Captain Jerry Yellin enlisted in the Army Air Corps on his 18th birthday, two months after the Pearl Harbor attack. He became a fighter pilot, flying P-40s, P-47s and P-51s. He flew 19 ultra-long P-51 missions from Iwo Jima to Japan on bomber escort and interdiction missions, and was the last pilot in WWII to engage in aerial combat.
Following the war, he suffered from undiagnosed PTSD for 30 years, until ultimately finding a cure through Transcendental Meditation.
In 1982, he reluctantly went to Japan on a business trip and fell in love with the country and people he had hated for 40 years. In his book Of Wars and Weddings he recounts his transformation and the marriage of his son to the daughter of a Japanese fighter pilot, and how the two enemies became family.
He has now authored four books, with one translated into Japanese. His website is www.captainjerryyellin.com. At 92 years of age, he now travels around the world, speaking about his journey.
Patrick Smith is an active airline pilot, air travel blogger and author. His Ask the Pilot column, ran regularly in the online magazine Salon.com from 2002 until 2012.
He has appeared on over 200 radio and television outlets, including PBS, Discovery Channel, CNN, the BBC and National Public Radio. His work is regularly cited in print publications worldwide. He was voted one of the “25 Best Bloggers of 2013” by TIME magazine.
Patrick took his first flying lesson at age fourteen. His first job with an airline came in 1990, when he was hired as a copilot on 15-passenger turboprops earning $850 a month. He has since flown cargo and passenger jets on both domestic and intercontinental routes.
His book Cockpit Confidential is a wry, thoughtful, and at times provocative look into the confounding world of commercial air travel, with a behind-the-scenes look at the strange and misunderstood business of commercial aviation. More than just a book about flying, its subject is everything and everything about the grand theater of air travel, from airport architecture to terrorism to the colors and cultures of the world’s airlines.
Patrick travels extensively in his spare time and has visited more than seventy countries. He lives near Boston.
The Guinness Foundation has declared 98-year old Ernie Smith as the oldest living active pilot in the world, and you would never guess his age by talking to him. In this podcast, we had a short, but very interesting, conversation with Ernie about how he got his start in flying, his current flying schedule, and why he prefers to fly right at dawn.
A chance offer of an assignment to photograph an airplane propelled Brandy Forstie into the aviation photography business. She now photographs interiors and exteriors of business aircraft, and also provides other image services to corporate clients, including portraits and facility photographs.
Brandy is based in Atlanta, but travels frequently to serve clients at their locations.
Her stunning images are available for viewing on her website at www.aviationphotoservices.com.
Donna Miller learned to fly in South Korea while working as a civilian for the Air Force. She flew general aviation in Europe while working for Jeppesen in the Frankfurt office, then transferred to Jeppesen in Denver and helped Elrey Jeppesen catalog his memorabilia. He gave her a piece of fabric from the original Wright Flyer, and she had it made into a necklace that Eileen Collins took to space when they docked with MIR.
She had the honor of flying Neil Armstrong to Kitty Hawk for the centennial of flight celebration in 2003. She gave the necklace to one of the pilots who did the recreation flight, so it went from Kitty Hawk to space and back to Kitty Hawk 100 years later.
She also had the honor of knowing Louie Zamperini very well for the last 8 years of his life and traveled with him on several occasions to speaking engagements.
In addition to her job as an airline pilot, she also flies WWII bombers (B-17, B-24, B-25) for the Collings Foundation.