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The National Aviation Hall of Fame Reflects on the Passing of Colonel Walter J. Boyne , 2007 Enshrinee

Press Release From: National Aviation Hall of Fame
Posted: Sunday, January 12, 2020

It is with much sadness and admiration that the National Aviation Hall of Fame reflects on the passing of 2007 Enshrinee, Colonel Walter J. Boyne, USAF on January 9th in Silver Spring, MD.

“Few people take the time to share their wealth of knowledge like Walt Boyne did”, said National Aviation Hall of Fame President and CEO Amy Spowart. “Our Enshrinees are impactful in many ways, including their skill as pilots and aviators from which they gain an ceaseless fact base. Colonel Boyne had both and, fortunately for all of us, he had an insatiable need to share it through his writing. His legacy is that his knowledge will remain as gift to future generations.”

Growing up in East Saint Louis, Walter Boyne was, in his words, “a shrimp, and quite a bit of a wimp.” At Holy Angels, his parochial grade school, Boyne found that he could avoid schoolyard trouble by writing reports for bullies –his first writing job. 

Walter Boyne joined the Air Force in 1951 and earned his wings a year later. He flew as a B-50 and B-47 combat crew member in the Strategic Air Command and later was a nuclear test pilot with the 4925th Nuclear Test Group at Kirtland AFB, flying both the B-47 and B-52. 

After his service in Vietnam, Colonel Boyne retired and was hired at the National Air and Space Museum as an assistant curator in 1974. Later he was appointed as its Director. From 1983 to 1986 Boyne oversaw many aspects of museum operations and pioneered numerous projects to provide the highest level of aerospace education and information. 

In 1988 Boyne co-founded “Wingspan – the Air & Space Channel”. He served as President of the National Aeronautic Association from 2006 to 2014.

Boyne began a prolific research and writing career in 1962.  After Vietnam, Boyne sold his first article about the P-36 Curtiss Hawk to the British Royal Air Force review, for which he made $29. Since then, he has written more than 1,000 articles, 44 non-fiction books and seven novels, all focused on aviation, with several books appearing on the New York Times Bestseller list.

Colonel Boyne was enshrined into the National Aviation Hall of Fame with the Class of 2007. “Walt was an engaged and supportive Enshrinee, “according to National Aviation Hall of Fame Chairman Michael Quiello. “Walt shared his skill as an historian to serve as a Selection Committee member and Enshrinee liaison on our Board of Nominations, which is the foundation and basis of our mission. His collaboration was paramount and we will always be indebted for his generosity.”

About The National Aviation Hall of Fame- The NAHF is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization founded in Dayton, Ohio in 1962 and chartered by an Act of the U.S. Congress in 1964. The NAHF strives to achieve its mission to honor America’s aerospace legends to inspire future leaders by offering interactive exhibits in a 17,000 square-foot public Learning Center, presenting outreach through youth programing and collaboration with peer organizations. For more information visit www.nationalaviation.org.

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