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Excerpts from
AAHS Journal, Vol. 67, No. 2 - Summer 2022
Table of Contents

  • American International Airways, Bermuda Sky Queen B-314, 1947 - Ed Martin
  • Food for Thought, or You Can’t Take It with You -
    Peter M. Bowers
  • Northrop Gamma 2B, A Northrop to conquer the South Pole - Alain Pelletier
  • The “Puddle Jumper” X-4248, Clarence Chamberlin’s Rebuild of Sperry’s Messenger - Gerard Brinks
  • Sentimental Journey: The Air Fields of the Sixth Air Force, The “Destroyers for Bases” Stations and the Antilles Perimeter, Part 2 - Dan Hagedorn
  • Women in Arizona Aviation: A Brief History, with a focus on the Phoenix/Mesa area - Ryan Baderscher
  • Out-of-Balance Mishap, Avalon Bay, Catalina Island - May 24, 1966 - David Johnston
  • Nukes Over the Pacific – A Look Back Sixty Years Later; a crew member recalls the mushroom clouds
    - J.B. Rivard
  • Forum of Flight
  • AAHS at AirVenture 2022 - Call for Volunteers
  • AAHS Log Book
  • President’s Message - James Logue

  • American International Airways, "Bermuda Sky Queen" B-314, 1947

    The "Bermuda Sky Queen" was a Boeing 314 flying boat, NC18612, involved in one of the greatest United States Coast Guard ocean rescue operations in aviation history.

    Pan American Airways Clipper NC18612 was a Boeing 314 manufactured in 1941 for service with Pan American Airways. It was the last B-314 of the 12 built. The first six were B-314s; the last six were upgraded to a B-314A. Pan American Airways purchased all 12 but only operated nine. In 1941 due to WWII and reduced operational requirements, PAA sold three B-314As to British Overseas Aircraft Company (BOAC). PAA later upgraded all B-314s in their fleet to the “A” model. In July 1941 NC18612 entered operations with Pan American in the Pacific. The B-314A was 106ft (32m) in length; height was 20ft 4.5in (6.210m) with a wingspan of 152ft (46m). It was powered by four Wright Cyclone engines with 1,600 HP each and a fuel capacity of 5,408 gallons in wing and sponson tanks. Gross weight was 84,000 lbs. In a Pan American configuration it could carry up to 68 day passengers for flights up to 1,500 miles, or 36 passengers on transatlantic flights with sleeping berths provided for all passengers. Cruising speed was 188 mph with a maximum speed of 210 mph depending on load/weather.

    Although the United States was a neutral country at that time, on July 15, 1941, PAA entered into contracts with the U.S. Government and PAA formed a new company Pan American Airways-Africa Ltd. On August 12, 1941, the U.S. Government War Department and the U.S. Navy purchased all Boeing B-314 flying boats from Pan American, including NC18612 from the Pacific Division. The aircraft were specifically purchased for use on the African route in support of British forces fighting there. The aircraft were leased back to Pan American and operated by Pan American flight crews. NC18612 was christened "Capetown Clipper" in anticipation of later receiving authority for flights to South Africa. In December 1941 Pan American received approval for a route to Leopoldville (renamed Kinshasa in 1966) in the Belgian Congo.

    The following is reprinted from www.genealogy.com, William Meyer Masland. "Secret Flight" By Captain R. Emery Wanless.

    “On December 6, 1941, I was the navigator 2nd officer on a Pan American Boeing-314, NC18612, flying boat commanded by M. W. Masland. He carried secret orders that were not privy to the crew members. It turned out to be a secret flight to Leopoldville on the Congo River in West Africa to pick up uranium that was needed for the atomic bombs, which were later dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, resulting in the end of WWII.

