Education: University of Texas, B.S.
Lockheed Martin Aeronautics, currently avionics systems test engineer. Supervisor of Naval Space Surveillance System and engineer manager for Rockwell International. Military service: U.S. Marines, 1969-77.
Demystifying ATM/ADSL, Wordware Publishing (Plano, TX), 1998.
Demystifying TCP/IP, 3rd edition, Wordware Publishing (Plano, TX), 1999.
Learn Microsoft Office 2000, Wordware Publishing (Plano, TX), 2000.
Demystifying Virtual Private Networks, Wordware Publishing (Plano, TX), 2001.
Learn Google, Wordware Publishing (Plano, TX), 2004.
Solving the 1897 Airship Mystery, Pelican Publishing (Gretna, LA), 2004.
Michael Busby, who has enjoyed a long career in the aviation and aerospace industries, has written several books on computer languages and programs. However, in his 2004 book, Solving the 1897 Airship Mystery, he investigates a real-life mystery: allegations that airships appeared in American skies in 1896 and 1897. Newspaper accounts from those years cite numerous reports of airship sightings from a variety of people in different areas of the western United States. In researching these accounts, Busby attempts to find out what these aircrafts were and who was operating them. Busby dismisses several possible explanations for the sightings, including mass hysteria, an extensive hoax, and visits from extraterrestrials. In his view, it is more likely that the sightings were aircrafts from a secret government project that included William H. Hart, William Randolph Hearst, and other well-connected financiers. As evi- dence, Busby cites Hart's 1896 patent application for an airship, as well as notebooks describing the actions of the Sonora Aero Club, an organization that had been involved since the 1850s in efforts to invent and manufacture flying machines. To explain why such machines were never officially acknowledged, Busby suggests that the aircrafts all crashed, killing their inventors, or that railroad tycoons bought the designs and destroyed them.
For Air Power History contributor Ronald J. Ferrara, the evidence for such claims is unpersuasive. "While the research that went into this work is indeed extensive," Ferrara acknowledged, "the reader is left with few answers to the mystery. If the airships existed, the questions of who invented and flew them, what happened to them, and why they were surrounded with such secrecy remains unanswered. Given the fascinating topic, this book is something of a disappointment." Gilles Van Nederveen, writing in Air & Space Power Journal, expressed a similar view, noting that though Busby "writes well and poses an interesting hypothesis, readers remain at a loss as to what really happened." A writer on the Booming Prairie Chicken Web site, however, felt that Busby's hypothesis, if proven, "could change aviation history."
An avionics systems test engineer for Lockheed Martin Aeronautics, Busby previously worked as an engineering manager at Rockwell International. Among his assignments during his eight-year stint in the U.S. Marines was supervision of the Naval Space Surveillance System. Busby began writing in 1997. His technology how-to books include Learn Microsoft Office 2000, Demystifying Virtual Private Networks, and Learn Google. The last title instructs readers about how to conduct searches for information on the Google Web site. The book also tells Web site designers how to best position their sites to get prominent placement on Google, ensuring a large number of "hits" from searchers.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Air Power History, September 22, 2006, Ronald J. Ferrara, review of Solving the 1897 Airship Mystery, p. 50.
SciTech Book News, September 1, 1999, review of Demystifying TCP/IP, 3rd edition, p. 115.
Air & Space Power Journal Online,http://www.airpower.mazwell.af.mil/ (August 4, 2008), Gilles Van Nederveen, review of Solving the 1897 Airship Mystery.
Booming Prairie Chicken Web log,http://boomingprairiechicken.spaces.live.com/ (August 4, 2008), review of Solving the 1897 Airship Mystery.
Pelican Publishing Company Web site,http://www.pelicanpub.com/ (August 4, 2008), profile of Busby.