Colonel Michael Norman Wright McCoy was born in Indiana in 1905. He became a professional boxer after high school and everyone called him “The Real McCoy.” When hitting people in the face got a little old, he moved to Los Angeles and became a news reporter for a short stint before taking over the operations of a private flying school in the same state. In WWII he joined the Royal Canadian Air Force and served in Guam before joining the U.S. Air Force, where he served until 1957.

McCoy has a number of claims to fame, including being the first pilot to successfully fly from Japan to Washington, DC. He flew a B-29 called the “Fluffy Fuzz,” helping to prove the feasibility of around-the-world flight in a bomber.

B-29 pictured is not the plane McCoy flew

McCoy was decorated multiple times, including distinctions like the Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star, and an Air Medal.

McCoy died in 1957 when he crashed his plane at the Pine Castle Air Force Base, which would later bear his name in honor of him avoiding a residential area when attempting to land; despite a rumor that he had been inebriated while behind the helm.

Brendan O'Connor

Editor in Chief of

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  1. Thank you Eric for your comments. I was at the base when the Colonel crashed. As I recall, it was during a joint British/U.S. bomber training exercise. The colonel was a larger than life character and I remember General Curtis LeMay paying him and the base a visit. Got to see a lot from our air crew personal equipment shop at the base ops/ tower building.

  2. Brendan, your reprehensibly irresponsible comment, “despite a rumor that he had been inebriated while behind the helm,” is utter crap with no basis in reality and should be removed. There is not a shred of evidence to suggest any such rumor ever surfaced. McCoy at the time was an extremely experienced pilot with arguably more flying hours than anyone in the world, successfully landing planes despite wide varieties of extreme conditions. I own a copy of McCoy’s death certificate that makes no mention of this absurd, tabloid allegation.