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Frederick 'Trap' Trapnell

Fritz Trapnell
Dana Trapnell Tibbitts

Harnessing the Sky

View pictures from March dinner and speaker click here.

Dinner is catered and open to the public ($20/person), reservations are required prior to 6 p.m., Monday prior to dinner, either
On-line HERE or
call 805 296-1935

April Monthly Dinner
Wednesday, Apr 5th, 2017
No Host Bar 6:00 p.m.
Dinner: 7:00 p.m.

Harnessing the Sky

Harnessing the Sky: Frederick 'Trap' Trapnell, the U.S. Navy's Aviation Pioneer, 1923-52--one of the last untold stories in 100 years of naval aviation.

This biography of Vice Adm. Frederick M. Trapnell explores the legacy of the man who has been called the “godfather of modern naval aviation” and the premier test pilot of all time. His vision and leadership shaped the evolution of naval aviation through its formative years and beyond.

Trap spearheaded the Navy’s desperate drive to modernize its aircraft going into World War II, resulting two critical fighters—the Corsair and Hellcat. He became the first Navy pilot to fly a jet, and then the Navy brought him back to Flight Test after the war to guide them through the monumental transition to a new jet age.


FRITZ TRAPNELL grew up in Coronado, California, spent two years on active duty in the U.S. Marine Corps as an enlisted Aviation Electronics Technician, and graduated from Caltech with a Masters degree in Electrical Engineering. He began his fifty-year career in computer and software engineering and management with IBM and retired in 2007 from Hewlett-Packard. Having a father and a stepfather who were career naval aviators made naval aviation family business and ensured his life-long enthusiasm for the subject.

DANA TRAPNELL TIBBITTS began her career as a writer and media relations professional at UCLA in 1980 and continued to work in higher education, media and the arts. As founding member of Hidden Manna Ministry, she has co-authored several books and resources on spiritual life. Dana shares her time between Ventura County and Lake Tahoe, Nevada.

Dick Rutan Visits Estrella Warbirds Museum

Dick Rutan's Visit
L-R: Wayne Rice, Toni Moore, Carol Verstuyft, Ron Brooks, Sherm Smoot, Dick Rutan, Scott Stelzle, Ren Stelloh, Rob Kinnear, and Georg Marret (behind the camera)

World renown aircraft designer, world record-breaking aviator, Richard Glen "Dick" Rutan, visited Estrella Warbirds Museum to meet with the staff share some of his unique aviation insights. Dick Rutan was the Commander of the 1986 flight of the Rutan Voyger, as it made the first non-stop, unfueled flight around the world. His co-pilot was Jeana Yeager. Click here for more pictures thanks to Michael Levine.

Warbirds Wings & Wheels Goes National!

Watch Dennis Gage show off Warbirds Wings & Wheels 8 on national TV. You can now watch the entire episode on our Warbirds Wings & Wheels 9 pages. Click here to view!

Dennis Gage was at Estrella Warbirds Museum last May to film for an upcoming episode of "My Classic Car". We received the following from him concerning show dates for the episode:

  • It will premiere on NBC Sports Network on Tuesday, Jan 10 at 4:30 pm ET.
  • It will then air on Velocity on Saturday, Jan 14 at 8:30 am ET.
  • It will also air on MAVTV on Friday, Feb 17 at 10:30 am, 1:00 pm, & 3:00 pm ET, and on Sunday, Feb 20 at 9:00 am & 12:00 pm ET.
  • Believe it or not, it will even air on MAVTV on Monday, Feb 21 at 3:30 am ET and Monday Feb 28 at 3:00 am ET.
  • It will air again on all networks six months from the original dates.
  • Rev’n (a relatively new over-the-air network) will also run the episode numerous times throughout the year (and into eternity) on a random schedule beginning in April.

Please note, the times listed are Eastern Time. Congratulations to Carol and Dan Verstuyft for co-managing Warbirds Wings & Wheels 8

...And In Other National News:

If you have visited the Woodland Auto Display this past year at Estella Warbirds Museum, you would have seen this Robert Yates car #28, diven by Davey Allison, on display. As of January 7th, it is on loan to an incredible organization. For just the third time since it opened in 2010, the NASCAR Hall of Fame will have a new feature displayed on its Glory Road exhibit -- one that highlights the most legendary drivers in the history of the sport. It takes some drivers years to make their mark on NASCAR’s premier series. In 1987, however, second-generation driver Davey Allison made headlines in his first full season. His five poles and two wins led to Rookie of the Year honors and a record that would stand for 12 seasons. Robert Yates, who served as engine builder on the car, took over as owner in 1989. He kept Allison on as driver and launched Robert Yates Racing

You can read more about the exhibit and view a video in the AutoWeek.com article which talks about this car, click here. How cool is that? Thanks Dick Woodland, for taking a critical part in this project!

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