Category Archives: News

Warbird Group Meeting – November 16th

Our next meeting will be Wednesday, November 16th at the Stockton Field Aviation Museum, 7432 C.E. Dixon St. Stockton Metro Airport, 7 PM.

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Our next speaker will be NASA SOFIA (Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy) 747 Flight Engineer Christopher Farinha. Chris was born and raised in Auburn California, where he started in aviation restoring Warbirds. He started his airline career in 1985 flying the Lockheed Electra, L-188. Chris has flown the civilian model of the Hercules the L-382 as well as the DC-8 for Southern AirTransport. He finished his civilian career at Evergreen International Airlines flying the B-747. Chris has been with SOFIA since January 2014. He also flies the GE flying testbed 747, which tests the next generation of jet engines. So, come on out and bring a friend!

SOFIA is the largest airborne observatory in the world, capable of making observations that are impossible for even the largest and highest ground-based telescopes. During its planned 20-year lifetime, SOFIA also will inspire the development of new scientific instrumentation and foster the education of young scientists and engineers.

SOFIA is an 80/20 partnership of NASA and the German Aerospace Center (DLR), consisting of an extensively modified Boeing 747SP aircraft carrying a reflecting telescope with an effective diameter of 2.5 meters (100 inches).
The observatory is based at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in Palmdale, California. NASA Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California, manages SOFIA’s science and mission operations in cooperation with the Universities Space Research Association (USRA; Columbia, Md.) and the German SOFIA Institute (DSI; University of Stuttgart).

IT’S THAT TIME OF YEAR AGAIN! 2017 dues are due. Your $12.00 Warbird dues also get you membership in the Stockton Field Aviation Museum! With many activities coming up in the new year!

WW II Warbird Group: President, Ken Terpstra (209-838-8680); Treasurer, Ed Ashcraft (209-772-1890); The WW II Warbird Group meets five times a year March, May, July, September, and November on the third Wednesday of the month at the Stockton Field Aviation Museum, 7432 C.E. Dixon St. Stockton Metro Airport. Each meeting features a speaker who flew in any of the military services during our nation’s conflicts, WWII to present. Visitors are always welcome. Membership is open to anyone interested regardless of military service, age, or gender. Dues are $12 per year and include mailed newsletters. Send application to Stockton Field Aviation Museum, 7432 C. E. Dixon Street, Stockton, CA, 95206.

Warbird Meeting & BBQ

You are invited …

The Stockton Field Aviation Museum is proud to host the annual BBQ Dinner & Monthly Warbird Group meeting on Wednesday, September 21st, 2016 at the 7430 C.E. Dixon St. at the Stockton Metro Airport. This get-together is open to the public.

Our guest speaker will be Korey Wells, Hawker Sea Fury Air Racer and one of a very few people in the world that is type rated in the Messerschmitt ME-262!

Mr. Wells has been flying since he was 10 years old, a total of 44 years! He owned and operated a charter business in Nevada where he did desert bush flying. Using Cessna 310s and 400 series twins to fly in and out of short dirt strips and dirt roads. He competed in the International Aerobatic club, flying a Pitts Special. Mr. Wells is an Unlimited Division pilot flying Hawker Sea Furys in the Reno National Championship Air Races. He is also one of a handful of individuals type rated and can fly the ME262! When it comes to vintage iron he really knows his stuff! Come on out armed with all those questions, he’d love to answer ‘em for you!

ME-262

The BBQ dinner starts at 6PM and our Speaker starts at 7PM!

There is a $5 donation for the BBQ dinner to help cover our costs.

See you there!

Election of Board of Directors

The membership of the Aeronautical Educational Foundation, doing business as Stockton Field Aviation Museum, held an annual election for the Board of Directors. Upon a duly authorized election, the Foundation is pleased to announce our 2017 Board:

  • President – Jeff DeMello
  • Vice President – Nick Veronico
  • Secretary / Treasurer – Sydney Ramey
  • Bill Meehleis – Director at Large
  • Taigh Ramey – Director at Large

Rare Gathering of Patrol Planes for Memorial

Family - 2
Photo courtesy of Sagar Pathak

A very rare “family photo” … the Stockton Field Aviation Museums PV-2 “Harpoon”, surrounded by the P2-V “Neptune”, the (newest) P-8 “Poseidon”, and the P-3 “Orion”.

This gathering of Patrol planes was to honor VP-50 Crew 2/11, who all died in a tragic mid-air collision on March 21, 1991 (link). The Memorial service was held at Moffett Field in Sunnyvale, CA.

Moffett Memorial
Photo from San Jose Mercury News / Karl Mondon

Read more at the San Jose Mercury News site.

Warbird Group Meeting – March 16th

U.S.S. Lucid
U.S.S. Lucid

The Stockton Field Aviation Museum is proud to host the next meeting of the Warbird Group at 7pm on Wednesday, March 16th, 2016, at our hanger: 7432 C.E. Dixon St. at Stockton Metro Airport.

Our guest speaker will be David Rajkovich, President of the Stockton Historical Maritime Museum. Dave will be speaking on “Stockton’s Waterfront Contribution to the War” and the continuing restoration of the U.S. Navy wooden mine sweeper USS Lucid. Come on out to hear some of our interesting local wartime history. All are welcome, and bring a friend!

