SCCAA Meeting Speakers
past meeting speakers.
||Been There - Desert Storm
Dan is a retired Warrant Officer in the U.S. Marine Corps in the Hawk Division. He is a veteran of Desert Storm and retired after serving 22 years with the Corps. He will speak on his experiences in Desert Storm. Dan is in close communication with Marines in Iraq and will present an informative and very interesting program.
||War Flying in the South Pacific
Ray was a navy pilot in the Pacific during WWII. He
knew James Michener, author of many books, including
one covering his experiences in the South Pacific during
the same time that Ray was there. Ray will tell us about
his experiences and his interface with Michener. He will
probably tell some of his own “war stories” and flying
Ray spoke to the group several years ago when we were
meeting at Ewert’s Photo Lab. He is one of Buck
Kendrick’s associates in the Quiet Birdmen, the SIRs,
and the Lockheed adventures.
A Photojournalist's Iraq Journal
"The line between bravery and stupidity is a very, very thin one," according to veteran photojournalist Len Vaughn-Lahman. Len has been in conflict zones with a camera for most of his adult life. Of late, it's been Afghanistan and Iraq, for Knight Ridder. The newspaper publishes about 40 daily editions in the US, including the San jose Mercury News.
Len's year in Baghdad let him witness the shock of a military invasion, the adjustment of common people, the searing 130-degree heat of summer, the joy and pain of US troops, and the devastating effects of roadside bombs and larger attacks, like the UN headquarters bombing. A carjacking by AK-47 armed bandits one day, severe dehydration another--both hazardous to your health. He'll also tell you what melts and what food is Afghan-proof, and what it's like to dress like a Sunni Arab while you drive a looted BMW. All in a day's work.
Building Experimental Aircraft
Ed Owens is president of Hollister EAA, A & P, tech counselor, aviation builder, and pilot. He will be talking about his experiences and flying adventures.
of Aviation in the Silicon Valley (A
of the Airport Commission
will discuss the County airport master plans(RHV, PAO, Q99, and SJC)
and possible use of Moffett Field.
With a background
in aviation, Carl couldn't pass up the opportunity to get back into
airport management. In November 200,1 he was selected as the Assistant
Director of Santa Clara County Airports. Responsible for the management
of the county's airports system, Carl is now Acting Director and oversees
Reid-Hillview, Palo alto and South County airports.
With over 500,000
annual operations in congested Bay Area airspace and over 1300 based
aircraft, these airports serve a vital general aviation reliever role
for Mineta San Jose International Airport.
Lake Airpark to the Arctic Circle
Past SCCAA president
Walter Windus (1976) will share
his adventures with his daughter in their C172 on floats from Frasier
Lake Airpark to the Arctic Circle. Walter will discuss their planning, route
Walter is vice
president of the Seaplane Pilots Association, field director for SPA's
California, Nevada, Utah and Arizona regions, and president of the Frazier Lake Airpark
Board of Directors. Walter has accumulated over 1,000 hours in seaplanes
during his flying career.
introduced us to the Jeppesen FliteMap flight planning and weather
briefing software with moving map capabilities. He described how the
Internet has converged with flight planning software to help visualize
your situation both at pre-flight helping to make the best go/no-go
decision, and during flight helping you with in-flight decision making.
has been flying for 20 years. He is a former Navy aviator and software
engineer. He worked at GTE Government Systems (now Dyncorp) DUATS
in Chantilly, VA, and Jeppesen Dataplan in Los Gatos. Dave now works
for GaryAir Flight Instruction and Aviation Technology at Reid-Hillview
specializing in helping pilots apply technology to make flying safer
and easier. He grew up in Sunnyvale and learned to fly at Moffett
Navy Flying Club. He is a primary flight instructor, instrument, and
from a corporate pilot's perspective
is a personal friend that Jim Becker met on the fuel line at SJC over
five years ago.Ryan is now a corporate pilot for a local Silicon Valley
Fortune 500 company and has several years of instructing experience.
