Robert “Bob” H. Simmers will be inducted into the North Dakota Aviation Hall of Fame based on his significant contributions to aviation in North Dakota and to his community. Simmers will be inducted on Tuesday, March 3 during the Upper Midwest Aviation Symposium. The Symposium, to be held in Fargo March 1-3, is hosted annually by the North Dakota Aviation Council.
Simmers was born in Jamestown in 1947, into an aviation family. His parents, Francis and Irene Simmers, bought their first airplane the year he was born, maintained a grass strip on their farm east of Jamestown, and both earned their pilot’s license. As the family initially used aviation for agricultural and social purposes, Bob grew to use aviation as a means of service, activism, and to make a living.
Simmers soloed in 1963 and enjoyed the privilege of leisure flight around the farm. In 1984, he turned to aviation as a livelihood, becoming a flight instructor with instrument and multiengine ratings. He began working as an agricultural applicator and charter pilot for Jamestown Aviation, and soon became a designated pilot examiner, playing a significant role in many pilots’ progression. He continued to teach throughout the years and founded Bismarck Aero Center in 1990 while being actively involved in the leadership of the North Dakota Aviation Council, constantly advocating for the benefits and freedom of aviation, particularly in matters of airspace and pilot safety through practice and training.
In 2012 he was appointed by Governor Jack Dalrymple to the North Dakota Unmanned Systems Authority for the purpose of ensuring that General Aviation interests were respected in the development and integration of remotely piloted aircraft. To date, he has accumulated over 16,000 hours of flight time and has flown over 100 different makes and models of aircraft.
What is truly remarkable about Bob is his selfless nature amidst all of his accomplishments. As he looks for opportunities to protect, improve, and share aviation, he also gives rides with EAA or on his own to friends and family, raises funds for charities, speaks, writes, organizes, and gives to his community in numerous ways.
Simmers and his wife Carol live in Bismarck. They have four boys and 7 grandchildren. The awards ceremony will take place in Fargo at the Upper Midwest Aviation Symposium on March 3. The social begins at 6 p.m. and the banquet begins at 7 p.m. Tickets and more information can be obtained by calling the North Dakota Aeronautics Commission at 701.328.9650 or at www.ndac.aero.