Lectures

GOODYEAR, BOEING LEGACIES SALUTED

     
Boeing707The Boeing 707

The popular Flight Path Speaker Series continues with spring and summer programs saluting two key milestones in aviation history, the 90th anniversary of the famed Goodyear blimps and the 100th anniversary of the founding of aircraft manufacturer Boeing.

A presentation on April 26, “Goodyear Blimps Yesterday and Today,” spotlights the Goodyear airships seen for many years in the Southern California skies, noted especially for hovering over the Tournament of Roses Parade on New Years’ Day. Goodyear operations staff will be on hand to review the nine-decade history of this familiar aircraft, beginning with 1925’s first blimp up to and including the newly-launched “Wingfoot One.”

Boeing takes the spotlight at Flight Path on June 28 with “Boeing’s First Hundred Years,” a program marking the firm’s centennial of aircraft manufacturing.  The presentation by corporate staff will include a review of Boeing’s most notable aircraft, including its first commercial jet, the 707, the iconic 747, the popular 737 and 777 and today’s 787 Dreamliner.  Boeing remains a major manufacturer in Southern California, producing satellites, rockets and updated C-17 aircraft.  A number of other companies in the Southland perform important subcontract work for Boeing.

The Flight Path Speaker Series moves into the fall season with a program keyed to military aviation plus a presentation and exhibition focused on aviation photography.

“My Friend Jimmy Doolittle” is the title of a September 20 program about the headline-making aviator of World War II.  His friend and aide Don Penny will share memories of working with the general. Penny also served as an aide to President Gerald R. Ford.

The final program in this year’s Speaker Series will be “Aircraft in Focus,” an exhibition featuring the work of aviation photographer Jean-christophe Dick.  The show opens with a presentation by the photographer on November 5 and continues for two weeks in Flight Path’s main gallery.

All Flight Path Speaker Series programs begin at 10 a.m.  Admission and parking are free.

‘Stars in the Sky’ Salutes First African-American Flight Attendants

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Casey Grant will open the 2016 Flight Path Speaker Series with an account of her experiences as one of the first African-American airline flight attendants.  This special Black History Month program is scheduled on Tuesday, February 16, at 10 a.m. at the Flight Path Museum in the LAX Imperial Terminal, 6661 W. Imperial Highway, Los Angeles. Admission and parking are free.

Based on her new book, Stars in the Sky, Grant’s presentation will review the challenges and rewards she and her African-American colleagues faced as they sought the glamour and prestige of a career in the sky, according to Flight Path President Nancy Niles.

“These women faced cultural barriers, misunderstanding and even hostility,” said Niles. “Casey Grant will share with us the powerful but little known story of their role in the civil rights movement.  It is a story that deserves to be remembered and respected by all of us.”

Copies of Grant’s book, Stars in the Sky, will be available for purchase after the program.  The book also will be available for future reference in the museum’s William A. Schoneberger Research Library.

The Flight Path Speaker Series will continue throughout 2016 with programs featuring a history of the famed Goodyear blimps, a salute to the 100th anniversary of the Boeing Aircraft Company, a memoir of famed World War II pilot General Jimmy Doolittle, and a special presentation and exhibition by aviation photographer Jean-christophe Dick.  Dates and further information will be posted soon on the Flight Path website www.flightpathmuseum.com/.

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CaseyGrant BREAKING BARRIERS:  Based on her new book, Stars in the Sky, Casey Grant joins the Flight Path Speaker Series on February 16 to share the story of how the first African-American flight attendants kept their heads high while facing down racial barriers to achieve rewarding airline careers.

‘Spy in the Sky’ Headlines Speaker Series Program

The December 5 Flight Path Speaker Series program will focus on the Hexagon KH-9 reconnaissance satellite, also known as the CIA's "Spy in the Sky." Project engineer Phil Pressel will speak.

The December 5 Flight Path Speaker Series program will focus on the Hexagon KH-9 reconnaissance satellite, also known as the CIA’s “Spy in the Sky.” Project engineer Phil Pressel will speak.