Ryan has been a local around the San Jose/Santa Clara County/Bay Area
airports for several years. A graduate of San Jose State University,
he has over 3 years of corporate jet flying (Citations, Lear Jets,
Falcon 2000 & 50). Ryan will be joining us in November to speak about
GA operations in the Bay Area affecting us all, his aviation career
and the lifestyle of a corporate pilot.
the Scenes at "Pilot Getaways" Magazine
Illes has done many articles for Pilot Getaways and discussed
the preparation of an article.
Greg earned his
private pilot's license in 1974 and an instrument rating in 1992,
finally buying his first airplane in 1995. He has about 2,400 hours
now, with experience in aerobatics, formation flying, mountain flying,
back-country airstrips, and a couple of trips across the USA. He also
holds an A/P certificate and has about 7 years' experience working
on light aircraft.
Greg is an engineer
by trade, with 30 years' experience in Automatic Test Equipment for
the semiconductor industry. He's currently self-employed and applies
himself to a variety of tasks. These include writing for Pilot Getaways
and Light Plane Maintenance magazines, doing aircraft refurbishing
and upgrades, and designing and marketing small aviation-related products.
His other interests
range somewhat widely from golf to camping and (of course) traveling,
but aviation in one form or another consumes most of his time.
Soldier's View-Diary from Afghanistan
Vaughn-Lahman has worked for nine U.S. newspapers and
three magazines in eleven countries, but for the last two decades
he is called the Bay Area home, and worked for Knight Ridder Inc.,
owner of The San Jose Mercury News.
When the decisions
by the country, and the newspaper, to enter Afghanistan came just
one month on the heels of the World Trade Center attack, nobody was
prepared to go. Vaughn-Lahman was one of the few that had extensive
war experience as a journalist, in Columbia, El Salvador, Nicaragua,
Peru, and Los Angeles.
Len will share
with us a "travel diary"-a document that shows a little of what our
soldiers saw when traveling with the Northern Alliance in the early
push to remove Al-Qaeda from the equation in Northern Afghanistan.
Free Flight -- and a movie!
Stough is an SCCAA member. This will be his last chance
to attend meetings for the indefinite future, and he wants to share
the results of the FAA's Free Flight navigation experiments and what
it will probably mean to GA. Steve is also bringing a rare piece of
aviation art to the meeting: the original pencil drawing that was
the master for over 300,000 lithograph print copies sold last year.
Steve will end up with a short film that he made in Hollywood on an
aviation theme, and give a look behind the scenes into the true agony
of making even a short movie.
Steve is a director
at Lockheed Martin, responsible for creating new spin-off companies
in the telecommunications and digital entertainment fields. He spent
the first 27 years of his career as a designer of space vehicles,
satellite payloads, and associated ground terminals. He first learned
to fly at age 15 at San Jose Municipal Airport.
Experiences as a Naval Aviator
Hartsell was designated a
Naval Aviator in March, 1969. His Naval career lasted over twenty
years during which time he accumulated over 4,500 flight hours in
high performance jet aircraft and 750 carrier arrested landings. He
served tours as a primary jet flight instructor; as a weapons test
pilot on exchange duty with the US Air Force; as an A-7E acceptance
test pilot at Vought Aeronautics; and was Commanding Officer of Attack
Squadron 93 onboard USS Midway forward deployed to Yokosuka, Japan.
Harry retired from the Navy August 1,1989 after serving three years
as the USS Enterprise Air Officer (Air Boss). Aircraft models flown
include the A-7E, F-4, T-38, F-111 and B-52.
Biography and the Eighth Air Force
C. Wolf, President, General James H. Doolittle Chapter,
Eighth Air Force Historical Society.
About 350,000 persons were assigned to the 8th Air Force during WW
II, suffering nearly 50,000 casualties. One million Americans in total
have served their country in the 8th Air Force.
