Born in Atlanta, Sam Lyons' love of aviation began early thanks to his father, a World War II B-24 pilot. While attending Presbyterian College, he obtained his private pilot-glider license. After graduation he served two years as an officer in the U.S. Army. Sam then opened the hobby shop, Historical Hobbies, where his interest in modeling airplanes garnered many national modeling awards. Painting full-time since 1985, Sam combined his fascination with painting with his love of aviation to create a style so realistic his artwork is often mistaken for photographs. With subjects ranging from classic Piper Cubs to modern military jets, Sam's art is a source of inspiration for pilots and aviation fans of all ages. His illustrations for the children's book, "What's a Piper Cub?" also inspired a younger generation of pilots.
Sam's painting "Lead Solo" graces the Air Force Art Hall in the Pentagon. Other Lyons paintings and prints can be found at the Blue Angel Headquarters, The Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, the Air Force Museum and the Royal Air Force Museum. In 2004, the U.S. Air Force Academy turned two of Sam's pieces: "Bringing 'em Home" and “Prelude to Victory" into murals for their officers club. His paintings also grace the covers of numerous books, magazines and catalogs. Sam has been commissioned to create works of art for Barron Hilton, Brigadier General C. W. Taylor, Dobbins AFB, Blue Angels, U.S. Army, AT&T, Bellsouth, Lockheed Martin Aeronautical Systems and The Danbury Mint. Sam is a member of the American Society of Aviation Artists, the Air Force Art Program, the Experimental Aircraft Association, Vintage Aircraft Association, Warbirds of America and the 8th Air Force Historical Society. His military and civilian awards include a first place in the General Aviation categories of the AviationWeek and Space Technology magazine's "Best of the Best" 2003 Aviation Aerospace Art Awards.
Sam earned his single engine land private pilot license in 1995 and has flown hundreds of hours in Piper Cubs or his vintage Stinson 108. Through the Experimental Aircraft Association's (EAA) Young Eagles Program, he has provided many children with airplane rides. He is also one of the rare civilians who have flown in the F-15 Eagle, the F-16 Falcon, and in the F-18 Hornet with the U.S. Navy Blue Angels. Sam suffered severe burns in a plane crash in 1999 requiring skin grafts, operations and rehabilitation, however he returned to flying the planes he loves six months later. Sam lives with his wife Mindy on Air Acres, a grass airstrip in Woodstock, Georgia.
In recognition of his promotion of the field of aviation through his inspiring artwork, Sam Lyons was enshrined into the Georgia Aviation Hall of Fame on February 14, 2009.