AMERICAN AVIATION HISTORICAL SOCIETY

   1956 - 2021, Celebrating  over 65 Years of Service
Back CoverInside FrontInside Back

Excerpts from
AAHS Journal, Vol. 65, No. 4 - Winter 2020
Table of Contents
 


Selecting the Space Shuttle Carrier Aircraft

The Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA) concept was developed in the early 1970s to ferry space shuttle orbiters to the Kennedy Space Center from other landing sites as well as participating in the shuttle Approach and Landing Tests (ALT). The SCA decision process involved comparisons of several aircraft including the Boeing 747, Lockheed C-5A and new conceptual aircraft built specifically for the ferry and flight test mission. Different design concepts were studied that included tow, underwing and piggyback aircraft configurations. Once NASA decided on using the piggyback configuration the choice came down to the Lockheed C-5A and the Boeing 747. The C-5A was an early favorite, however NASA later decided upon the 747, which the General Accounting Office (GAO) took exception to in a relatively unknown confrontation with NASA management. This paper attempts to shed light on the argument between the GAO’s support for the C-5 and NASA’s rebuttal in backing the 747.

747 versus the C-5A
The 747 had an estimated structural life of 60,000 flight hours with no operational flight restrictions. The lifetime for the C-5A’s wing was estimated to be between 7,500 and 12,000 hours depending on the load distribution. A wing modification was needed to get past the 12,000 hour limit. The critical field length for takeoff performance (the length of the runway required in the event of an engine failure) for the 747 was less than the C-5A (8,300 feet versus 10,300 feet) that permitted the 747 with a wider choice of runways to operate from. The maximum altitude for both aircraft was approximately 30,000 feet. The 747 could fly higher using higher thrust engines if needed, which was not the case for the C-5A since the strength of the aircraft’s wing could not accept a new engine design without a structural wing modification.

NASA would have preferred to have non-stop, unrefueled coast to coast capability, though this limitation was not considered essential. Wind tunnel tests demonstrated that the drag penalty of the C-5A with the orbiter on top would prevent non-stop transcontinental flights. The studies did show that the C-5A was capable of carrying the orbiter piggyback style with minimum modifications.[1] The 747 did have transcontinental ferry range capability with an adequate fuel reserve that eliminated the need for ground support refueling operations at a mid-point in the United States. Contingency orbiter recovery sites in Hawaii and Guam required a nonstop ferry range of approximately 2,000 nautical miles that the 747 was capable of by using an acceptable over gross takeoff weight with no compromise to structural integrity. The C-5A required inflight refueling that was not in operation at that time for non-stop transcontinental ferry missions and returns from contingency sites. The maneuver was considered difficult with the orbiter attached due to the wake of the tanker and the turbulent flow that the C-5A and orbiter would be exposed to. The Military Airlift Command (MAC) believed “that inflight refueling with an orbiter would be a very dangerous and impractical thing to attempt.”[2] MAC however would still support any decision between NASA and the Department of the Defense.

The 747 had better odds on clearing the tail during orbiter separation for the ALT assessments due to the aircraft’s horizontal stabilizer being positioned at the lower end of the fusel . . .



NASA 905 with Enterprise


 

Deep in the Heart of Texas; The Texas Aero Corporation Temple Monoplane

My wife, Kathleen, who reveals her heritage with every spoken word, is often asked with little preamble, “Where in Texas are you from?” She brightens, invariably smiles that gentle way that only native Texans seem to have invented, and proudly proclaims “Temple! It’s deep in the heart of Texas!”

I am therefore convinced that Temple is unquestionably where that oft-repeated phrase was coined somewhere in the frontier past, long before they had a Chamber of Commerce there.

But I must confess that this story, which I have been “poking at” (as a Texan would say) for nearly 39 years, owes its genesis to the late Laird W. Engle, a lifetime switchman for the Santa Fe Railroad and father of my bride, who barely tolerated the notion that one of his daughters was going to wed a GI!

After somehow passing muster with the gravely-voiced elder Engle, we seldom engaged in conversation, but he seems to have understood that I had more than a passing interest in aviation history.

He seemed anxious to assure me that he tried to join-up during “the War,” but was rejected on medical grounds, taking pride in the fact that he helped build airplanes for the war effort instead, “…up in Dallas,” which of course immediately piqued my interest.

