Segments in this Video

John Boyd: Introduction (01:39)


Boyd grew up in poverty and as an adult, lived in fear that his possession would own him. As a pilot, he advocated for controversial weapons systems and was embraced more by the Marines than the Air Force.

Boyd's Early Years (02:11)

Boyd was born in 1927 to an affluent family; his father died and the family struggled financially. A swimming coach and a lifeguard helped shape Boyd's future resolve. He rode in a plane as a teenager and wanted to become a military pilot.

Early Military Service (03:51)

After high school, Boyd enlisted in the Army and served in Japan. He attended Iowa University and took a flight aptitude test; his IQ was 90. He was assigned to the 51st fighter wing in Korea, and became tactics officer after the war; he was convinced fighter pilot training was inadequate.

Fighter Weapons School (03:25)

Boyd shared his opinions on training methods and demonstrated impressive flying skills. He became an instructor and codified air-to-air combat. Boyd finished the Aerial Attack Study in 1960.

Quantifying Combat Performance (03:11)

Boyd began formulating an energy maneuverability theory; EM Theory changed how pilots thought about combat and implied changes in aircraft design and tactics. Boyd's daughter reflects on his lifestyle. In 1965, Boyd won the Scientific Achievement Award; he took over the development of the FX fighter a year later.

Plane Development (04:30)

In 1966, Air Force bureaucracy was in crisis and money and resources were spent on the development on the FX fighter. Boyd modified the FX into the F-15, but was unhappy with the results; the YF-16 exemplified his beliefs. Pilot visibility was crucial to Boyd's theory OODA Loop.

Boyd's Later years (03:56)

Boyd published "Patterns of Warfare." Marines were appreciative of his theories and rebuilt their doctrine based on OODA Loop. Boyd developed the philosophical underpinnings of the Marine feint in Kuwait; he died in 1997.

Credits: Legends of Air Power: John Boyd (00:30)

Credits: Legends of Air Power: John Boyd

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Legends of Air Power: John Boyd

Part of the Series : Legends of Air Power
DVD (Chaptered) Price: $69.95
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $104.93
3-Year Streaming Price: $69.95



John Boyd was known as “Forty-Second Boyd” throughout the Air Force because of his promise to beat anyone in simulated air-to-air combat in forty seconds or less. He was taken up on his offer many times and never lost. Boyd turned his natural combat skills into teaching tools for his fellow pilots, coining his famous Energy-Maneuverability Theory, which completely changed the way fighter pilots fought. His theory was even employed in the future design of aircraft, allowing manufacturers to design planes that had great maneuverability. His theories changed tactical fighting forever.

Length: 24 minutes

Item#: BVL129047

ISBN: 978-1-64198-034-0

Copyright date: ©2003

Closed Captioned

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