Meet Bill Larkins, Carlton Senior Living’s spotlight resident – Bakersfield native and Oakland adopted son, William T. “Bill” Larkins, has been photographing aircraft for over 75 years and is the founder of the American Aviation Historical Society. He is also the author or co-author of nine books on the subject of aviation history and his unique collection of photos can be found on numerous websites. Bill continues to assemble information that will allow for the complete and correct identification of the aircraft in the photos he has taken and collected and is a featured photography of the East Bay Hills Project.
Coincidentally, it was Bill’s interest in aviation led to his exploration of aircraft photography. He earned his pilot’s license and served in the U.S. Army Air Forces for three years during Word War II and for another three years with the California Air National Guard.
A 2004 exhibition at San Francisco International Airport titled “Arriving SFO: Photographs by William T. Larkins” featured Bill’s work and was described as celebrating four decades of commercial aircraft that had served San Francisco. In 2006, Bill was honored with the Admiral Arthur W. Radford Award for excellence in Naval Aviation History and Literature. During his expansive career he also worked as an audio-visual specialist and administrative assistant at UC Berkeley for 31 years.
Bill was also good friends with Roger K. Heller, who among his many talents, was passionate about the Sacramento Northern Railroad. For a short period in the late 1940s, the two took many photographs and video of the railroad. The duo worked so closely together it is difficult to know who actually took which photographs, but everyone who has viewed these images agree that they were among the best taken during that era.
You can find a large selection of Bill’s aviation photos at:
A list of his books at:
A more detailed biography relative to his interest in aircraft:
Since his retirement, Bill has made his home at Carlton Senior Living Downtown Pleasant Hill where he continues to share his photography and love of aviation with the community.
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