George A. Haloulakos — CFA Charterholder, Finance Professor and Published Author — has written a new and important book titled HIGH FLIGHT – Aviation as a Teaching Tool for Finance, Strategy and American Exceptionalism. Business Thinker readers may already be familiar with some of his published work that has been featured in this web site.
Based on a lifetime appreciation and affiliation with aviation, George wrote in the Introduction that his reason for writing HIGH FLIGHT is “The aviation industry is an excellent prism through which we can learn practical applications of corporate financial theory and strategy while gaining an historic perspective on American exceptionalism.” He notes that while Finance explains how capital is employed and Strategy provides the manner in which competitive advantage is created, American exceptionalism refers to “the special character of the United States of America as a nation founded on liberty and freedom.” George affirms in HIGH FLIGHT that American exceptionalism is exemplified by the aviation industry because “The US-led aviation industry has thrived on the liberty and freedom that has allowed it to innovate, design, develop and mass-produce products that have helped transform the world in virtually all walks of life.” The freedom to apply one’s wisdom and take risks to advance knowledge is a hallmark of this industry and so he has organized the book into chapters that address special topics through the case studies of iconic aircraft programs from World War II to date.
The topics addressed are Risk Taking Behavior, Cash Flow, Return on Investment, Financial Modeling, Game Theory, Communication and Imagination. In the course of the book, the reader will be able to learn how Boeing bet the entire company to launch the commercial jet age [and help win the Cold War] with the 707/KC135, how the YB49 Flying Wing and XB70 Valkyrie experimental aircraft played a key role in restoring the B1 Bomber from cancellation into production, the legacy of USMC aviation from the PBJ/B25 Mitchell to the Lockheed C130 Hercules or how the United Kingdom beat all the odds to win the Falkland Islands War with its Vulcan Bomber and VSTOL Harrier fighter aircraft, and much more. HIGH FLIGHT also addresses how cancellation of the Super Sonic Transport [SST] dramatically altered the landscape of the industry while materially impacting the fortunes of both Lockheed and Boeing plus the significance of the nearly forgotten Apollo 1 mission which claimed the lives of US astronauts Grissom, White and Chaffee.
HIGH FLIGHT features an unusual twist with its inclusion of two British Cold War aircraft – the Vulcan Bomber and VSTOL Harrier. George notes their inclusion “as a tip of the hat to British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher who understood and articulated the meaning of American exceptionalism during her 1979-90 premiership.” This is an integral part of his Game Theory chapter that explains how the United Kingdom beat all the odds to win the Falkland Islands War with its Vulcan Bomber and VSTOL Harrier fighter aircraft.
HIGH FLIGHT is meticulously researched as George interviewed a gallery of heroes from the ranks of the USAF and RAF to the Halls of Congress plus his personal notes and recollections from meeting astronauts and cosmonauts alike. There is a personal touch in the book as he not only pays homage to his Spartan heritage with a discourse on how the USMC is the modern-day equivalent of the Ancient Spartans, but a chapter co-authored with his father, Dr. V.E. Haloulakos [also a periodic Business Thinker contributor]. In addition, George dedicates the book in blessed memory of his Godfather, Chris Lembesis, a design engineer who worked on various aircraft programs and inspired George to pursue his sketching hobby [that resulted in having two drawings of futuristic spacecraft featured in HIGH FLIGHT in the chapter devoted to Imagination.] Appropriately, the Foreword was written by Greg Stinis, CEO and Squadron Commander of the Skytypers [and son-in-law to George’s Godfather]; the Communications chapter focuses on how Skytypers rewrote the playbook on the power of words with its pioneering, outdoor, mass-market aerial advertising.
This book is a great read for anyone interested in aviation, history, finance and strategy. George has seamlessly integrated these subjects into a compelling narrative that fulfills his goal of “Honoring the Past and Inspiring the Future.”
To learn more and / or order the book, please visit the HIGH FLIGHT web page at: http://www.skytypers.com/highflight.htm
“Partial proceeds support aviation heritage”