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Aviation's Most Wanted: The Top 10 Book of Winged Wonders, Lucky Landings, and Other Aerial Oddities Paperback – June 1, 2005
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About the Author
Steven A. Ruffin is a retired U.S. Air Force colonel and licensed private pilot with a lifelong interest in all aspects of the history of flight. He has lectured and written on a variety of aviation topics, and his articles have appeared in Aviation History, Over the Front, Air Power History, and Aviation 100. He also contributed several entries to Walter Boyne’s comprehensive aviation reference work, Air Warfare: An International Encyclopedia. He lives in Bellbrook, Ohio.
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Ruffin's book is subtitled 'The Top 10 Book of Winged Wonders, Lucky Landings and Other Aerial Oddities.' Within its 313 pages you'll find dozens of top 10 lists arranged under the topics of Notable Flights; Fantastic Flying Machines; Aeronauts, Aviators and Others in High Places; Flying to Kill - Aerial Combat; Flying the Skies, Friendly and Otherwise; Aviation in Print and on Screen; and Miscellaneous Aeronautica.
That breakdown translates to lists of the heaviest airplanes ever flown, worst air disasters, helicopter milestones, elite air combat units, busiest airports, aviation controversies and so on. Here's some samples from various lists: The #1 pilot with the best stuff - Jimmy Doolittle; the #1 Unforgettable Aircraft Name - Spirit of St. Louis; the #1 Silver Screen Air Classic - Twelve O'Clock High; and, lastly, the #1 Naughtiest Airplane Nickname - The Baltimore Whore (the B-26).
The entries are generally accurate though I came across several clunkers in various air combat lists (i.e. The exact circumstances of Mick Mannock's death aren't "still a mystery." He was downed by ground fire. LBJ's June 1942 combat mission was a complete hoax and has been widely discredited. Pappy Boyington's total of 28 victories is no longer accepted because he inflated his score with the AVG).
Despite the occasional hiccup, I enjoyed Ruffin's book and recommend it to all aviation buffs and trivia nuts. It's an interesting, informative and sometimes funny trip through the history of flight.
When is Colonel Ruffin going to grace us with another work??