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NEWS AND NOTES FROM THE FLIGHT DECK - September 6, 2016

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LSFM SELECTS NEW CEO

Retired USAF Lieutenant General Selected to Pilot New Lone Star Flight Museum

Doug OwensThe Lone Star Flight Museum (LSFM) is pleased to announce that Douglas H. Owens, Lieutenant General, USAF (Retired), will become the Museum’s Chief Executive Officer effective September 19. As CEO, General Owens will have the overall responsibility for strategic planning, construction and the ongoing success of the new $35 million aviation history and STEM museum currently being built at Houston’s Ellington Airport.

“The Lone Star Flight Museum will be one of the outstanding aviation museums in the country and I’m excited about the chance to contribute to its success,” said General Owens. “This role gives me the opportunity to combine two of my passions: aviation and the education of young people regarding the science and history associated with flight.”

General Owens, a decorated combat pilot with more than 3,100 flight hours, recently retired from the United States Air Force after more than 33 years of military service. During his time in the Air Force, General Owens served in numerous flying, staff and leadership positions, including in tours as Vice Commander of the Pacific Air Forces and as Vice Commander of the Air Force Training Command.

“We are delighted to have a leader with General Owens’ impressive military and professional background join the Museum as CEO,” said Scott Rozzell, Chairman of the LSFM Board of Directors. “He brings to the Museum a wealth of knowledge in strategic planning and communication as well as financial and personnel management skills. I know that he will make a significant contribution as we prepare for the Museum’s move to Ellington Airport and in the ongoing success of our new facility.”

Following his Air Force career, General Owens was a defense-related consultant and was active with charitable organizations in the San Antonio area. He currently serves as National Commander and Chairman of the Board of the Daedalians, the national fraternity of military aviators.
 
LSFM President and COO Larry Gregory will continue to be responsible for the operation of the Museum’s award winning collection of flying aircraft and will report directly to General Owens.

“General Owens is an extraordinary addition to the Museum,” said Gregory. “His expertise as a pilot and as a leader in the non-profit sector will make him an exceptional asset to our organization. I look forward to working with him to fulfill and advance the LSFM’s mission and vision.”

Join us in welcoming General Owens to the LSFM family!

 

NEW MUSEUM UPDATE

Coming Soon to the Lone Star Flight Museum

Texas Heritage Main

The new Lone Star Flight Museum, currently under construction at Ellington Airport, will be very different from the existing facility at Galveston. One important feature of the new museum will be the Aviation Heritage Gallery.
 
This gallery will focus on the role that Texas and Texans have played in the great story of aviation and spaceflight. It will give visitors an opportunity to explore such subjects as early Texas aviators, the role of military aviation in Texas, the growth of aviation manufacturing in the state, the impact of civil and commercial aviation, and Texas’ significant contributions to spaceflight, both now and in the future. 
 
For a more historical context, key points in Texas aviation history will be displayed along a central timeline, with large maps indicating the locations of important events and other relevant information.
 
Historic photographs, maps, charts, graphs and text will teach visitors about Texas' rich aviation heritage while digital displays will allow new material to be regularly presented.
 
The Aviation Heritage Gallery will also be home to the Texas Aviation Hall of Fame.

Texas Heritage Main

 

CURATOR'S CORNER

Claire Chennault: A Texas Tiger 
By: Stewart W. Bailey, LSFM Curator

Claire Chennault
Curtiss     Flying Tigers
Above photo by San Diego Air & Space Museum

It is well known that Texans are imbued with a certain sense of independence, and it was this independence which motivated General Claire Lee Chennault, creator of the World War II “Flying Tigers.” Born on September 6, 1893 in Commerce, Texas, Chennault grew up in Louisiana, and attended LSU and Louisiana State Normal College, with the goal of becoming a teacher. However, fate had something different in mind for him when he joined the Army during World War I. 

Assigned to Kelly Field near San Antonio, he applied for flight training three times and was rejected. Still, he managed to talk instructors into giving him lessons in how to fly a CurtissJenny, and with his job of refueling and checking over the aircraft, he was regularly able to grab an hour of flying time. Chennault was discharged in 1920, but six months later, he applied for a commission in the newly formed Army Air Service and was accepted for training as a fighter pilot at Ellington Field in Houston.

Moving quickly up the ranks, Chennault commanded a fighter squadron in Hawaii before becoming Chief of the Pursuit Section of the Air Corps’ Tactics School in 1931. Here, his independent streak brought him into direct conflict with his superiors, as he advocated a greater role for fighter aircraft in an Air Corps that was run by generals who believed strategic bombers would be the ultimate weapon in the next war. His unanswered demands for new tactics and heavier armament in fighters, along with health problems that included deafness and chronic bronchitis, led him to resign from the Army as a Captain in 1937.

Chennault next took the task of organizing and training the fledgling Nationalist Chinese Air Force, which was plagued by a lack of aircraft and trained pilots. Led by Generalissimo Chaing Kai-shek, the Nationalists were fighting various Chinese factions including the Communists, all while fighting the invading Japanese Army which sought control of China’s vast resources. Chennault became Chaing’s Chief Air Advisor and during a mission to the United States in November 1940, was able to convince President Roosevelt to supply the Chinese with 100 P-40 fighters and support equipment. He recruited more than 300 men from the US Army, Navy and Marine Corps for pilots and ground crew to form the American Volunteer Group (AVG); a mercenary air force that would come to be called the “Flying Tigers.”

The Flying Tigers entered combat on December 20, 1941, when they shot down three Japanese bombers that were attacking Kunming, China. For the next seven months they fought the Japanese from bases in China and Burma, before being absorbed into the US Army Air Forces’ 23rd Fighter Group in July of 1942. During that time, the Flying Tigers continuously harassed the Japanese by scoring 297 victories against the enemy with the loss of only 14 pilots, earning world-wide recognition for their heroic feats.
 
Chennault rejoined the US Army in 1942 as a Colonel and was promoted to Brigadier General and later Major General in command of the 14th Air Force in China. However, his independent nature once again brought him into conflict with his superior, General Stillwell, and he was retired for health reasons two months before the end of the war.  He did not stay retired for long, returning to China to create the Civil Air Transport airline which supported the Nationalist Chinese in their fight with the Communists. 

Claire Chennault died of lung cancer in 1958, but his independent thinking and hard-driving leadership of the Flying Tigers have become legendary. He was inducted into the Texas Aviation Hall of Fame in 2000, sharing the honor with two of his Flying Tiger pilots from Texas: David Lee “Tex” Hill and Robert Prescott.

To learn more about these accomplished airmen, visit the Hall of Fame page on our website.

 

EVENTS

Heroes Run Logo

The national 9/11 Heroes Run is an annual 5K run providing an opportunity for the community to come out and personally thank local veterans, their families, and first responders in a fun and family-friendly environment. This event is sponsored by the Travis Manion Foundation which empowers veterans and families of fallen heroes to develop character in future generations.
 
The 2016 9/11 Heroes Run will occur on Saturday, September 10, 2016, at Houston’s Ellington Airport. The opening ceremonies start at 7:30 a.m. and the run begins at 8:00 a.m. The event will conclude by 11:00 a.m. 
 
Watch for the LSFM B-25 Mitchell to perform a flyover during opening ceremonies, weather permitting. The LSFM will also have a vendor booth with information on the museum in Galveston as well as ride, education and membership programs.
 
For more information on the 9/11 Heroes Run and to sign up, please click here.

 

USA TODAY 10BEST AWARD RESULTS

USA Today 10Best

The Commemorative Air Force Wings Over Houston Airshow (WOH) was nominated this year in the 10Best Readers’ Choice travel award contest as a contender for Best Air Show. After the votes were counted, Wings Over Houston Airshow came in at an impressive 4th place behind other notable events including EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, the National Championship Air Races in Reno, Nevada, and the Fort Lauderdale Air Show.
 
Thank you for voting, and remember to mark your calendars for the 2016 Wings Over Houston Airshow on October 22-23 at Ellington Airport!

 

THIS DAY IN AVIATION HISTORY - SEPT. 6

September 6, 1919 (USA) – Major Rudolph William Schroeder, Chief Test Pilot of the Engineering Division, McCook Field, Ohio, flew a Packard Lepère LUSAC 11 biplane to two Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) World Records, reaching an altitude of approximately 28,267 feet. (Picture below by USAF)

Packard

September 6, 1921 (Germany) — Arthur Martens makes a new gliding record with a motorless plane, remaining airborne for 15 minutes, 40 seconds. 

September 6-7, 1938 (USA) — 17 U.S. Navy planes make a mass flight from San Diego, California to Hawaii, covering 2,570 miles in 17 hours and 21 minutes (Consolidated PBY, 2 Pratt & Whitney Twin Wasp engines.)

September 6, 1940 (USA) – This date marked the delivery of the first production Douglas SBD Dauntless dive bomber to the U.S. Navy. This aircraft was critical to the June, 1942 U.S. victory at the Battle of Midway and is considered the turning point of World War II in the Pacific. LSFM’s Dauntless is pictured below.

SBD

Sources: www.skytamer.com and www.thisdayinaviation.com

 

SUPPORT THE LSFM

LSFM Logo

The Lone Star Flight Museum welcomes donations in various forms, including monetary gifts and aircraft and artifact contributions. By giving to the Museum, you are not only supporting the building of our new state of the art facility (opening in 2017), but you are also supporting the museum’s brand new educational programs, exhibits, aircraft collections, and the preservation of America’s legendary military aircraft. We invite you to be a part of aviation history!
 
For more information and to donate to the Lone Star Flight Museum, please click here.

 

Other news

North American B-25 Mitchell

First person presentations on General James H. “Jimmy” Doolittle. Presentations will be conducted on Saturday, December 16th and January, 20th at 11 AM and 2 PM in the Museum’s Karen & Scott Rozzell Classroom A.

Support STEM education throughout the holidays and into the New Year!

Just in time for Thanksgiving, the Lone Star Flight Museum is pleased to announce the arrival of its newest Warbird, a General Motors TBM-3E Avenger, also known as the “Turkey.”