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Just Call Me "Eddie"


by Eddie Martin (1901-1990), as told to Judy Liebeck
1998 by the Eddie Martin Family and Estate. See below for purchase information


Orange County, California owes much of its prestigious aviation image to the talents and business acumen of one man: Eddie Martin.


Eddie Martin's imagination, vision, and determination provided the foundation for the present-day John Wayne Airport.


Unlike most of his contemporaries in the 1920s and 1930s, Eddie wasn't interested in getting headlines in the newspapers for speed records, racing, or stunt flying. From the beginning of his early barnstorming days, he saw aviation as a business.


In Just Call Me "Eddie," he chronicles his adventures as a barnstormer dedicated to keeping his planes flying and earning money. He weaves his journey from that of a shy farm boy - influenced by seeing a race between pilot Lincoln Beachey and auto racer Barney Oldfield - to that of an internationally known pilot and airport owner.


Along the ways, he recalls his days as a renowned flight instructor, owner of Martin Aviation, an airplane mechanic and designer, a corporate pilot for a well-known oil magnate - and the founder of Eddie Martin's Airport.


He relates how he began his aviation business in 1923 flying a Jenny (Curtiss JN4D) - a World War I surplus plane - from an unused portion of the Irvine Ranch and how his airport grew as an important link in Southern California between Los Angeles and San Diego.


Over the years, Eddie met Howard Hughes, Eddie Rickenbacker, Roscoe Turner, Wallace Beery, Will Rogers, astronaut Charles "Pete" Conrad and many other famous people.


Perhaps most memorable are his accounts of his narrow escapes from death as a test pilot of both civilian and military aircraft, especially the P-38.


It is also an intimate personal memoir about Eddie Martin. He discusses his youthful days of self-doubt about his worth, his growing confidence through his flying abilities, his two marriages and divorces, and how he found his true love much later in life. He also reveals his relationships with his brothers, Johnny and Floyd Martin, and his own philosophies of life.


Eddie Martin, who insisted on being called by his first name by strangers and friends alike, lived in what he described as a perfect life cycle in aviation - giving us an autobiography that proves fact is more fascinating than fiction.

July Liebeck is an author/historian and friend of Eddie Martin. A long-time active member in both the Irvine Historical Society and the Orange County Historical Society, she transcribed Eddie's oral history and assisted him with research during the more than two years he worked on his memoirs.

Just Call Me "Eddie" is now available. The book is hardbound, 200 pages, and includes 80 rare photos and illustrations. For a copy, send a check for $35 (which includes tax and shipping) made out to "Eddie Martin Estate" to: Dennis Hayden, Esq.; Executor Eddie Martin Estate; 2014 North Broadway; Santa Ana, CA 92706. For more information, call 714 542-3003.

 

 

 
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