    With stops at Bermuda and San Juan, Puerto Rico, we taxied into the dock at Port of Spain, Trinidad, on December 7, 1941. As we deplaned Pan American personnel were saying, “have you heard the news, Pearl Harbor has been bombed and we are at war with Japan”. The following day we flew on to Natal in Brazil, to Horta in the Azores, to Lagos, West Africa and arrived in Leopoldville on December 12. The landing was on the Congo River. Due to the strong river current, one pilot and one Flight Engineer were left aboard in case the anchor gave way and the aircraft went over the falls some distance down river. We crew members were not aware of the cargo loaded aboard, which was uranium.

    On the return trip we arrived at Fisherman’s Lake, Liberia, for refueling. The Pan American station manager had not been advised of course of our arrival. I devised a small parachute with a note that I dropped from the bottom hatch as we flew over the village hoping that someone would contact the station manager. As we circled for a landing we observed a motorboat heading for the landing area. We refueled and took off for Natal, Brazil, on the December 15. With refueling stops at Port of Spain, and Miami, we arrived back at Port Washington, New York, on the December 17.

    I found out that our cargo was uranium in 2002,” Captain R. Emery Wanless. From the "New York Times". William M. Masland, Pilot on historic Flight. Published: February 25, 1987.

    This December 6, 1941, PAA flight was the inauguration of Foreign Air Mail Route 22 (FAM22).

    Sadly Captain W. M. Masland passed away . . .

    Bermuda Sky Queen, NC18612

    Food for Thought, or You Can’t Take It with You

    The following piece appeared in the AAHS Journal, Vol. 5, No. 2, Summer 1961, and is as relevant today as it was 60 plus years ago. Those of us with collections are seriously challenged finding homes for our collections. Fewer of the “younger” generation are collecting much more than social media followers, and organizations are overwhelmed with material donations and a lack of resources to properly manage collections so that they are accessible. For those without collections but an interest in helping preserve historical material, donations of time and money help these organizations thrive. This includes your Society, which is working diligently to not only preserve, but make the material in our collection readily available to all.

    Hayden Hamilton
    AAHS Managing Editor

    As the half-century mark comes into sight for some of us, a problem arises that we have not seriously considered before . . .what to do with our historically valuable airplane picture collections, aeronautical libraries, and even complete airplanes? Much as we‘d like to, we can‘t adopt the belligerent attitude of the old, Scotsman, who said: “If I cannae take it with me, Mon, I nae gonna go!”

    In a few cases, there is no problem. Junior has a sincere interest in the subject and can be counted on to take over and keep things in order; maybe even make additions. Others
    regard pop’s carefully-maintained file as so much scrap paper. Some wives I know for a fact are deeply resentful toward this thief of hubby‘s time and attention and would welcome the first opportunity to throw it out. A few wives, bless’ em, recognize the worth of a collection and appreciate the meaning that it has for the husband. An outstanding example is Viola Schmidt, who was very insistent that the identity of Al’s collection be retained as a memorial to him

    Selling the collection before you go is one way, but the main trouble, if you still have an active interest, is that it is apt to be a painful process something like selling off one of your children. If the job is left to the wife after the funeral, the painful parting will be eliminated but there is apt to be considerably less financial gain if the disposal is left to one who actually knows little of the actual worth or the most remunerative channels. In a few cases, certain rare individual negatives can sell for one or several dollars apiece, but in quantity, such as a negative collection of five to ten thousand negs, the average price is seldom in excess of 20 cents a neg, which hardly covers the cost of film, developing and file envelopes expended over the previous years.

    There’s still a way out that will preserve the material in the collector’s name - will it to some suitable institution. The books present no problem in this department - there are plenty of public and institutional libraries that will be glad to have them. However, if the particular library already has a lot of the same books, yours may merely be set aside and used as trading material. Public and private museums may be interested in your airplane, but they won’t buy it. It will have to be donated. Another question to consider is that after you do give it away, can the institution display it? Most museums have a terrific problem today just in displaying a representative part of what they already have. The rest is in storage because of inadequate display area.

