A Personal History of RHV

Nearby Pinkerton Aviation also was located in a trailer. "Pinkies" Champs were painted yellow, and some referred to them as the "Yellow Jaundice Airforce".   Pinkerton had flown F4U Corsairs in the Pacific theater during WW-2, and had a number of photos of those days were on display in his flight school office. 

Amelia and Robin Reid

Vern and I took what was for me the longest flight in a small plane, a weekend trip to Clearlake where we camped under the wing of Pinkies L-2.

Pinkerton 1956 Champion 7EC

Sometime later Vern decided to rent one of these tired old birds and go out to see how high we could get it. I recall at least a one hour climb near Reid Hillview, and we eventually decided that 13,000 feet was about all we were going to get that day. Great fun! Both Amelia and Pinkerton's "flight school on wheels" were located near the current hangar and tie down rows "H" and "I".   These schools were near the entrance to the field, which at that time was on Cunningham Avenue. This road was eventually bisected due to additional land purchased to enlarge the airfield. The remaining stubs of this road remain on each side of the field, the east portion becoming the main entrance to RHV.

At this time both Story and Tully roads had stop signs where they intersected with highway 101!  Both got over crossings soon after I began flying at Reid's, around 1966 or so.

Aeiral view of Reid Hillview taken in 1975. Note San Jose Speedway, upper left.

Amelia's fleet consisted of a smattering of Champs, Taylorcraft, and maybe a Piper or two as well. Two or three of the aircraft she had on the line in those years are still in use today in the "new" Aerodynamic flight school as I write this. By the way, I remember seeing Robin Reid playing alone in the parking lot while his mom was busy flying with students.

Another memory of Amelia's school;  the Piper Apache twin Robin received some of his first multi-engine training with his mom instructing is still tied down there. It was sold some years ago, but the new owner elected to keep it tied down in one of the several spots the school rents out for tie downs. As far as I can see the only “improvements” to this aircraft has been a new pair of cowlings. The plane still has the original paint job it did when Robin was getting his first twin engine training.

Later Amelia hired a flight instructor named Marge Frenzel . Marge was a funny, outspoken, and independent woman with a lot of aviation knowledge. I found out some years later she was one of a number of women that had been trained to fly in WW-2. I learned about this when Marge was given an award at the Aero Club Annual Crystal Eagle Award Dinner held at the Hiller Air Museum in San Carlos. I hadn't seen Marge since the late 1970's. She had been brought there by friends and was in a wheelchair. In spite of the advancing years she still had a sparkle in her eye, and remembered me from the days I worked with Vern when he was Amelia's mechanic before striking out on his own.

Marge Frenzel, among other women military pilots during the war, were known as 'Women Airforce Service Pilots' and were trained to ferry aircraft around the country (and to Europe, ed.) as needed during the war, freeing up more men to fly in actual combat. After the war air racing resumed, and one of the racing categories was for T-6's. Marge later wanted to try her hand racing T-6 Texans during the Cleveland racing years, but was turned down because of her gender. Marge died about 3 years ago.