Aviation's Best Selling Author Robert Jerome Serling Died At 92 <


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Aviation's Best Selling Author Robert Jerome Serling Dies At 92

Bill Goldston

May 23, 2010 - Robert Jerome Serling an American novelist and aviation writer died May 6th of cancer while in hospice care in Tucson at the age of 92. Serling was well know for the many books that he wrote such as The President's Plane is Missing, When The Airlines Went To War, The Story of Boeing and Its People, History of Eastern Airlines, The Jet Age, Eagle, The Left Seat, and many more.

Robert Jerome Serling was born on March 28, 1918, in Cortland, New York. As a youth he and his younger bother Rod Serling, who later become screenwriter and creator of The Twilight Zone would put on plays to entertain his family and friends. Serling graduated in 1942 from Antioch College in Ohio with a bachelor’s degree in political science. Serling joined the Army Air Force during World War II as an aircraft-identification instructor.

After the war in 1945 Serling went to work for United Press International (UPI) as a reporter covering airplane crashes. In 1960 Serling became aviation editor and manager UPI radio news division.

While at UPI, Serling wrote several books such as, The Electra Story, The Left Seat, and The President’s Plane Is Missing. Serling also was a technical adviser in The Twilight Zone “The Odyssey of Flight 33” which first aired February 24, 1961.

The Odyssey of Flight 33 is an episode that takes place on Global Airlines Flight 33, en route from London to New York City. About fifty minutes from Idlewild Airport, Captain Farver and his crew notice that their Boeing 707 is drastically increasing speed, crossing some kind of barrier. They soon realize they have been thrown back in time when they spot a plodding creature resembling classic Brontosaurus.

Robert Jerome Serling  
Rodman "Rod" Edward Serling 


They're able to repeat their incredible increase in speed, hoping to get back to 1961, but arrive above the 1939 New York World's Fair instead. Realizing that they can't land in 1939, and low on fuel, the captain knows that they must keep trying, in order to return home. "All I ask is that you remain calm", he informs the passengers over the P.A. system, "...and pray".

Serling left UPI to write additional books such as Air Force One Is Haunted, Loud and Clear : The Book for People Who are Afraid of Flying, She'll Never Get Off the Ground,  Little giant: The story of Gates Learjet, The Only Way to Fly : The Story of Western Airlines, America's Senior Air Carrier, Howard Hughes' Airline: An Informal History of TWA, and many others.

Serling’s novel “The President's Plane Is Missing” was made into a 1973 made-for-TV film starring Buddy Ebsen. In 1988 Serling received the Lauren D. Lyman Award "for distinguished achievement in the field of aviation and aerospace journalism."

Serling married three times, his first wife was Patricia Huntley, their marriage ended in a divorce. In 1968 Serling remarried Priscilla Arone and had two children Jennifer and Jeffrey. In 2000 Serling second wife Priscilla Arone died. Serling remarried Patricia Hoyer.

On June 28, 1975 Serling’s bother Rod Serling died in at age 50. Rod Serling suffered two severe heart attacks in 1975. He and his physicians decided that he should enter the Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, New York for coronary bypass surgery. May 3, 1975 Serling suffered a minor heart attack and was hospitalized. He spent two weeks at Tompkins County Community Hospital before being released. A second heart attack two weeks later forced doctors to agree that open heart surgery, though considered risky at the time, was in order. On June 28, 1975 Serling had a third, and fatal, heart attack during the ten hour operation.
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