The Eighth Air
Force Historical Society is an organization of veterans that preserves
the history of the 8th Air Force from its activation in 1942 to the
present. The Society collects the stories of those who served in WW
II, Korea and Viet Nam and all the times in between and since. Many
of these have been published. Most recount close, personal, and deadly
Bel Wolf joined
the Army Air Corps about a year after the attack on Pearl Harbor,
becoming a flight engineer and gunner and later a pilot in the European
theater. Bel flew in most of the "famous-name" aircraft: From the
Lockheed Hudson to B-24s and the B-17 flying fortress. He retired
to the California Air National Guard.
Scouts, Beyond Cookies and Camping
Ryan. Our facility hosts, the Girl Scouts of Santa Clara
County, provide an opportunity for members of the SCCAA to find out
how much scouting has changed since we were young.
Yvonne Ryan draws a comparison between the common perceptions of Girl
Scouting and the reality of programs designed for the young women
of the 21st century.
Yvonne has been in Girl Scouting for 20 years and currently leads
a troop of Cadette Girl Scouts (8th and 9th graders). She is a council
Master Trainer and has led troops of all stages, from Daisy to Senior
She is a senior software development manager and engineering management
consultant, having worked for big name companies as well as Silicon
Valley start-ups over a 30-year career.
Bruce Hollinger, USN (Ret.) An energetic and engaging personality,
with a penchant for taking personal risk, Bruce has a long history
as a pilot and manager of space programs. Now in his third major career
change, he has joined the small village that the rest of us call "Hollywood,"
providing digital systems to the entertainment industry as the CEO
of a Silicon Valley start-up company.
Bruce spent 21 years in the United States Navy. He is a Naval aviator
who made two combat tours in Vietnam, flying attack aircraft off carriers
in the Gulf of Tonkin. He migrated to Naval research and development
later in his career, specializing in space systems and command and
control programs. He was one of two officers who planned the Naval
Space Command for the Secretary of the Navy, and he then became the
command's first Director of Plans until his retirement from the Navy.
Bruce then joined industry in a series of management positions at
Lockheed Space Systems and later Lockheed Martin Global Telecommunications.
He moved to Logandale, Nevada (not too far from the well-maintained
Overton, NV airport) about 3 years ago, and now commutes to the Bay
Magic of Pure, Simple Flight
of the Silicon Valley EAA chapter. With all of our training
in GA aircraft and concerns for safety-not to mention high ground
speeds-how often do we fly down on the deck to get that special thrill
of flight that can only be had by bringing the view back into human
scale and down from the god's eye view from 10,000 feet? Not often
is the likely answer for most of us.
Come to the February
meeting and learn about the magic of pure, simple flight. The wind
in your face and an unobstructed view make a compelling experience.
John Gould, the President of the Silicon Valley Ultralight Chapter
of the EAA, located at South County Airport, will give us an overview
of sport flying the ultralight way. Dreamers, builders and flyers
are all welcome.
The Silicon Valley
Ultralight Club, as it is also known, organizes educational seminars,
weekend group flights, picnics, and even cross-country trips. The
mission of the club is to act as a bridge between GA and the sport
of flying ultralights.
rare individual who has made aviation a lifestyle. One of his earliest
memories is asking his dad to take him to watch the planes at Peterborough
airport. After soloing
in 1963, he got his commercial/CFII in Hollywood, Florida. He took
on a private instruction job with an investment banker in The Hamptons
(New York) which became eight years of employment in the aviation
department for his former student, where he flew a collection of aircraft,
including a Lockheed Jetstar and a Gulfstream. His next position was
running the aviation department for Doubleday Publishing, flying a
Gulfstream out of LaGuardia. When asked what rating he doesn't have,
he only had to think half a second: "autogyro" was the answer. He
even has an hour in the Goodyear blimp. Bill now spends a lot of time
in gliders and tow planes out of Minden, Nevada. With 38 years of
aviation stories to choose from, we can expect a fascinating January
meeting and a chance to meet one of those few individuals who was
meant to fly almost from birth.
