Photo by Pacific Aerial Surveys, a division of HJW GeoSpatial, Oakland, CA.  


The San Francisco Aeronautical Society was founded in 1997 as a nonprofit organization to serve as the affiliated support group of the San Francisco Airport Commission Aviation Library and Louis A. Turpen Aviation Museum. This unique facility located at San Francisco International Airport opened to the public in December 2000. As a collecting institution for research and exhibition programming, its purpose is to enrich our understanding of past, present, and future achievements in air transport.

The main focus of the San Fancisco Airport Museum's Aviation Collection is on the history of commercial air transport in the Pacific Region as it relates to San Francisco International Airport and its role in the development of the aviation industry.



Approximately 6,000 books on commercial, civil, and military aviation are held in the library collection. There are 150 active subscriptions to aviation periodicals and over 2,000 aviation and general interest magazines in runs from the 1890s to the 1980s.  Technical manuals, ephemera, and unique publications are maintained in subject files.  Archives include photographs, architectural drawings, design drawings, maps, charts, and philatelic materials.

An active oral history program produces transcribed interviews that are part of the library collection. These provide first-person accounts from individuals who have experienced careers in aviation. Subjects include airport administrators, airline executives, airline pilots, airline flight crew, and ground crew personnel.


Approximately 9,000 objects are held in the museum collection. Three-dimensional artifacts relating to commercial aviation in the Pacific include airport equipment, architectural elements, building materials, furnishings, aircraft equipment, uniforms, in-flight service wares, graphic design works, posters, and promotional materials. 

Mission and Goals

The mission of the San Francisco Aeronautical Society is to support the San Francisco Airport Commission Aviation Library and Louis A. Turpen Aviation Museum by:

Seeking donations to the collection
Raising funds for acquisitions to the collection
Promoting scholarly research within the collection
Producing educational publications, lectures, and seminars
Identifying subjects for oral histories
Sponsoring special exhibitions

The goals of the San Francisco Aeronautical Society are to:

Create a volunteer group of aviation professionals and enthusiasts to provide broad-based support for the promotion of the San Francisco Airport Commission Aviation Library and Louis A. Turpen Aviation Museum

Establish a San Francisco Aeronautical Society General Membership


In 1991 the San Francisco Airport Commission formulated the concept of an aviation library and museum. In 1994, as a part of the new International Terminal then under design, the Airport Commission voted to construct an 11,500-square foot facility to provide a repository for publications, artifacts, and documents related to the Airport’s history. To forge a link with its historical context the interior design is based on an adaptation of the 1937 San Francisco Airport Passenger Waiting Room. Research facilities, exhibition galleries, collection storage, and work area for professional staff are incorporated into the architectural plan. Intellectual access to the collection is provided by electronic catalogue. 

Board of Directors

Louis A. TurpenPresident
Patrick A. MurphyVice President
George Doubleday IISecretary/Treasurer
Dennis Bouey
William K. Coblentz
Angela Gittens
Mary Griffin
Judd Iversen
Catherine Mayer
Zoe Dell Lantis Nutter
Eric Starks
Jean Kaye Tinsley
Athena Tsougarakis
Peter Volny
Marion Davis Wright

To join the SF Aeronautical Society or make a donation contact
Liz Gindraux at [email protected]