In 1938 Jimmy Doolitle was a Vice President at the Shell Oil Company, and he flew NC1104 some 140 times between 1938 and 1940. This beautiful Stinson SR-10 will be auctioned off at the EAA AirVenture event later this month.
Most of us remember Jimmy Doolittle for his raid on Tokyo with a flight of B25s launched from aircraft carriers off the coast of Japan and which were crash landed in China. But prior to the war he was known as a skilled pilot, and was famous on the air race circuit during the 1920s and '30s, and the first person to fly across the United States in one day. In 1922 he flew from Florida to California in under fourteen hours. During the Second World War he commanded several air groups and, after the war, returned to Shell Oil to finish out a distinguished career. He had graduate degrees in aeronautics and served on several advisory committees on aeronautics and national security, one of the most celebrated military aviators of the twentieth century.
He was awarded the Medal of Honor for the raid on Tokyo, and at one point in the 1960s, while visiting a top-secret CIA facility, photo-interpreters showed Doolittle a spy satellite image taken over the Soviet Union that had been stumping them for quite a while. Doolittle took one look at the picture of the large, odd-looking seaplane and identified it as a "wing-in-ground effect" vehicle, a type of airplane that stayed close to the surface, riding on the cushion of air that built up between its wing and the ground. Doolittle's extensive aviation experience and scientific training had allowed him to recognize the unusual aircraft. An avid sportsman, fisherman, and hiker, he went on frequent hiking trips with his fellow scientists. In 1985, although long retired from active duty, he was promoted to four-star general. Doolittle died in 1992. After his death, Howard W. Johnson, former chairman of the MIT Corporation, remembered: "Once when he was asked to sum up his philosophy, he said it was simply a matter of trying to leave the earth a better place than he found it. He certainly did that, and he did it with grace and good humor." Until next time keep your wings straight and level Hersch! JetAviator7 Nobody who gets too damned relaxed builds up much flying time. — Ernest K. Gann, advice from the 'old pelican,' 'The Black Watch,' 1989. ps: Don't forget to sign up for our newsletter "All Things Aviation" here!