    The question as to what kind of an institution should one leave a specialized negative collection to is a tricky one. . . . On the other hand, some organizations, private, public and government alike, are so busy keeping up with the present that history gets little consideration and is relegated to inaccessible “dead” files. It might be well to do a bit of shopping around while . . .

    Northrop Gamma 2B, A Northrop to conquer the South Pole

    By the dawn of the 1930s, the most prominent aerial explorers such as the Roald Amundsen, Hubert Wilkins, Richard Byrd or Lincoln Ellsworth, had flown over most of the polar regions, and very few areas were still untouched by any human footprint. Representing over 3 million square miles, these unexplored regions were all located in Antarctica, in particularly inhospitable regions. For this handful of adventurers a new exploration mission would most certainly be the last.

    In 1930, Richard Byrd, whose recent exploits had resulted in displays of enthusiasm, some of which had confined themselves to delirium, had only one idea in mind, that of returning as soon as possible to Little America, his polar base where he had left two planes1 for reuse in a new expedition. But he still needed to raise at least a million dollars for this! In this period of economic crisis, this seemed almost impossible. For the time being, Byrd abandoned any desire to make a trans-Antarctic flight. In late 1931 he wrote to Lincoln Ellsworth offering his support. “My dear Lincoln,” he wrote to him, “a number of sources suggest to me that you are planning to mount an expedition to the South. I would like to talk about it with you so that I can provide all the help you will need.”2

    The object of Ellsworth’s thoughts was, one guesses, a flyby of Antarctica, and to do so he needed a plane, a pilot and a boat. On April 18, 1932, on letterhead of the Ellsworth Trans-Antarctic Flight, he entrusted the Norwegian pilot Bernt Balchen with the responsibility of choosing an aircraft and the radio equipment necessary for his expedition. He also left it to Balchen to draft the contracts for the acquisition of these materials. On the same day, the project was presented in the Herald Tribune.

    In the early spring of 1932 Ellsworth and his team set to work. Initially a contract was signed with Northrop Corp. for the design and delivery of an all-metal aircraft for $37,000, 50% of which was paid immediately. Ellsworth appointed Bernt Balchen to act as a “go-between” between himself and the design office. Finally, he asked his old friend, Hubert Wilkins, to look for a suitable boat and to settle various small administrative hassles.

    By early 1933, the expedition’s organization had progressed well, as had the construction of the aircraft, which Balchen described as an entirely new model and design. As such, this aircraft would require numerous flight tests. It was indeed the second Northrop Gamma (Gamma 2B) and it differed significantly from Gamma 2A in several points . . .

    Northrop Gamma 2B Polar Star

    The “Puddle Jumper” X-4248, Clarence Chamberlin’s Rebuild of Sperry’s Messenger

    Between the first and second world war, aviation was in great progress. Countless of new aircraft builders were in constant and rapid growth, and new aviators establishing their name and fame by pioneering the boundaries of possibilities and achieving constant new milestones. It was the Golden Age of aviation. Among these aviators who searched for those boundaries was Clarence Chamberlin.

    His wild enthusiasm for aviation made him famous with several great achievements. Notable of them was his transatlantic flight in 1927 with his passenger Charles Levine
    in the Bellanca Columbia. In addition, he made frequent attempts to establish endurance flight records. His life and achievements are thoroughly described and highlighted. Among them Mr. Al Rocca who described Chamberlin in his book "Clarence Chamberlin, Pioneer aviator who challenged Lindbergh"[1] and Billy Tooma who made the documentary "Clarence Chamberlin: Fly First Fight & Fight Afterward" in 2011 on Chamberlin’s life as an aviator.[2] This story is not particularly about Clarence Chamberlin, but about one of his endeavors in pioneering aviation: His lecture tour in 1928 and the rare airplane he used for this.

