Sunday, December 21, 2008

Dimitry D. (Jimmy) Viner 1908-1998

Jimmy Viner was born in 1908 in Kiev, Russia. In 1923, when Jimmy Viner was 15 years old, he and his family came to America.

He joined the original Sikorsky Aero Engineering Corporation at Roosevelt, L. I. in 1923, when the company was founded by his uncle, Igor I. Sikorsky. He was Sikorsky's 15th and youngest employee. He started as an errand boy, stock chaser, sweeper and truck driver. When he requested a title, his uncle designated him "Sikorsky's Director of Transportation". He moved to Connecticut with the company in 1929, learning to fly fix-wing planes during the same year. He has been with Sikorsky ever since, with the exception of the early 40's when he was a flight instructor for the Bridgeport Flying Service at Turner Falls, Mass.

Jimmy had acquired more than 1,500 hours of fixed-wing aircraft time and more than 4,000 hours of rotary wing flying. He flew almost eight hours in the VS-300, the first Sikorsky helicopter and he was the first helicopter pilot to log 1,000 hours, in 1947.

Other firsts are: first flights of the S-51, the S-55 and the S-58: first helicopter civilian rescue, in 1945, of two crewmen from an oil barge off Penfield Reef in Fairfield during a storm; first helicopter mail service in New York City; first pilot to operate a helicopter in plane guard work from an aircraft carrier in 1947, this resulted in the first Naval rescue, saving pilots whose planes went into the ocean; set a helicopter world speed record of 115 MPH in 1946.

The list of pilots and persons who have received helicopter training under Jimmy reads like an aviation "who's Who". He was a two-time recipient of the "Winged-S" Rescue Award of Sikorsky Aircraft, and an honorary member of the American Helicopter Society and a member of the Society of Experimental Test pilots.