Background – WWII Warbird Group: President, Ken Terpstra (209-838-8680); Treasurer, Ed Ashcraft (209-772-1890); The WW II Warbird Group meets five times a year March, May, July, September, and November on the third Wednesday of the month at the Stockton Field Aviation Museum, 7432 C.E. Dixon St. Stockton Metro Airport. Each meeting features a speaker who flew in any of the military services during our nation’s conflicts, WWII to present. Visitors are always welcome. Membership is open to anyone interested regardless of military service, age, or gender. Dues are $12 per year and include mailed newsletters. Send application to the return address on this newsletter.

New Web Site!

Welcome to our new web site!  After many painstaking hours of archiving old photos, stories, and articles, the Stockton Field Aviation Museum is proud to feature our new web site.  It is much easier to navigate and find stories and topics of interest to our followers.

Thank you to Jeff DeMello for donating his time on doing this web update!  We are looking forward keeping our patrons and web visitors up to date with the museums latest activities and offerings.

-Taigh

Stockton Lands Rare Warbird

2011.04.17 - Stockton Record Photo

Stockton RecordApril 17, 2011

In 1945, as American military strategists laid plans to invade Japan, the U.S. Navy ordered a new patrol bomber airplane: the Lockheed PV-2 Harpoon.

Lockheed manufactured only 35 of the final version, the PV-2D, before the atomic bomb abruptly ended the war. Only one still flies. Preservationists based at Stockton’s airport recently acquired this rare bird.

“It’s kind of like getting the keys to the Statue of Liberty or the Washington Monument and taking it out for a spin,” said Ken Terpstra. “That’s how much a part of our history this airplane actually is.”

Terpstra is Vice President of Stockton Field Aviation Museum, a surprising private collection of large and small WWII artifacts in the process of becoming a public museum.

The purpose of the organization, which takes its name from a WWII Stockton airbase, and is in a hangar, is “to educate the public about the sacrifices our veterans have made … and to honor them with actual working restorations of the tools they used.”

The PV-2D was a deadly tool. A six-man crew could fly the 75-foot aircraft 1,790 miles with 4,000 pounds of bombs in its belly, and two 1,000-pound bombs under its wings, or eight rockets.

In addition, the plane bristled with eight .50 caliber machine guns in its nose and two fired by a top turret gunner. It also had an advanced “radome” radar in its nose.

These capabilities allowed the PV-2 series to hunt enemy ships and subs or fly out of bases as remote as the Aleutian Islands on bombing runs all the way to Japanese-occupied islands in the South Pacific.

“I can’t imagine flying over the water that far, arriving at a small island out in the middle of nowhere, dropping your bombs and getting back,” said Terpstra.

The Harpoon was also designed to support America’s land invasion of the Japanese home islands. But V-J Day arrived before the museum’s Harpoon saw action.

The plane was flown straight to a boneyard in Arizona. There, protected from corrosion by desert air, it sat until 1959.

Finally, with only seven hours of flying time on it, the plane was declared surplus, sold and modified into an air tanker.

It alternated fighting fires from Pennsylvania to Idaho with down time, racking up only 800 hours of flying time – relatively few compared with other planes that flew up to 7,000 when modified into private transports or ag-spray planes.

It is the airborne equivalent of the car the little old lady drove to church only on Sundays.

A private collector bought the Harpoon in 1994. He parked it on his land near Hidden Valley. He did nothing with it for six years.

An Alaskan firm that distributes gasoline by airplane bought the plane in 2000 with the idea of retrofitting more engines on it flying fuel to remote customers.

Their plans didn’t work out. The plane remained unclaimed in Hidden Valley. The Alaskans offered it to the museum late last year.

Museum President Taigh Ramey recalled when he flew a crew up to a dirt airstrip outside Hidden Valley and first laid eyes on the old warbird.

“It was on the ground, buried up to the axles and up to its belly in reeds,” said Ramey. “All sorts of squirrels and critters were living in it. She looked pretty sorry.”

But the plane still had no corrosion. As for the two 2,000 hp Pratt & Whitney engines, reportedly able to outrun a Japanese Zero – “The first day we got the first engine running – after 16 years,” Ramey marveled. Added Terpstra, “It was like she wanted to get back in the air.”

Deciding the plane was salvageable, the museum staff obtained special permission from the FAA to fly it to Stockton. They have been restoring it ever since.

It is the only D series Harpoon flying, one of three out of the entire A-D production series still in the air.

The next stage is to restore the U.S. Navy’s WWII paint job of “Non-Specular Sea Blue” (flat blue) an estimated $10,000 task.

The museum is seeking veterans’ groups, service clubs or private citizens willing to make a tax-deductible donation.

It also welcomes donations of WWII aviation artifacts. Donate by calling (209) 982-0273 or emailing Terpstra at Redtracer20001@sbcgobal.net.

“We want it to be a time capsule people can step into and see what their fathers and grandfathers did,” Terpstra said of the plane. “We want this to be a flying tribute not only to our WWII vets but all vets. Without them, we wouldn’t have the freedoms we have today.”

Contact columnist Michael Fitzgerald at (209) 546-8270 or michaelf@recordnet.com.