    Based on Chamberlin’s endeavors and enthusiasm for aviation we can assume that he was a strong believer that the traveling possibilities of aviation should be reachable for every person. Besides that, he may have been one of the believers who thought flying an airplane should be as easy as driving a car. Chamberlin predicted that a city or town without an airport in its near future would become as isolated as towns in those days without a railroad.[3] Therefore, the most likely objective of this lecture tour was to visit cities to promote aviation and stimulate their interested to build their own airport. His original plan was to visit at least 100 cities in 48 states. One of the newspapers mentioned that the plane he used was a British plane of origin “used widely in British flying clubs.” This statement was not accurate, as will be seen hereafter.[4]

    To promote aviation in such a way it was probably best to do so with an airplane that was suitable for the task. The basis for Chamberlin’s of an aircraft for the tour is no recorded, but the plane he used for this promotion tour was a logical and suitable choice.

    Why? Perhaps because the story for the airplane Chamberlin chose started almost a decade earlier.

    Years before Chamberlin’s lecture tour another aviator, Lawrence Sperry from Long Island, was a believer in small, economical and easy to fly airplanes. The Sperry family made its name in aviation for aviation equipment such as the gyroscopic compass. Lawrence Sperry invented a three-way gyrostabilizer. The basic for the auto pilot system. The basic principle of Sperry’s invention is still used today.

    Like Chamberlin years later, Sperry made his name in aviation with several achievements. One of the most spectacular ones, was flying his Sperry Messenger Airplane and landing this plane in front of the U.S. Capitol.[5]

    Also, Sperry made strong efforts to promote aviation accessible for everyone. He had a strong conviction that the Sperry Messenger was the suitable plane for this

    The Sperry Messenger was a small biplane initially designed by Alfred W. Verville. This design was modified and built by the Sperry factory, initially to fulfill Army orders for a training plane.
    But Sperry used the plane for further development to make it a plane . . .

    Chamberlain’s Puddle Jumper

    Sentimental Journey: The Air Fields of the Sixth Air Force, The “Destroyers for Bases” Stations and the Antilles Perimeter, Part 2

    In Part one, to be found in AAHS Journal Vol. 67, No. 1, Spring 2022, we looked at the background that led to the development of this set of bases, including looking at the first three in the list below. In this Part we’ll continue looking at the individual bases and the roles they played during WWII.

    This installment is devoted to the eastern, Caribbean perimeter of the Greater and Lesser Antilles fields, where most of the intensive anti-submarine action was experienced, extending down to northern South America and including British Guiana, Trinidad, Aruba and Curacao. These have been prepared with materials collected for the author’s definitive history of Army aviation in defense of the Panama Canal and the Caribbean, ‘ALAE SUPRA CANALEM: The Sixth Air Force and Antilles Air Command’ (Turner Publishing Co., Paducah, KY), that were too extensive to be included in that title, and thus they are presented here as a memorial to the men and women who served in those far off isolated bastions where there was truly “No Ground to Give.” There is no memorial, no marker, no surviving symbol in those exotic places, now so familiar to sun-seekers, to commemorate their passing and, in many instances, the ultimate sacrifice that many of them made.

    Allied Support

    A look at the accompanying maps will quickly reveal that the Greater and Lesser Antilles chain of islands, starting in the north with Cuba and extending in an arc to Trinidad, present a nearly tailor-made outer defense perimeter for the Caribbean and the Atlantic/Caribbean approaches to the vital Panama Canal. When the stations on the Free Dutch islands of Aruba and Curacao, that guarded the important Venezuelan crude oil fields at Maracaibo and the associated refineries on the islands, plus the British and Dutch Guiana stations, that guarded the access and shipping routes for bauxite (vital to wartime production of aluminum) as well as the South Atlantic ferry routes are factored in, an appreciation for the value of these linked but otherwise isolated stations becomes apparent.

    The agreement with the British was one thing. However, there were several independent nations in the chain that were also needed to “close the loop:” notably Cuba itself, Haiti and the Dominican Republic. The supposedly “democratic” governments of these small countries, that in fact were ruled by dictators in all but name at the time, were quickly brought into the fold. This left only the French controlled islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique, and mainland French Guiana, which, as will be seen, presented a problem.