a Kit Plane -- From Scratch!!
currently the Space Science Technology Coordinator at Independence
High School. Before retiring from the military, Mike was a Electronic
War Test pilot. Mike is currently licensed as a single, multi, and
Rotorcraft pilot. Oh, throw in an ATP and API as well. He is a CFII
in both fixed wing and rotorcraft with eight thousand hours of flying
time. Mike is the former commander of Fort Ord's military sport parachuting
team and has made 1,500 jumps himself.
presented his current project at our meeting. That project is to build
a kit airplane, from scratch, as a class project. The kit, the Genisis,
is a high wing pusher with two seats. The kit arrives at the beginning
of the class semester and the plan is to fly it off the school's soccer
field when completed.
is an exciting hands-on project designed to inspire our future pilots
and aerospace personnel.
a Private Plane in Australia
and Ron Blake, SCCAA members, will show pictures and tell
tales about renting a plane and flying across Australia.
- 46 Missions over
Europe in a P38
is a much loved and respected member of the aviation community at
Pine Mountain Lake, where he lives with wife Betty for over 50 years.
Don is a California
boy, who grew up in Los Angeles and graduated from LA High School.
He always wanted to fly so in 1943 at the age of 20, Don enlisted
in the Army Air Corp and began his training to eventually fly 46 missions
Don says, "I flew
every piston engine except P47s. My Primary Training was in Visalia.
I attended Basic Training in Merced and completed Advanced Training
at Luke Airbase. Following Advanced Training I was stationed at Metropolitan
Airport Military Base, now know as Van Nuys Airport, where I flew
P40s and P39s."
In March, 1944
Don was shipped overseas to Italy from Hamilton Field where he flew
46 missions over Europe.
Don is a great
speaker and you will enjoy his stories filled with humor and lighthearted
spirit. This is a meeting you will not want to miss.
- Flying Experiences
is one of the most respected authorities in the aviation entertainment
industry. His impressive record as a safety and operations professional,
earned him an honorary appointment by the F.A.A. in 1999 as an Inspector
for their Aviation Safety Program. Announcing and narrating air shows
since 1970, he has served two terms as a director of I.C.A.S. (International
Council of Air Shows) and was appointed Industry Marketing Chairman
of that organization. In addition to being an air show broadcaster
at events such as Oshkosh, Paris and Farnborough, he is an I.C.A.S.
certified Air and Ground Operations Director. In this role he calls
on twenty-five years of air show logistics experience to produce and
direct major domestic and international aviation events, such as the
San Francisco "Fleet Week" Air Show and the Australian International
Air Show. In other aviation-related activities, he scripts and narrates
aviation video specials, and writes feature articles for many aviation
publications. As a U.S. television personality, he hosts the aviation,
military and space segments of the "Popular Mechanics Show" on the
Discovery channel, Sports Flying specials for ESPN-2 and is the international
events correspondent for the ESPN "Ultimate Flights" series. Gordon
Bowman-Jones is internationally acclaimed as an avid aviation historian,
he has written many articles related to our aviation heritage. He
was recently named an honorary lifetime member of the Delaware Valley
Historical Aircraft Society. This prestigious institution is the home
of an extensive collection of historic U.S., Japanese and German aircraft.
As an aviation industry and safety advocate, he has been engaged many
times to provide perspective on breaking aviation news stories, speak
at F.A.A. Safety Seminars, Advertising Industry Associations, Event
Marketing Associations and other organizations. A licensed pilot since
1974, he has owned and flown a diverse range of modern, classic and
antique aircraft, logging over 2000 hours of accident-free flight.
