Hi and welcome to my website. Here, you’ll find some aviation-related items you might find interesting. If you have any questions or comments, just click on the ‘contact’ page and write me a note. As time goes by, I’ll try to add more things, so come back soon. 

I thought you might like to know about the three books I have written:

Steven A. Ruffin

Aviation’s Most Wanted is a book of top 10 lists (biggest, fastest, highest, etc.), with interesting tidbits of information in each entry. It was fun to write, so maybe you’ll find it fun to read.

Flights of No Return was released in 2015 by Zenith Books. It focuses on famous flights–dating all the way back to the beginning of aviation history–that ended in disaster. It consists of 20 interesting true flying stories that I spent several years researching and writing.

To order these books on Amazon.com, click on the highlighted links above, or to simply learn more, go to my Steve’s Books & Other Pubs page. 

Lafayette Escadrille Sample (1)_img_2

My latest book The Lafayette Escadrille: A Photo History of the First American Fighter Squadron was released in 2016 by Casemate Publishers and can be ordered now. It is an illustrated history of the iconic World War I fighter squadron.

The Lafayette Escadrille was an all-volunteer squadron of Americans who flew for France during World War I. As any Great War aviation enthusiast can attest, there are numerous histories and biographies dealing with this iconic unit—so many, in fact, that it may well be the best-known fighter squadron ever to take to the skies. So, why this book? Simply because my unique photographic history—appearing during the famed unit’s centennial celebration—not only tells its story, it shows it. It is a never-before-seen visual history that both World War I aviation buffs and those with a more passing interest can appreciate.

To create this “scrapbook,” I spent an entire year searching through various university and museum archives in the United States and France for B&W photographs and documents relating to the famed unit. The result is a phenomenal collection of images relating to the men, machines, and mascots of the Lafayette Escadrille.

To complement these images, I traveled extensively throughout the United States and France, taking snapshots of existing markers and memorials honoring the men of this famous squadron. In France, I specifically sought out locations where the squadron operated and its pilots frequented. Wherever possible, I matched my present-day color photos with B&W contemporary images of the same scene, thus creating an interesting “then v.s. now” comparison.

I also included in this work numerous color photographs of existing relics residing in various museums that relate to the squadron and its men. Readers will enjoy and appreciate comparing objects seen in century-old B&W photos to the same artifacts as they appear today, in full color.

Finally, I enhanced this interesting mix of B&W-v.s.-color and then-v.s.-now with beautiful artwork by noted aviation artist Russell Smith and historically accurate original aircraft profiles by recognized experts Alan Toelle and Tomasz Gronczewski. The resulting collection of images, supplemented by captions and narrative, comprises one of the best visual histories ever created of the iconic Franco-American fighter squadron known as The Lafayette Escadrille.

WW1_logo_v1I am honored that this book has received official endorsement from the United States World War I Centennial Commission.

The Men of the Lafayette Escadrille, Behonne Aerodrome, Bar-le-Duc, France, July 1916. From left to right: Lt. Alfred de Laage de Meux, Chouteau Johnson, Laurence Rumsey, James McConnell, sous-Lt. William Thaw, Raoul Lufbery, Kiffin Rockwell, Didier Masson, Norman Prince, and Bert Hall. I recently visited this very site and it hasn’t changed much–it’s still a field, but the only things flying out of it today are birds. My recently released book The Lafayette Escadrille: A Photo History of the First American Fighter Squadron deals with this famed all-American squadron that flew for France in World War I. It features some rather interesting “then vs. now” photographs, beautiful color art, museum artifacts, and more, as it follows in the footsteps that the men of this legendary squadron made across France in 1916-1918. Take a look below, for an example.


Lafeyette Escadrille
Left: Lafayette Escadrille member William Thaw (far left) with famed French ace Charles Nungesser. Observing are an unidentified French officer and Capitaine Georges Thenault (far right), the commander of the squadron. Nungesser was attached to the squadron for a short time while recuperating from injuries he had received in a crash. In the background is the old Ferme Ste. Catherine farmhouse at Behonne Aerodrome, Bar-le-Duc, France, in 1916. Right: The scene pictured above as it appeared in 2014. It is amazing how little it has changed. Even the sagging roof at the right looks the same. It was repaired this way during WWI after being damaged by either a bomb or falling airplane.