A man with grey hair and wearing a blue shirt.

James R. Zangger

James R. Zangger was born July 18, 1949, in Sioux Falls, SD, and grew up near Larchwood, Iowa. His parents, Russell and Dolly Zangger, established an airport on the family farm and were flight and ground school instructors.

Jim began flying lessons at age 10 and had accumulated 64 hours by his 16th birthday. On that day (July 18, 1965), Jim soloed a 1946 BC12-D Taylorcraft, a 1959 Cessna 150, a 1956 Piper Tri-Pacer, and flew his solo cross- flight. Later that week, Jim flew to the county seat and traded in his school permit for his driver’s license.  

Jim took his private check-ride on his 17th birthday and passed his commercial flight test on his 18th birthday.  This was followed by instrument and multi-engine ratings. He received his A&P certificate and began Jim’s Aircraft Repair at his home field in Larchwood.  

His aviation career includes flying over 25 years for Rockwell Collins and other contract flying before moving back to Larchwood and operating Zangger Vintage Airpark, the oldest privately owned public use airport in Iowa (since 1949). In 1990, lots were sold making this field Iowa’s first, if not only, residential airpark.

Jim fully restored a Taylorcraft in 1997 and has landed it in all lower 48 states and received numerous air show awards.  He has received the Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award, the Charles Taylor Master Mechanic Award, and a safety award from the NBAA (National Business Aircraft Association).  Jim estimates his total flight hours at 26,750 to date. His parents, Russell and Dolly Zangger, are also members of the Iowa Aviation Hall of Fame.

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