- Bush Flying in
Our guest speaker
for May will be Robert Roper,
a fellow aviator and personal friend of some 25 years. Robert and
I began our acquaintance through associates interested in outdoor
activities, hunting, fishing and the like. We each found ourselves
involved in flying lessons in the late seventies, so Robert has had
some 20-25 years of flying experience. During this time he lived in
the Campbell area. In the mid-eighties he moved to Healdsburg and
built a hanger for his then new Bonanza Turbo A-36 at the Healdsburg
airport. Robert has both single engine and multi engine ratings, land
and seaplane ratings, instrument and commercial ratings. Robert has
owned a C-182, two Bonanza Turbo A-36's, and most recently, as a result
of his Alaska bush pilot activities, a C-185 float plane. Robert has
been involved in numerous business and entrepreneurial activities.
In 1986 sold his company located in the Bay area, to retire at the
ripe old age of 42 years and began to pursue his passion of aviation.
He has flown over most the United States, much of Central America
and in the late eighties, after numerous trips to Alaska, began his
bush pilot activities in Alaska. Robert has been flying in Alaska
for some 12 years, can't seem to get enough of it, and will be returning
this year for another year of activity and duty in the Alaskan back
- Avoiding Runway
Craft is an air traffic controller at Palo Alto Airport.
He is interested in improving safety and has been involved in the
Fly-the-Bay project, which is a program to familiarize pilots with
ATC operations locally. He discussed runway incursions and what you
can do to help eliminate this growing problem, bith at air carrier
airports as well as general aviation facilities. He has spoken to
other aviation groups in the area.
- Aviation Experiences
Many of you have
seen Dick Deeds on local TV news
channels. Dick is the "go to" guy every time there is an airline accident
that is covered by our local stations. As Pilot and Captain he accumulated
over 25,000 hours of accident/incident free flying experience. Not
content with just flying, he put his Aeronautical Engineering/Electronics
degree earned at Northrop Institute of Technology to work in areas
of flight safety. He is credited with the development and certification
of the cockpit voice recorder and development of a published noise
abatement manual for pilots. He organized and united the Air Carrier
industry in the development of common noise abatement operational
strategies and for many years successfully represented the Airline
Pilots Association with the media. Dick has served as a consultant
to AOPA representing the association in airspace matters in California.
He worked with the FAA to add VFR reporting points on the charts for
the Los Angeles basin that are tied to visual landmarks that can be
readily seen by airborne pilots. These are now being added to congested
area charts nationwide. This is only a sample of Dick's accomplishments
and experiences. He has twice received the Presidents Award for his
outstanding work and service to the airlines and flying public.
- The FAA and Bay
been with FAA for over 25 years and has flown everything from a C152
to Citations. Janet's
talk included "what is an incident?",
ramp checks, and some of her personal experiences in her FAA career.
The talks with FAA representatives are always lively and informative.
- Helicopter Flying
recently retired as Director of Operations at Aris Helicopter, SJC.
He has 1,199 combat hours and two tours of Vietnam. He retired from
the Army with an impressive list of awards and decorations including:
Master Army Aviator; Air Medal with 28 oak clusters, Bronze Star with
oak leaf cluster; Distinguished FLying Cross and the Legion of Merit.
He was inducted into the Army Aviation Hall of Fame in 1986. Bob shared
many interesting stories from Vietnam, including a video of live action.
- Aviation Law
is a practicing attorney with a specialty in the area of Aviation
Law. Pat shared several "war stories" and hints about dealing
with the legal aspects of our favoriate hobby. Pat is a helicopter
pilot and a member of the Whirley Girls.
- Airport Security
What do the San
Jose Police do at the San Jose airport? Lt.
Mike Ross of the Police Department joined us to discuss
airport security, and the role of the Police in airport operations.
- Allergies, Aviation
Medicine, and your FAA Medical
gave a very popular discussion of how allergies can affect flight,
and what can be done about it. Fred also made many good points about
retaining our FAA medicals.
