Dick, Ron 1931-2008

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Dick, Ron 1931-2008


See index for CA sketch: Born October 18, 1931, in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England; died of pancreatic cancer, March 25, 2008, in Fredericksburg, VA. Military officer, pilot, instructor, historian, and author. In the twenty-first century, aviation is often taken for granted. But Dick never lost his childhood excitement over the miracle of flight, and he spent his life either in the air or talking and writing about the subject. Dick was a career officer and pilot in the Royal Air Force from 1950 to 1988, retiring with the rank of air marshal. He flew more than fifty different types of aircraft, from bombers to acrobatic aircraft to historic planes, acquiring an expertise that few others achieved. Dick flew with the Royal Air Force exhibition team in the 1950s, winning a Clarkson Aerobatic Trophy and a Wright Jubilee Aerobatic Trophy for his performances. When he could no longer fly, he once told CA, he spent his time lecturing, including stints at the U.S. Air University in Alabama and lectures on cruise ships and museum tours. He also worked as a flying instructor and examiner and a flight commander. Dick researched aircraft at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC, and wrote several books on flight and on specific aircraft. Especially popular was his five-volume history with photographer Dan Patterson, Aviation Century (2003-06). This work collected many stories about flying in war and peace, aviation history, historic planes, and hundreds of biographical portraits of aviators and astronauts from around the world. Dick was awarded a valuable service commendation by Queen Elizabeth II in 1972 and was named a companion of the Order of the Bath in 1988. Dick's other writings include Reach and Power: The Heritage of the United States Air Force in Pictures and Artifacts (1997), American Eagles: A History of the United States Air Force; Featuring the Collection of the U.S. Air Force Museum (1997), War and Peace in the Air (2006), and 50 Aircraft That Changed the World (2007).



Washington Post, March 30, 2008, p. C8.