John William Ransom Taylor, OBE Hon DEng FRAeS FRHistS AFIAA,[1] (8 June 1922 – 12 December 1999[2]) was a British aviation expert and editor. He edited Jane's All the World's Aircraft for three decades during the Cold War. He retired as editor in 1989, just as the Iron Curtain obscuring the Soviet Bloc's technology started to lift.

John W. R. Taylor
Born(1922-06-08)8 June 1922
Died12 December 1999(1999-12-12) (aged 77)
OccupationDraughtsman, Author, Journalist
EducationKing's Ely, Soham Grammar school
Notable worksEditor: Jane's All the World's Aircraft 30 years

Taylor, who lived to the age of 77, was a master of a parallel art to Kremlinology, he could deduce the performance of Soviet military equipment from blurred photographs.

"Thus in 1961, when Western intelligence was fascinated by early glimpses of a new Soviet bomber, the Tupolev Tu-22, many analysts estimated it could reach a speed of Mach 2.5 - more than twice the speed of sound. But Taylor, after noting the shape of the aircraft's engine intakes, put the maximum at no more than Mach 1.4, which proved much closer to the truth. In 1983, he analysed the MiG-29 fighter, whose agility was the cause of much anxiety amongst NATO's war-gamers; seven years later, when Jane's was able to check his suggested measurements, they were found to be accurate to within an inch. " The Guardian, Tuesday 25 January 2000.

Taylor was educated at Ely Cathedral Choir School (King's Ely) and Soham Grammar School in Cambridgeshire. He trained as a draughtsman and joined Hawker Aircraft in 1941. There he worked on the development of the Hurricane fighter and its successors. His specialisation was rectifying design defects. He joined Jane's as editorial assistant on Jane's All the World's Aircraft in 1955 and four years later he took over as editor. Until the late 1960s he edited this volume with virtually no editorial support but his love of aviation was such that this was a challenge he enjoyed. He provided a regular monthly aviation feature in Meccano Magazine throughout the 1940s-1960s.

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  1. ^ "Soham Grammarians - JWR Taylor". 18 February 2004. Archived from the original on 22 October 2018. Retrieved 18 July 2014.
  2. ^ Fairhall, David (25 January 2000). "John W R Taylor". The Guardian.

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