The 2015 Flight Path Speaker Series will conclude on Saturday, December 5, with project engineer Phil Pressel’s program, “The Hexagon KH-9 Reconnaissance Satellite,” covering development and design of the satellite for the CIA. The program will begin at 10 a.m. at the Flight Path Museum in the LAX Imperial Terminal, 6661 W. Imperial Highway Los Angeles. Admission and parking are free.
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The Hexagon KH-9 was the last orbiting reconnaissance camera (spy in the sky) that used film for photography. It played an important chapter in U. S. intelligence and aerospace history.
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The December 5 event is a follow-up to a similar program presented last year by Col. Stephen Soukup (USAF-ret.), according to Nancy Niles, the museum’s president.  “There was so much interest in last year’s space satellite presentation,” said Niles, “that we are offering yet another opportunity to learn more about this fascinating subject.”
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John McCone, director of the CIA in 1965, wanted a new spy satellite that could achieve broad area coverage of the entire landmass of the earth and high resolution stereo photos of local areas. As the program was highly classified, the initial study for the Hexagon program, conducted by Pressel’s company, the Perkin-Elmer Corp., was presented to the CIA at night in a deserted looking safe house in Washington, D.C. The CIA thought highly of the concept and Perkin-Elmer eventually was awarded the job.
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This orbiting spy camera turned out to become a huge success. Pressel’s talk features interesting anecdotes, personal stories and some technical details about this complex camera system that was capable of distinguishing objects two to three feet in size from an altitude of 100 miles above the earth.
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The Hexagon satellite was acknowledged to have been an invaluable asset providing  intelligence information and was said to be responsible for President Nixon signing the SALT treaty and allowing President Reagan to “trust but verify” what the Russians were doing during the cold war. The first launch was on June 15, 1971, and the last of 19 missions sadly exploded 800 feet above the pad at Vandenberg Air Force Base on April 18, 1986, just a few months after the Challenger’s tragic explosion.

 

Summer Programs Focus on War Valor, Air Victuals

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This TWA memorabilia, part of the Flight Path collection, is a reminder of elegant food service sometimes offered to travelers through the years by various airlines. Richard Foss, South Bay journalist, will present, “The History of Food in Flight,” as part of the Flight Path Speaker Series on September 22 at 10 a.m.
(Photo by Larry Underhill).

Flight Path’s summer schedule includes another program in the popular Flight Path Speaker Series as well as a special exhibition paying tribute to the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II.The Speaker Series continues on Tuesday, September 22, at 10 a.m. with Richard Foss headlining the program.  His topic, “The History of Food in Flight,” will survey the often mixed results of airline attempts over the years to satisfy hungry travelers with fare ranging from pretzels to prime rib.  Foss, a South Bay resident, is familiar to many local residents as a news reporter and commentator.
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A collection of memorabilia from the famed Flying Tigers of World War II will be on display at Flight Path from August 5 to 19. Dr. Pedro Chan, an internationally recognized authority on the Flying Tigers, has collected the items and made them available for this special exhibition.The Flying Tigers were a group of volunteer American aviators who helped defend China from Japanese aggression during World War II. Following the war, members of the group founded The Flying Tiger Line, an all-cargo commercial air carrier which was based for many years at Los Angeles International Airport. The Flying Tiger Line later became part of Federal Express.

Dr. Chan has exhibited his collection of World War II Flying Tigers memorabilia in Washington, D.C., and at several U.S. military bases. He also serves as an adviser to the Pacific Aviation Museum at Pearl Harbor, the Chinese American Museum in Los Angeles and the Flying Tigers Historical Organization.

Speaker Taps Aviation Stars to Lift Troop Morale

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Flight Path Director Nissen Davis headlines the museum’s Speaker Series on June 23 with a program on his work with aviation and aerospace celebrities for the Morale Entertainment Foundation. Pictured on a mission to entertain U. S. military personnel are, from left, Davis, astronaut Jim Lovell, SR-71 test pilot Bob Gilliland and astronaut Neil Armstrong.

Boosting the spirits of U. S. service personnel was the goal when Flight Path Director Nissen Davis recruited five aviation celebrities to visit 10 military bases and an aircraft carrier at sea.  Davis will recount highlights of this and similar missions on Tuesday, June 23, at 10 a.m. at the Flight Path Museum in the LAX Imperial Terminal, 6661 W. Imperial Highway, Los Angeles.
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Sponsored by the nonprofit Morale Entertainment Foundation in cooperation with the Pentagon, mission headliners included astronauts Neil Armstrong, Jim Lovell and Gene Cernan, SR-71 test pilot Bob Gilliland and Vietnam War air ace Steve Ritchie.
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“Morale Entertainment turned to me,” said Davis, “because I had been lucky enough to get to know some of these legends in my 30 years working for Flying Tigers, McDonnell Douglas and Hughes, as well as being the organizer of the annual Howard Hughes Memorial Award.”
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Davis has coordinated two additional Morale Entertainment visits to U. S. military forces.  One celebrated the Indy 500 Centennial and featured top Indy drivers Johnny Rutherford and Al Unser, Jr.  Another, staged aboard a U. S. Navy nuclear carrier in San Diego, featured the opening game of the NCAA season with honorary coaches Magic Johnson and James Worthy.  Special guests were President Obama and the First Lady.
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The Flight Path Speaker Series is open to the public with time allotted at the end of each program for questions from the audience.  Admission and parking are free.  The museum and learning center is operated by nonprofit Flight Path in cooperation with Los Angeles World Airports, the City agency which operates Los Angeles International Airport.
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For more information call (424) 646-7284, or send an email to: flightpathguides@lawa.org

