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  Past SCCAA Meeting Speakers

Information about past meeting speakers.

May 2004

  Dan Payne
  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.

April 2004

  Ray Edinger
  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.

March 2004

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.

February 2004

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.

November 2003

Future of Aviation in the Silicon Valley (A repeat presentation)

Chair of the Airport Commission Carl Honaker 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.

May 2003

Frasier 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 and memories.

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.

April 2003

Using Jeppesen FlightMap

Member Dave Guerrieri 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.

Dave Guerrieri 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 multi-engine instructor.

February 2003

Flying from a corporate pilot's perspective

Ryan McCown 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.

October 2002

Behind the Scenes at "Pilot Getaways" Magazine

Greg 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.

September 2002

A Soldier's View-Diary from Afghanistan

Len 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.

August 2002

Expensive Free Flight -- and a movie!

Steve 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.

July 2002

Personal Experiences as a Naval Aviator

Harry 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.

May 2002

Personal Biography and the Eighth Air Force

Belton 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 combat.

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.

April 2002

Girl Scouts, Beyond Cookies and Camping

Yvonne 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 Scouts.

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.

March 2002

Personal biography

M. 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 Area.

February 2002

The Magic of Pure, Simple Flight

John Gould is president 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.

January 2002

Aviation Experiences

Bill Mullter is a 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.

November 2001

Building a Kit Plane -- From Scratch!!

Mike Reynolds is 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.

Mike 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.

This is an exciting hands-on project designed to inspire our future pilots and aerospace personnel.

October 2001

Flying a Private Plane in Australia

Penny and Ron Blake, SCCAA members, will show pictures and tell tales about renting a plane and flying across Australia.

August 2001

46 Missions over Europe in a P38

Don Correa 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 during WWII.

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.

July 2001

Flying Experiences

Gordon Bowman-Jones 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.

May 2001

Bush Flying in Alaska

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 country.

April 2001

Avoiding Runway Incursions

Terry 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.

January 2001

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.

October 2000

The FAA and Bay Area Pilots

Janet Hitt has 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.

August 2000

Helicopter Flying in Vietnam

Bob Hamilton 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.

July 2000

Aviation Law

Pat Fox 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.

May 2000

Airport Security at SJC

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.

April 2000

Allergies, Aviation Medicine, and your FAA Medical

SCCAA member Fred Costales 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.

March 2000

Aviation on the Web

SCCAA members Kelli 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.

February 2000

    Flying the Australian Outback

    SCCAA members Frank and Marjorie Johnson spent several 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.

January 2000

    Aerial Photography:Seeing Things From a Different Perspective

    Julie Belanger, an award-winning 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

November 1999

    Hypoxia: Flirting with Disaster

    Dr. Robert 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.

July 1999

    America's Unknown Airforce: The WASP

    Eleanor Wortz, former 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.

May 1999

The Best Fighter of World War II

Guy Watson 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.

April 1999

The State of Airports in Santa Clara County

Jerome Bennett 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 instructor ratings.

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 communities.

March 1999

Aviation on the Web

SCCAA members Kelli 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.

February 1999

The Future of General Aviation in the Bay Area

Jay White, 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.

Nubar Deombeleg 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.

January 1999

The San Jose Airport Chaplaincy

At the January meeting, Rev. Dwight Kintner 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.

Rev. Kintner 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 the programs.

Volunteers at 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.

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