Jack Dunn -- A Lifetime of Flying
In 2008 I worked with Jack to create the following outline of his career in aviation. This overview helps provide a background to the video clips located on this web site.
+ Born January 16, 1924; Marietta, GA; John Donald Dunn, SR.
+ Started flying J3 in 1938
+ Retired from active commercial flying 2001, and moved to Hood River, OR
+ 55,000 total flying hours (327 weeks airborne as pilot-in-command)
+ 1,000 hours each in 14 different planes; 8,500+ in two planes: Aeronca Champ & Lockheed Jetstar
+ Flown 187 different types of planes
+ Became an FAA "Designated Pilot Examiner" (1982-1992)
- Was most popular pilot examiner in SE USA, examining 250-350 pilots per year!
+ Late 1940's was commanding officer of Atlanta Unit of the Civil Air Patrol
- Flew government surplus airplanes such as Stearmans and Stinson L-5's
- One of the Stearmans was landed upside-down on a grass runway by a hot-shot pilot; pilot and Jack's close friend as
passenger were uninjured. Jack dislikes the PIC to this day!
+ Purchased remains of Culver/Dart Aircraft Company in 1954, including machinery, jigs, plans, tools, spare parts, etc.
+ In 1960's was heavily involved in glider flying in the Georgia area, setting the GA glider distance record in 1965
+ First FAA examiner in Georgia - 1954
+ From age 10 to present has been highly involved in all kinds of model building and flying.
- President multiple times of multiple RC clubs (GA, OK, CA, OR); Also every officer an RC club has to offer.
- Was a major competitor in "free flight" contests in the 1930's.
- Competed in "Pattern" flying (considered by many to be the epitome of RC airplane flying) for several years, winning
shelves full of trophies and certificates. Organized and directed many Pattern contest in the SE USA.
- Mentored literally hundreds of new model builders and pilots
- Trained hundreds of RC pilots.
- Built hundreds of scale airplanes both from scratch and from kits.
- Turned down (due to modesty) offer to become elected to the American Model Association "Hall Of Fame". Several other
HOF members considered Jack "worthy" and were willing to co-sponsor him. Jack feels he is not in the same league as
other AMA Hall-Of-Famers, so asked not to be nominated (his request was honored).
- Along with his friend (and AMA Hall-Of-Famer) Mickey Walker, co-founded the AMA Senior Pattern Association (SPA)
which promotes and holds contests for the flying of vintage aerobatic "Pattern" airplanes from the 1960's and 1970's.
+ Entered US Navy January 1942
- Preflight school (boot camp); Univ of GA
- Civilian Pilot Training (CPT; Univ of Memphis
> 1/2 day flying, 1/2 day academics
> 35 hours total flying time
- E-Base (Elimination School); Memphis
> Stearman's - 148 hours
- Basic Training; Pensacola FL (BT-13's)
- Advanced Training; Pensacola
> All instrument training
> Graduated as Naval Aviator, March 1943
- Operational Training; Melbourne FL
> F6F Hellcats
> Trained as day fighter
> Volunteered for night fighting to get to fly F7F's
- Instrument Training; Vero Beach FL
- Night Fighter Training; Westerly RI
- Transferred to Barbers Point, HI
> Over-water training
> Awaiting squadron assignment
> Attached to day fighter squadron (temp)
- Assigned to VF-88 on carrier USS Yorktown (2nd one)
> Part of Task Force 58 (Fast Carrier Task Force)
+ Part of Admiral Spruance's Fifth Fleet
> Flying F6F-5N Hellcats
+ 2 x 20mm cannon
+ 4 x 50mm machine gun
+ 6 x 5" HVAR rockets
+ Wing mounted RADAR
> Attacking Japan on pre-invasion missions
+ 1000 plane raids
- Jack became leader of one mission when incurring bad weather and primary leaders had no radar
+ Strafing airports, primarily revetments, using rockets and cannons
- Story: another pilot shot all rockets into revetment, exploded in front of him, returned to carrier with leading
edge of wing flattened clear back to the wing spar
> Shot down twice
+ Both times by engine outages caused by ground fire
+ Recovered within 6 hours by grid rescue system
- Inland sea between Japan and Korea; PBY recovery
- West of Japan in Pacific; Submarine recovery
> In Tokyo harbor participating in surrender ceremony.
