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  • Writer's picturePatti McCloy

The Aviator Newsletter

Vol. 1, No. 1

From the Oakland Aviation Museum – We hope you had a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year


We hope you had a happy holiday and have had a wonderful start to 2019! We first wanted to give our thanks to you, for being a part of the Oakland Aviation Museum Family! We hope that this new quarterly newsletter will provide you with some interesting reading as well as peaks your interest in what is going on at the Oakland Aviation Museum.

2018 was a great year! We rounded off the year with the addition of some highly talented Board members and some talented volunteers who will be helping us to implement some strategic plans that we have been formulating over the past few months.

We have added our first STEM program and modified our mission statement to include educational and historical resources to support that project. The STEM program will focus on children in the K1 through K4 group. This activity will continually expand to provide some classroom and summer camp learning.

  • We have initiated aircraft restoration projects on two of our U.S. Navy aircraft – A-3 Skywarrior and the A-6 Intruder. These projects will expand to include other aircraft as time goes on. Your help in this project is greatly appreciated. If you have experience with aircraft restoration, or would like to learn, please contact us.

  • We have also planned for additional funding to help with our landscaping and equipment improvements.

  • We have introduced some interactive displays and will continue providing more.

  • We now have a dedicated event planner to help with orchestrating weddings, company functions and more.

  • We have some surveys completed on suggestions for improving your enjoyment during your visits to the museum. We hope you will provide us with any suggestion you may have.

  • And, as always, your generous donations and your membership also help since aircraft restoration and other museum activities can be a bit expensive.

Best Regards,

John Horton

President, Oakland Aviation Museum Board of Trustees.


Historical Moment

From the OAM Collection
Boeing School of Aeronautics Brochure

Did you know that the museum building was once Boeing School of Aeronautics? Well, did you know that this year our building it turning 90 years old!

The Boeing School was founded in 1929. Starting out with a staff of 19 and a class of 100 students, within a decade the school would over quadruple in size. By the 1940’s the school was also helping to train 5,000 U.S. Army Mechanics!

During World War to, the use of the facilities shifted and after the war the building was still used by Boeings’ parent company, United, under the new name United Air Line Training Center until its closing in 1945.

Today the building houses the collections of the Oakland Aviation Museum, telling the story of North Field and Bay Area Aviation. Help us celebrate the buildings Birthday by making a donation to our current campaign to raise funds for some much needed renovations!


We need your Help


Upcoming Events

Open Cockpit Days 2019

March 17

June 16

September 8

February 23

The Bay Cities 99’s present ‘Lunch with a Pilot’ at the museum.

This event is for Girl Scouts interested in learning about airplanes. The local women pilots’ group will lead four lessons designed to highlight math, science, history and language used in the aviation industry. Activities include a museum tour, snack, patch and lunchtime spent with women pilots of the Bay Cities 99!

For more information please call 510 289-6424

March 17

Open Cockpit Day from 12 noon to 4pm.

Open Cockpit is when the museum’s visitors can view famous aircraft including A-3 Skywarrior, A-4 Skyhawk, A-6 Intruder, A-7 Corsair and can sit in the Cessna 0-2, P-51 Mustang, T-39 Saber liner, Harrier Jump Jet and Mig -15. Activities will include:

· Chabot Space and Science Center exhibits and demonstrations.

· Santa Clara Masonic Lodge will offer refreshments for purchase.

· Live music by The Friends of Ken Band.

· Roller derby demonstrations by Quad City Derby Bombshells



Oakland Aviation Museum is now offering hands-on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) aviation educational programs starting January 2019 for K1-4!

Wings Over Oakland

STEM Program

Flight In Motion # 1

Students learn about the principles of flight, structural designs and different features as they identify individual aircraft components using worksheets, wooden aircraft, experiment with forces of flight and build balsa gliders. They will discuss basic functions of each part, including Engine, Wings, Fuselage, Horizontal/Vertical Stabilizers.


Volunteer Opportunities

We are always looking for volunteers for various projects around the museum. Here are our new and ongoing projects for the month. If you are interested in helping, please email or search for us on VolunteerMatch.

New Projects

  • Seeking Open Cockpit Day Volunteers

  • A-6 Wing restoration Project

  • Exhibit Inventory Project

  • Social Media Marketing

  • A-3 Restoration

  • Equipment / Aircraft Maintenance


In 1943, Mary Babnik Brown saw an advertisement in a newspaper, searching for women with blonde hair of at least 22" length that had never been treated with chemicals or hot irons. The military was offering to purchase such hair, to be used for meteorological instruments in the war effort. Her hair, along with the hair of other women was used to create to be used as crosshairs in the Norden bombsights in WW II.

Brown was a Coloradan; a child of Slovenian immigrants. She left elementary school at the age of 12, to help support her family as a servant for $5/week. When she was 13, she lied about her age so that she could work at National Broom Factory for 75 cents a day, a job she held for 42 years. Her younger siblings pitched in by picking up chunks of coal that had fallen onto the railroad tracks. Brown's lone prized possession was her knee-length fine blonde hair.

The Army Air Forces, the predecessor to today's US Air Force, had tried various materials for the Norden bombsight, including black widow spider webbing, but nothing could withstand the temperature variations like fine blonde human hair that had never been treated with chemicals or heat.

Brown sent off a sample of her 34" blonde hair to the government for analysis. After analyzing her hair, they agreed to purchase it, offering to pay her in war savings stamps. But Brown wouldn't accept payment for her hair seeing that is was her patriotic duty to help the war effort. She later recalled that she cried for months after cutting her hair.

It was decades later Brown learned the true use of her hair, and the effect of her sacrifice. In 1987, on her 80th birthday,

she received a personal thank-you letter from President Ronald Reagan:

Brown's hometown of Pueblo, Colorado declared an official Mary Babnik Brown day, and she also received an award from the Colorado Aviation Historical Society.

Said Brown: "Here I am, an old lady of 83, and I'm still flying high".


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