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
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
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.