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Growing Up Boeing: The Early Jet Age Through the Eyes of a Test Pilot's Daughter Paperback – February 7, 2014

4.9 out of 5 stars 40 customer reviews

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About the Author

Rebecca Wallick is the daughter of legendary Boeing test pilot S. L. “Lew” Wallick. While not a pilot herself (despite her father’s best efforts), she has always had a keen interest in collecting and preserving the aviation history she witnessed growing up. Rebecca earned a degree in history at the University of Washington and law degree at Seattle University. After thirty years of practicing law and writing on the side, she is finally flipping the tables and writing full time (with a little law on the side). Rebecca resides in Kirkland, Washington with her dog Finn MacCool.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Maian Meadows Publishing (February 7, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0991364805
  • ISBN-13: 978-0991364800
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #315,359 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Don't worry if you don't know the difference between a Boeing 737 and an Airbus a380. In fact, don't even worry if you don't know the difference between a jet and a propeller. Wallick's book will inform you without ever making you aware of being taught. On the other hand, if you are an aviation engineer, you will thrive on the details Wallick includes. Why DID so many pilots fall into the cockpit of the 757? There is plenty of excellent reading here for everyone: aviation aficionados seeking an inside look, adventurists looking for vicarious brushes with death, historians interested in the links between World War II and the rise of commercial aviation, and gentler readers who will enjoy a coming--of-age story about a girl and her remarkable father. Wallick moves effortlessly between a hair-raising scene of a 707 with all four jets on fire and the bucolic summer day when her father's hands steadied her as she learned to water-ski. You walk away feeling that you have been let in on fantastic secrets.
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Format: Paperback
For an insider view on commercial aviation and what it was like to be a test pilot, this book is both fascinating and heart-warming. Author Rebecca Wallick grew up in the "family-oriented, aw-shucks can-do geeky engineering" culture of Boeing aeronautics in Seattle since her father was a Boeing test pilot. My father worked for Kodak in Rochester at the same time, so in many ways, I can related to Wallick's childhood. Her book inspires me to share the great stories of his career, although I can't say he ever rolled a place!

Wallick aimed to have this memoir published on the 51st anniversary of the first flight of the 727, her father's favorite airplane. I love memoirs, particularly ones from a woman's point of view of a man's world. Other books like this that I enjoy are An Aviator's Wife by early 20th century aviator Earle Ovington's wife and Wondrous Beauty: The Life and Adventures of Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte.
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Format: Paperback
The film "The Right Stuff" captures for the viewer that magic time when men known as "test pilots" expanded the boundaries of aviation at great peril, often paying the ultimate price. And no one knew their names.

The book Growing Up Boeing is a reprise of that time. After reading her final draft, I interviewed the author.

So, there really was a Happy Bottom Riding Club out in the desert, like in the film The Right Stuff? "Yes there was, and Dad went there, met Pancho Barnes. All the test pilots did."

What compelled you to write this book? How did this all get started? "My undergraduate degree is in history, so I’ve always had an interest in history. Around 2002, as Dad’s health began to fail, I got out a tape recorder and sat down many Sundays to record his memories, the stories I heard pieces of growing up and always knew were part of aviation history."

There are a lot of other pilots mentioned in the book, how did you gain access to them? "My father was not the sort to take credit or boast. Once it was clear I was moving forward with the work he tapped into that network of others who flew with him, taking the same risks. I knew them all as a child, and soon I become re-acquainted with them."

Risks, yes, let’s talk about them. "We get on commercial airliners today and don’t give it a second thought, but the truth is there were many times when Dad wasn’t sure they could bring the aircraft home. To cite one example, the leading edges of the new 767’s wing stuck in the open position, creating drag on one side of the airplane which if improperly handled by the pilot would cause the airplane to crash. The test pilots work out the bugs so the rest of us can fly safely.
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Format: Paperback
Don't think you have to love aviation to love this book. It's about a family, history and airplanes. It's a tribute to Lew Wallick who had one of the most dangerous jobs in the world but approached with an "awe shucks" attitude. But mostly about a daughters discovery of the man who was her father. The writing is rich and the research is thorough. I highly recommend this book.
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This is an awesome book, and I was lucky to meet the author for a brief moment at Lew’s memorial!

Lew was always my hero, and I always had a lot of admiration, and respect for him! He, in my opinion, was the most important name in Boeing's history! He was there, and on most all the first flights of the jet age! Back when Boeing was a “Family”, kept their promises, and airplanes were delivered on time! Now, if they are 3 ½ years late on a program, and may never make a profit, they pat themselves on the back! The “big names” come and go, and many just drive the company into the ground, including McNerney as of late! Not so with Lew! He, and the other engineers and test pilots are who made it all happen! I took an early retirement from the now Chicago based company just because I could no longer stand what it had become.

We led kind of a weird parallel life. We both worked for Boeing for about 35 years, although, I was at the other end of the food chain. I spent a lot of time growing up at our little cabin on Lake Sammamish right across from the Wallick’s. I probably saw them out on the lake 100 times, although, we never met. Then, much later in life, my then fiancée, sees some Boeing “thing” I had and asked if I had ever heard of Lew Wallick? I said “Hell Yeah”! She said "he was kind of my Step Dad". I said “Yeah Right”! Then she brings out the photo album! OMG!! This was while Lew was in the hospital, and she set up a visit for her and I thru the widow, who, by the way, is a Lovely Lady! I told her that was awesome, and I would love to meet him, but told her I would wait until he got better. He never did! My Dad, who was also an engineer, and had worked for Boeing for a short time, also passed away about the same time.
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