Fifty-two men and women who made America's air power the most respected in the world are profiled in this award-winning series. The series features exclusive interviews with Legends such as Chuck Yeager, Jim Lovell, Buzz Aldrin, and Paul Tibbetts. Spanning the first century of flight, Legends of Airpower effortlessly relates the life and times of these heroes.
He was the son and grandson of 4-star generals, but John McCain's fame doesn't come from his impressive heritage. Instead, it's the courage he showed while a POW in Vietnam that made McCain a household name. From flying A-4s to running for the President of the Untied States, John McCain bears the mark of a true legend.
The son of a preacher man, Charles McGee believed that education was the key to equal opportunities for all races. He joined the Army Air Force at a time when its policies reflected the belief that blacks were incapable of succeeding in technologically complicated jobs. Without fanfare, McGee and his fellow Tuskegee Airmen proved the bigots wrong.
As a youth, Robert Morgan was a sweet-talking ladies man who rubbed elbows with the Vanderbilts. But WWII changed this lothario into a combat soldier-as pilot of the famed Memphis Belle, Morgan oversaw a crew that flew a successful 25 missions without losing a single member.
Carl "Tooey" Spaatz is one of the genuine characters of American aviation. In the wild and woolly days of flight, he was a guitar-strumming free spirit who often offended the military establishment. But over the course of his career, Spaatz did as much to shape the modern Air Force as any other single person.
Everyone knows the name Buzz Aldrin from the historic Apollo 11 landing. But before NASA, this famed astronaut was a Sabre pilot in Korea. After the war, he proved his mental prowess by knocking them dead at MIT, and jumping headfirst into the space program. Even today Aldrin just won't quit, working tirelessly to make space travel available to everyone, not just legends.
Joining Lockheed as a tool designer, Kelly Johnson became one of America's foremost aircraft designers. He developed more than 40 aircraft, from the U-2 to the F-104, and was the head of Lockheed's advanced development projects, known as the "Skunk Works." When he retired in 1975, this tool designer had become Lockheed's Senior Vice President.
John Alison was a kid from central Florida who dreamed of becoming a pilot, and grew up to be one of the best the United States ever produced. But Alison also traveled secretly with the highest level diplomats in the world, drove the getaway car when Americans fled the Nazi advance through Russia, and without orders set up a critical lend-lease supply to the Middle East.
Charles Lindbergh was a pioneer of flight. As the first man to fly solo across the Atlantic, he played an important role in the development of aviation. He also became a celebrity on a scale never known before, and had to go almost to the ends of the Earth to escape the paparazzi and tabloids. A symbol of American ingenuity and bravery, Lindbergh was a true legend.
She began her career as a beautician named Bessie Mae Pittman, but Jackie Cochran grew to become one of the most celebrated aviators of the day. After only ten years of flying, Cochran set 17 world records; she also founded the Women's Air Force Service Pilots, inspiring countless women to pursue their dreams in the sky.
The young woman from Elmira, New York with dreams of flying became not only the first female instructor pilot, but also the first space shuttle commander. The STS-93 was fortunate to have her as their leader, and we are fortunate to have Eileen Collins as a Legend of Airpower.
In 1960, Francis Gary Powers made headlines as the first U-2 pilot to be shot down. Captured in Russia, his safe return was demanded by the United States. Instead, the Russians sentenced him to ten years in prison, beginning the "U-2 Incident" and heightening Cold War tensions.
William Tunner was born in New Jersey, and grew up to become Commanding Officer of the Air Force's Ferrying Division. During the China-Burma-India conflict, he oversaw 71,000 tons of material delivered to a beleaguered China. After WWII, Tunner flew a total of 124.5 million miles as leader of the Berlin Air Lift, earning this Legend a Distinguished Service Cross from General Douglas MacArthur.
Viewed from the distance of nearly a century, the Wright Brothers don't seem as heroic as they really were. They had funny names and wore three-piece suits to the beach. To the modern eye, they look more like comedians than leading men. But they invented the science of aeronautics, thinking in three dimensions when the rest of the world couldn't move beyond two.
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Legends of Airpower is an excellent series featuring real heroes I would recommend this series to anyone who has an interest in the history of wars America participated and the heroes that came out of them.