    Thus, in remarkably short order, the organization, which soon became the Sixth Air Force, found itself responsible for a remarkable array of small operating stations that, as it turned out, availed the tactical units of the Canal Zone-centered organization, latter reorganized into a separate Antilles Air Command, exceptional flexibility in dealing with the German submarine onslaught that soon ensued.

    This article will briefly describe these stations, in the order in which they were “brought online,” as follows:

    Ponce Field, Puerto Rico February 1938 (Part 1)
    Borinquen Field, Puerto Rico September 8, 1939 (Part 1)
    Losey Field, Puerto Rico January 6, 1941 (Part 1)
    Beane Field, St. Lucia, British West Indies April 2, 1941
    Benedict Field, St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands May 31, 1941
    Atkinson Field, British Guiana August 1, 1941
    Coolidge Field, Antigua, British West Indies October 2, 1941
    Waller Field, Trinidad, British West Indies October 28, 1941
    Vernam Field, Jamaica, British West Indies November 22, 1941
    Arecibo, Puerto Rico December 11, 1941
    Vega Baja Field, Puerto Rico December 13, 1941
    Dakota Field, Aruba, Netherlands West Indies January 14, 1942
    Zandery Field, Surinam (Dutch Guiana) January 14, 1942
    Hato Field, Curacao, Netherlands West Indies January 17, 1942
    Bowen Field, Port au Prince, Haiti January 19, 1942
    Camaguey, Cuba January 20, 1942
    San Julian Aeropuerto, Mendoza, Cuba January 24, 1942
    Bourne Field, St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands January 28, 1942
    Edinburgh Field, Trinidad, British West Indies April 22, 1942
    Batista Field, San Antonio de los Baños, Cuba August 31, 1942
    Rochambeau Field, French Guiana January 15, 1944

    The actual construction of these widely separated and, at the time, often supremely isolated enclaves is a story unto itself. The crash program to expedite their readiness is a credit to the engineers of what became the Corps of Engineers Miami Engineering District during the war. In many cases, the initial preparations consisted of little more than manhandling . . .

    Ramp scene at General Agramonte Field

    Women in Arizona Aviation: A Brief History, with a focus on the Phoenix/Mesa area

    Women have been involved in the aviation industry in Arizona since its very beginning. Female aviators have generally been a minority in a heavily male dominated industry, with only eight percent of pilots being female nationally in 2019. Despite this extremely disproportionate underrepresentation, women have played a significant role in shaping aviation in Arizona. Perhaps the best example of this is during WWII, when airfield groundcrews were upwards of 40% or more female. These women did not just hold office positions or play the role of “Rosie the riveter.” They were mechanics, flight instructors and military pilots. Before and after WWII, innumerable other women played a role in shaping the aviation industry.

    History has often paid little attention to female aviators, not just in Arizona, but around the world. A foundational book on the history of aviation in Arizona, Sky Pioneering: Arizona in Aviation History, only hints at the role played by women. This in spite of the fact that the work itself was written by an influential female pilot from Arizona. Ruth Reinhold was one of Arizona’s first female pilots, as well as an author. Her aviation career spans over four decades and counts among the most accomplished of any of Arizona’s female aviators. Ruth Reinhold flew the venerated late Senator Barry Goldwater as his personal pilot for 20 years, including during his famous 1964 presidential campaign. Goldwater held Reinhold in such high regard, he personally encouraged her to write Sky Pioneering. He also wrote an introduction for the book. In spite of Reinhold’s many aviation accomplishments, which undoubtedly made her aware of women being under-represented in aviation and the struggles of a women flyer, she only passingly mentions women in her book. Sky Pioneering is an excellent work, in terms of narrating the early years of Arizona aviation, but it fails to fully account for women’s role in that story.