My Father-in-Law had helped build AT-6s at the North American plant near Dallas and had almost certainly cast a vote there when NAA decided to assign a popular name for the first variant to be built there, the AT-6B. Thus, they all became, to no one’s surprise, Texans.

But after being left to our own devices by the ladies one hot afternoon and, having exhausted his knowledge of AT-6 production-line stories, we had apparently run out of things to talk about. After a spell, he suddenly brightened and blurted out, “You know, we built airplanes here in Temple once.”

And so, this story began.

I didn’t tell him that I had long-since read about the Temple Monoplane in Joseph Juptner’s classic nine-volume set on U.S. Civil Aircraft, but frankly hadn’t made the connection with Temple, Tex., as the location of manufacture.

So, Mr. Engle (I never called him Laird; and certainly not “Woody”; it was either Mr. Engle or Sir!) and I set out in his slightly battered Chevy from the family home in search of the location of the former “factory,” a term that was rather an exaggeration as subsequent investigation would prove. It was our one-and-only excursion alone together, and he frankly seemed to enjoy being able to show the aero historian something he didn’t know!

We drove south on the access road to Interstate 35 (I-35) to what was then a huge tangle of shrub, mesquite and prairie grass, a spot on the Southwest corner of Temple where, he felt sure, someone had at one time placed a marker of some kind. We didn’t find it, despite extensive scrambling around in treacherous brush, constantly on the lookout for rattlers and scorpions. I didn’t learn that the bronze plaque that had been placed there had been stolen until long years later, by which time the area had been vastly improved, a new marker emplaced at the behest of historically oriented citizens – not least of whom was the local historian Mrs. Patricia Benoit – but too late to tell Mr. Engle, who unwittingly inspired this writer to pen these few words, who had since made his final flight.

As many readers of this journal, especially, will appreciate, over the course of the intervening years, the story that slowly emerged proved to be far more convoluted and populated still with open questions and minor mysteries, than I could have possibly imagined when I first opened a simple file labeled “The Temple Monoplane.”

The “Prairie Queen” (aka “Temple 1”)
Temple owes its prominence – and geographic location – to the railroads, which energized and accelerated the populating of the incredibly vast reaches of Texas, where surface transportation during the pioneering era was torturous.
Established in 1881 on the gently rolling blacklands of eastern Bell County, by the 1890s the city leaders had promoted the town as “the Prairie Queen City,” and bent all . . .



Texas Aero Corp.MSN 104, believed to be a Temple Monoplane Commercialwing


NON-SKEDS: The Story of America’s Supplemental Airlines, Part III

Author’s note: Non-skeds, non-certificated carriers, irregulars, and large irregular carriers all refer to the group of companies that would be officially designated supplemental airlines in 1955. In the course of this series, I have chosen to vary the terms to avoid being repetitive.

REPRIEVE
“The availability to the military air services of commercial transport-type aircraft in as large numbers as possible to serve as auxiliary military airlift is essential. These aircraft should be in commercial service in order that this auxiliary airlift may not be a burden upon the national defense budget in time of peace.”

The above statement, issued by the Aviation Policy Board of the United States Congress in 1948, was the root of the reprieve that kept some large irregular carriers alive despite the not-so-clandestine efforts of the Civil Aeronautics Board to put them all out of business. Many of the non-skeds had folded or gone bankrupt as a result of trying to follow the CAB’s complex rules governing their existence. But the stronger among them managed to survive and show their worth by ferrying supplies to the Air Force’s staging points during the Berlin Airlift.

On the heels of that success came the Korean conflict, which kept U.S. personnel and materiel crossing the Pacific Ocean en masse for the next three years (1950 – 1953). Commercial operators were not allowed into the war zone, so the non-skeds flew their missions between the USA and Japan, where MATS (Military Air Transport Service) took over, transporting personnel and supplies on to Korea. During the conflict one of the irregulars, Transocean Air Lines (see sidebar), carried 9,960,095 tons of cargo and 20,000 passengers across The Pacific in support of the U.S. military, in addition to bringing 7,112 litter patients back home. Overseas National Airways, another irregular operator, kept its entire fleet of four Douglas DC-4s in constant rotation between the United States (primarily Travis Air Force Base) and Japan, transporting troops and cargo. At final tally, the non-certificated carriers had provided 50% of the lift over the course of the war.

