Nebraska Center for Writers

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ERNEST K GANN was a writer of adventure novels, many of which were made into movies (Blaze Noon in 1947, Island in the Sky in 1953, The High and the Mighty in 1954, Soldier of Fortune in 1955, and others). He was born in Lincoln in 1910 and became a teenaged movie producer in St Paul. After a time in the Yale School of Drama, he worked on Broadway. In the 30s he eked out a living as a barnstormer. Later he became a pilot for the Army Air Corps Air Transport Command and later for American Airlines. Even after becoming a bestselling novelist, he would sit in as a commercial pilot now and again, just to keep his hand in. In 1981, at the age of 69, he flew four four modern military jet aircraft, including a U-2: "I was in a space suit, because although it went about the same speed as an airliner, I was flying at 71,200 feet, twice as high as I had ever been. I was up there three-and-a-half hours and then made four touch-and-go landings. It was the peak of my flying career." He died of kidney failure in 1991 at his home on San Juan Island, Washington.
The image of Ernest K Gann is used with the permission of Laszlo Pal, Producer of Ernest K Gann, A Gentleman of Adventure, a one-hour video on Gann's life and accomplishments available from Pal Productions ( htt://

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Nebraska Center for Writers