Plane Talk


Plane Talk Lecture Series


The Hill Aerospace Museum hosts a plane talk series featuring speakers related to 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 twenty 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 Senator Garn, former Viet Nam 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 begins at 1:00 pm in the Hill Aerospace Museum theater.


September 2018


September 8         1:00 pm          Russ Westcott                 Retired USAF Pilot

September 15       1:00 pm          Jim Green                        Former Naval Officer, Retired Airline Pilot, Professor

September 22      1:00 pm           James Sullivan                Retired USAF SR-71Pilot

September 29      1:00 pm           Open Aircraft Day            No Plane Talk Scheduled


Additional information on each speaker:

Russ Westcott

Colonel Russ Westcott, USAF (Ret) closed out his 27-year career, spanning 1955 to 1982, as Commander of the 6545th Test Group at Hill AFB. Assignments included Instructor Pilot, Adjutant/Administration Officer, Flying Safety Officer, Chief of Safety at Wing and MAJCOM levels, Vice Wing Commander at Edwards AFB and Group Commander. Col Westcott was on flying status for 25 of his 27 years of service. Westcott’s primary aircraft were the T-33, T-38, F-105 D/G, and C/DC-130.  He has logged time in 27 different aircraft from the B-25 to F-16 and F-15.  Col Westcott has over 5700 hours of flying time including 2500 hours of IP time and 453 hours of combat time.  He will talk about the early days of the USAF from his perspective and some of his flying experiences.

Jim Green

Jim Green graduated number one in his US Navy Aviation Officer Candidate School class and served as Regimental Commander.

Captain Green spent 7 years as a Naval Officer, and Aircraft Carrier Jet Attack Pilot in the A4 Skyhawk during the Vietnam War era, qualifying aboard the USS Lexington and the USS Enterprise. However, because the war ended just prior to earning Naval Aviator wings never got to fly in Vietnam. Green managed intense military Air Traffic Control operations and conflict resolution staging in Southeast Asia from NAS Cubi Point in Subic Bay, Philippines right after the end of the war. He represented the US military, negotiated an airspace Letter of Agreement with the Philippine government for the Navy and the Air Force.

Jim flew as a pilot for Continental/United Airlines for 26 years and helped take the company from “worst to first” through direct involvement in operations and management procedure improvements. The CEO of the airline, Gordon Bethune, said “Jim was the single best source of the most beneficial operational suggestions at the airline.”

Jim affected world policy as an aggressive volunteer United Nations lobbyist in New York, Geneva, The Hague, Lisbon, Riga, and Paris. He taught graduate school at Jiao Tong University in Shanghai, Peoples’ Republic of China for a year. Jim is presently working with the American International Aviation Academy of Utah bringing Chinese students to Utah for Flight Attendant and Pilot Training.

Green was a tenured Associate Professor at Utah Valley University for 9 years. He currently is an Adjunct Associate Professor in the School of Aviation Sciences at UVU. He served as the Department Chairman of that school.

Jim is an author/contributor to numerous publications— on political, societal, and economic issues of the day. Lectured and participated in meetings in Russia, China, Germany, Belgium, France, Bolivia, Portugal, Switzerland, Austria, Taiwan, Singapore, The Philippines, Korea, and Israel. He gave a TED-X talk on the possibility of future Single Pilot Airline operations.

James Sullivan

James V. Sullivan, Col. USAF (ret.), is originally from Montana, but currently lives in Stansbury Park, Utah with his wife, Nancy. He joined the United States Air Force in January of 1956, at 18.5 Years-old. Sullivan was in the Air Force for 29 years. He retired from the USAF in January 1985 as a Colonel.

Sullivan holds the current world speed record from New York to London, which he achieved on the September 1, 1974 in an SR-71 Blackbird. He logged 900 hours in the SR-71. He is one of the few USAF pilots who ever flew the SR-71. The Hill Aerospace Museum currently has an SR-71 C on exhibit.

Sullivan’s original military flying experience was in fighter jets. He spent 4 years in the F-100, and even longer in the F-105. His first tour in Vietnam was in the F-105. He was shot down in December of 1965 but was flying again in just 3 days. He flew a second Vietnam tour in the F4, and then a third tour in the SR-71. In total, he had about 300 flights combined.

Colonel Sullivan retired from the Air Force on January 1, 1985. Sullivan now has 4 children and 5grandchildren. He will be speaking mostly about his flight from New York to London in the SR-71.

Free Admission