Hill Aerospace Museum announces Plane Talk speakers

The Hill Aerospace Museum at Hill AFB hosts a plane talk series featuring speakers related to the heritage of Hill Air Force Base, the United States Air Force, other military branches, and many other subjects related aerospace and the defense industry.

Plane Talk began at the Hill Aerospace Museum more than 20 years ago. The speaker series has usually taken place at the Hill Aerospace Museum each Saturday during the fall and winter months.

The series has featured hundreds of notable speakers, including Sen. Jake Garn, former Vietnam prisoner of war Col. Jay Hess, Rear Admiral Jerry Taylor, Col. Robert H. Hinckley, former USAF SAC Commander Gen. Russell Dougherty, former Hill AFB Commander Gen. Marc Reynolds and many more. 

Plane Talk will begin each Saturday at 1 p.m. in the museum auditorium.

Here is the line-up of speakers in upcoming weeks.

Nov. 14, Russ Westcott, Retired USAF Pilot

Nov. 21, Allen Hixson, B-52 Crew Member

Nov. 28, John Cox, Engineer for the Concorde

Dec. 5,  Mike Ramsdell, Russian/Soviet Counterintelligence Officer

Charles T. Vono

Charlie Vono is a retired USAF colonel and retired defense contractor. He is a graduate of the USAF Academy, former pilot, engineer and aerospace leader. He has recently been awarded Associate Fellow Membership in the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. Vono will be speaking about his experiences with in-flight refueling of the SR-71 during the Cold War.

Russell Westcott

Russ Westcott enrolled at Michigan State University in the fall of 1951. After receiving his business degree, he was commissioned as an officer in the United States Air Force. Westcott was active-duty in the Air Force from September 1955 to August 1982. Westcott served 25 years on active pilot status. The primary aircraft he flew included the T-33, L-20, T-38, F-105 D & G and the C-130. During his Air Force career, he logged time in 21 aircraft, including the F-15, F-16, C-141, H-19 and F-111. Westcott was an instructor pilot and check pilot in every primary aircraft. Col. Westcott logged 5,722 total flying hours as a USAF pilot; 453 of those were combat hours in Vietnam, most of them as a “Wild Weasel” pilot.

He has served as a member of the Aerospace Heritage Foundation of Utah Board of Directors for many years. He is a member of the Ogden Exchange Club, is an avid golfer and is active in civic affairs.

Allen Hixson

Allen Hixson enlisted in the Air Force and stayed in for four years during the early ’50s. Upon his discharge, he enrolled at the University of Utah, where he went through the ROTC program and received his commission.

Hixson returned to active duty in 1957. He went through navigator training, electronic warfare training and then B-52 crew training. He was stationed at Ramey AFB, Puerto Rico; Dow AFB, Maine; Castle AFB, California; Utapo AB, Thailand; Beale AFB, California, and Andersen AFB, Guam. Hixson will speak about his experiences as a B-52 crewmember and wing staff member.

John H. Cox

John Cox was born on May 17, 1941, in Dorking, Surrey, England. He lived next to an RAF Spitfire airfield in the London area during his youth and was fortunate to have survived the heavy bombing of that area during the Second World War. He started his career as an engineering apprentice with British European Airways (now British Airways) at Heathrow Airport in London. At the same time of his apprenticeship, he attended Southall College of Technology and graduated as a chartered aeronautical engineer. At college, he served two terms as student body president. He is a member of the Royal Aeronautical Society.

His rise to management level positions in the airline was rapid, concluding his career in aviation at the age of 36 as managing director of British Airways Engineering-Wales and chief engineer of British Airways Regional Division. Along with other directors, he was a key figure in the integration of BOAC, BEA and BAS into British Airways in 1974.

In 1977, recognizing Cox’s organizational skills, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints asked him to leave his chosen career of 20 years and take up the newly created full-time position of director for temporal affairs for the British Iles/Africa area. Later, the church asked him to move to church headquarters in Salt Lake City, where he continued directing temporal affairs on a worldwide basis until his retirement in 2003.

Mike Ramsdell

Mike Ramsdell was born and raised in Bear River, Utah. Upon graduation from Utah State University, he was commissioned an officer in the Military Intelligence Corps. After postgraduate studies at the University of Utah, he began his military active duty as a graduate from the Defense Language Institute (Russian and German) in Washington, D.C.

Ramsdell’s career as a Russian/Soviet counterintelligence officer has taken him on missions throughout Europe, Russia, Scandinavia and Asia. He has served with the U.S. and NATO forces, various intelligence agencies and the U.S. Department of State. His last foreign assignment was for a six-year period in Moscow and Gorky, Russia.

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