Author Archives: Sue Baker

Neilson J. November – October 28, 1924 – March 2, 2018

It is with great sadness that we report the news that Neilson November, VAHS Chairman Emeritus, passed away Friday, March 2, 2018, at the age of 93.

Neil’s accomplishments are almost too numerous to mention. He founded the Science Museum of Virginia and was its first Director. He was a founder of the VAHS and President. He was inducted in the Virginia Aviation Hall of Fame in 1993. When the Shannon Collection became available in the 1980’s, he raised the money and supervised the construction of the Virginia Aviation Museum and moved the collection to Richmond. It was Neil that forced the City of Richmond to give up ownership of Byrd Airport when the City refused to make necessary improvements to make Richmond a Hub Airport. He convinced the surrounding Counties to take over ownership and form the Capital Region Airport Commission and he became its first Director. Byrd Field lost its chance to be a Hub (Charlotte picked up the slack), but at least today we have a modern and beautiful airport…

Neil used his many talents in other fields such as the Arts and the November Theater, in Richmond, was named in his honor. He enjoyed flying as co-pilot on the Va. Governor’s aircraft. During WW2, Neil served as the Executive Officer on an Attack Transport (APA) Navy ship that was part of the South Pacific Island Campaign and his ship was attacked by Japanese Kamikaze planes. It was truly an honor to have Neil in this organization. He will be sorely missed.


In The News 2018 – Virginia Aviation History Group Moves to Spotsylvania

November 24, 2017

THE FREE LANCE-STAR, Fredericksburg

As thousands gathered recently for an air show at Shannon Airport, a state aviation history organization was opening new offices just across the runway in a house on Tidewater Trail.

The Virginia Aeronautical Historical Society had offices in the Virginia Aviation Museum during the years that facility was located next to the airport in Richmond. But the museum, based on the original collections of Fredericksburg-area airport founder Sidney L. Shannon Jr., closed last year after a 30-year run at that site.

When Spotsylvania County businessman and pilot Luke Curtas reopened the state aviation museum as the Shannon Air Museum at Shannon Airport in 2017, the historical society, which has long played a key support role for the museum, decided to follow the museum, according to Society President Doug Winegardner.

The VAHS, with some 400 members statewide, participates in a range of activities related to aviation history, according to Winegardner, a Richmond lawyer. Among its numerous projects, the historical group maintains the Virginia Aviation Hall of Fame and inducted its two newest members at a dinner at the Fredericksburg Expo Center on Oct. 28. A new Virginia Aviation Hall of Fame exhibit has been added to the collections at the Shannon Air Museum and is now on view. Central Virginia is well represented among those honored, according to Curtas. Honorees include many nationally prominent figures in aerospace activities.

The two new honorees bring the list of names to more than 125, said VAHS Office Manager Jennifer Melton. Added to the honors list this year were Col. Adelbert “Buz” Carpenter, a veteran Air Force pilot with a lengthy career in near space flight and other areas of advanced aviation.

Also honored was Katherine Johnson, featured in the hit film, “Hidden Figures.” Johnson is a mathematician who played a vital role in the early U.S. space exploration program.

Johnson, who is 99, did not attend the gathering, but her eldest daughter, Joylette Hylick, accepted the Hall of Fame honors on her behalf.

In addition to the Hall of Fame, Winegardner said the historical society maintains history archives of important documents in Virginia aviation and space history; has a program setting up roadside markers to commemorate historical aviation events in the state; recently established the Capt. Earl Worley Scholarship program for college-bound high school seniors planning aerospace careers; and publishes a quarterly members magazine.

There are local chapters of the VAHS in several communities, including Williamsburg, Warrenton, the Northern Neck and Topping, said Winegardner, as well as plans for chapters in Roanoke and Fredericksburg. With the society’s state headquarters in Spotsylvania now, Winegardner said all of its regular primary meetings will be held locally, including not only the Hall of Fame gala but board meetings and an annual charity auction.

Membership in the Virginia Aeronautical Historical Society is open to anyone with an interest in aviation and space history, including non-pilots.


In The News 2018
2018 Annual Fundraiser

We thank everyone who participated in our 2017 Annual Fundraiser. We all reflect on the VAHS mission and the projects we are undertaking. Our focus is the preservation of aviation history and the support of aviation in Virginia. To accomplish this, we have many excellent ongoing ventures – the Reed I. West Aviation History video project, the Virginia Aviation Hall of Fame, the Capt. Earle Worley Scholarship, our publishing program, and the newsletter – to name only a few, with so many other endeavors planned for the near future. We were mighty close to reaching our goal last year and are excited for the year ahead in our new “home” on Shannon Airport Campus.

Please keep the VAHS in mind this year. Our goal for 2018 is $20,000. We need to all get together to make this happen. Remember, your generous donation is tax-deductible. We very much appreciate your continued support and generosity.

VAHS Fundraising goal for 2018: $20,000!!!


Old Pilots Log Jan-March 2018

VAHS is now more-or-less settled into our new home at Shannon Airport (KEZF) and the Virginia Aviation Hall of Fame is proudly displayed inside the new Shannon Air Museum. Your Board of Directors has been quite busy with several projects:

1. The Captain Earl Worley Scholarship fund is now well over $200,000 and the Scholarship Committee will make its first recommendations for Fall semester 2018. The scholarship will be awarded to high school seniors who are committed to educational goals in aviation, aerospace or related engineering fields. The award will be based upon academic achievement, need, and other factors demonstrating good citizenship and maturity. The award will be a four-year award but must be renewed each year that the student remains in good standing in the appropriate curriculum.

2. As mentioned above, the Aviation Hall of Fame is in a new location and we will be working on enhancing this exhibit with additional artifacts and displays from the VAHS’ archive. We will also organize several Saturday work sessions after the New Year to bring other artifacts into the new office building. The local Civil Air Patrol has offered to assist these efforts, but we need our members to take part. The “tribal knowledge” of VAHS’ membership is vital.

3. Planning has begun for a fund-raiser this spring or early Summer. I urge anyone to volunteer to assist with this effort. The more people we have to help, the lighter the load on us all.

Regretfully, two people who have played large roles in VAHS have left.

Linda Burdette has resigned after 12 years on the Board, including stints as President and Chair. Linda also has provided much content for this Newsletter, served as Chair of the Hall of Fame Selection Committee and as Chair for many special events. We are enormously grateful for her contributions and wish her well in her work with other Fredericksburg community organizations.

Jennifer Melton, VAHS long-time Office Manager, has resigned to take another position closer to her home. Jen has been a steady and strong organizer with seemingly limitless energy in promoting and operating the day-to-day machinery of VAHS. We will miss her enormously in the office, but she intends to remain an active member. We will surely be able to use her knowledge and experience in myriad ways!

On a happier note, we have a new Office Manager, Sue Baker, who started on Friday, December 1. We were under considerable time pressure to get her on board so we could have some “handoff training” for Sue with Jen. Sue is one of those Jack (Jill?)-of-all-trades persons. She has been an office manager, a business owner, a Customer Service Manager and other things that paint a picture of someone who is multi-talented and learns fast. She also admits to loving aviation and worked for Allegheny Airlines at DCA Hangar 11 a few years ago. We are excited to have found her! Fast transitions are always hard on everyone, but we think Sue is well able to handle this one.


Come visit us at: VAHS, 11332 Tidewater Trail, Fredericksburg, 22408
Mailing address: VAHS, Shannon Airport KEZF Campus, PO Box 7795, Fredericksburg, VA 22404-7795
Phone number: 540-376-3265 / Email: