William Burrows

Burrows headshot TO USE
Born in Philadelphia in 1937, William E. Burrows became enraptured with flying as a youngster by looking up and seeing the airliners coming and going from LaGuardia and Idlewild (later John F. Kennedy International) airports in his neighborhood in Forest Hills, New York. While his classmates at Forest Hills High School participated in sports and other extracurricular activities, Burrows built and flew balsawood and paper airplanes in vacant lots near his apartment and at 17, unbeknownst to his mother, spent his allowance briefly taking flying lessons in a canvas and wood Piper Cub near LaGuardia. He got a congressional appointment to the first class at the US Air Force Academy but flunked the physical because he couldn’t climb a rope to the ceiling in the gym at Mitchel Air Force Base on Long Island.

He took a BA and an MA in Political Science at Columbia in 1960 and 1962, decided on a career in journalism, and joined
The New York Times as a clerk on the Foreign Desk on October 15, 1962, one week before the Cuban Missile Crisis. Burrows was eventually put on the commercial aviation beat. He has also reported for The Richmond Times-Dispatch, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal, has published 14 non-fiction books including Richthofen: A True Story of the Red Baron and This New Ocean: The Story of the First Space Age, won several awards, and taught journalism at New York University for 35 years; he created NYU’s graduate Science, Health and Environmental Reporting Program, and is the NYU Journalism Department’s only professor emeritus.

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