    The first woman to take flight within the territory of Arizona did so on July 4, 1890. An unknown woman, dressed in a red, white and blue star-spangled jumpsuit ascended in a hot air balloon. She then, to the amazement of the audience, jumped out of the balloon and descended to the ground by parachute. Her decent made her both the first woman to fly in Arizona and the first woman to parachute in the then territory. This occasion also made her one of the first people to fly in Arizona at all, with the first flight having been accomplished by a “Professor LeRoy” on May 31 of the previous year. A similar exhibition was carried out by Mille B. Ozola in Phoenix in 1892, making her the first women to fly in central Arizona. Neither the star spangled woman or “Mademoiselle Ozola’s” ships were based in Arizona, which makes it highly likely that neither were Arizona residents. More than likely, both were traveling aeronauts who made a living performing such stunts. Whether they were Arizona residents or not, these pioneering women made their mark on Arizona aviation history. Within a year of the first flight in Arizona, women were taking to the skies. These pioneers established a legacy of female aviators that lives on today.

    Katherine Stinson, a famous female pilot from the Southern United States, likely became the first woman to fly a plane in the young state of Arizona in 1914. She was the first female pilot licensed to fly airmail by the United States Postal Service. The Tucson Chamber of Commerce contracted her to make several airmail demonstrations and perform flying exhibitions. Stinson’s flights were meant to demonstrate the feasibility of airmail in sparsely populated Arizona and boost the prestige . . .

    Ruth Reinhold (left) and copilot Patricia Runyon just before the All Woman’s Transcontinental Air Race,

    Out-of-Balance Mishap, Avalon Bay, Catalina Island - May 24, 1966

    Catalina Air Lines (CAL) Grumman Goose N323 was departing from Avalon Bay (AVX) on Catalina Island, Calif., for Long Beach Airport (LBG) with a full load on a clear day with calm winds and sea. This ship was one of two in our fleet that had been modified to carry 11 passengers. “Clear right!” I announced to the pilot, which was followed by the starboard engine coming to life with its usual whining sound and a puff of smoke. Next, the port engine did the same. The fuselage tie-down lines were released and the ship moved a short distance away to takeoff position.

    As the ship taxied away I jogged up the floating ramp and entered our office at the top of the pier to retrieve the rest of the lemonade I had left there. Standing behind the front counter I heard the normal sound of two Goose engines at full takeoff horsepower change to a distressing wail! I looked up and I saw the entire topside of N323 with her bow aimed straight to the sky! Instantly, the sounds of both engines quit, the ship lurched to the left, and fell hard and flat onto the calm sea. The silence was - as they say - deafening. I leaped over the front counter - leaving the “NOTICE” sign swinging in my wake as I sprinted down the ramp and jumped into the “Woody” boat.

    En route to the now motionless Goose - I saw that the port float strut was bent inward and was just barely supporting the port wing. Arriving at the passenger door with the “Woody” boat I began helping passengers into the boat. Fortunately, no one appeared to be injured but they certainly looked distressed. After two quick trips between the bent Goose and our floats – all passengers plus the pilot were safely escorted up to our office on the Pleasure Pier. In the meantime, I had returned to the adrift Goose, tied the “Woody” boat to the port side and maneuvered it temporarily to one of our CAL moorings in the bay.

    Meanwhile in the office, the station manager worked at making the necessary calls to Long Beach, arranging for a replacement Goose and pilot - plus other duties required following an aircraft incident,. (i.e., issue a current weather conditions report on the teletype, and make notes for later writing of the FAA report, etc.). With immediate tasks attended to - a flurry of inquiries soon popped up from: the Avalon Fire Department, Los Angeles County Sheriff, Mayor of Avalon, the Catalina Islander newspaper and many, many residents of the surrounding hills all clamoring for attention in person and/or by telephone. What had been a calm, quiet day in the bay turned . . .

    Catalina Air Lines Catalina dock with Grumman Goose N323

    Nukes Over the Pacific – A Look Back Sixty Years Later; a crew member recalls the mushroom clouds

    The period between the Korean War (1950-1953) and the Cuban Missile Crisis (1962) was the height of the Cold War, so named because the conflict between the United States and the Soviet Union was “cold” — large-scale fighting between the adversaries did not occur.

