Aviation historian Barbara Schultz is the author of several aviation books.
Her newest work, “Flying Carpets, Flying Wings: A Biography of Moye W. Stephens” was the topic of interest June 21 for Aerotech NewsRadio.
“Most people don’t know the name Moye Stephens,” said Schultz, “but they do know [his] accomplishments.”
According to Schultz, Stephens was very involved in aviation from the 1920s to the 1960s during which time he played a range of important roles in aviation history. He taught Howard Hughes and Alan Hancock to fly, worked as a stunt pilot in films like “The Flying Circus,” and even assisted in founding a major corporation now known as Northrop Grumman.
In 1939, Stephens, along with several other men, approached Jack Northrop with an idea for a new corporation. At that time, Northrop had just left Lockheed where he was “frustrated with not being able to build his own designs.” When approached, Northrop said that he would be “more than happy” to lend his name, but he only wanted to build his designs and the others could run the business end of it. Stephens became one of the board members as well as a test pilot for the company.
Schultz recalled that Stephens’s most important accomplishment however, happened much later. Author Richard Halliburton approached Stephens with a plan to fly all the way around the world. This flight was done in a Steerman called the “Flying Carpet.”
Schultz first met Stephens while conducting research for her book “Pancho: The Biography of Florence Lowe Barnes.” That’s when she realized that “his story was one of the important stories that needed to be told.” She is also author of “Wedell-Williams Air Service.” Schultz’s books can be found at www.planemercantile.com.
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