Walter J. Boyne, former director of the National Air and Space Museum of the Smithsonian Institution, enlisted as a private in the United States Air Force in 1951 and retired in 1974 as a Colonel with more than 5,000 hours in a score of aircraft including the B-50, B-47 and the B-52.
Colonel Boyne was stationed at McConnell AFB in 1954, located in Wichita, Kansas, the Air Capital of the World. Of that time Colonel Boyne said, “The B-47 training at McConnell was conducted with a ruthless, almost scientific efficiency, that saw crews put through the program as rapidly as possible, while still giving them the maximum amount of information. As a young copilot, I enjoyed every minute of it, especially on the one flight in which I was put in the front seat for instruction. It was Wichita hot during the summer of 1954, but the thrill of getting your hands on the controls of the B-47 more than made up for it.”
Colonel Boyne has written more than 400 articles and over 30 books on aviation subjects and is one of the few authors to have had both fiction and nonfiction books on the New York Times bestseller lists. His nonfiction books include The Smithsonian Book of Flight, The Leading Edge, Weapons of Desert Storm, and Boeing B-52: A Documentary History. His books have been published in nine countries, and his latest work Beyond the Wild Blue, A History of the United States Air Force, 1947-1997, published by St. Martins Press, has been made into a five-part video of the same name for the History Channel. His fiction books include The Wild Blue (with Steve Thompson) Trophy for Eagles, Eagles at War, and Air Force Eagles. An honors graduate of the University of California, Berkley, with a BS-BA, he graduated magna cum laude from the University of Pittsburgh with an MBA. He received an honorary Doctorate of Aeronautical Science from Salem University in West Virginia.
For his achievements in 1998, the National Aeronautic Association named him an Elder Statesman of Aviation. The Federal Aeronautique Internationale, The international aviation organization of which NAA is a member, honored Colonel Boyne with its 1998 Paul Tissandier Diploma.
Colonel Boyne continues to author books and articles and serves as valued consultant to the Discovery Wings Channel.
Walter has three new books coming out this year: “Dawn Over Kitty Hawk; The Novel of the Wright Brothers”; “Chronicle of Flight”, a 1000 photograph, 95,000 word history of aviation; and “The Influence of Air Power on History”.