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Tom Beard

Wonderful Flying Machines sells on Amazon's Kindle for $7.99. It is available for readers to purchase here.


About the Author: Barrett Thomas “Tom” Beard entered the Navy as an enlisted man in 1953 and completed flight training as a Navcad in 1955. With a commission in the U.S. Naval Reserve, he flew operational missions—including carrier landings—in A-l Skyraiders and E-l Tracers. He qualified in more than a dozen other types of Navy aircraft, including F-9 Cougars. He served two tours as flight instructor in his ten years with the Navy.

In 1965, following his return from a Vietnam tour at Yankee Station, Mr. Beard entered the Coast Guard. He flew in SAR operations in the HU-16E Albatross, the C-130 Hercules, and the HH-52A Seaguard. He qualified as a seaplane pilot, a shipboard helicopters pilot, and a Coast Guard standardization pilot, accumulating more than 6,000 military flight hours during his career. Mr. Beard holds an FAA airline transport pilot rating and a commercial helicopter rating, plus a Coast Guard master’s license for inspected vessels.

After retiring in 1975, Mr. Beard returned to college, earning a master’s degree in history from Western Washington University in Bellingham. Following employment as a museum director, he turned back to the sea, in sailboats. Over the past twenty years, he and his wife, Carolyn, have sailed nearly 150,000 miles and visited about fifty countries as they’ve circled the world one and a half times. Mr. Beard takes vacations from these voyages to return home to research and write articles in his field of maritime history.




Wonderful Flying Machines: A History of U.S. Coast Guard Helicopters, by Tom Beard. A Kindle Edition. 


As Vice Admiral Howard Thorsen wrote, "This book is an important addition to aviation lore because it chronicles the bureaucratic hurdles and internecine feud between fixed-wing-only hard-liners and a very few who had a visionary’s zeal. But it is much more than that; it also takes the reader on an actual rescue mission and describes the experience from both inside the helo and from the cold, dark waters of the North Atlantic. This mental journey, I submit, will leave no reader unmoved. Any competent writer can tell a story. Tom Beard is an excellent one, to be sure, but he is much more than that. Tom knows aviation: he wore his wings of gold first in the Navy before transferring to the Coast Guard and serving a decade as a search-and-rescue pilot. Tom knows sailing: he is a designer and builder of boats who has circumnavigated the globe with his wife in their thirty-seven-foot cutter Moonshadow. Tom knows history: he has a passion for capturing the facts of eventful episodes and melding them within coherent and, above all, interesting and educational prose.”


Wonderful Flying Machines sells on Amazon's Kindle for $7.99. It is available* for readers to purchase here.