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John W.R. Taylor, former editor in chief of aviation industry bible Jane's All the World's Aircraft, has died at age 77.

Taylor died Dec. 12 in Kingston, Surrey, according to death notices. The cause of death was not announced.

Jane's gives the specifications of military and civilian aircraft produced and used across the globe. During his 30-year tenure at Jane's, Taylor was credited with creating a tradition of accuracy and comprehensiveness that made the reference book required reading for air forces, aircraft makers, intelligence services and defense experts worldwide.

One of his greatest gifts was his penetrating observation of photographs and television pictures, the Times newspaper said in an obituary last week. He could judge the capacities of new Soviet aircraft from photographs. When the first Soviet intercontinental ballistic missiles were paraded in Moscow, he was able to give accurate figures for their dimensions and likely performance by estimating their length against markings painted at regular intervals on the Red Square military parade area, the Times recalled.

When statistics for the Vostok space launcher were eventually released in 1967, they were within inches of the data that had been published in Jane's.

Taylor was born June 8, 1922, and became an aeronautical engineer by profession. He joined Jane's in 1955 and became its editor in 1959 and editor in chief in 1985. In 1989 he became an emeritus editor and continued to contribute as an adviser.

In 1991, Taylor was awarded an Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II.

He is survived by his wife, Doris, a son and a daughter.

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