    In late 1958, the United States, Great Britain and the Soviet Union tacitly agreed to a moratorium on nuclear testing. In 1961, newly-inaugurated President John F. Kennedy wished to extend the moratorium, but the Soviet Union rejected proposals for a formal ban on atmospheric tests.

    On Aug. 30 of 1961, the Soviets announced they would resume nuclear testing. Two days later, they detonated a 50 megaton nuclear device. Kennedy responded by authorizing Operation DOMINIC, the largest nuclear testing program conducted by the United States and the last in earth’s atmosphere.

    The world was forever changed July 16, 1945, when a sudden, brilliant explosion lit an isolated valley in New Mexico. The bright flash was seen by watchers at Los Alamos, 200 miles away. That nuclear detonation, code named “Trinity,” had the energy equivalent of about 22,000 tons (22 kt) of TNT, which changed the nature of war.

    In March of 1962 — less than 17 years later — I boarded a USAF C-130 at Hickam Air Force Base in Hawaii. As a young engineer on the staff of Sandia Corporation, I was scheduled to participate in what was called Operation DOMINIC, a complex series of nuclear detonations over the Pacific Ocean, was ordered by President John Kennedy in 1961 as a response to the Soviet Union’s breaking of a test-ban agreement (see “Cold War” sidebar).

    Four hours later, I landed near the equator on the coral atoll now called Kiritimati.

    The island was known as Christmas Island in 1962. It gained the latter name from having been discovered Christmas of 1777 by Captain James Cook.

    The name Kiritimati is pronounced as “Ki-ris-mas,” because in the Gilbert Island language, “ti” is pronounced as “s.” The renaming occurred in 1979 when Christmas and 32 other remote Pacific islands became independent of the United Kingdom as the nation of Kiribati.

    The government of Kiribati claims Kiritimati is the largest (area) coral atoll in the world with an area of at least 140 sq. miles. The Y-shaped island features a large bay, open to the ocean, on its northwest side. Numerous saltwater (tidal), mixed, and rainwater basins fill the interior. Geometrically, the island roughly fits inside a rectangle 30 miles long by 14 miles wide (420 square miles). Because of its shape and interior water-filled areas, the area of dry land is only about the size of Barbados.

    The land is bare coral sand with low shrubs and large patches of coconut palm trees. Between the World Wars, 300,000 of the palms were planted by French priest Emmanuel Rougier, who leased the island until his death in 1932. These grew to 800,000 trees in the late 1930s. Island residents continue to market the dried kernel of coconut (copra), which is a source of food, cooking oil, and livestock feed.

    The ocean waves offshore of the island, having traveled unimpeded for thousands of miles, become very powerful. Thus, the coral reef surrounding the island featured large breakers, waves that crested steeply a distance from shore and crashed into the shallows with dramatic flair. Dozens of dolphins or porpoises were sometimes visible swimming parallel to these cresting waves.

    One of Kiritimati’s peculiarities came quickly to my attention — thousands of pink land crabs that crawled everywhere on the land. Their omnipresence became obvious as “snaps” were heard regularly while driving a paved section of road — the sound of crabs being crushed under the wheels. These ferocious-appearing, stalk-eyed creatures waving two big claws were not even slightly ferocious, despite their appearance. They moved only slowly, and were either unafraid of humans . . .

    Boeing B-52B used to drop the nuclear weapons

    Forum of Flight

    This issue of the Forum focuses on images from collections that that have yet to be cataloged, in particular from Paul Schiding, Warren C. Munkasy and Dustin W. Carter collections.
    The FORUM is presented as an opportunity for each member to participate in the Journal by submitting interesting or unusual photographs. Most of the images come from contributions to the AAHS archives. Unfortunately, with older images 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 taken by 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 (your name and complete address).” Or you may wish to have your material added to the AAHS photo archives.

