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Monday, 26. October 2020 18:32
Thanks for visiting Kitty Hawk Squadron 3. Please sign our Guest Book.
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Dennis Rice 
Richardson (Dallas), Texas
Monday, 25. November 2013 16:10 IP: Write a comment Send E-mail

Congratulations to Josh and all who worked to develop an excellent web page.

I was active in the Squadron between '63 and '66. We all learned lots and had lots of fun doing it. Especially remember the many campouts and activities (that should maybe not be discussed) that we had. Wondering if stories should be written by past members of our experiences.

Very much enjoyed the photos and seeing myself in several photos, especially holding up Stephen Adams leg beside the Cessna 150. I am reviewing my photos to add to the contribution. Wish I had been able to do more when in the Squadron, finally earning my Private SEL and Glider rating in the mid '70's. In the 70's I owned a Bellanca Scout and Schleicher Ka-6 glider while living in Alaska.

Greatest thoughts to Ralph Truglio for being so prominent in all of the activities over all of the years and helping all the members learn to fly. Special note to the advisers of the group, who instilled upon me to become an adviser of Air Explorer Squadron (Post) 49 in Anchorage, Alaska.

For the past, present, and future, best of all for the Squadron.
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Saro Marcarian 
Green Valley, Ca
Wednesday, 19. September 2012 20:38 IP: Write a comment Send E-mail

I just wanted to drop a note here. I was active with the group in the early 90's. Things intervened and I didn't finish up.

I have recently returned to flying and have often thought about this group - Especially Ralph. Thanks to everyone who has made this group possible.

If there are things I can help with, please contact me at the email provided. I'd love to contribute somehow.
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James Moore 
Monday, 9. July 2012 20:34 IP: Write a comment Send E-mail

I was cleaning out my parent old packed boxes, ran across my 1973 Solo award. Google Squadron 3, and found the web site. Is it really been 40 plus years!.
I started looking thru the alumni and just started remembering. You guys where some of my best friends, and flying is still something I enjoy.I have two boys 8 and 13 and we going soaring at Avenal this month.I live in Arroyo Grande. I work as a field engineer for a company that supplies telephone service to inmates I go to jail a lot, but only as a repair technician.I enjoy the central coast. I completed my Master's degree in computer science 10 years ago. Received my undergraduate from Cal Poly (finance and accounting) I have traveled from Japan to Spain, from Guam to Norway. Born in California lived here all my life. I have worked in Boston, and love New England. However my home is here in California. My ex was 12 years in the Navy as an Corpman (nurse)I love children; I have two wonderful little boys ages 8 and 13 that live with me full time. Their mother is not in their life at all. I am a responsible parent, putting the children’s well being before anything. Which really changed the course of my life ( for the better )
I enjoy the ocean, sailing and SCUBA (water is too cold here: prefer warm clear water). As you all know one of my real passion is flying, In the 90's I had a Cherokee 140, and now well thinging about getting another plane. I buying 40 acres near Paso Robles. I love flying out of Paso.I still like to run and workout, great why to control stress, that and a cocktail once in a while.I hope you all are great. I so happy that Josh build this web site. I wish I made the reunion
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James Yu 
Long Beach CA
Saturday, 4. April 2009 06:37 Host: Write a comment Send E-mail

Hi, Ralph! Do you still remember me! I have not seen you since I got my private! Tonight I logged on to leave a line here to express my appreciation of Kitty Hawk Squadron3. Thanks for the valuable instruction and all the care from you and Mark Young. I am a MultiEngine Commercial Pilot now and got hired by Mesa Air Group last year. I am considerating to get my CFI license soon. If I have chance I would like to teach kids flying just like you guys did!
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Dallas, TX
Thursday, 26. March 2009 18:57 Host: Write a comment Send E-mail

I will always be connected with this squadron. Attached is a picture of 41889, one of the Ercoupes used starting in 1959. It gives me chills to see the history of my aircraft, and the joy that this Squadron brought and continues to bring.
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Ralph Truglio 
Valley Village, CA
Thursday, 19. March 2009 18:30 Host: Write a comment Send E-mail

First, please note that I have a new email now:

I no longer can fly with the kids of Squadron 3. In October 2008, the insurance company called to say that they refused to cover me any longer. No reason was offered for this development. I still help out where I can.
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Bob Pearce 
Monday, 17. December 2007 01:28 IP: Write a comment Send E-mail

First orientation flight with Ralph 18 Feb 1961 (N41889). Last entry by Ralph was during a solo stop from Van Nuys on 27 Nov 1965. 42 hours from 61 to 78, then stopped due to costs plus an experience with vorticies while dual in CT in 1966. Retired from Coast Guard as desk jockey and boat driver. Looking for Tom Fox, Eagle Scout from Squadron 3.
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Darlene Basile Brenot 
Costa Rica
Monday, 28. March 2005 17:16 Host: Write a comment Send E-mail

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Tom Pierchala 
Tuesday, 8. March 2005 09:02 Host: VDSL-130-13-72-243.PHNX.QWEST.NET Write a comment Send E-mail

This is a really great thing that Josh has done with this site.

I took my first flight with the squadron in one of the two Forney Ercoupes that We had at the time. I then soloed in March of 62 in good ol 5668E. Bill Spreurer was my instructor and I think I was one of his first students. Ralph gave me a lot of dual and I really appreciate and thank him for all he's done all these years. I was the president of the group for a year or two and enjoyed the experience. Those family dinners we had were great. I've been fortunate to be able to stay in aviation all these years and will be retiring this year after 34 years with Flying Tigers and now Federal Express.

Lots of great times with the Squadron, I still remember how proud we were of Tom Cagan when he soloed to the Boy Scout Jamboree. His dad, Harry, was always an inspiration to hit the books with his ground school sessions. I'm really looking forward to being at the reunion and seeing all the guys. But especially to be able to thank and honor Ralph!!
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Bob Clawson 
Twin Lakes (Kent) Ohio 44240
Thursday, 27. January 2005 19:07 Host: Write a comment Send E-mail

Well done Josh. I just want to comment on something that I consider the larger fabric of the squadron. That is, all of the other kinds of transportation we were involved in. The first of course, for those in Squadron 3 in the mid-50s, was Dale Johnson's Jeep. We went everywhere in it. Dale was always willing to provide a taxi for the little kids who couldn't drive yet. Also there were the several pickup trucks that we rode in the back out to the desert or anywhere else. Probably illegal now, but we used to pack five or six guys in the open beds. And then there were the water craft. I'll never foget surfing in (Dale's?) multi-person raft out beyond Malibu. About ten of us in the raft getting flipped over in a giant wave and wondering if we were ever going to surface again. Also, spending a week at the sea scouts base in San Pedro was a real highlight. I almost transfered to the sea scouts! I remember not getting my water craft rating because I couldn't swim out to the end of the breakwater and back. I nearly drowned and was freezing to death. The trips to Parker Dam also involved the big raft and my own little one-man WW II raft tied on to the big one. It was not quite white water but the guy in the little raft sure got soaked. And a bunch of us did get a cool flight in a Sikorsky S-55 at LAX. There was also that time with the Leister-Kaufman glider out on the desert where I actually landed that thing with no way to go around if I didn't do it right.
We were blessed with truly exceptional opportunities that most kids our age couldn't even dream of. And, of course, learning to fly sure kept me off the streets. Our son, Lt. Colonel Greg, USAF, C-5 pilot and military diplomat, says his dream of flying all goes back to my tales of Squadron 3. Of course, I didn't tell him about all the tricks I got up to once I could solo, but that's another story. Best left unsaid.
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Jeanine Kennemur Batham 
North San Bernardino CA
Wednesday, 24. November 2004 00:21 Host: Write a comment Send E-mail

I was so glad to be contacted! My time in the Air Squadron was a very exciting time in my life. Many years later I was reintroduced to my good friend Cathi. I have wonderful memories of all of my friends during that time and I hope to hear from many of you again some time.
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Lee Maxson 
Chandler, AZ
Wednesday, 17. November 2004 03:41 IP: Write a comment Send E-mail

Josh it was geat to a call from you, I was in the club from May 1st 77, my sixteenth b-day till 1982 moving out of the area.
Saying thank you to Ralph Truglio, Bill Bratly and Howard Chase just feels short.
I just want to say thanks to everyone who spent time making the club such a great organization, and look foward to hearing from friends.
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Scott Spiegel 
Palos Verdes Estates, Ca.
Saturday, 13. November 2004 07:16 Host: Write a comment Send E-mail

I am so glad Josh made the effort to create this wonderful web site and for contacting me. This has brought back so many memories of one of the best times in my life.

