airport’s Community Relations office. Addition of the new plaques brings the total to 51 since the program began, according to Flight Path President Rowena Ake. The new plaques are to be installed in the sidewalk on Sepulveda Boulevard in the Westchester business district north of LAX.  Lori Keir of the Flight Path board and John Ruhlen of  the Westchester Streetscape Improvement Association are coordinating the project.

The plaque project began in 1995 with ceremonies in Westchester. Dignitaries present included Flight Path’s honorary chairman, Maj. Gen. Charles E. Yeager, the first pilot to break the sound barrier. Presiding was Morrey Plotkin, longtime community leader, who originated the aviation walk of fame concept and garnered support for the project.

Speaker Series Continues

Flight Path’s Speaker Series, so well received in 2011 and previous years, will continue in 2013 with a schedule of new programs.  Speaker Series programs are open to the public. Admission and parking are free.