As a young boy in Edgemont, S.D. Jim Good saw his first airplane up close when a pilot dropped in with his Waco Bi-Plane. This big event in a young boys life left him with a lifelong fascination with airplanes and all things related to aviation. Still in his teens Jim left school to enlist in the South Dakota National Guard and soon after enlisted in the US Army where he would serve overseas in the 1st infantry division in support of the Berlin Airlift. Jim left the Army with an honorable discharge in 1952 and settled in Thermopolis Wyoming where he had close family. After working on a Ranch he accepted a position as an intern working with a blacksmith in Basin, Wyo. on the GI Bill. This was the beginning of his knowledge and skills later put to use in aircraft fabrication and maintenance. Back in Thermopolis following the internship Jim held a variety of positions including oilfield work, auto maintenance, and teaching auto mechanics and engine rebuilding at the Technical College of the Rockies. During this span of time and beginning in the mid 1960’s Jim started pursuing his lifelong passion to learn to fly and joined a flying club with part ownership in a Cessna 120 followed by shared ownership of a 172. Jim continued independent studies at home and quickly added his instrument rating while flying at every opportunity. Now connected with the local aviation community it was a natural transition with his skills to go to work for Mel Christler of Christler Flying Service where he assisted in the design and installation of custom spraying systems on 5 Lockheed Constellation aircraft and a large stable of DC-3’s.
Working on large multi engine aircraft Jim was set on a course to earn not only his A and P certification but also all ratings including multi engine up to and including ATP. Jim became a flight engineer on the Connies and earned a multi engine type rating in the DC-3. Flying with Christler took Jim on flying jobs across the US including spraying much of the gulf area for fire ants in Texas and Mississippi. During this time period he filled in as a substitute pilot flying pipeline for AMOCO OIL CO. when their pilot was unavailable, and ultimately was hired by AMOCO in 1972 in Casper as a full time Pilot flying first in a Cessna 180, and for most of his tenure in 3 different Cessna Turbo 210 airplanes. Flying low level in all types of conditions for 22 years Jim had started at AMOCO with more than 1200 hours logged, and now averaged 30 hours weekly adding more than 34000 additional flight hours not including hours logged in other aircraft during his off time. Now that’s a devotion to flying!
By the mid 1970’s Jim Good was a household name among pilots and people in the aviation community in Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, and Kansas through his weekly travels, and with his easy going friendly demeanor. Jim was always ready to help anyone with a problem with their airplane or any aviation related question. This passion led him to work in Casper as a volunteer with the Tired Iron Racing Team. Tired Iron had an amazing array of aircraft including a B-25 “Bronco Bustin Bomber”, A-26, P-51, P-47, Corsair “Warthog”, and a T-6 “Wyoming Wildcatter” later purchased by Jim for his personal airplane. Jim worked on and flew all of these airplanes and began attending the National Air Races yearly in the mid 70’s as crewmember and pilot. When Tired Iron’s was discontinued and aircraft offered for Sale Jim acquired Wyoming Wildcatter, and thus started a career representing Wyoming every year at the National Air Races in Reno, and at air shows and fly in events across the US. One historic event that Jim flew formation in was “Freedom Flight” that took all types of U.S. Warbirds down the eastern seaboard from Manhattan and New York City to Washington DC to be seen and enjoyed by many thousands of Americans. While doing aircraft maintenance with Tired Iron Jim also worked on several personal projects and built or restored airplanes including a Great Lakes, Piper Super Cub, WACO UPF7, and a WW2 German Me-109 which was eventually displayed in a museum in Kansas.
Never content to stop learning Jim added Airframe Inspector and FAA written test examiner to his activities and spent nearly all free time either giving flight instruction, assisting with aircraft maintenance, or administering FAA written exams.
Upon retiring from full time flying at AMOCO in 1995 Jim decided to continue his lease in a large rented hanger at Casper’s airport now known as Good Warbirds. His collection consisted of 8 airplanes ranging from a Piper Cherokee 160 to his T-6 and two restored Russian MIG15’s he has imported from Warsaw, Poland. These airplanes occupy 10,000 SF of space sandwiched between displays of rare collectibles, and aircraft memorabilia ranging from a MIG 29 drag Chute to a Large 48 star American flag and thousands of items he affectionately calls his “junk collection”. The office space in the hanger is filled with every aviation item imaginable from an classic collection of flying magazines and antique navigation equipment to the stainless steel galley from the first Air Force One, “Columbine’ Which was President Eisenhower’s personal airplane. A humorous addition is the toilet seat from Gen. Douglas Macarthur’s airplane, “Bataan”. Both of these airplanes were birds that Jim worked on and flew in while in the employ of Mel Christler.
Our museum guest register is signed by hundreds of people from across America and around the world who visited and marveled at the amazing collection and aviation history that Jim Good has spent much of his life acquiring, and now displays for the public to enjoy here in Casper free of charge.
Jim passed on April 24th, 2016 at the age of 83. His love of aviation lives on at the Good Aviation & Veterans Museum.