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.


March 2018


March 3         1:00 pm          John Cox                                Retired British Airways Engineer

March 10       1:00 pm          David Nicholas, etal.          Hot Air Balloon Pilot

March 17       1:00 pm           Tom Fitzgerald                   WW II P-47 Mechanic               

March 24       1:00 pm          Mike Fuller                          Orbital ATK Engineer


Additional information on each speaker:

John Cox

John Cox was born on 17 May 1941 in Dorking, Surrey, England. John 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 teams 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 John’s organizational skills, the LDS Church asked him to leave his chosen career of twenty years and take up the newly created full-time position of director for temporal affairs for the British Isles/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.

David Nicholas, Rory Murphy, Oz Crosby, Steve Leatham

On a dark and stormy night 77 years ago, a B-18 bomber crashed into Iron Mountain two miles west of Park City. Five of the seven airmen survived. This event was forgotten over time. Steve and I will answer “what, when, why, who and where?” Rory Murphy will share his experience of parachuting into a dark and stormy night. As an FYI – there will be representatives from two of the airmen’s families. This will be their first meeting.

David Nicholas has worked in the media and entertainment business for the past 40 years. On a volunteer basis he researches and write for the Park City Historical Society with a particular interest in trains and plane crashes

Rory Murphy was an infantry paratrooper for four years with the 6/327th (Brigade Alaska) and the 82nd Airborne Division (1/505th).  He has been a resort developer in the Park City area for the past 25 years.  He is a disabled veteran as a result of the injuries inflicted on the below-referenced parachute jump.

Oz Crosby was born in 1943. He began building model airplanes before he could read. He later went on to build flying model airplanes and experimented with rockets made from old bazooka shells. He earned his pilot’s license in 1961. Never flew military, but is rated for instruments, acrobatics, seaplanes and gliders. Oz enjoys aviation history and is fascinated by accident reports.

Steve Leatham is a retired social studies teacher and school administrator with a passion for Park City history. The story of the B-18 bomber that crashed on Iron Mountain near Park City on November 17, 1941 was nearly forgotten. He has chosen to honor the courage and heroism of the two airmen who lost their lives and the five who parachuted to safety in a blinding snowstorm through his research, writings and lectures. The contributions of the flyer’s family in this effort have been invaluable.

Tom Fitzgerald

93-year-old Tom Fitzgerald served in the Army Air Corps during World War II from 1943-1945. During that time, Fitzgerald worked as a flight line mechanic on the P-47 in the European Campaign. He worked in seven different air fields following General George Patton. Fitzgerald will talk about his experiences with the P-47 during the European campaign.

Mike Fuller

Mike Fuller has been with Orbital ATK for 12 years and is currently working in Business Development, responsible for NASA programs. Mike’s responsibilities include NASA’s Space Launch System booster, NASA Evolvable Mars Campaign along with Deep Space Habitats, and other SLS-related activities. Preceding working in Business Development, Mike spent seven years in Research and Development working thermal protection and ultra-high temperature materials.


Free Admission