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About this title:
by William F. Cass
“Blackie” Captain Harold F. Blackburn, A Pioneering, Twentieth Century Pilot In Peace and War, by William F. Cass,
Paperback ISBN 9780828326230 $29.95; E-Book ISBN 9780828326254
Captain Harold F. Blackburn’s first flight was in a Curtiss Jenny one year after the Great War ended. He flew his last flight as a Trans World Airlines Boeing 707 trans-Atlantic captain forty-two years later, after which he kept on flying light aircraft for another fourteen years. His passage in the skies over five continents truly mirrors aviation in the twentieth century. “Blackie” was, at various waypoints in his life, a popular orchestra leader during the Jazz Age, the top-ranked aviation cadet in his class at Kelly Field, a successful small businessman at the height of the Great Depression, and, in his retirement, a farmer in the Pennsylvania Dutch Country. Blackburn’s logbook reflects epic flights in a dazzling array of aircraft: the Curtiss B-2 Condor bomber, the DC-2, 3, and 4, along with the heavy bombers of World War II, the B-17 Flying Fortress and the B-24 Liberator. He carried America’s top brass to and from Europe and Asia during World War II in Boeing Stratoliners and Douglas C-54s. Blackburn also flew clandestine photo-reconnaissance missions over Nazi-Occupied Europe in Lockheed Lightnings. His reputation was made on the most glamorous piston-engined airliner of all time: the Lockheed Constellation. His place as a pioneering, twentieth century pilot was sealed when he became one of very few aviators to win both the prestigious Mackay and Collier Trophies.
William F. Cass is retired from a career in advertising and public relations where a number of his clients participated in civil and military aviation markets. He was educated at Washington College with a B.A. in Economics and at Syracuse University from which he received an M.B.A. in Marketing. He is a former commercial pilot and has been a student of aviation history since childhood. Those experiences were of particular value in two of his previous aviation book projects: The Last Flight of Liberator 41-1133 and Alaska’s Father Goose, the biography of Alaskan naval aviator, bush pilot, and airline captain, Gerald “Bud” Bodding.
Bill’s wife, the former Sarah Mumford, is a graduate of Washington College and the University of Maryland. She is a retired American history teacher. They reside in West Chester, Pennsylvania, and have two grown children and several grandchildren. Among his interests are all matters aeronautical, fishing, writing, golf, duck hunting, fine woodworking, and travel.
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