The History of the Skymaster as written by William D. Thompson. William D. Thompson was born January 26, 1920 in Chicago, Illinois. He learned to fly starting in 1940, first on gliders and then on powered airplanes. During World War II he trained Army Air Corps and French cadets for a Civilian Contract School in South Carolina. Afterwards he returned to Purdue University where he obtained an aeronautical engineering degree in 1947. He then began working for the Cessna Aircraft Company, first as an engineer and test pilot and later as Manager of Flight Test and Aerodynamics, where he participated in the design of many of the post-war Cessna's. After Cessna, Thompson served as a consultant for SIAI Marchetti Aircraft in Sesto Calende, Italy where he was responsible for a line of small aircraft. He then returned to Oregon and later to Bella Vista, Arkansas, where he completed writing Cessna Wings for the World The Single-Engine Development Story, the companion volume, Cessna Wings for the World II Development of the 300 Series Twins and Miscellaneous Prototypes, and his autobiography, A Test Pilot's Life. He was a Fellow in the Society of Experimental Test Pilots, a member of the SAE Cockpit Standardization Committee, and the only representative of the general aviation industry on NASA's Aerodynamics/Aeronautical committees. Thompson died March 17, 2001.