Concurrent with Drew Pearson’s 1953 exposé of the Goodkind Memorandum, written in 1948 by a CAB employee outlining the steps the Board could take to ‘legally’ put all of the large irregular carriers out of business, the United States Senate’s Select Committee on Small Business held hearings to determine the future of irregular airlines in the U.S. air transportation industry. It was the second time that Congress had met with airline executives from both certificated (scheduled) and non-certificated airlines to give them a chance to voice their opinions. Foremost on the agenda, as far as the Select Committee was concerned, was why one government agency (the CAB) would be trying to annihilate an entire group . . .



Non-Sked North American Airlines DC4, prior to name change


Darkest of Days, 113th WING on 9/11

For the members of the 113th Wing, District of Columbia Air National Guard, Tuesday, September 11, 2001, was their first day back to work after returning from Red Flag two days prior. Upon the realization that America was under attack, and with the smoke from the Pentagon visible from their flightline at Andrews AFB, the Capital Guardians swiftly organized Combat Air Patrols over Washington, D.C., and readied their F-16Cs for a new type of war.

DEFENDING NORTH AMERICA
The Aerospace Defense Command (ADC) was created in 1946 as an integrated air defense system for the Continental United States (CONUS). In late 1956, as the Cold War became more frigid, the Joint Canadian-U.S. Military Group recommended the establishment of a defense network of the entire North American continent. In February 1957, North American Air Defense (NORAD) was established, in which ADC was a major component. At the height of the Cold War, ADC consisted of 93 active duty USAF interceptor squadrons, 76 ANG interceptor squadrons, Navy fighter squadrons, USAF and USN airborne early warning squadrons, as well as radar and anti-aircraft missiles units. All of these units were poised to repel any attack by Soviet bombers flying over the North Pole in a first strike on North America.

In 1977, both Congress and the USAF Chief of Staff instituted major re-alignments in order to reduce costs, and in 1979 ADC was inactivated and interceptor fighter squadrons were placed under Air Defense, Tactical Air Command (ADTAC). Throughout the 1980s the number of interceptor squadrons slowly dwindled, followed by a sharp reduction after the Soviet Union dissolved in 1989. On the morning of September 11, 2001, NORAD had just 14 fighter aircraft available at seven alert sites across the entire North American continent. On that morning the Northeast Air Defense Sector (NEADS) was defended by a pair of Massachusetts ANG F-15A Eagles of the 104th Fighter Wing (FW) at Otis Air National Guard Base and a detachment of two F-16ADFs from the North Dakota ANG 119th FW at Langley AFB, Virginia.

Whereas all other ANG units report to their respective state governors, the District of Columbia ANG reports directly to the President of the United States. Although the Block 30 F-16Cs of the DC ANG 121st FS were parked a mere 11 miles from the Pentagon, they were not part of NEADS. The events of that fateful morning would radically change the 113th in the post-9/11 world.

BACK TO THE ROUTINE, UNTIL...
In the two weeks prior to September 11, 2001, the 113th had deployed from Andrews AFB in Maryland to Nellis AFB, Nev., for Red Flag as part of their spin-up for their upcoming deployment to Operation Southern Watch. Personnel and aircraft had returned to Andrews on Saturday, September 8, and were off Sunday and Monday. On that gorgeous, fateful Tuesday morning the Capital Guardians returned to their routine duties, but that would change forever in the intervening hours.

At 0800hrs in the 121st FS Ops Building adjacent to the flightline, several officers and NCOs gathered for the morning maintenance meeting. Among those in attendance were then Lt. Col. Marc “Sass” Sasseville, Director of Operations 121st FS; then Capt. Brandon “IGOR” Rasmussen, and then Maj. Daniel “Razin” Caine, who was the Supervisor of Flying (SOF) that day. At the same moment, American Airlines Flight 11, a Boeing 767-223, took off from Boston-Logan International Airport bound for Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). As the DC Guardsmen organized the flight schedule for the coming week, Mohamed Atta launched the al Qaeda terrorist plot at 0814hrs when he hijacked American 11 over Albany, N.Y., and turned the aircraft towards New York City.

