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

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 of a number of aviation publications.

He edited Jane's All the World's Aircraft (JAWA) for three decades during the Cold War between the Soviet Union and its Warsaw Pact allies and the USA/European alliance (NATO). He retired as Jane's editor in 1989, just as the Iron Curtain obscuring much of the Soviet Bloc's technology started to be revealed.

Taylor died age 77 and specialised in what has been called "Kremlinology", in that he made predictions of the performance of Soviet military equipment from poor and sometimes blurred photographs and other evidence.

A quote from the UK Guardian newspaper said: "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 improving details of design.

He joined Jane's as editorial assistant on Jane's All the World's Aircraft (JAWA) in 1955 and four years later he took over as editor. He edited JAWA until the late 1960s.

He also provided a monthly aviation feature in Meccano Magazine up to the 1960s.



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See also


  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.