Howard Hughes: Aviator

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Naval Institute Press, 2004 - 257 pages
A test pilot for Howard Hughes separates fact from fiction to tell an insider's story of the aviation genius who set speed records in the 1930s and went on to develop some of America's most famous aircraft and weapons. George Marrett tested forty different military aircraft, and he draws on his personal experiences and those of other confidants to take readers inside Hughes's complex world, a world that has kept its secrets for nearly six decades. Both a gifted storyteller and an expert in the field of aviation, the author integrates stories of Hughes the ace pilot with Hughes the designer, who insisted on test flying every plane he built, and Hughes the businessman, who became America's first billionaire. Through revealing, humorous, and sometimes tragic stories, Marrett succeeds in providing a full picture of the elusive Hughes despite his insistence on working in secrecy. The author recounts the scores of aircraft Hughes purchased, borrowed, sometimes flew, and then stored all over the country, and he provides details of the top-secret airfield that Hughes owned at Culver City, just a few miles from the Los Angeles airport. Offering a narrative as exciting as its subject, Marrett begins in the 1920s when Hughes learned to fly at the Santa Monica airport, continues into the 1940s with his famous flight of the Spruce Goose, follows into the post-World War II era and the invention of airborne radar at the Hughes Aircraft Company, and then moves into the 1960s and 70s at the Culver City airport where Marrett tested weapon systems that are still in use by the U.S. military.

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User Review  - jztemple - LibraryThing

Written in an anecdotal style that never seemed to go very deep into any particular aspect of Hughes, his aircraft or his business endeavors. Read full review


Early Flying Years
Record Flights

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About the author (2004)

George J. Marrett flew 188 missions in the Douglas A-1 Skyraider in Vietnam and tested more than forty types of military aircraft in twenty-five years as a test pilot for the U.S. Air Force and Hughes Aircraft Company. He is a member of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots and the Board of Trustees, National Test Pilot School, Mojave, California.

Marrett is also the author of "Howard Hughes: Aviator; Cheating Death: Combat Air Rescues in Vietnam and Laos", and "Testing Death: Hughes Aircraft Test Pilots and Cold War Weaponry". Now retired, he lives in Atascadero, California.

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