Lecture Program- 2012-2013
The Centennial of Flight in Alaska
The annual Cook Inlet Historical Society lecture series for 2012-13 is jointly sponsored with the University of Alaska Anchorage Honors College and will present a retrospective of historical events surrounding aircraft and aviators in our state and region. Titled "The Centennial of Flight in Alaska,” the program leads up to the Anchorage Museum exhibition commemorating the 100th anniversary of the first aircraft flight in Alaska, entitled “Arctic Flight,” scheduled for February 1-August 15, 2013.
Unless otherwise noted, all lectures are held on the third Thursday of each month, starting at 7:30 pm in Anchorage Museum Auditorium, with snacks afterward. All programs are free and open to the public
September 20, 2012 (Thursday)
Douglas (Doug) Beckstead, Historian, 673rd Air Base Wing History Office, U. S. Air Force, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson
Topic: “The History of Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson” The history of Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson dates back to its establishment in June 1940. Over the following 72 years it played a key role in World War II, the Korean War, Vietnam, and the Cold War. Its history has also traveled the complete circle from its humble beginnings as Elmendorf Field on Fort Richardson, to Elmendorf Air Force Base with Fort Richardson adjacent to it, and today as Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson. As the twenty-first century unfolds, JBER continues to be a key player in the Global War on Terrorism and with providing top cover for North America.
October 18, 2012 (Thursday, Polaris Lecture, Alaska Day)
Bill MacKay former Alaska Senior Vice President, Susan Bramstedt, former Alaska Director of Public Affairs, and Marilyn Romano, current Alaska Director of Public Affairs for Alaska Airlines
Topic: "Celebrating 80 Years of Alaska Airlines.” In honor of Alaska Day, UAA and Cook Inlet Historical Society are pleased to present a trio of well-informed speakers who will offer a comprehensive history of Alaska’s largest and most well-known airline as it celebrates Alaska Airlines’ 80th anniversary. Bill MacKay and Susan Bramstedt, now retired, were important airline executives with a combined 80 years of service to the company in the state. They will discuss the history of the company and its many accomplishments in Alaska over the years. Romano will discuss future plans of the airline inside and outside Alaska, and the firm’s continued commitment to our state.
November 15, 2012 (Thursday)
Leslie Fried, Curator, Alaska Jewish Museum
Topic: "On the Wings of Eagles: The Airlift of Yemenite Jews to Israel by Alaska Airlines Pilots." The presentation will discuss the development of the Jewish Museum’s exhibit about Operation Magic Carpet, being presented simultaneously at the Anchorage Museum, the exodus of over 47,000 Yemenite refugees to Israel from 1948 to 1950. The transfer of refugees from Aden to Israel by pilots of Alaska Airlines, some 1600 air miles over enemy territory, is considered to be one of the most dramatic mass immigration movements of all time. It is also an amazing adventure story that will be illustrated with photographs and documents from the exhibition.
No December or January Programs
February 9, 2013 (Saturday), 2:00pm
Jeremy Kinney, Curator, Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum
Topic: “Opening of the Arctic Flight Exhibition.” Our speaker is co-curator of the Arctic Flight Exhibition, which opens at the Anchorage Museum on Febuary 1, running through August 15, 2013. Julie Decker of the Anchorage Museum is the other exhibition curator and will also participate in the lecture introducing the exhibition. Kinney and Decker will offer highlights of the project and the importance of the centennial of flight to Alaskans.
February 21, 2013 (Thursday, Polaris Lecture)
Terrence Cole, Professor of History, University of Alaska Fairbanks
Topic: “Air Age Cartography: How Aviation and the Second World War Put Alaska at the Center of the World.” Rapid advances in civil and military aviation in the 1930s and the rise of air power spawned a wave of articles, books and maps calling for development of an entirely new discipline of education for the "air age." For a short time this torrent of cartographic reform caused a fundamental reordering of popular American cartography based on the supposed superiority of polar projections, such as the one displayed on the flag of the United Nations. Nevertheless this educational campaign by government officials, cartographers, airlines, ad agencies and schools portraying the world as a sphere, not a flat rectangle, never broke the hold of the Mercator or other east-west projections on the public mind. As a result the prevailing image of Alaska is generally at the far edge of the earth--if not in a box below California--but once there was a time, albeit briefly, when it was the center of the world.
March 21, 2013 (Thursday)
Norman Lagasse, Director, Alaska Aviation Heritage Museum, Anchorage
Topic: “Anchorage Aviation History.” Mr. Lagassee will speak on the aviation heritage of Alaska, focusing on the trials and achievements of early aviators in Anchorage and Southcentral Alaska.
April 18, 2013 (Thursday)
Katie Ringsmuth, National Park Service Historian, Anchorage
Topic: “Wrangell Mountain Skyboys: How Buffalo Bill, Buck Taylor and Bob Reeve Created Alaska's Skyboy Narrative.” Harold Gillam, Bob Reeve, “Kirk” Kirkpatrick and Merle “Mudhole” Smith are among the famous Alaska flyers who established aviation in the Wrangell-St. Elias Mountain region. Starting from coastal airfields such as Valdez and Cordova, these men flew over some of the highest and most rugged terrain in Alaska, transforming the Copper River Basin region after 1929. The lecture will remember these pilots not only as advocates of modern aviation, but also as rugged as the terrain they flew and as independent as the “tough old Alaskans” they served
May 16, 2013 (Thursday)
Felix Maguire, Aviation Historian, Alaska Airmen’s Association
Topic: "The VFR route to Russia.” Last July the Alaska Airmen participated in the Russian Federal Air Transport Agency (FATA) General Aviation Cooperation Trip to Alaska. This program is part of the Federal Aviation Administration’s continuing flight safety cooperation with the Russian Federation. Given that the Russian military no longer controls Russian airspace, our speaker will explain recent Russian legislation that allows general aviation and more open airspace in Russia and the role Alaskans have played in developing this new aviation opportunity. This lecture was recently given at the Circumpolar Aviators Conference in Khanty-Mansyisk in Eastern Siberia.