Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Book captures a daredevil’s life

From page B5 | March 27, 2013 |

Forgotten Aviator

"Forgotten Aviator: The Adventures of Royal Leonard"

Between the covers

Subscription Required

Thank you for reading the digital edition. In order to continue reading this story please choose one of the following options.

Current Subscribers
If you are a current subscriber and wish to obtain access to, please select the Subscriber Verification option below. If you already have a login, please select "Login" at the lower right corner of this box.

Subscriber Verification

Special Introductory Offer
For a short time we will be offering a discount to those who call us in order to obtain access to and start your print subscription. Our customer support team will be standing by Monday through Friday, 8am to 5pm to assist you.

Call and Save! (530) 344-5000

If you are not a current subscriber and wish not to take advantage of our special introductory offer, please select the $12 monthly option below to obtain access to and start your online subscription


If the name Royal Leonard is unfamiliar to you, it’s not surprising. Leonard, a legendary pilot, who pioneered blind flying, introduced celestial navigation to TWA, became Chiang Kai-shek’s personal pilot in the 1930s and flirted with the fame that seemed to elude him.

Leonard began his flying career with the likes of Charles Lindberg, Jackie Cochrane and Col. Claire Chennault in the 1920s.

He was a transcontinental mail pilot regularly flying over the Rocky Mountains where weather conditions often necessitated blind flying. He participated in some of the first air races and flew a wide variety of aircraft.

During WORLD WAR II, Leonard flew “the Hump” from northeastern India over the Himalayas to China. Called the “Skyway to Hell,” the Hump was considered the most dangerous aerial transport in the world and Leonard flew it in monsoons and at night.

Sacramento author Barry S. Martin captures Leonard’s daredevil style and strong personality in his description of Leonard’s years of flying in China over poorly mapped and war-torn land, dodging Japanese aircraft and bullets during both the Sino-Japanese conflict and WWII.

Martin’s interest in Leonard began after he and his wife, Carolyn, returned from a trip to China in 1988.

“I wanted to know more about Americans who had been involved in China,” said Martin, ” so when I got back I went to Beers Books and I found Royal Leonard’s book, ‘I Flew for China.’ ”

Leonard’s book about his experiences in China ended in 1941 and Martin, captured by Leonard’s exploits, wanted to know what happened next.

“I checked the Library of Congress and other places, but couldn’t find anything,” said Martin. “I knew he came from Los Angeles and one day, when I was at the Burbank airport, I looked up his name in the phone book.”

A Royal Leonard was listed, but it was Leonard’s son. Leonard died in 1962, but Martin met with Leonard’s son, ex-wife and family members.

For the next 20 years, Martin worked on the book, compiling research and trying to consolidate Leonard’s adventurous life into a format readers would appreciate.

Although Martin is not a pilot himself, the details of routes, instrumentation, flight obstacles and aircraft are meticulous enough to meet any aviation buff’s standards and Martin provides excellent reference material.

“He was an amazing character who did many incredible things and I could have written a 500 page biography,” said Martin. “Once people read his whole story, they want more of it.”

Martin has just finished the first draft of a new biography about Bob Davies, the first basketball player to dribble behind his back in college games. Davies went on to take the Rochester Royals to the NBA championship in 1951.

“He was also the role model for the Chip Hilton series of boy’s sports novels and a sub commander in WWII,” said Martin.

“The Forgotten Aviator” can be purchased online from the author’s Website,, at Barnes& and in softcover and Kindle version.

Locally, the book can be found at Face in a Book in Town Center in El Dorado Hills. Martin, a former Social Security administrative law judge, will be doing presentations and book signings. His next presentation will be at 7:30 p.m., May 23 at the North Natomas Library in Sacramento.





Body found by Hwy 50

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A1

Georgianne Knight joins county ed board

By El Dorado County Office of Education | From Page: B1

Plane crash victim ID’d

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A1

Priest Mine open Labor Day weekend

By Dawn Hodson | From Page: B1

Marilyn Ferguson — a city jewel

By Wendy Schultz | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Heard over the back fence: Sand Fire benefit Friday

By Bob Billingsley | From Page: B1

Missing man found drowned

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A1

Sacto board OKs Mather’s 20-year plan

By Julie Samrick | From Page: A1

Maury Erickson of Atwood Insurance dies

By Dawn Hodson | From Page: A3

Tea Party meeting on Common Core

By Tea Party Patriots Of El Dorado Hills | From Page: A3

Job fair Aug. 22

By Health and Human Services Agency | From Page: A10



Dave Pratt for District 2

By Mountain Democrat | From Page: A4

The Democratic-Chronicles: Democracy denied

By Gene Altshuler | From Page: A4

My turn: Course and program offerings at the El Dorado Center

By Special to the Democrat | From Page: A4



Attention EID ratepayers

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

You decide

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

High crimes and misdemeanors

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

Traffic troubles

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5


By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5



Cougars’ hopes high for second consecutive winning season

By Mike Bush | From Page: A6 | Gallery

City harriers trade concrete for foothills

By Jerry Heinzer | From Page: A6 | Gallery

Smashing good times

By Mike Bush | From Page: A6 | Gallery

Outside with Charlie: Grab your tents

By Charlie Ferris | From Page: A6

2014 El Dorado football roster

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A7



7 hours of music at Peace Festival

By News Release | From Page: B2

At a glance: Aug. 20, 2014

By Mimi Escabar | From Page: B2

Master gardener: Roll out the pollinator welcome mat

By Uc Cooperative | From Page: B3

Welcome Home El Dorado Slow Ride planned

Press Release | From Page: B4



Crime Log: Aug. 1

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A2

Weather stats

By Michael Raffety | From Page: A2



Frank Bridges Jr.

By Contributor | From Page: A2

Darlene Knowles

By Contributor | From Page: A2

Amber Sakura (Azalove) Wheeler

By Contributor | From Page: A2

Louise Ann “Tyke” Cody

By Contributor | From Page: A2

James John Hutchinson

By Contributor | From Page: A2


Real Estate




By Contributor | From Page: A8

New York Times Crossword

By Contributor | From Page: A8

Long Story Short

By Contributor | From Page: A8

Flying McCoys

By Contributor | From Page: A8

Speed Bump

By Contributor | From Page: A8


By Contributor | From Page: A8

Horoscope, Thursday, August 21, 2014

By Contributor | From Page: A8

Horoscope, Wednesday, August 20, 2014

By Contributor | From Page: A8

TV Listings

By Contributor | From Page: A8


By Contributor | From Page: A8


By Contributor | From Page: A8