Program to Focus on LAX Improvements

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The Tom Bradley International Terminal

A progress report on the current LAX airport improvement program is scheduled on Tuesday, April 28, at 10 a.m. at the Flight Path Museum in the LAX Imperial Terminal, 6661 W. Imperial Hwy., Los Angeles.  Tim Ihle of the Los Angeles World Airports development staff will provide a status update on upgrades to airline passenger facilities, ground transportation and other major construction projects underway or planned at the airport.
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Recent major expansion of the Tom Bradley International Terminal is but one step in the airport’s overall improvement program, according to Nancy Niles, Flight Path president. “Tim Ihle’s presentation will bring us a complete picture of what will happen in the next few years to bring LAX to a higher standard of passenger service,” said Niles. “Tim is an excellent speaker. His two previous presentations as part of our Speaker Series have been well attended and extremely informative.”
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Speaker Series programs are open to the public, with time allotted at the end of each program for questions from the audience. Admission and parking are free.  Flight Path is open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.  The museum and learning center is operated by nonprofit Flight Path in cooperation with Los Angeles World Airports, the City agency which operates Los Angeles International Airport.
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For more information call (424) 646-7284 or email flightpathguides@lawa.org

LAX in Air Travel’s Golden Age

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Airline historian Jon Proctor speaks at Flight Path on July 8 at 10 a.m.
He is pictured at LAX on Dec. 28, 1959, with a TWA Jetstream aircraft.
(Photo copyright by John Proctor)

Jon Proctor
“LAX in Air Travel’s Golden Age”
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Tuesday, July 8, 2014  –     10:00 am – 11:45 am

“LAX the Golden Age of Air Travel” will take the spotlight on Tuesday, July 8, at the Flight Path Museum in the LAX Imperial Terminal, 6661 W. Imperial Highway, Los Angeles. The Flight Path Speaker Series program will begin at 10 a.m., featuring Jon Proctor, aviation author, journalist and historian.  Admission and parking are free.

Proctor, retired editor of Airliners Magazine and a 27-year veteran of Trans World Airlines, will share memories of air travel in the 1950s and ’60s, including photos of the vintage propeller-powered airliners, early commercial jets and prop-jets of that era, flown out of LAX by such carriers as Pan Am, TWA, Continental and PSA.

Proctor previously was featured in the Flight Path Speaker Series during 2006 when he presented a program on the history of TWA, according to Nancy Niles, Flight Path president. The program drew a near-capacity crowd, including many retired airline employees.

“We expect this broader theme to be even more appealing,” said Niles. “It is made to order for anyone interested in what we look back on as a time of phenomenal growth and development of air travel at LAX.”

The Flight Path Speaker Series is a regular feature of the museum. Flight Path is operated by the nonprofit Flight Path Learning Center of Southern California in cooperation with Los Angeles World Airports, the city agency which operates LAX. The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Admission and parking are free.

SPEAKER TO FOCUS ON AIR PIONEER AND ADVENTURER

flyingcarpetsThe achievements of pioneer Southern California aviator Moye W. Stephens will headline the Flight Path Speaker Series on Saturday, April 12, at 10 a.m. Author Barbara Schultz will share insights from her new book, Flying Carpets, Flying Wings, the story of Stephens and his early exploits and achievements.

Although Stephens is all but forgotten today, he was celebrated in the early years of aviation as a daring round-the-world flyer. Among his primary contributions to the Southern California aviation community was his close association with Jack Northrop with whom he co-founded Northrop Aviation, now known as Northrop Grumman Corp. Stephens served as the firm’s chief test pilot and as a member of its board of directors.

Stephens’s love of aviation began at an early age when his parents took him to the Dominguez Aviation Meet, the American West’s first air show, near Los Angeles, in 1910. About the time he was graduating from Hollywood High School, Stephens made his first flight at age 17 in a Curtiss OX-5-powered Standard J-1, a version of the Curtiss JN-4 Jenny. In 1930 Richard Halliburton, the famed adventurer, travel writer and speaker, signed Stephens as his pilot for an 18-month round-the-world expedition aboard a Stearman C-3B, dubbed The Flying Carpet.

“This program is a great opportunity learn more about the unique aviation heritage of Southern California,” said Nancy Niles, Flight Path president. “That is what our museum and learning center is all about.”   Speaker Series programs are open to the pubic, with time allotted at the end of each presentation for questions from the audience.

Copies of the Stephens book will be available following the program for purchase and autographing by the author. Admission and parking are free.

SPY SATELLITES HEADLINE MUSEUM PROGRAM

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

SPEAKER TO RECALL CONTINENTAL AIRLINES ‘GLORY YEARS’

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.”