Hill Aerospace Museum announces Plane Talk speakers for November

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HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah — The Hill Aerospace Museum hosts a ‘Plane Talk’ series featuring speakers related to heritage of Hill AFB, the U.S. Air Force, other military branches, and many other subjects related to aerospace and the defense industry. Plane Talk takes place on Saturdays at 1 p.m. in the newly renovated museum auditorium, 7961 Wardleigh Road, Hill AFB, Utah. Everyone is invited and admission is free.

Nov. 4, 1 p.m.

Don Pantone, Retired U.S. Air Force

Retired Air Force Col. Donald Pantone graduated from the University of Utah with a degree in Mechanical Engineering and an Air Force commission. His first active duty assignment was to the 9-month Aircraft Maintenance Officers Course at Chanute AFB, Illinois. Upon completion of the course, he was assigned to the Base and Transient Maintenance Flight at Hill AFB. Upon completion of active duty, Don joined the USAF Reserve Unit at Hill AFB and was hired by Marquardt Aircraft Co. Marquardt built ramjet engines for the Bomarc Interceptor Missile. Upon completion of the Bomarc contract, he was then employed by the Boeing Company as a test engineer at the Hill Engineering Test Facility for the Minuteman Weapons System. Upon retirement from Boeing and the Air Force Reserve, he became a member of the board of directors of the Aerospace Heritage Foundation of Utah. He has since been directly involved in the acquisition and restoration of many of the of the museum’s aircraft that are now on display. Pantone was a member of the teams that recovered the P-38 and B-24 aircraft from the Aleutian Islands. He was heavily involved with the restoration of both aircraft. Pantone will talk about the recovery and restoration of the Hill Aerospace Museum’s B-24.

Nov. 11, 1 p.m.

Stanley McGrew, Retired U.S. Air Force

Stanley McGrew started his aviation career in 1951 and ended it 66 years later, in 2017. He grounded himself in the spring of 2017 because he wanted to quit while he was ahead. Through his 66 years of flying, he only scratched one aircraft and the plane was a complete loss due to an in-flight fire which burned out from under him. McGrew went into the U.S. Air Force in 1954. He retired after 20 years of service in 1974. He went back to school for a short time to gain his aircraft mechanic license.

In 1978, he was hired by the U.S. Forest Service as a flyer. He stayed with Region 4 of the Forest Service flying through early 1992 when he decided it was time to get out of the business. Since then he has been mostly retired but still very active in aviation working frequently at the Morgan County Airport. During the course of his flying life, he has owned six different airplanes and two gliders. He recently sold his sixth airplane.

Nov. 18, 1 p.m.

Gary Stephens, Retired U.S. Army

Gary Stephens is a retired U.S. Army colonel. Stephens has worked on numerous missions throughout the world including Vietnam, Korea, Germany, and Bulgaria. During his career, he was recognized for work in religious freedom by members of the Bulgarian Parliament, received a Bronze Star Medal, Service Medal (3), Air Medal (4), Armed Forces Joint Service Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal (2), Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal (3), Korean Defense Medal, Master Aviator Badge, and various service ribbons. He currently resides in Layton, Utah, and is married to Annette Allen. They have two daughters, eight grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren

Nov. 25, 1 p.m.

Charlie Vono, Retired U.S. Air Force

Charlie Vono is a retired U.S. Air Force colonel and retired defense contractor senior manager who remains very active in Utah’s engineering community. Vono was aircraft commander on the KC-135 aircraft assigned to the SR-71 mission, software systems chief in the U.S. Air Force Space Program, F-16 structural engineer, Ogden Air Logistics Center staff, and Pacific Command Reserve Forces division chief. Charlie has 25 years of experience sustaining the nation’s ICBM force. As a Cold Warrior, Charlie tell his stories of refueling the fastest manned aircraft ever built while placing it in historical context. Depending on the interest of the audience, he will likely tie in his other career experiences with space recon, nuclear missiles, and other Cold War missions. In retirement, Charlie writes and speaks about sustaining the complex system, supports the SLC Comic Con K-12 STEM booth, and helps his wife, “the Turtle Lady,” rescue and raise almost 20 species of turtles.

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