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 Forces 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 worlds fastest, most sophisticated planes, the book traces the tragic course of Glen Edwardss 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 wasnt 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