Nicaraguan strongman General Anastasio Somoza is making room for the modern jets sent down by his Cold War ally the United States. Will Martin a 34-year-old civilian pilot has just suffered the loss of his family business in Chicago and is looking to make a fresh start. So I Bought An Air Force is the wild but true tale of how Martin buys the Nicaraguan Air Force's fleet of P-51 Mustangs F-47 Thunderbolts and C-45 Expeditors and his struggles to get his planes back up to the U.S. With stunning color photographs from the author's personal archive So I Bought An Air Force gives the reader a vivid look at the rough-and-tumble world of 1960s Latin America from the cockpit of some of the hottest American aircraft ever built.
Will Martin holds a commercial pilot certificate and multi-engine and instrument ratings. Flying “El Gato ” the P-51 Mustang he restored he has performed in many air shows including Oshkosh the Chicago Air and Water the Commemorative Air Force and the Illinois Antique Airplane Association B-17 Reunion. He founded the Squadron Four Warbird chapter of the Experimental Aircraft Association and has been a featured speaker for numerous aviation and business groups.
Martin has experience in a wide range of aircraft having piloted more than forty different types of planes. Those he has owned include a Beechcraft C-45 D-18 T34B Bonanza and Queen Air a North American P-51D P-51TF T-28A and a Navion a Piper Apache a Cessna 401 and 402 a Douglas B-26 and a Republic P-47. He and his wife Patricia live in a suburb of Chicago.
"The national treasure we now call Warbirds exist today because of enterprising individuals like Will Martin. I had known of his adventure bringing back Mustangs from Central America for many years but did not know the scope and detail of the story until reading So I Bought An Air Force. I could hardly wait to turn the page as the story unfolded. A true adventure many can only dream of&hellip."-Rick Siegfried Past President EAA Warbirds of America
"As an aviation enthusiast and retired Air Force fighter pilot I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. A unique and captivating story of one man's venture into buying vintage WW II aircraft from a foreign country and flying them back to the United States for resale. Will Martin covered this part of his life in an interesting and action filled narrative. I am sure he never envisioned the challenges he would encounter along the way. I admire the talents he exhibited in carrying out this venture as a business man aviator and diplomat. It took a person with great determination and true grit to see it through. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in aviation and adventure."-Jerry W. Tietge B/Gen USAF (Ret)
"As an Air Force Stan/Eval Chief (Chief Pilot) I've had a chance to fly with and to evaluate a lot of highly skilled pilots. I've also had the chance to fly with Will Martin in his P-51 his Queenair his T-34 and my Rangemaster. Will is one heck of a pilot he has great instincts and a keen feeling for the machine. I have no doubt that these attributes enabled him to survive the dramatic events which unfold in So I Bought an Air Force."-Darrell L. Anderson Colonel USAF (Ret)
"[Martin's] lively fresh narrative leads the reader through crash landings in remote areas encounters with machete-toting civilians treacherous mercenaries and obfuscating embassy personnel....The full-color photos are tied closely to the text illustrating points and incidents as they occurred giving the book an immediacy and intimacy.....Destined to be a classic this is a book you'll want to read and re-read."-Air Power History