LAX in Air Travel’s Golden Age


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”
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.


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.


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


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.”

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.