    National Airlines Boeing 727

    AAHS at AirVenture 2022 - Call for Volunteers

    July 25-31

    AAHS has reserved a display booth at this year’s EAA AirVenture, and we need your help!

    We’re looking for AirVenture attendees to volunteer at our booth, sharing AAHS’s mission and membership opportunities with other aviaition enthusiasts. We also need a Booth Manager, who will attend AirVenture for the full week and can oversee the volunteer schedule, supplies, and setup of the booth. AAHS will provide the Booth Manager free entry to AirVenture for the whole week, a vehicle pass, and a discount on housing.

    AAHS has rented a home in Oshkosh for th is epic event, with three private rooms and one shared room, for members wanting to enjoy a week of ful l aviation immersion! Rates for the rooms/beds are set on a weekly rate, averaging $100-$150 per night. Priority wi ll be given to members who volunteer at the booth. Those same members who commit a few hours each day of the event may also receive a week pass (limited avai lability).

    Will you accept the challenge? Help AAHS reach more members at the EAA AirVenture Oshkosh Airshow!

    For more information about volunteering and housing availabil ity, contact us at
    (714) 549-7818

    AAHS Log Book

    There is a lot going on behind the scenes at your AAHS headquarters that does not get regular coverage. The following provides a snapshot of activities during the last quarter. Don’t forget that there are opportunities for you to actively help further the objectives of the Society. Just contact Membership and volunteer.

    Annual Meeting

    This issue of the AAHS Log Book focuses on the Annual Meeting held June 10-12, 2022, in Sonoma, Calif.

    Chairman of the Board Jerri Bergen giving Robert Palazzola a well deserved recognition.

    President’s Message

    Last fall, the Air Force selected the F130 engine made by Rolls-Royce North America for the B-52 Commercial Engine Replacement Program, or CERP. Under the $2.6 billion contract, Rolls-Royce will equip the B-52 fleet with eight engines each by September 2038, replacing the bomber’s aging Pratt & Whitney-made engines.

    You are probably asking yourself why I opened my first letter to you as AAHS President with a fact about the B-52 Stratofortress. Well, I did because it is close metaphor for our organization. Like the B-52, we have been fulfilling our mission since the 1950s, and like the B-52, we need to continually adapt and modify ourselves to meet the demands of the world we operate in. Our members and volunteers are the engines of AAHS, and we need new members and volunteers. Our website and digital systems are our avionics that need to be updated to work with “Next-Gen” systems and people.

    Most importantly and very much like the B-52, we need to be able to operate more cost-efficiently. The closest analogy for cost per flight hour for us would be cost per publication. Printing and shipping costs have risen, and while we have tried to absorb as much of that increase as we could, members will see a slight increase with their next renewal. As we all look at our budgets, if the print version of AAHS is something you are thinking about not renewing due to cost increases, please consider an e-membership and remember AAHS is a non-profit ( 501.3.c. ) educational organization that is unique in the aviation community.

    I plan on focusing the majority of my efforts as president on attracting new members, increasing our engagement with the community and our members, establishing corporate memberships and collaborations, and enhancing our digital presence. Jerri and I have been working on developing a scholarship program and we hope to be able to share the final details with you all soon.

    With the new TopGun movie out, the F-14 Tomcat is back on everyone’s mind, but why is such a beloved and capable aircraft no longer in service with the U.S. Navy but the Air Force still has its slow, ugly bomber? Because its primary mission of fleet defense from Soviet bombers was no longer needed, and it wasn’t adaptable to the needs of the 21st century. I don’t think anyone wants AAHS sent off to the proverbial “boneyard.” Our mission, “the preservation and dissemination of the rich heritage of American aviation,” is still and will always be needed - aviation history is being made every day. We only need to be adaptable to ensure we have the capabilities to fulfill our mission. I implore you all to give whatever you can, be it time or resources to help keep AAHS in the air.


    James Logue
    AAHS President