I wish to express my gratitude to Ted Moyer for all the good times flying and his personnel dedication to my pilot training.

I have said many times that I only have one real regret in life, which is not choosing flying as my profession. I envy all of you who did. You must be loving life.

I look forward to the reunion and getting acquainted once again.

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Vicky Corbett (Kocsis) 
Dowagiac MI
Saturday, 6. November 2004 04:53 Host: Write a comment Send E-mail

Hello to all my long lost friend's!
Josh, I can't thank you enough for your phone call. I am so thrilled.

I had to suddenly move to Chicago with my father and never had the chance to say goodbye to my great friends in the squad. I was part of the club in the early 80's, and memories are still fresh. In 1982 I started a flight training school in West Chicago IL. and for the next few years I devoted myself to flying. My Father moved to Utah and I stayed in IL to continue flying. Well, the money ran out quickly, so I began driving Semi's with a goal of starting a Ground/Air freight company. I continued flying and now have my CFII, but trucking took over. I did start a Trucking company and was very successful with Ground Freight. Unfortunately, flying was pushed aside and now I am 10 years behind on flying.

I have 2 children, a son that is 9 yrs old and a Daughter that is 7. My son’s first word was "Aplane" (Airplane). So I have a new goal to get recurrent and teach my son to fly. I grew up flying a PA28-180, which was my father’s airplane. It was sold approx 8 yrs ago, I have done the research and have located the airplane, and I am in the process of purchasing it back. It has taken a few years to get back to my first love.

Thank You, Ralph you really inspired me.
Josh, keep up the good work, see you in March!
Cathi, We have to catch up. I will get a hold of you!
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Stephen Adams 
Lopez Island, WA
Thursday, 4. November 2004 17:36 IP: Write a comment Send E-mail

I had my first flying lesson in 1964 in the C-150, N5668E at Whiteman, I'll never forget that day. Ralph was our instructor and we thought he was old then. I still can't get flying out of my system, I have a Pacer PA22/20 that I have rebuilt and fly several times a week. I'm proud that I got to take my father for his last flight. Thanks to Ralph and Squardon 3 for my flying start.
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Cathi Berks (Lehman) 
Peachtree City, Georgia
Wednesday, 3. November 2004 01:07 Host: Write a comment Send E-mail

I was in the squadron in the early 80's. I am truly grateful for the dedication of Ralph Truglio, Bill Bratley and many others who facilitated in this incredible experience. Thanks so much.
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Mitchell Chase 
Palmdale, California
Tuesday, 2. November 2004 09:08 IP: Write a comment Send E-mail

It’s just great to see that the Squadron is alive and well. I received my license through the Scouts and I'm forever grateful.
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Steve Schlein 
Venice beach, California
Tuesday, 19. October 2004 23:20 Host: Write a comment Send E-mail


I want to express my deep appreciation for the remarkable job Josh Lober has done in researching the history of this Air Scouts squadron and bringing together the people who share this special experience.

Unlike many of you who "signed" the guestbook, I never soloed. I was in the squadron in 1955, when I was 15 years old, and I went as far as I could!

Fifteen years later, when I had a slightly better understanding of my relationship to a flying machine, a pilot friend taught me to fly. Finally!!

Perhaps some of you will remember a chance we had to fly in a T-33. Our names went into a hat and my name was pulled out of it. This was a dream come true. However, my parents' plan to drive across the country had priority and we were on the road when the T-33 flight was to have taken place. You can imagine how upset I was. As it turned out, though, the flight was cancelled and my great disappointment turned to relief.

I still look up in the sky when I hear the sound of an airplane. I've been for a ride in the back seat of a P-51, took one parachute jump, and flew in an open-cockpit 1927 Travelair biplane earlier this year. That was a lovely experience.

Again, my hat is off to Josh Lober. I am grateful that he found me!

Steve Schlein
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Roger Hitchen 
Rosamond ca.
Thursday, 14. October 2004 03:05 Host: Write a comment Send E-mail

Got a call from Josh Lober today about my aircraft, Stinson N6105M, he told me it was owned by an advisor of your squadron (Jack Hollebeke) back in the 50's. Sure was neat to find out a something about the history of it. 05M underwent a total restoration and flew for the first time in 2003 after being in storage since about 1979. Sure was glad to find a pict. of it in your photo area. I will send some pictures to Josh so you can see what it looks like today.
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Jeff Knouse 
Palmdale CA
Friday, 8. October 2004 15:49 IP: Write a comment Send E-mail

I was in Squadron 3 for a short time in 1960-61 at Whiteman Air Park. I did not get my license then, but Ralph instilled a love of flying that I still have today. I finally got my license in 1999.
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Richard Box 
Redlands, CA
Wednesday, 6. October 2004 23:36 Host: Write a comment Send E-mail

I was extremely pleased to have Josh track me down regarding the early days of Squadron 3.

