his book is respectfully dedicated to the memory of Terry Waddington, aeronautical engineer, Douglas Aircraft Company salesman par excellence, and one of the last of the true believers.
o one is better qualified to write the dramatic story of air travel’s transition from propellers to jet-power than Jon Proctor, Mike Machat, and Craig Kodera. They constitute a trio of respected chroniclers of aviation history. Forgive me, however, if I emphasize that Jon Proctor has been my mentor and role model for many years, someone to whom I have turned to many times for help with my own historical research. What is more important is that this talented trio has fashioned a work that is factually honest, scrupulously objective, and blessed with a rare “we – were-there” insight.
From Props To Jets takes us back to what arguably was the most dramatic and significant decade in civil aviation history: the saga of the 1952 to 1962 technological revolution that literally shrank the world by measuring distance in terms of hours rather than days and miles traveled. This brilliantly researched and written contribution to aviation history could not come at a more appropriate time, for it injects into the doom-and – gloom atmosphere of today’s air travel difficulties and complaints, a reminder of accomplishments that we now take for granted. It also accents the positives instead of the negatives, something that is rare and sorely needed in this era of adversarial journalism. For as the authors point out, this was also the decade during which the airplane itself supplanted the family automobile, bus, train, and ship as the single most dominant provider of long-distance travel.
I owe these fine writers my gratitude for producing not merely a fascinating book but an important one. The airline world that people like Jon, Mike, Craig, and I respected and loved, even when we criticized it, exists no more. This book, therefore, comes poignantly close to being a kind of requiem, a magnificent and justified tribute to an industry that has always taken ten steps forward for every step backward, and ultimately deserved a far better fate.
— Robert J. Serling Former Aviation Editor, United Press International