Twenty-eight minutes after Atta took control of his airliner, United Airlines Flight 175, a Boeing 767-222, en route from Boston Logan to LAX, was also hijacked. Simultaneously, the F-15s at Otis were ordered to battle stations and the scramble order came just four minutes later at 0845hrs. One minute later the course of American history was forever and horrifyingly altered when Atta flew American 11 into . . .



Lockheed F-16, 85-450, of 113 Wing loaded for bear.


D-Day+1: “Hat Jane’s” Fall and Renaissance From The Loire Valley
Private Venture

Upon his arrival in England, 2nd Lt. Robert D. Couture was assigned to the 8th Air Force’s 355th Fighter Group. Upon reporting for duty at the group’s headquarters at Steeple Morden, Lt. Couture was attached to the 354th Fighter Squadron on May 24, 1944, and began flying combat missions on June 2, 1944, in a P-51B Mustang..
During the Normandy landings, both the 8th and 9th Air Forces provided air cover, tactical support and low altitude strafing. On D-Day, the 354th FS flew three high altitude cover missions over Omaha Beach and on D-Day+1 they attacked German installations and troop movements. Their first objective was to strafe enemy trains and a Luftwaffe airfield near the town of Evreux, some 95 miles southeast of Omaha Beach and 50 miles west of Paris. Afterwards, the 354th’s Mustangs marauded towards the southwest to the Loire Valley village of Nogent-le-Rotrou. Approaching the village they spotted a German armored vehicle column and attacked it at 2:15 P.M.

Lieutenant Couture was about to make his third pass when Flak from the column began to weave a curtain of hot steel denying the strafers their previous uncontested passes. Shrapnel then hit Couture‘s aircraft, penetrating his cockpit and damaging his flight controls. Struggling to keep his fighter in the air and too low to bail out, Couture left his formation to find somewhere to quickly land his crippled plane. The Mustang was losing altitude and not responding well to his commands when the engine lost power - now he had only seconds to land onto the flatest surface within sight.



A forlorn Hat Jane sits on the French countryside.


Breakfast with Theodore von Karman & Laurance Rockefeller

In the span of one week during a hot 1954 September in Pasadena, I transitioned from lieutenant junior grade United States Navy Reserve to graduate student at Caltech. I traded military brown shoes with a mirror-like shine on the toes for hush puppies. My appointment at Caltech had two parts. First, I was to earn a Master’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering and, second, to serve as a Teaching Assistant for eight hours per week.

As a Teaching Assistant, I graded papers and monitored laboratory sessions.
Fortunately my last year-and-half of “sea duty” was on the staff of the Commander of Amphibious Forces Pacific Fleet, a vice admiral. This vice admiral, who was the Navy’s first astronaut, sent his Flagship and one of his rear admirals to South Korea. Being part of the vice admiral’s Staff, I also stayed on the beach in Coronado. This was a 0800 to 1700 (8 to 5 for you non-military types) job with duty also on Saturday morning. My wife and I had an apartment in Coronado. Once a week in the evening, I commuted to San Diego via the ferry boat from Coronado. My wife, Emily, and I enrolled in night classes at the San Diego Community College. Emily, who had an MBA, was working at Convair. She enrolled in an advanced accounting course. I enrolled in an advanced mathematics course in preparation for Caltech. An engineer from Convair Aviation taught my mathematics course.

College Days
At Caltech, the days merged into weeks, the weeks into months, and the months into college quarters. After three quarters, only nine months, I marched down the aisle and across the stage to graduate. My diploma stated that I was a Master of all of the Sciences in Mechanical Engineering. My second year at Caltech was different. I was awarded a Guggenheim Scholarship. Harry Guggenheim, who was a pilot, and his father established research centers at several Universities including Caltech. The research centers also funded students. By accepting the Guggenheim Scholarship, I became committed to a career in jet propulsion and rockets.

In 1926, the founder of the Guggenheim Caltech Aeronautical Laboratories, GALCIT, was Professor von Karman, an internationally known engineer and mathematician. In 1992, the United States Postal Service issued a stamp to honor his career.
Professor von Karman was a very talented engineer. Had he, however, been a physicist he undoubtedly would have received a Nobel Prize.

