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From the J3 Cub to the USS Enterprise: The True Story of Gene Roddenberry


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From the J3 Cub to the USS Enterprise: The True Story of Gene Roddenberry and his time in aviation.

When you get into an airplane by yourself and take off, you find yourself in this lovely, three-dimensional world where you can go in any direction. There is no feeling any more exciting than that.
-Gene Roddenberry

Most of us know Gene Roddenberry as the creator of the Star Trek franchise. Cherished around the world for decades as a symbol of humanity’s unlimited potential and the countless adventures that await us in the cosmos, Star Trek has become a cornerstone of popular culture, inspiring many people to pursue careers in the aviation and aerospace industries.

Interestingly, the connection between the show’s creator and the world of flight and aviation runs much deeper than one might think. Gene Roddenberry was a decorated pilot, flying both combat missions piloting the B-17 Flying Fortress during World War II and for the airlines after the war.

The egalitarian spirit that continues to animate Star Trek is one that Roddenberry took to heart, and is one of the reasons for the popularity and lasting legacy of the series. The idea of exploring the galaxy and giving aid to other worlds, cultures, and peoples is one that many pilots aspire to. It represents the best about humanity.

And Roddenberry didn’t just preach – he practiced. One fateful night, in particular, would change his life forever and show the world a glimpse of the man who would help change the way we view human cooperation and social progress.