Category Archives: Headquarters Chatter

VAHS FUNDRAISING CAMPAIGN, 2019

AN OPEN LETTER TO ALL MEMBERS FROM OUR CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD:

On behalf of the Board of Directors of the Virginia Aeronautical Historical Society, I would like to thank you for your continuous support and commitment to our organization.

As we launch our 2019 Fundraiser, we would like to ask you again to help us. Our financial goal this year is $50,000.00.

We are working to create the VAHS Headquarters’ library and archives on the Shannon Airport Campus in Fredericksburg, home of the historic Shannon Air Museum and the home of our Virginia Aviation Hall of Fame. We are also continuing our efforts to build our scholarship program, which is currently over $228,000, benefiting two deserving Virginia students annually, who wish to pursue an education and career in aviation.

It is only through generous donations such as yours that the VAHS can continue its Mission of preserving aviation history and educating the general public of the many contributions Virginia has made and is making to the development of aviation and aerospace.

Thank you again for your support, it is important and appreciated. Please mail, e-mail, call the office or go to our website, www.VirginiaAviationHistory.com to pay online. If you have comments or questions concerning the Society, its mission and programs, please contact me through the Society’s office.

Sincerely,
David L. Young, Chairman

 Letter from our President

I am honored and humbled to be asked to serve as the President for our Society. It is an amazing organization and I will always do my very best to represent it well.

Our outgoing president, Hunter Old, deserves an enormous thank you from all of us for guiding the organization and keeping us engaged with the aviation community during his tenure. It has truly been a pleasure working with Hunter to move the Society forward. With support of the Board, Committee Chairs and all our members, we all will strive in our unique way to continue to accomplish the goals and objectives of VAHS while pursuing opportunities that serve our membership and sustain our future.

I have given thought to what I want to accomplish in the coming year, in addition to continuing and improving our existing programs:

  • If it’s not broken, don’t fix it. Our organization is great, and a lot of people have worked hard over the years to make it that way. There will be a focus on improvement of those things that are not working as they should, but we will do that through careful analysis of issues and targeted responses that get results.
  • Grow membership. In order for our Society to remain vibrant & active we need to focus on not only attracting new members but retaining and engaging the members we already have. Membership alone, however, will not sustain our endeavors in the long-term.
  • Address inevitable change. Change is one of the few constants in our lives. Our Society does not live in the same world we did a few years ago. We must strategically seek out organizational and corporate partners with an interest in successfully promoting the history of aviation in Virginia.
  • New chapters. We have many at-large members who could benefit from affiliation with other members in their region. Among my goals in the coming year is to visit every airport in Virginia, attend at least one meeting of every existing chapter, and actively seek opportunities to create new chapters where interest and opportunity exist. The Fredericksburg Chapter is growing and an initial meeting was held at the DOAV hangar to measure interest in a Richmond Chapter.
  • Revitalize committees. A number of committees exist to assist with strategic issues. We will reinvigorate those groups and use them to address and overcome barriers to our future growth. Please volunteer for these important assignments!

Feel free to reach out to me with any questions, concerns, or ideas. While I will always accept complaints and criticism, I strongly favor solutions and open discussion. If you bring me a problem, I ask that you bring at least one potential solution.

Ray Gill
President, Virginia Aeronautical Historical Society

Headquarters Chatter (April 2019)

In pondering what to say in my second article as Chairman of the VAHS Board of Directors it crossed my mind as to why I joined and continue to belong to the VAHS. Thinking about the words that make up the name of our organization – yes, I’m a Virginian (Virginia); yes, I’ve been involved in aviation (Aeronautical) for approximately 60 years and an active pilot for over 50 of those years; yes, I enjoy the comradery of belonging to an organization of like minded folks (Society); but I think one of the main reasons I’m attracted to the VAHS is its tie to aviation history (Historical).

In my professional years in the military, as a university administrator and dean of a university aeronautics school I was involved many times in setting a sense of direction, in creating a vision and in leading an organization to grow and move forward. Thus, I’m reminded of the adage “If you don’t know where we’ve been you won’t know where you’re going.” Or, as some are wont to say, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” As aviators, knowing and understanding our aviation roots will help us understand and better apprecoate all the advances and technology which exist today and how to best apply them. Most particularly we will have a far greater appreciation for the role aviation and airplanes have played in building today’s world and how it will affect the future.

Almost 15 years ago I transitioned to flying airplanes with “glass cockpits.” Cessna 172’s that had more advanced communication and navigation systems than some commercial airliners and current military aircraft. Having flown “basic needle, ball and airspeed” aircraft early in my flying career, although it was a challenge to make the change, the old knowledge combined with the new made me a better pilot.

The same is true for having good aeronautical sense and making sound aeronautical decisions. Putting and viewing situations in their current context is important but looking at them with a historical perspective provides even better, as we say in the flying world, SA or situational awareness.

For almost two years as the president of the Lynchburg Regional Airshow corporation (don’t let me fool you – it’s a bunch of volunteers who like to put on airshows) I’ve been involved in preparing for the 75th commemoration of the 1944 D-Day invasion. In my opinion, this was one of, if not the most monumental military operation in the history of warfare. The success of D-Day set the stage for the conquering of the Nazi regime and freeing Europe from the tyranny of Hitler and his henchmen. What I’ve come to appreciate most is an increased awareness of the significance of what occurred 75 years ago. If it had failed, we would be living in a different world and potentially a much different country. Understanding, knowing and appreciating the sacrifices that were made and the importance of the application of airpower are critical to military planners even today as we continue to guard the freedoms we enjoy. What we learned in aviation in the 1940’s set the stage for the future of commercial aviation, for training pilots and aircrews and for even recreational pilots. It is the basis for much of how we fly today and why we do it the way we do.

This is why I joined the Virginia Aeronautical Historical Society and continue to tout its value to today’s generation – we should never forget how we got where we are and how we draw on history to carry us forward.

Come visit us at: The Pilot House, 3381 Shannon Airport Circle, Fredericksburg, VA 22408
Mailing address: VAHS, Shannon Airport KEZF Campus, PO Box 7795, Fredericksburg, VA 22404-7795
Phone number: 540-376-3265 / Email: vahsonline@gmail.com