The 60th Cactus Fly-In Banquet Saturday, March 3th, 2018

This year, we welcome military historian, Herb Zinn with his presentation:

Falcon Field: The Aerodrome of Democracy!

Mr. Zinn will present the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan in World War II, and America’s role on the training of RAF pilots for combat. As well as, the construction, development and operation of Falcon Field which served as #4 British Flying Training School.  #4 BFTS was the fourth of seven schools established throughout the southern United States.  These were responsible for the training of about 7,000 of the 16,000 RAF pilots trained in the United States, contributing to over 130,000 trained throughout the Commonwealth program in 9 countries.

HERB ZINN holds a Bachelor of Arts cum laude degree from Adelphi University (1970), where he majored in history, before embarking on a 40 year-long law practice, the last 32 years of which saw him engaged as in-house legal counsel to Pinnacle West Capital Corporation and its subsidiary, Arizona Public Service Company in the field of utility and energy law.

His first and true passion is military history. He has written various articles on topics of interest relating to World War II, and has been a visiting lecturer at Scottsdale Community College and Chandler-Gilbert Community College on topics related to military history and the role of military aviation in modern-day combat.

Herb has been requested or invited to speak before numerous groups and audiences, including:

  • The Desert Warriors/1st Lt. Frank Luke Jr. Memorial Museum,
  • CAF Airbase Arizona Aviation Museum,
  • The Phoenix Wing of the American Aviation Historical Society,
  • Arizona Commandery of the Naval Order of the United States,
  • The Roadrunners Chapter of the Association of Naval Aviators,
  • The Arizona Chapter of the Association of Former Intelligence Officers,
  • The Caledonian Society,
  • The Annual Greater Southwest Aviation Maintenance Technician Symposium, presented by Chandler-Gilbert Community College,
  • Hamilton High School Educational Decathlon Program,
  • The Korean War Veterans Association,
  • Merrill Gardens Retirement Community at Anthem,
  • National Retired and Active Federal Employees Association,
  • Scottsdale Community College,
  • Taiwan Veterans Association,
  • The World War II Veterans Association,
  • The Sun Lakes Aero Club, and
  • Various branches of the Maricopa County Library District.

His talks cover a wide spectrum of subject areas, principally dealing with World War II in both the European and Pacific Theaters of Operation, as well as the Korean War and military aviation in general, with an emerging expertise into the Vietnam War era.

In his spare time, he is an avid reader of military history, a passionate computer flight simmer and plastic model aircraft builder. He is a former member of the Commemorative Air Force and its local Arizona chapter, Airbase Arizona, where he served as a museum Docent and guest speaker, a Load Master on the Unit’s B-17, “Sentimental Journey”, as the Unit’s Executive Officer, as well as a member of its Wing Staff, its Strategic Planning Committee, and the Unit’s non-profit fundraising affiliate, The American Airpower Heritage Foundation of Arizona, among other assignments. He is also a member of the American Air Museum in Britain (at Duxford), the National World War II Museum (in New Orleans) and the Pacific Aviation Museum (in Oahu, Hawaii).

Past Events & Presenters:

Ann Pellegreno Lockheed 10 Electra
Ann Pellegreno in the Lockheed 10 Electra, 1967

In 2016, we were proud to feature Ann Pellegreno, the first to fly a Lockheed 10 Electra around the world on the Earhart Trail and drop a wreath on Howland Island in memory of Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan!

Ann Dearing Holtgren was born in Chicago, Illinois, to Aba Dearing and Clifford C. Holtgren. Ann and her sister Lois, two years younger, attended grade schools in Riverdale and Thornton Township High School in Harvey. She graduated from there in 1954 and the University of Michigan in 1958. She married Don Pellegreno while living in Michigan. The couple moved to Iowa in 1969.

World Flight, The Earhart Trail 1971Ann’s first book, World Flight, the Earhart Trail, was published by Iowa State University Press in 1971 and received the Nonfiction Book Award from the Aviation/Space Writers Association (ASWA) in 1972. That volume tells of Ann’s 1967 flight around the world in a restored 1937 twin-engine Lockheed 10 Electra, the same type as flown by Amelia Earhart. Ann followed Earhart’s 1937 flight path as closely as possible. The author’s second book, Volume One of Iowa Takes to the Air (1845-1918) was published by Aerodrome Press in 1980 followed by Volume Two (1918-1941) in 1986. Both volumes received an award in the Technical and Reference category from the ASWA The third and final volume of Iowa Takes to the Air (1941-2003) was published in 2003.

Ann served on the Iowa Aeronautics Commission from 1974 to 1975 and from 1974 to 1976 on the Iowa Department of Transportation Commission, the first woman so appointed to a state DOT commission in the nation.

Her memberships include the Experimental Aircraft Association, the Antique Airplane Association, the American Aviation Historical Society, the Plymouth Owners Club, and the Thornton Alumni Legacy Fund.

IowaTakes to the Air, 2003The author’s articles have appeared in McCall’s, Air Progress (Contributing Editor, 1966-1968) Air Trails (Midwest Correspondent, 1968-1970), Sport Aviation, Antique Airplane News, The Annals of Iowa, General Aviation News, FlyLow, and the Plymouth Owners Club Bulletin. She has a commercial flying license with instrument, multi-engine, and flight instructor ratings.

Her honors include being inducted into the Forest of Friendship at Atchison, Kansas, (1987), the Iowa (1990) and Michigan (1991) Aviation Halls of Fame, the EAA Hall of Fame Antique-Classic Division (1997), and the Iowa Women’s Hall of Fame (2001). At Atchison, Kansas, in 2004, she received the Amelia Earhart Pioneering Aviation Achievement Award from the Cloud L. Cray Foundation. From the Iowa Department of Transportation, Aviation Division, she received the 2010 Outstanding Involvement in Aviation Award. She was inducted into the Hall of Heroes at the Iowa Transportation Museum in Grinnell, Iowa, in September 2010 and into the Thornton Township High School Hall of Fame the following May.

Ann continues to write about aeronautical topics, fly her Piper Cub, and help with aircraft restorations.

Pictured left to right: Bill Polhemus (Navigator), Bill Payne (Co-Pilot), Ann Pellegreno (Pilot), Lee Koepke (Restorer and Own of Lockheed N79237)
Pictured left to right: Bill Polhemus (Navigator), Bill Payne (Co-Pilot), Ann Pellegreno (Pilot), Lee Koepke (Restorer and Own of Lockheed N79237) on return to Oakland July 7, 1967.