seal  Purdue News

December 12, 2003

Author to sign flight books at local retailer

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue University and Tippecanoe County's connections to the history of flight will be in the spotlight as John Norberg signs copies of his book "Wings of Their Dreams: Purdue In Flight" from 6-8 p.m. Dec. 22 at the Lafayette Barnes & Noble Booksellers, next to the Tippecanoe Mall.

Norberg, a senior writer at Purdue, will sign copies of his book and also discuss Purdue's role in the 100-year history of flight from Kitty Hawk, N.C., to outer space.

"Wings of Their Dreams: Purdue in Flight" tells that history through the personal stories of Purdue alumni and faculty members who have played large roles in the advancement of aviation. Besides well-known pioneers, like Amelia Earhart, Gus Grissom, Neil Armstrong and Eugene Cernan, the book chronicles lesser-known aviation heroes, including:

• J. Clifford Turpin, a 1909 Purdue graduate who not only helped the Wright brothers improve the engine design of their early aircraft, but also gained fame as one of the first members of their flight team.

• George Welch, a Purdue alumnus and Air Force pilot who shot down more Japanese airplanes during the attack on Pearl Harbor than anyone else. His story was told in the movies "Pearl Harbor" and "Tora, Tora, Tora." While officially the second man to break the sound barrier, many people consider him to have been the first.

• Jimmie Johnson, a Purdue graduate who became one of the nation's first test pilots, and his wife, Trudy, one of the first women to receive a pilot's license.

The book also features interviews with all of Purdue's surviving astronauts, including the first and last men to walk on the moon, Armstrong and Cernan.

"Many people know that Purdue has played a large role in the advancement of flight, but I don't think many people grasp quite how large that role has been," Norberg said. "If you look at almost any important development in aviation over its 100-year history, someone with a Purdue connection is there, moving us forward."

Purdue University Press recently announced that due to demand, it would it do another printing of the book.

The book is available and Barnes & Noble, other local bookstores or by calling Purdue University Press at (800) 247-6553. The book is 397 pages plus notes and lists at $29.95.

Writer: Matt Holsapple, (765) 494-2073,

Source: John Norberg, (765) 496-7783,

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

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