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According to my mother, the first word I said was “airplane” (“oh-pane”) at around 11 months of age when a P-38 flew over the park we were in. I’ve had a love affair with airplanes and the people who are involved with airplanes ever since, which has become my career as an aviation historian and author.
I built my first model, a Strombecker all-wood P-80 (that dates it!) at age 6, after watching my father build other wood models for me. I quickly graduated to plastic models when I found Mr. Twist’s Fix-It Shop on South Gaylord Street in Denver, with its corner shelves full of wondrous kit boxes. I built my first biplane (a Hawk Models Nieuport 17 – still available from Testors) before I was old enough to know that “biplanes are hard.” With time out in the 1960s after graduating from high school for the Navy and college and “The Sixties” I returned to the hobby in 1970 hand haven’t left since.
I became a screenwriter in Hollywood in the 1980s, after first getting published as an aviation author in the 1970s in Air Enthusiast Quarterly. I’ve flown the back seat of an F-4E Phantom for an article on the Wild Weasels in Air Force Magazine, and had 20 minutes stick time in Jim Nissen’s 1918 Curtiss JN-4D Jenny for an article in Plane and Pilot, and been in everything in between over the past 45 years. When I worked in politics in Sacramento during the 1970s, I was a member of a club that flew Stearman N747JR (we called ourselves in as “Boeing 747 Junior”) and got around 100 hours in that fun machine.
I’m one of the original members here of iModeler, and consider it the best model club on the planet.
Author of “Fabled Fifteen: The Pacific War Odyssey of Carrier Air Group 15”, which you can order here:
You can order “The Bridgebusters: The True Story of the Catch-22 Bomb Wing” here:
You can buy “The Frozen Chosen” here:
You can buy “Pacific Thunder” here:
You can buy “Tidal Wave: From Leyte Gulf to Tokyo Bay” here:
You can buy “Holding The Line: The Naval Air Campaign in Korea” here: