A test pilot for Howard Hughes separates fact from fiction to tell the inside 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 draws on his wealth of experiences and those of other Hughes confidants to take readers inside Hughes’s complex worlda world that has kept its secrets for nearly six decades. Both a gifted storyteller and a top-notch aviator himself, having tested forty types of military aircraft and logged eight thousand hours in the air, the author integrates stories of Hughes the ace pilot with Hughes the designer and businessman who became America’s first billionaire.
Through revealing, humorous, and sometimes tragic stories, Marrett provides a full picture of the elusive Hughes despite his obsession with working in secrecy. The author tells of Hughes’s insistence on personally test-flying every plane he built and of the scores of aircraft Hughes purchased, borrowed, flew, and then stored all over the country. The author also reveals details of the top-secret airfield that Hughes owned in Culver City just a few miles from the Los Angeles airport.
Marrett’s narrative, as intriguing as its subject, 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, and follows into the post-World War II era and the invention of airborne radar at Hughes Aircraft Company. Marrett then moves into the 1950s at the Culver City airport where he later tested weapon systems that are still in use by the U.S. military. With the publication of this book, Marrett helps set the record straight about Hughes the aviator and the contributions he made to the development of aviation.