Glen Edwards: The Diary of a Bomber Pilot, from the Invasion of North Africa to His Death in the Flying Wing

Overview

In 1941, Glen Edwards learned to fly in a fabric-covered biplane. Seven years later, he died in the crash of the Northrop YB-49 Flying Wing, the Air Force's most advanced jet-propelled aircraft and forerunner of the B-2 Stealth bomber of today. As a combat pilot in North Africa and Italy during World War II, and as a test pilot during a period of astonishing innovation, Edwards was among the best of a new generation of military aviators. The isolated desert base at Muroc, ...
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Glen Edwards: The Diary of a Bomber Pilot, From the Invasion of North Africa to His Death in the Flying Wing

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Overview

In 1941, Glen Edwards learned to fly in a fabric-covered biplane. Seven years later, he died in the crash of the Northrop YB-49 Flying Wing, the Air Force's most advanced jet-propelled aircraft and forerunner of the B-2 Stealth bomber of today. As a combat pilot in North Africa and Italy during World War II, and as a test pilot during a period of astonishing innovation, Edwards was among the best of a new generation of military aviators. The isolated desert base at Muroc, California, where Edwards crashed would be named in his honor.

All through his military career, Glen Edwards kept a daily record of what he did and what he thought. Military historian Daniel Ford situates that diary in the context of World War II, the development of flight testing as a science, and the birth of an independent U.S. Air Force. He shows how military pilots in the 1940s augmented their seat-of-the-pants bravado and precision flying skills with rigorous academic training. Conveying both the exhaustion of combat and the exhilaration of flying some of the world's fastest, most sophisticated planes, the book traces the tragic course of Glen Edwards's career: the near-daily bombing missions over Africa and Italy, a record-breaking cross-country flight in the XB-42 Mixmaster, and trial flights in the YB-49 Flying Wing-the first plane Edwards ever actively disliked. The innovative Northrop bomber, Daniel Ford concludes, just wasn't ready for prime time. About 70,000 words; with photographs from the Air Force and the Edwards family.

"A fascinating tale and a tribute to an unassuming man who simply loved to fly." -- Air&Space/Smithsonian

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Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
"The fascinating diary of the WWII bomber and postwar test pilot.... Edwards's own words are skillfully interwoven with Ford's, offering a richly detailed account of postwar aviation--and the infant years of the military-industrial complex."
Warbird Forum - Robert Cardenas
"Only a few people had the privilege of knowing Glen Edwards. He was one of my test pilots in the Bomber Section of the Flight Test Division at Wright Field, Dayton, Ohio. He was the best of the best! Mr. Ford has taken the whispers of his diary, added fact to myth, and from the wisps of substance has created a human form who lived life to the fullest." -- Brigadier General Robert L. Cardenas (USAF retired)
Air&Space/Smithsonian - John Sotham
"After the reader sweats Edwards' combat missions, Stateside romances, and everyday problems, the experience of reading his final entry, written three days before his death, is chilling. But throughout, the words of Edwards and Ford combine into a fascinating tale and a tribute to an unassuming man who simply loved to fly." -- John Sotham in Air & Space / Smithsonian
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781490952994
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
  • Publication date: 8/30/2013
  • Pages: 220
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.46 (d)

Meet the Author

Daniel Ford is a New Hampshire-based author and late-blooming graduate of the War Studies program at King's College London. He is best known for his prize-winning history of the "Flying Tigers," the American pilots who flew and fought for China in the opening months of the Pacific War. A stint as a reporter in South Vietnam inspired him to write a black-humor novel about that unhappy venture into counterinsurgency--a story that became the acclaimed Burt Lancaster film, "Go Tell the Spartans." Here he turns a lifetime interest in the U.S. military to the life story of a great American pilot who gave his life in the attempt to develop the futuristic Flying Wing bomber.
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 9, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    The story of a man who loved to fly

    Coming off a hardscrabble farm at the end of the Great Depression, Glen Edwards learned to fly in a tube & fabric biplane. Seven years later, he went to his death in the futuristic Flying Wing from Northrop, forerunner of today's B-2 Stealth bomber. Between times, he flew fifty missions over North Africa, Sicily, and Italy. He became one of the leading test pilots of his day, and he romanced every pretty girl in sight. This is his story, for the most part in his own words. Blue skies! -- Dan Ford

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 11, 2011

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