In the Spring of 1957, a note was posted on the bulletin board at Caltech indicating Professor von Karman, who had retired from the faculty, was requesting help from graduate students. We all were excited by the prospect of working with the famous and talented von Karman. He accepted six volunteer students and I was fortunate to have been one of these. Every Wednesday afternoon we rendezvoused at his modest house on Marengo Street in Pasadena. He opened his liquor cabinet and offered a choice of drink to each student (I always had a soft drink). After a half hour of conversation, each student in turn was invited into von Karman’s study. The results of the student’s work were discussed, and new assignments were made for the next week. Remember these were the days when calculations were made with a slide rule. Computers or electronic calculators did not exist.

During that summer, I was required to do my two weeks active duty for the USN Reserve. I did not know how von Karman would respond to the news. He wished me well for the two weeks . . .



von Karman, Ferri and Arnold meet President Kennedy.


The Shoot Down of Sun Valley 56-0528

On September 2, 1958, a Lockheed C-130A-II transport was shot down by four Soviet MiG 17 fighters over Nerkin Sasnashen, Soviet Armenia, resulting in the loss of the aircraft and 17 crewmembers. The U.S. State Department (State) condemned the attack on an unarmed U.S. military transport as “without regard to the rules of civilized international practice” and followed with a statement that the aircraft was “on a world-wide U.S. Air Force mission to study the propagation of radio waves transmitted by U.S. radio stations.”1 However, as facts were later to prove, this was the beginning of an odyssey of intentional dissembling and prevarication by the U.S. government that continues to this day.

The United States since before WWII has been engaged in what is broadly known as Signal Intelligence (SIGNET) gathering against actual or perceived hostile countries. SIGNET,2 a term coined by the National Security Agency (NSA), is further subdivided into Electronic Intelligence (ELINT) and Communication Intelligence (COMINT). ELINT deals with all electromagnetic radiation other than voice, while COMINT in 1958, dealt exclusively with voice/code communications.

Because of the multiple duplication of signals collection by military commands, Congress in the mid 1950s pushed to have the NSA to have responsibility for all signals collection.3 The beginning of the Cold War focused these efforts on the Soviet Union, its large geographical expanse and dearth of land lines, made it particularly vulnerable to SIGNET operations. Soviet air defense radar sites communicating over long distances between control centers necessitated the use of encrypted high frequency (HF 3-30 MHz) radio and Morse code that was vulnerable to interception and decryption.

Timely collection and analysis is essential and aircraft with their greater mobility are particularly suited for ELINT/COMINT. The Lockheed C-130 with its exceptional endurance and voluminous cargo bay, has been an ideal collection platform allowing equipment, analysts and support personnel to function as an integrated unit. Furthermore, lumbering cargo aircraft present the least provocative profile in the event of interception by enemy aircraft.

Under the auspices of the U.S. Air Force Security Command, the air arm of the NSA, aircraft conducted flights known as Flight Wolf along Soviet borders and on some occasions intentionally penetrated the Soviet airspace.4 These SIGNET operations covered a large electromagnetic spectrum from high frequency radio to microwave radar emissions. This collection contributed greatly to the understanding Soviet of air defense units state of readiness, air activity, reaction times, enemy order of battle, ground control intercept frequencies, signal strength, locations and weaknesses, all which were vital to the conduct of future military operations.

In 1957, the U.S. Air Force Security Services, contracted with the Texas Engineering and Manufacturing Company (TEMCO) to modify 10 new Lockheed C-130As to replace the aging Boeing RB-50G HAYSTACK SIGNET aircraft both of which were organized under the BIG FIVE program.5 The aircraft were flown direct from Lockheed’s Marietta, Ga., production line to Majors Field, Greenville, Tex., for modification as part of the previously established Airborne Communication Reconnaissance Program (ACRP). The following aircraft known as Sun Valley I’s, underwent modifications: 56-0484, c/n 3092; 56-0525, c/n 3133;, 56-0528, c/n 3136; 56-0530, c/n 3138; . . .



Lockheed C-130A-II Hercules, 56-0528


Long Island’s Aviation Heritage

Sparsely populated, as evidenced by the once thin scatter of farmhouses, Long Island, still in its nascent state, was originally carpeted by forests. But a single, central clearing, the largest east of the Mississippi River, stood like an oasis in the desert and served as a spawning ground for aerial life. It was called the Hempstead Plains. Almost predestined as the threshold to air, its flat, unobstructed expanses called to flight, providing a venue for aircraft experimentation, flying fields, and piloting schools. It was in this area where vehicles spread wings and rose from the womb that had incubated them, pursuing an ascending path that would one day eclipse the atmosphere and connect the planet with its moon.

Located on the eastern edge of the country, a dividing line that only pointed transcontinentally toward the west or transatlantically to the European continent, the area, in close proximity to New York, served to geographically cement this aviation foundation.
Glenn Hammond Curtiss, the first to aerially triumph over Long Island with his Golden Flyer biplane, won the Scientific American trophy after making a 25-kilometer, 30-circuit flight around Mineola Airfield on July 17, 1909, attracting other aeronautically-inspired people and the first commercial buyer of an airplane.

The burgeoning aviation interest and experimentation, quickly extending beyond the boundaries of the tiny field, resulted in the establishment of the nearby Hempstead Plains Aerodrome whose almost 1,000-acre expanse sprouted 25 wooden hangars and grandstands by the summer of 1911. The Moisant School, the country’s first such civilian institution, subsequently opened with a fleet of seven Bleriot monoplanes operating out of five structures and later issued the first pilot license to a female, Harriet Quimby.

Long Island’s soil, nurturing aviation as much as grass, provided the stage for the first International Aviation Meet in 1910 at Belmont Park in Elmont, attracting both U.S. and European pilots who raced and established speed and performance records with an ever-increasing collection of early designs. Sheepshead Bay in Brooklyn served as the origin of the first transcontinental flight piloted by Calbraith Rogers in a Wright Brothers’ designed EX Vin Fiz biplane departing on September 17, 1911. It terminated in San Diego, Calif., 49 days later, despite a dizzying array of enroute stops and airframe reconstruction-necessitating crashes.
The first U.S. airmail route, albeit the short, temporary, six-mile stretch from Garden City to Mineola in a Bleriot aircraft, also occurred in 1911.

Hempstead Plains Airfield, assuming a military role, provided the location for New York National Guard pilot training in 1915, and two years later, it became one of only two Army fields in the United States with a fleet of four Curtiss JN-4 Jenny aircraft. It was also the year when it was redesignated Hazelhurst Field, in honor of an Army pilot who had lost his life in an airplane accident.

In order to cater to increased Army pilot training demand, Field #2 was established south of the existing Hazelhurst Airport in 1917 and was subsequently renamed “Mitchel Field” in July of the following year after then-New York City Mayor John Purroy Mitchel.

The first regularly scheduled air mail service, occurring in May of 1918 from Washington to Belmont Park with Curtiss Jennies, yielded to the first heavier-than-air craft transatlantic crossing from Long Island to Portugal the following year with a trio of Navy-operated, quad-engine, amphibious Curtiss NC flying boats, only one of which ultimately reached . . .



American Air Power Museum's Republic P-47N


Forum of Flight

The FORUM is presented as an opportunity for each member to participate in the Journal by submitting interesting or unusual photographs. This issue features a combination of material. In addition to images submitted by members, the Society is scanning its slide archive contributed by members old and new, and a number of interesting shots have been pulled from the sliides that have been scanned. Unfortunately, in many cases the contributor information has been lost. Where known, we acknowledge them.

Negatives, slides, black-and-white or color photos with good contrast may be used if they have smooth surfaces. Digital submissions are also acceptable, but please provide high resolution images (>3,000 pixels wide). Please include as much information as possible about the image such as: date, place, msn (manufacturer’s serial number), names, etc., plus proper photo credit (it may be from your collection but takenby another photographer).

Send submissions to the Editorial Committee marked “Forum of Flight,” P.O. Box 3023 Huntington Beach, CA 92605-3023. Mark any material to be returned: “Return to (yourname and complete address).” Or you may wish to have your material added to the AAHS photo archives.



South African Airways Boeing 747SP


President’s Message
A Successful AAHS Move Times Two!

