Collect Air

Links

HOME

CESSNA HELICOPTER

PRODUCTS

AVIATION ART OF
STEVE REMINGTON


DIVERSE IMAGES English Pewter Models

COLLECTIBLES INFO

FRIEND OR FOE? MUSEUM

SUBMARINES

EPHEMERA

ORIGINAL ARTWORK

WORLD WAR II STORIES

ART PRINTS

AVIATION BOOKS

VINTAGE MODEL AIRPLANE KITS

VINTAGE KITS ANNEX

VINTAGE KITS ANNEX 2

VINTAGE KITS ANNEX 3

VINTAGE KITS ANNEX 4

VINTAGE KITS ANNEX 5

VINTAGE MODEL ENGINES

PLASTIC KITS OF 1950s and 60s

VINTAGE TRANSPORTATION TOYS

STROMBECKER HISTORY

WOODASON AIRCRAFT MODELS HISTORY

GOOD STUFF - P-40 ETC.

EARLY BIRD AVIATOR - MATILDE MOISANT



FEEDBACK and CONTACT

MISSILES & SPACE

HELICOPTER/VTOL DISPLAY MODELS - VINTAGE

ARTICLES

DISPLAY MODELS - NEW AND VINTAGE

DISPLAY MODELS ANNEX

DISPLAY MODEL ANNEX 2

DISPLAY MODEL ANNEX 3

DISPLAY MODEL ANNEX 4

Collect Air  
 




JACK ZIMMERMAN - HELICOPTER TEST PILOT
1921 - 2002


A BIOGRAPHY

This page presents some biographical information on Jack Zimmerman, the chief test pilot on the Cessna helicopter during it's life span from 1952 to 1963. I knew Jack as a test pilot, flight instructor, and a family man during the Cessna CH-1 years. Jack's two sons, Hal and Larry, were born during that Cessna saga and I spent many an hour with Jack, his wife Dorothy, and the young boys. Both Hal and Larry have contributed material for use in this section. Some photos are shown from Jack's early military stint as a helicopter pilot which should be of interest to helicopter history buffs. Also, several Microsoft Word files are included which cover Jack's career and life as presented by both of his sons. Jack's personal files have been donated to the Amercian Helicopter Museum, located in their library collection (non-circulating).

Jack Zimmerman grew up in Chicago during the depression and attended the University of Illinois, Champagne, studying engineering and physical education just before WW2. He dropped out of college to enlist in the Army Air Corps; his older brother Carl had joined the Air Corps and Jack's twin brother, Jerry, had joined the Navy.

Jack graduated from flight school in 1943 as he is pictured below as a brand new Second Lieutenant, Air Corps, United States Army.

Larry Zimmerman reports that Jack became one of the Army's first helicopter pilots. The Army convened its first class at Freeman Field, Indiana to teach experienced pilots how to fly the new helicopter. Jack was sent off to basic helicopter training and the certificate below is the Army's first helicopter class' certificate of completion. Of note is the fact that the instructor pilots had approximately 7 hours of flight time in the helicopter! All pilots of the first class are also pictured below.

Aviation firsts were being established all the time during these pioneering days of vertical flight. The picture below is from a newspaper article in 1944 where Jack is landing a helicopter, a Sikorsky R-4B, at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida that had never seen such a machine. The R-4s were the only U.S. military helicopter to be used operationally during WW2. About 100 R-4s were built in total, units going to the U.S. Army, Navy, U.S. Coast Guard, the RAF and the Royal Navy.

The newspaper caption reads: U.S. Navy Photo 9/8/44. "Flying Windmills" visit Pensacola - Two helicopters, flown by Lt. Jack L. Zimmerman of Chicago and Lt. Robert L. Boyce of Elbe, N.Y., paid a visit to the Naval Air Station of the Naval Air Training Bases, Pensacola, Fla., this week. The machines were flown here from Bates Field, an Auxiliary of Brookley Field, Mobile, Ala., where Lts. Zimmerman dna Boyce are stationed.

Following training, Jack was assigned to the Aircraft Repair Unit Floating (ARU-F) out of Mobile, Alabama. The concept of the ARU-F was to create a floating repair facility for Army Air Corps aircraft and use the helicopter as a logistic arm flying parts from ship to shore. The US Army and not the US Navy developed the initial use of helicopters at sea. Some of the Liberty freighters had the small postage stamp landing field near the bow of the ship. Censors deleted all mention of this tiny landing platform during the war due to security reasons. It was believed that the kamikaze pilots might single out the ARU-F's if they knew of the ships mission. The unit went aboard a Liberty Ship, the S.S. Major General Olds, which was manned by merchant marine sailors, commanded by an Army Colonel and had a full machine shop which enabled it to maintain and manufacture aircraft parts at sea or in port.

