Michael Haupt with beacon

I’ve always been an aviation fan. Back in elementary school, I would pour over hand-me-down copies of Air Progress magazine, memorizing stats on the WWII planes. By high school, I subscribed to Flying magazine and would drool over all the cool things in the Buyer’s Guide.

For my career aviation, took a back seat to computers … room-filling IBM mainframes. After spending a decade employed by several large companies, I struck out on my own. For the past 35 years I’m been self-employed in a wide variety of IT roles.

In 1980, I moved to Chicago and quickly adopted the city. I’ve immersed myself in the area reading books about its history, visiting museums and other cultural institutions, taking numerous architectural and other tours, and much more. I’ve come to appreciate the rich tapestry of people and events that have made the region what it is today.

My aviation interest was rekindled nearly 20 yeas ago when I became involved with a community liaison group at Palwaukee (now Chicago Executive) Airport. I was asked to create a display with old photos and some history of the airport. That project morphed into an ever-expanding PowerPoint about Palwaukee’s history.

Palwaukee wasn’t the only interesting airport in the area. The more I researched, the more amazed I was about the extent of the Chicago area’s involvement with aviation since the very beginning. Over the years, I accumulated far too much information to put in a presentation. That’s when I undertook writing my first book.

I’ve had no formal training in history but have always been a “big picture guy.” In order to understand the current situation, it’s essential to know how we got here. My computer background gave me meticulous research skills which proved very useful in writing the book.

When it came time to publish the book, it was only natural to do it myself. I had a vision about how the book should be structured to be most useful both to general readers and other researchers. I wasn’t about to yield control of that vision to a publishing company to fit into their prepackaged format.

Having run my own business for years, I wasn’t intimidated by hiring subcontractors, so I avoided the one-stop-shop services that seem to be everywhere these days. The team included an editor, designer for both cover and interior, typesetter, proofreader and indexer. Every team member was invested in making the book as good as it could be, so there was a lot of back and forth. Both the typesetter and proofreader were also skilled editors and didn’t restrain themselves for suggesting improvements outside what would be their typical job description for this project.

The result is something anyone can be very proud of. Plus, a team is in place to work on other titles about aviation and/or Chicago by me as well as other authors.