Meet the Author: William C. "Billy" McDonald III

The Shadow Tiger: Billy McDonald—Wingman to Chennault  


Billy McDonald of Birmingham, Alabama, had an adventurous and dangerous career as a pilot in the golden age of flight and into World War II. He jumped from military cadet to wingman in Claire Chennault Chennault’s famed aerobatic flying group, Three Men on a Flying Trapeze. In China, he moved from instructor for the Chinese Air Force to combat pilot flying Chennault’s legendary Hawk 75 Special against the Japanese over Nanking in 1937. He began by ferrying world-famous passengers like Ernest Hemingway and high-value cargo like gold for the China National Aviation Corporation. He then flew gasoline and gunpowder over The Hump (Himalayas) for Chennault’s Flying Tigers and the Chinese Army.

Through it all, Chennault, controversial and legendary, remained his mentor, often his boss, and always his friend, indelibly shaping his life. In his new book, William C. "Billy" McDonald III tells of a remarkable career, and a man who bore witness to some of the 20th century’s historic events and pivotal characters. Watch the July 18 Meet the Author presentation below.