+ Close enough to USS Missouri to see signing ceremony
- Returned to US via Okinawa
> Took on 10,000 marines
> Full-bore non-stop direct route to San Francisco
> 30 days leave
- Discharged January 1946
+ Recalled for Korean War, September 1951
- Assigned to VX-3 Air Development Squadron, Atlantic City NJ
> 2 years developing equipment and tactics
> Learned to fly newly developed jet aircraft
> Flew every plane US Navy had in service at the time, including A-1 Skyraider, A3D Skynight, F2H Banshee, F9F
Cougar, F7U Cutlass, SNB Twin Beach
> Developed instrument training procedures (1st of kind for USN)
+ Navy Reserve for 12 years, flying F6F, R4D on weekends
+ Ran own VA flight training school, Parkaire airport, Atlanta GA
- Acquired instructors license
- Seven Aeronca Champs, and a few Piper J3's
- FBO 1948-1951
+ Joined Delta Airlines 1953
- Flew DC-3, DC-6, DC-7; Flight Engineered Lockheed Constellation
+ FBO of Fulton County Airport, Atlanta GA, 1954-55 (and other times also)
+ Hired by Lockheed, Marietta GA, 1955
- Production Test Pilot for planes listed below
- Flew Lockheed built B-47's (production ceased 1959)
- Started flying C-130's in 1956
- Started flying C-141 Starlifter in 1971
- L-1329 Jetstar instructor pilot
- Sent to Andrews AFB, Washington DC for 6 months to train SAM (Special Air Missions) pilots to fly the US President
Kennedy and Vice-President Johnson around in Jetstars. Flew with Johnson on board several times.
- Instrument training added to duties in 1960's
- Project Pilot for C-5A Galaxy
> Flight testing
> Training procedures and materials
> Demonstration flights (Jack is the pilot in the famous photo of a C-5 flying next to, and below
summit, Stone Mountain GA)
> Large development team under Jack's leadership
> On one day flew the then worlds largest airplane (C-5 Galaxy) and smallest airplane (Corbin Baby Ace) in one hour.
- Involved in C-130 Hercules On Water (HOW) experimental program
> Water-borne C-130
> Standard water hull, plus hydro-ski lowered hydraulically for take-off and landing
> Built 14 foot wingspan RC airplane for development and testing (movie story)
- Involved in LASA-60 program
> Cessna 182 on steroids
> Intended as a "bush plane"
> Only a few produced
- Lockheed Executive Pilot, flying L-18 Loadstar
+ Corporate Pilot for Frates Enterprises, Tulsa OK (1972-1975)
- Flew company Jetstar for corporate services division
- Hired as Chief Pilot
+ Corporate Pilot for Fluor Corporation, Los Angeles/Burbank CA (1975-1977)
- Flew company Grumman G-II
- Rapidly became Chief Pilot
+ Classroom and Simulator instructor for Flight Safety International (1978-1988)
- Jetstar Training Center; Marietta GA
- Totally revamped curriculum to be more effective
+ Specialized Flight Instruction in the Atlanta area (1988-2001)
- Training for Instrument, ATP, Multi-Engine, Emergency Maneuvers, Homebuilt/Experimental Aircraft.
- Developed special "Tail Dragger" training program which became FAA approved.
+ Move to Hood River in 2001 and purchased a Piper J-3 Cub to teach grandson to fly
- Delivered sold plane to Oklahoma buyer, flying solo, at age 79, using lap-held GPS!
The following list is not totally inclusive. Some "forgotten" and un-photo'd planes are left off.
Pictures of the following planes can be viewed here, along with some other pictures collected from Jack. [HINT: use left/right arrow keys to move through pictures]
1. Curtiss Robin with Challenger radial engine
2. Kinner Sportster
3. Kinner Recruiter
4. Stinson Gullwing
5. Stinson 105 Voyager
6. Consolidated L-13
7. Fleet Model-2
8. Aeronca LB
9. Ragwing Cessna 170
10. Civil Callair
11. Schweitzer 222 glider
12. Minamoa glider (German)
13. J-3 Cubs (many)
14. Aeronca Champions (many) [had a fleet of 7 when operated flight school]
16. Piper Colt (hopped up engine)
17. Piper J-5
18. Luscombe 8A - standard
19. Luscombe 8A with Ken-Royce 5-cylinder radial engine
21. Apache Twin
22. Cessna 140
23. Super Cub