Some scenes of the ARU-F and a typical flight operation to deliver a part for B-29s at Tinian Island are shown below. Jack flew a photographic mission on Tinian to record the Enola Gay although he didn't know the purpose at the time. Note: The ARU-F mission for the R-4B during WW2 is not well researched in existing publications and web-based articles on the wartime use of helicopters (the R-4B) - several hours of web search could turn up no mentions of this Army mission on Navy ships. Oddly, an illustration of this task, along with an accurate description, appeared in a children's helicopter book from the 1970s!

Model at Udvar-Hazy Center. CollectAir photo 2013.

Larry writes that, "The scout motto 'be prepared' served my Dad often and once while landing the helicopter on the ship's small 40 X 40 foot flight deck the helicopter was caught in the ship's downdraft. The helicopter crashed but due to his scout training he saved his passengers life and was awarded the Soldiers Medal. Jack receieved the following citation:

" For heroism displayed in rescuing an enlisted man from drowning in the Pacific Ocean on 1 November 1944. While taking off in a Helicopter from the flight deck of the SS Daniel E. Garrett, Lieutenant Zimmerman with Private William K. Troche as passenger was forced to land at sea. Lieutenant Zimmerman at the risk of his life made several dives into the plane when his passenger had difficulty in extricating himself from the craft. When Private Troche's life preserver failed to operate properly, Lieutenant Zimmerman supported him in the water for approximately 30 minutes and afterwards pulled him to a life preserver, which had been thrown from the ship. The heroism displayed by Lieutenant Zimmerman on this occasion reflects great credit upon himself and the military service."

Jack Zimmerman receiving the Soldier's Medal February 1, 1945.

Jack's crew.

Correspondent Bill Layton has provided some R-4B photographs taken in the Pacific by his father, W.A. Layton MM3C of 92nd NCB'S, in 1945. These photos are presented below.

Rare color photo of R-4B taken on Okinawa in 1945.

The photo below shows the first helicopter landing ship, the USCGC Cobb, WPG-181 (ex-Governor Cobb), a cutter, which took aboard a Sikorsky R-4B helicopter on June 15, 1944, the first ever landing of a helicopter on a ship.

Some Air Sea Rescue demonstations were carried out at Okinawa in January 1946. A Sikorsky R-6A, a refinement of the R-4B, is shown below during the operation.

After WW2, Jack worked as a helicopter pilot doing commercial work in various locations including Alaska, prior to becoming a test pilot for Seibel Helicopter and then Cessna. In 1963, Jack went to work as a test pilot for Hughes Helicopters where he retired in 1982 after test work on the new AH-64 Apache. 39 years of test flying, 1943 to 1982 - quite a career!

Hal Zimmerman has provided the following photos showing some of Jack's involvement with Hughes helicopters.

Jack with early prototype N9001F dressed as an OH-6. Can anyone assist with naming the individuals in this photo? George Hurd, a retired Hughes International Marketing Manager, advises that the gentleman on the far left is Col. (Ret.) "Nat" Hoskot who was the International Marketing Manager for Military Sales. The other persons are potential foreign customers.

Jack with fellow Hughes test pilots, Bob Ferry and Walt Hodson. Bob Ferry died in 2009.

Jack with his family at Edwards AFB in March 1966 during a period of record setting flights in the OH-6.

Jack Zimmerman set many FAI records in the YOH-6A helicopter in 1966 including time-to-climb, distance over a closed course and altitude, several of which are still valid. A listing of Jack's record flights, along with other YOH-6A records, may be viewed by clicking here. The photo above was taken at Edwards AFB following a record flight in 1966.


Hal and Larry Zimmerman presented eulogies for Jack in 2002; these may be read by clicking here. Larry Zimmerman wrote an article for the scouting publication Eagleletter concerning his dad's life as an Eagle Scout; click here to read the article.




RETURN TO CESSNA HELICOPTER PAGE.




THANKS FOR USING COLLECTAIR. Items may be ordered by using the FEEDBACK page, or by calling cell (408) 828-2810.






 
Real Time Web Analytics Buy cheap cephalexin without prescription