To address mission risk and cost limitations the US has faced in putting a much needed Doppler wind lidar into space, Ball Aerospace and Technologies Corp, with support from NASA's Earth Science Technology Office (ESTO), has developed the Optical Autocovariance Wind Lidar (OAWL), designed to measure winds from aerosol backscatter at the 355 nm or 532 nm wavelengths. Preliminary proof of concept hardware efforts started at Ball back in 2004. From 2008 to 2012, under an ESTO-funded Instrument Incubator Program, Ball incorporated the Optical Autocovariance (OA) interferometer receiver into a prototype breadboard lidar system by adding a laser, telescope, and COTS-based data system for operation at the 355 nm wavelength. In 2011, the prototype system underwent ground-based validation testing, and three months later, after hardware and software modifications to ensure autonomous operation and aircraft safety, it was flown on the NASA WB-57 aircraft. The history of the 2011 test flights are reviewed, including efforts to get the system qualified for aircraft flights, modifications made during the flight test period, and the final flight data results. We also present lessons learned and plans for the new, robust, two-wavelength, aircraft system with flight demonstrations planned for Spring 2016.