2020 has been noteworthy on many levels, politically and economically, globally and personally, emotionally and physically both positive and negative. For AAHS 2020 will be noteworthy for a very positive reason; our downsize move to a smaller Orange County office, AND our simultaneous Headquarters move to Flabob Airport, Riverside, Calif.., is essentially complete! We say ‘essentially’ as there are a host of to dos that will continue into next year to update the Flabob building to our needs, but the phones are in and the lights are on!

AAHS made TWO moves
Back in 2015 the Board of Directors discussed the move out of Huntington Beach, Calif., to find a location with lower rent, and, with luck, in an aviation community that shared AAHS long-term goals. Several alternative sites within 60 miles of the current office were evaluated, with office space at historic Flabob Airport, Riverside being the final selected site, by the end of 2017.

Most of AAHS current local volunteers, however, still lived close to the Orange County location, and provide invaluable support to AAHS operations. The Board agreed that we could support our mission and our volunteers best in the next 3-5 years by keeping a smaller office in Orange County for operations, while building up our volunteer staff and archives at the Flabob Headquarters. Hence, our move plans had to include a simultaneous move to TWO locations!

Flabob Office Improvements
A historic converted WWII ‘temporary’ barracks building that previously housed the Flabob airport office was updated in 2019 for AAHS, supported by the generous donation of AAHS Member John Turgyan, with reinforced flooring to support the AAHS image archives, updated with new carpets, paint and lights. AAHS also purchased two 8’x20’ shipping containers, with electrical hookups and insulation and had them installed behind the AAHS office, providing room for additional library books and archives.

A Downsized Orange County Location
While Flabob improvements were underway, a search commenced for reduced space in Orange County, which turned out to be surprisingly close – just six doors down in the same business center. 15446 Transistor Lane, Huntington Beach, Calif., is the new Orange County address of AAHS, a smaller space (1,100) square feet, that now houses bookkeeping and membership desks, part of the photo archives and some of the AAHS aviation book collection.

The mastermind behind the logistics of moving simultaneously to two locations is Bob Palazzola, our Library Manager. Bob created space plans, counted boxes, packed over 400 boxes himself and worked tirelessly alongside Syndy Resler, our on-site office manager, to determine what would go where. Bob and Syndy teamed up to coordinate all the logistics such as new internet and phone service, hiring movers and keeping other volunteers apprised of when they could enter the old (and new) locations safely.

When our move day came, everything went off smoothly, even with a reduced work crew, and COVID-19 safety restrictions in place. Syndy re-located important bookkeeping functions offsite, so we would not lose any operational downtime during the move, while Bob set up effective staging areas that allowed boxes and equipment to be moved to both locations all in one day.

Operations Going Forward
All of AAHS 3-view binder collections, the AAHS 35mm slide collections that have been scanned to the on-line image database (stored in fireproof safes), a large portion of the film and negative archives, and over 400 books of aviation books now reside at the Flabob office. Volunteers like Yesenia Villalobos, and a number of local college and high school students have been recruited to support some of the many projects available at Flabob, including slide identification, VHS tape cataloging, library cataloging and film media digitizing. AAHS members Robert Jordan and Howard Butcher have committed to support operations at Flabob, which will allow the Headquarters office to post regular operating hours 2-3 days per week.

The Orange County office will continue to process daily mail and member inquiries, as well as our image digitizing project. AAHS office hours in Orange County will continue to be Wednesdays, although, due to COVID-19, we have scheduled volunteers to assist in the office on different days, to reduce the number of individuals in the same space at any one time.

Official ‘Grand Opening’ date for AAHS at Flabob Airport
As noted earlier, there are still planned upgrades to the Flabob facility that are not yet started, that include an update to decking area and improved parking area. These we hope to complete before announcing a ‘Grand Opening’ of the AAHS Flabob office to the local area and the tenants of Flabob Airport. Currently we’re planning for this grand opening event to occur on the second weekend of May 2021, to include a free BBQ, free sample Journals, tours through our archives, and similar activities. We’ll post updates to our AAHS Facebook page and the AAHS website on Flabobo and AAHS Transistor Lane activities. See you there!

Jerri Bergen
AAHS President



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