He found me retired and living in Redlands, California with my wife, Susan and two Spanish Granddaughters that are attending Middle and High School in the California.

I was part of the original group that dismantled and restored the Piper J3.

My first flight was in the Air Coupe, however flight training was done in the Piper J3. I am in the process of digging out the old picture, especially the “fly-ins” at Death Valley. I put in the effort and finally received my Single Engine Land license after I graduated from USC in 1963.

Part of my working career was in the aviation industry and I believe my experience with Squadron 3 influenced that choice. I have a lot of memories about the Air Scouts, which I will cherish forever.

Josh, thank again for the call.

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Chuck Gifford 
Irvine, CA
Friday, 24. September 2004 06:40 Host: Write a comment Send E-mail

What a suprise to hear from Josh. It has been great looking at the old photos. I joined Squadron 3 soon after seeing a picture of the charter signing in the newspaper. I was active from 1952 to 1957. My first airplane flight was my first lesson with Fred Maw in his Ercope. I did not get my license while in the Squadron, but was able to obtain my private pilot certificate shortly after graduating from college in 1963.

After obtaining an advanced degree from San Jose State which included my A&P certificate I spent the next 37 years teaching aviation at the Community College level. I officially retired in May of 2003, but I still teach a Private Pilot ground school at the college.

I spend most of my flying time currently as a Commercial Glider pilot and Glider Flight Instructor.

I have not kept any close contact with former Squadron 3 members, however I did visit with Norm Neuls and Jerry Detwiler sometime in the late 70's.

My home phone is 949-551-3216.
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David Pluth 
staefa, switzerland
Wednesday, 22. September 2004 14:06 Host: Write a comment Send E-mail

This is a great website and an amazing walk down memory lane for me. I joined Squadron 3 about 1961 or 62 during the times of Dwight Obenchain, Tom Pierchala, Tom Cagan, Pete Hadley, Steve Deddens and forgive me for the guys I've not mentioned. It had to be the defining experience of my life. Ralph Truglio drilled basic sense and responsibility into the brains of 15 and 16-year old kids. The discipline of learning to fly under his tutelage and the responsibility of actually taking out an expensive piece of kit like an airplane all by yourself - and bringing it back in more or less one piece - were the foundations for anything else I accomplished in life. And Ralph and I did have a forced landing with the C-150 in carrot field in Newhall when the engine sucked a valve and the vibrations almost opened the doors until Ralph got the prop stopped. That's the point when you know it's real, no turning back, no mistakes allowed.

Now, I'm a photographer and filmmaker living in Switzerland, but working mostly in East Europe, Asia and Africa. Though I am not flying myself these days I still use airplanes, helicopters and hot air balloons for a lot of my work.
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Don Hagopian 
Van Nuys
Sunday, 12. September 2004 05:51 Host: Write a comment Send E-mail

I joined Squadron 3 in 1965(to 1971). Started Feb.1965 trained in N5668E the Cessna 150. June22, 1968 passed my Private Pilot Check Ride. August 17th to19th, 1968 Mike Mantell and I flew the Cessna 150 from Loveland field, Colorado thru New Mexico, Arizona, back to California to Whiteman Airport and Van Nuys Airport. This was one of the most exciting trips I had gone on. June 26,1969 I got a check ride with Ralph Truglio in the squadron's Cessna 172 N1942S. 1970 I Graduated from Glendale College in the Aerospace Technology Program. I started a photography business in Studio City and aerial photography is one of the things I offer. Today, I still fly out of Whiteman Airport where my Cessna 182 is hangared. I am currently the President of the Whiteman Airport Association. I would Iike to thank the dedicated people that give their time to helped us to learn how to fly and special thanks to Ralph Truglio for instructing us and the Optimist Club of NoHo for sponsoring us.
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Jerry F. Detwiler 
Centennial, Colorado
Tuesday, 7. September 2004 23:08 Host: Write a comment Send E-mail

Josh and all the original members from 1953 to 1956,

Josh tracked me down in Laguna Beach, CA at our summer cottage (949)376-8424. I was one of the original Assistant Squadron Leaders and flight instructors in the J-3 Cub at Whiteman Air Park. Jim Upton and Chuck Gifford were two of the Air Scouts I worked with. I'll be digging out my old Sq. 3 photos and trying to remember more of you!

I was just back from the Korean conflict where I flew PBM Martin Mariner seaplanes and finished my aeronautical engineering degree at USC in 1956 while flying F4U Corsairs at NAS Los Alimitos! I also got married inb 1956 and had to give up working with the squadron!

Lots of memories and an educational career always tied in with aviation!
More later!

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Norm Neuls 
Chino Valley, AZ
Tuesday, 31. August 2004 17:20 Host: Write a comment Send E-mail

Greetings to all former and present squadron 3 members from one of the “older alumni”. Back in 1954 I was invited to a squadron meeting by fellow classmate and squadron alumni, Jim Upton. At that time the squadron had acquired the Aeronca Champ to replace the J-3. The Champ needed a rebuild and this was accomplished at advisor Ray “Shorty” Gillingham’s repair station at San Fernando Airport. After school at San Fernando High, I would ride my motorscooter out to the hangar and work on the Champ. A bit of trivia – Ralph Truglio was a teacher at the high school in those days. I soloed the Champ at Whiteman Airpark shortly after my 16th birthday and then the Private a year later.

In the early 60’s I obtained my A&E – whoops A&P license after two years at Glendale Junior College. In those days we had the draft and shortly thereafter I was a member of the US Army and a helicopter mechanic in Fairbanks AK. That was my official job but unofficially I was the flying club mechanic due to my A&P ticket. After the Army when I should have gone with the airlines I spent two years rebuilding the only remaining all stainless steel amphibian – 1936 Fleetwing Seabird.

On to flying and I started out with Schaefer Air Ambulance right there at VNY. Then on to aerial surveying in many US and overseas locations. In 1978 I became a corporate pilot for Atlantic Richfield Co. (ARCO) and moved to Anchorage AK. Started out flying the company Twin Otter up on the N. Slope (Prudhoe Bay) and progressed thru the Hawker to the 727(my favorite airplane) in 1985 transporting company and contract personnel between ANC and the N. Slope. “Downsizing” came along in 1993 so for the next eight years I flew airtaxi/medivac and flightseeing out of ANC.

Three years ago moved to Prescott AZ as the wife became weary of the long dark Alaskan winters, although I’d go back. Until just recently, I taught B-727 ground school and some simulator here at Embry- Riddle. It has been quite a ride and it all started with that first squadron meeting many years ago. I am eternally grateful to the adult advisors, most who are no longer with us, for the help and encouragement to teenage boys that had a genuine interest in aviation.

Flight plan closed.

gerald oconnell:
hello norm; I attended glendale JC and helped on the seabird. Ithink often of those great times. I went with Channing Clark to catalina and other airports. Great fun. I worked as a a&p for american airlines from 1968 to 1999. I don't regreat it for a minute. Two years at glendale a&p were two of the best years of my life. Now retired i spend much of my time doing airplane associated activites. Gerald O'Connell class of 1968.
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Tom Cagan 
West Hills, CA
Tuesday, 31. August 2004 14:06 Host: Write a comment Send E-mail

Some Squadron 3 memories from 1959 and 1960

I started flying in October 1958. I joined the Air Explorer Scouts in North Hollywood, CA. They were an extension of the same scouting family sponsored by the North Hollywood Optimist Club.

When I joined the "Kitty Hawks" we had a 1946 Aeronca with a 65 hp Continental. I got about 5 hours in it before we took it on a trip out to Quartz Hill. Back then Quartz Hill was out in the middle of the desert and was uninhabited. Today there are hundreds of thousands of homes. Anyway we went out to the old WW-II training airfield and camped out in the old concrete dome structures that were all that there was left of the airfield. Of course the runways were still there, but nothing else… I digress… While out there the second night, it got extremely cold, and the fabric on the old Airnocker split over one wing and along the bottom of the fuselage right where the flat "chine" area was near the bottom of the Aeronca's belly. We used duct tape to hold it together until we got it back to Whiteman Airpark (Pacoima). About a week later one of the members of our sponsoring group, the North Hollywood Optimist Club, donated the use of a WWII vintage butler building that was to be torn down when the Golden State Freeway cut across Lankersheim Blvd. We towed the plane over there in the dark of night (LAPD helped since one of our scout masters (John Becker) was the Jailer at the North Hollywood Police Station). The next weekend we had a fabric stripping party. We took every piece of linen off of that plane in about 3 hours. Over the next 8 months, we sanded all of the varnish off of the wood pieces, sanded and re zinc chromated the steel, and reworked all of the control cables and pulleys. Then came the new linen "Sock" for the fuselage and wings. A guy named "Shorty" who was one of the originators of the group with Max Mahan and Fred Maw, had sewn the sock and taught us how to stitch it to the wooden structure of the plane. 25 boy scouts swarming over this thing was a sight to behold, all with needle and thread and Shorty checking every stitch. We then began to shrink the fabric with dope being applied with paint brushes. We got higher than a kite… There was one Friday night when we were still doping the plane, when a liquor store across the street was robbed. LAPD responded with guns drawn to the noise we were creating, thinking it was the robbers splitting the loot. They busted in and saw a bunch of very high Air Explorers with their Jailer helping to paint this airplane. They started laughing so hard they couldn’t see straight. Some of them came back after their shift to help us. We finally got the silver coats put on the plane, and then the color coat. It looked just like it came out of the factory 13 years before. We used linen since Seconite was so new that no one had any experience with it. The plane was re assembled with it's wings 9 months after the fabric split out at Quartz Hill.

We flew it about 6 months more before we figured that we needed an all metal airplane. We had a couple of pancake breakfasts, sold the Aeronca to a good home, and bought a Ercoup 415c. It already had the rudder kit in it, so it flew like a real airplane. It had an 85 hp Continental in it with a new engine. That's the plane I soloed in March 19, 1960. I later that summer flew it to the Porterville Bean Dinner/Bar-B-Que the 1st week in June and won the youngest pilot trophy… Interesting flight. I had two forced landings going from Whiteman to Porterville. Some A&E had put the mechanical fuel pump in with the actuating arm on the wrong side of the cam, and I only had the 5 gallon tank in the fuselage. The first time I set down in an alfalfa field in Delano . We weren’t sure what the problem was, except the fuselage tank was all that would work. My father was following about a half an hour behind me in a 172, and landed behind me. A few minutes later the farmer came up to see what was going on. He said that it was “ the first time I’d seen one of those Aeroplanes up close b’fer”. We determined that we weren’t getting fuel transfer from the wing tanks to the main tank, so we asked the farmer if he had something that we could use to transfer the fuel in. He said that he had a Coke Syrup gallon bottle that he used for diesel and he would go get it for us. We transferred enough to fill the tank and took off. The second time I landed on a paved farm road near Pixley. After pushing the plane off the roadway, my dad picked me up and flew me to Porterville. That was Friday night. The next morning Fred Maw drove me back to the plane and I flew in myself. Pretty exciting stuff for a 16 year old.

Tom Cagan

hi uncle tom!!!!

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Jim Upton 
Canyon Country, CA
Tuesday, 31. August 2004 14:00 Host: Write a comment Send E-mail

Hi to all. The website Josh has put together with Ralph’s support has brought back many fond memories of the fun times in the Air Explorers. I was a member of the Kittyhawk Squadron from 1953 to 1959. Aviation has been my passion for as long as I can remember. I soloed in the Squadron when I turned 16 and got my drivers license a week later so you know where my priorities were. I obtained my private license in the Champ (1759E) at 17 and was the first Air Explorer in Squadron 3 to get a private license.

My career has been in aviation as a Flight Test Engineer and Test Director for Lockheed for 35 years. I worked on 18 different aircraft and helicopter flight test programs from the Mach 3+ A-12 through the P-3, S-3 and U-2. I flew as a crew member and in chase aircraft on most of the programs, which I really enjoyed.

I retired from Lockheed in 1997, and my wife Carol, put on a surprise retirement party at our home in Canyon Country CA that included Ralph Truglio and many of the Squadron 3 Air Explorers from the 1950s. Some had come from as far away as Oregon and Alaska. The fact that Squadron 3 friends from over 40 years earlier would travel long distances for this surprise party is a real tribute to lasting friendships. (see photos in Scrapbook 2)

I am still active as a private pilot, and I have written four aviation books. I have done articles for a number of aviation publications and also work part time as a photographer for Aviation International News. A passion for aviation, that got a huge boost in Squadron 3, continues today.

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Pete Hadley 
Fresno, CA
Monday, 30. August 2004 18:16 Host: Write a comment Send E-mail

I would like to thank Josh Lober for all his hard work in putting this site together.
I was involved with Squadron 3 from 1961 to 1968 which included a period of time as a junior advisor. My father (Vern Hadley) actively remained to help out for some time after I had moved on to other things. Dad passed away in 1989.
I remained in aviation. My career included time served in Vietnam as a US Army helicopter pilot and many years of flying in Alaska. For some years now, I have been flying an EMS helicopter out of Fresno.
Some of Ralph’s teachings have echoed in my mind on more than one occasion during my career. Thanks Ralph.
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Ralph Truglio 
North Hollywood, Cal 91607
Saturday, 31. July 2004 22:08 Host: Write a comment Send E-mail

I joined the group in 1955 and they are still allowing me to participate.
It has been a great experience for me.
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Mark Young 
Northridge, CA USA
Friday, 30. July 2004 23:58 Host: Write a comment Send E-mail

Hello to all present and past members of Squadron 3. I would like to take this opportunity to share with you some of my experiences and how I got involved with Kitty Hawk Squadron III Air Explorer Scouts.

I have always wanted to fly and be a pilot. At the ripe old age of four, my first family trip was from Los Angeles, CA USA (LAX) to Tel Aviv, Israel (TVL) with a lay-over in New York (JFK). I remember telling my sister and parents that “I want to fly these big birds when I get older”. All I remember is the sunrise as we went eastward and my father pointing out on the screen were over Greenland.

I grew up in the San Fernando Valley, Northridge, CA. In this part of CA we have the freeway of HELL (I-405) my eyes are always in the sky looking at the arrivals of jets into LAX.

With this all said I was in cub scouts from first grade and Boy Scouts after that. I was selected into the Order of the Arrow and now a Vigil Honor Member. At the age of fifth-teen, I had earned the rank of Eagle Scout with a Bronze Palm. Sept. 1997.

Around Thanksgiving of 1997 I saw an article in the Los Angeles Times on the Air Explorer Scout group. That article is enclosed on this web site; it’s the one with Ralph Truglio and Ben Strand. I was already an eagle scout and wanted to continue my scouting adventure while starting to settle on what to do with my life.

I joined the group in November 1997. On a training flight a month or so later, the scout aircraft blew two cylinders and we had no money to pay for the repairs. Our Cessna 172 was grounded for about 10 or 11 months, until Ralph Truglio generously donated the money required for repairs. During this period, I went to ground school every Monday night.

When February 1999 came around I took my first lesson with Ralph. At this time we only had to pay $ 5.00 a month for dues and $ 17.00 per year. The airplane wet amount was $25.00 per Hobs flight hour. The flight and ground instruction has always been free. I soloed the morning of my High School Sr. Prom. May 20, 2000. I received my Private Pilot Certificate on January 2, 2001.

A former Squadron member who had become an instructor (CFII SEL/MEL) helped me with my Instrument Rating, which I received June 2002. Later that summer I received my Commercial SEL with Instruments ticket. January 2003 I received my multi-engine Commercial with Instruments Certificate, and became a certified flight instructor October 2003.

My hope is that you and many more can and will come through the program. I have met many great professionals through Squadron 3. James B. Zambellow for example, is one I look up to and try to use as an example (James is currently a First Officer for Delta Airlines). Additionally, Jim Ferguson, Ruben Khachatryan, Patrick Aghyans are aviation professionals who have influenced me, as well as Steve Priest with the USAF 707 Radar Recon and many former Squadron members that I have never even met.

Currently I’m an assistant flight instructor to the group. It is my great honor and pleasure to be a member of such a fine organization. Since October 2003 I have given my time back to the group. I continue to fill up my logbook, which today totals 516 hours. This December, I’ll graduate from Cal State Northridge with a BA in Geography and an emphasis in Cartography and GIS. One day I hope to be fly for a major Airline.

Pass the word along that youth between the ages of 14 and 21 who want to learn to fly should contact us. I can be reached at 818-831-8134 or e-mail .

Additionally, we always welcome financial contributions to help keep flight cost low. Currently, due to fuel and insurance expenses, the Squadron aircraft is $47.00 per hour. Please commit what you can and help us bring this rate back to the $25.00 per hour target. All donations are tax deductible

Finally, thanks to Kitty Hawk Squadron 3 and Ralph, you have made a large difference in my life. I look forward to many more years of service. If I am not there others will take my place as we move up the ladder. There is Honor and tradition that needs to be continued!

Mark Young
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Darr Conradson 
St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Island
Friday, 30. July 2004 20:24 Host: Write a comment Send E-mail

Hello to all present and past members of Squadron 3. I would like to thank Josh and Ralph for putting this site together; it has been a trip down memory lane.

I was a member from ‘69 to '73 and the experience was life altering. I earned my private license before entering the Army as an Air Traffic Controller in ‘74. I received my MEL/COMM/INSTRUMENT while in service and exited the Army landing a corporate flying job in North Carolina. Flying for several corporations I then sold aircraft for Cessna in Hickory and Fayetteville, NC. In ’84 I sold an old ’56 310B to a hotel developer on St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands and he asked if I could stay and set up an FBO. I said yes. That was 20 years ago and I just concluded my flying career a couple years back flying a King Air E90 throughout the Caribbean, Mexico, and Alaska. I presently have a wedding business in St. Thomas/St. John and my other home in Asheville, NC and have access to a Baron 58, which I tool around from time to time

Kittyhawk Air Explorer Squadron 3 and Ralph Truglio started my career in aviation and I’ll always be grateful for the experience and comradeship. It would be great to hear from some of you guys and gals from the past to see how your lives have panned out.

Thanks again,

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Bill Bratly 
Reseda, CA
Friday, 30. July 2004 20:19 Host: Write a comment Send E-mail

I would always like to hear from former squadron members. I still have the same office phone, (818) 997-3933. The home phone number is (818) 342-3371.
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Josh Lober 
San Luis Obispo, CA
Friday, 30. July 2004 17:58 Host: Write a comment Send E-mail

Steve & Josh Lober at the Mammoth Lakes Airport during a 2003 fly-fishing trip.
(click image to enlarge)


Welcome to the Squadron 3 website.

In July 2004, I began working on a project to build a website for Kitty Hawk Squadron 3. The purpose of the site is four fold:

1. Raise presence of the organization and promote membership.

2. Archive photos and articles for current and former Squadron members.

3. Raise funds for the Squadron.

4. Enable old friends to find each other.

Like so many others, my brother Steve and I began our aviation training as teenagers in Squadron 3. While I did not make aviation my career, I remain an active pilot with a Commercial SEL/MEL License and Instrument Rating. Steve on the other hand is an MD-11 Captain for FedEx.

Squadron 3 was founded December 17 (Kitty Hawk Day) 1951 by Homer Hess, Fred Maw and Max Mahan. In 1955 Ralph Truglio joined the Squadron as a flight and ground school instructor. To this day, Ralph continues to provide flight and ground instruction. Bill Bratly is the current Squadron Advisor, a post he has held since the mid 1970s. Of course, if it were not for the generosity of the Optimist Club of North Hollywood who has provided the Squadron with numerous aircraft over the years, none of this would be possible.

There are many gaps in the photo archive. If you have old photos or slides, please let me know so we can add them to the collection. If you can put a name to anyone listed as ‘unknown’, be sure to let me know.

This project has given me an opportunity to connect with a few former members, including Jim Upton (the first Squadron member to get his license), Darr Conradson and David Moye. I hope to be in contact with many more soon. Ralph Truglio has been extremely helpful, providing most of the content that is currently posted. A majority of the photos in Ralph’s archive were taken by former Squadron Advisor Max Mahan. Soon, old Squadron rosters will be posted on the site, and hopefully we will be able to provide current contact information for a majority of the former members.

Fall 2004, a feature length documentary on the 75th anniversary of the Van Nuys Airport will be released. I’m pleased to announce that the film’s Producer/Director Brian Terwilliger will be including a segment on Ralph Truglio and Squadron 3. The segment will include interviews with Ralph, some current Squadron members, an old Squadron member (me) and includes some air-to air footage with Ralph and new Squadron 3 instructor Mark Young at the controls of the Squadron’s Cessna 172. I’ve seen the trailer for the film (which was shot in High Definition) and it is going to be great! There is more information available at and I’ll keep you posted on the film’s release.



Josh Lober - Squadron 3 member 1975 - 1978
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