Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Celebrating the Men and Women of Aviation

It was a privilege to meet three pioneers
by Dean L.

I recall three interesting speakers at Sunnyvale Lockheed Missiles and Space Company Management Association banquets in the late 1970s.

Neil Armstrong spoke to an audience of about 400 in July 1976. What a sense of humor he had! His answer to my question if he still looked at the moon and marveled that he was there was, "I've learned to live with it!"

When I was president of the association in 1979, Kelly Johnson spoke to about 700 about Skunk Works. He was seated next to our special guest, 82-year-old Neta Snook Southern (1896 to 1991), the woman who taught Amelia Earhart to fly in 1921. She showed me Amelia's flight log when I picked her up at the adobe home she had built herself in Los Gatos. She had even made the bricks!

Neta surprised everyone with an impromptu speech while we waited for a late food serving. I sat on her other side at the banquet and overheard Kelly ask her what flight instruments she used when flying in 1922. He was surprised with her answer that all she had was an altimeter and a dangling pocket watch. She said she also followed the roads!