- Aviation on the
Gant and Mike McHugh
gave a reprise of their March, 1999 talk, with an updated set of Web
sites, on-line briefing techniques. Also, an update on the latest
software for accessing the on-line newsletter was presented.
the Australian Outback
members Frank and Marjorie Johnson
weeks flying the outback and east coast of Australia. They shared with
us their experiences flying into remote strips, major towns and larger
cities. We saw beautiful slides, photos, and a brief video of their
adventures. Frank and Marjorie made us all feel as if we were there.
They rented Cessna aircraft and flew with a guide over 5,000 miles and
visited many exciting places. It was fun to visit "down under"
vicariously for a little while.
Photography:Seeing Things From a Different Perspective
aerial photographer shared some of her flying and photography adventures
with Santa Clara County Airmen. Julie's company, The 111th
Aerial Photography Squadron, specializes in high- and low-altitude
landscape portraits and has been chosen as the aerial photographer for
the San Francisco 49ers, the Golden Gate Bridge, the Pebble Beach Golf
Links, the City of San Jose, and many others. She brought many of her
favorite prints and answered questions about taking sharp and clear
photos from your plane.
Julie earned her pilot's
license while a teenager. Her family owned the famous Flying Lady Restaurant
and a collection of antique aircraft in Morgan Hill. She and her husband
Patrick Belanger operate The 111th Aerial Photography Squadron out of
Morgan Hill. The 111th Aerial Photography Squadron's website is http://www.the111th.com.
Flirting with Disaster
Achtel, M. D.
is an IFR
1700+ hour pilot who owns a Mooney 231 that he uses flying to clinics
weekly. Some years ago, he became interested in the effects of high
altitude exposure on pilots. This led to lecturing at Mooney pilot gatherings,
then offering two-day seminars at U. S. Government high altitude chambers,
and then to inventing high altitude detection equipment. Bob has a great
sense of humor and presents very timely and useful information on what
exactly happens to our bodies when we fly in higher altitude regimes.
Unknown Airforce: The WASP
learned to fly
in 1940 in the first Civilian Pilot Training Program class. She was
a WASP (Womens Airforce Service Pilot) from February, 1943, through
December, 1944. She taught aviation ground school in Brazil (she is
proficient in Portuguese).
She has true grit;
when the WASP was disbanded, she found a way to continue in aviation
rather than take the secretarial jobs she was offered. Don't miss this
opportunity to hear what being a WASP was really like.
- The Best Fighter
of World War II
enlisted in the Aviation Cadet Program in 1942. After completing this
program at Williams Field, Chandler, AZ he went to twin engine fighter
school and flew P-39s at Victorville, CA. Next he trained on the P-63
King Cobra in Portland, OR and P-38s. He flew combat P-38s in New
Guinea, the Philippines and Okinawa. After WWII, he was sent to Japan,
taking away his P-38 so he had to fly P-51s (don't you feel sorry
for him?) During his fascinating talk to the Airmen, he gave a convincing
argument that the P-38 was indeed the best fighter on World War II!
After the service,
he joined Lockheed as a consultant, which involved a lot of flying;
Guy retired in 1988. In 1973 he met Ole Fahlin and started working
with him on wooden props. When Ole died, Guy continued to manufacture
and repair them. To this day he may be found at the shop that he shared
with Ole in Morgan Hill.
- The State of Airports
in Santa Clara County
has been the director of county airports for Santa Clara County since
1996. Prior to this position, Mr. Bennett served as deputy director
of Aviation for the San Jose International Airport from 1961 to 1996.
He served five years in the United States Air Force and worked five
years for Newlon Aircraft, Inc. in Ohio. Mr. Bennett holds a commercial
pilot license, with single engine, multi-engine, instrument, and flight
At the April
general meeting, Mr Bennett gave an update on the 1999 development
plans for PAO and the proposed 2000 maintenance project for RHV. He
also gave some insight into working with the Santa Clara Board of
Supervisors for the betterment of the county airports and the surrounding
- Aviation on the
Gant and Mike McHugh
work in the high-tech world of the Internet. Kelli runs her own consulting
firm, Tangella Corp., specializing in Web-site planning, design and
development for marketing and e-commerce applications. Mike works
for a commercial software company that develops the critical software
elements for transaction processing on the Web. Kelli and Mike are
the editors of the SCCAA newsletter, Touch 'n Go, and provide
the SCCAA Web site.
At the March
general meeting, Kelli and Mike gave a live presentation of the SCCAA
Web site, on-line access to the newsletter, and highlighted some of
the interesting aviation-related sites on the Internet.
- The Future of General
Aviation in the Bay Area
President, California Pilots Association, following World War II,
got all his ratings and went to work for United. He has flown most
of the United fleet up to and including the Boeing 747. During his
spare time, he studied law and passed the California state bar in
the early sixties. His main interest was in aviation law, and he has
represented a variety of aviation clients. Jay joined the California
Aviation Council more than 15 years ago, and very quickly became elected
its President, and has been serving in that capacity ever since. During
his tenure, he instituted a number of changes, including changing
the name to California Pilots Association, extending chapter membership
under the corporate umbrella of CPA, establishing a Pilot Political
Action Committee, a Business Partnership program, a Member Discount
Program, the Airport Legal Defense Advocates (volunteer lawyers working
to preserve California airports), and legislative advocacy through
a paid political lobbyist. He has worked tirelessly and devoted great
efforts in terms of his time and legal talent to defend general aviation
airports all over California. Also on his watch, the Airport Support
Network was first conceived and implemented by the Association - and
was subsequently adopted by AOPA on a nationwide basis.
is the current Vice President of Region 2 of the California Pilots
Association, and the Editor of CALIFORNIA PILOT, the Association's
newsletter. He is no newcomer to CPA, having served as a director
as far back as 1973. His background in flying started in 1964, when
he learned to fly at Oakland Airport. He earned his commercial certificate
and went on to successively own a dozen different airplanes, from
a 65 horsepower Luscombe to his current Bonanza. In mid-1993, he noticed
that the CPA newsletter had been missing for several months and called
Jay. Apparently the then editor had just burned herself out and could
not go on. Nubar volunteered to get a newsletter going "just
temporarily" but has been producing the Association's newsletter
ever since - though he would like to enlist a successor as soon as
one will volunteer.
- The San Jose Airport
At the January
was our guest speaker. He is Chaplain at SJC. The chaplaincy program
is present at over one hundred airports around the globe. In San Jose,
ten people from the San Jose area volunteer their time to participate
in the program. The SJC program is about two years old.
While the program
sounds religious, in fact, it offers valuable secular
services to employees and passengers. The volunteers are counselors
to people traveling under crisis, bereavement, or high stress situations.
Sometimes, visitors traveling through the airport have special needs,
and chaplaincies at other airports contact a local volunteer to help
a traveler upon arrival. Employees in high stress jobs can avail themselves
of the service. For example, security guards, shuttle bus drivers,
and counter agents can deal with an impatient public and irate individuals
for hours on end.
As you might
imagine, this can be particularly difficult during the stressful holiday
travel period. SJC is serving some 11 million passengers annually,
forecast to grow to 14 million over the next 4-5 years. As the traffic
grows, stressful situations at the airport follow suit.
likened the service to a ministry of presence, on call
to supplement commercial services with community resources in time
of need. The chaplaincy at JFK, for example, was called upon to provide
counseling after the crash of TWA 800 in 1996. He noted that once
airlines see the value of this service, they are very supportive of
SJC occasionally staff the information booth, and they inform visitors
about community spiritual services when asked. The program volunteers
typically work 3-hour shifts, and there are one or two shifts staffed
about three days a week.