W. M. Tarrant grew up in rural West Central Illinois. With a wide-open view of the sky, he watched airliners, some of them propeller-driven, fly high overhead, leaving their telltale contrails. Down low Cessna and Piper airplanes flew about. In the Military Operations Area airspace, fighter planes practiced maneuvers, streaking by at near supersonic speeds. This aerial activity sparked a life-long interest in aviation.
At age thirteen, while on family vacation at Bagnall Dam in the Missouri Ozarks, he took his first plane ride, in a Cessna 185 floatplane. A book he read about the Pan American Clippers and pilot Ed Musick solidified his interest in seaplanes and flying boats. Thoughts of the Clippers, Captain Musick, and the excitement of aviation in the 1920s and 1930s stuck with him throughout fifty-five-plus years and led to this book.
He is a member of the American Aviation Historical Society.
He and his wife reside in Galesburg, Illinois, home of the annual National Stearman Fly-In.