THE SMITHSONIAN BOOK OF FLIGHT
Walter J. Boyne ( February 2nd, 1929 - January 9th, 2020 ) was born in East Saint Louis ( Illinois, United States ). Growing up in a poor family during the time of the Great Depression, he attended Holy Angels Grade School where he first discovered an interest in writing.
His love of flying was encouraged by novels such as G - 8 and His Battle Aces ( Robert J. Hogan, 1933 - 1944 ). Walter J. Boyne decided at this young age that he would become a pilot for the Air Force and focused his efforts to achieve that goal.
In May 1951, after two years at the university, he entered the U.S. Air Force's Aviation Cadet programme, and started Flight School in November 1951, becoming the first of his class to solo. On December 19th, 1952, he was awarded his wings as a pilot and a commission as a Second Lieutenant.
Walter J. Boyne flew the B - 50 Superfortress ( 330th Bomb Squadron ) and was trained in the B - 47 Stratojet, which he flew for several years. He returned to college and graduated with honours from the University of California ( Berkeley ) with a bachelor's degree in business administration followed by a master's degree in business administration from the University of Pittsburgh ( Pennsylvania, United States ).
Walter J. Boyne returned to active flying as a nuclear test pilot with the 4925th Nuclear Test Group, and became an aircraft commander in both the B - 47 and B - 52 Stratofortress. He served during the Vietnam War as commander of the 635th Services Squadron, flying 120 combat hours as a C - 47 Skytrain instructor pilot. Colonel Walter J. Boyne retired on June 1st, 1974.
He then joined the National Air and Space Museum as curator of air transport. Named acting director in 1982 and director on February 10th, 1983, he resigned in 1986.
Walter J. Boyne began his writing career in 1962 while still in the Air Force. Tired of the repetitive aviation articles of the time, he chose to write about lesser - known people and airplanes. He was the author of over 50 books and over 1,000 magazine articles. His work includes the following titles : The Jet Age : Forty Years of Jet Aviation ( 1979 ), The Power Behind The Wheel ( 1988 ), Clash of Wings : World War II in the Air ( 1994 ), Encyclopedia of Air Warfare ( 2003 ), How the Helicopter Changed Modern Warfare ( 2011 ).
( source : Wikipedia )