Howard Hughes: Aviator

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Naval Institute Press, May 15, 2016 - Biography & Autobiography - 264 pages
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 world—a 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.

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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


1 Early Flying Years
2 Record Flights
3 Culver CIty and the War Years
4 Postwar Era
5 Test Pilots and the Early Jet Era
6 Flight Test Division
7 Transport Aircraft for TWA
9 Press Conference
10 Last Flights
11 Legacy of Howard Hughes
Selected Resources
Index of Actors Aviators and Associates
Index of Aircraft

8 Las Vegas

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About the author (2016)

George J. Marrett was an experimental test pilot for Hughes Aircraft Company from 1969 to 1989. Prior to employment with Hughes, George J. Marrett served in the U.S. Air Force and flew the F-86L SabreJet at the Moody AFB, Georgia, the F-101B Voodoo at Hamilton AFB, California, and attended the Air Force Test Pilot School at Edwards AFB, California. In 1968 and 1969 he flew the Douglas A-1 Skyraider as a Sandy rescue pilot in the 602nd Fighter Squadron (Commando) in Thailand, completing 188 combat missions in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War.

A native of Grand Island, Nebraska, Marrett is a 1957 graduate of Iowa State University in Ames. He now lives with his wife, Jan, in California, where he flies his 1945 Stinson L-5E Sentinel for air shows all over the state.

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