Wednesday, March 23, 2011
James Lano Pearce was born December 29, 1919 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and spent the last twelve years of his life in Costa Rica. A highly decorated WWII fighter Ace turned test pilot, Jim was the first man to break the sound barrier flying an F -86. He was the chief test pilot for North American Aviation and moved on from there to be the Assistant Program Manager for the Apollo space program. In 1967, Jim started American Marine Inc, a successful manufacturing business which is still thriving today. In addition he was a charter ship captain, airplane builder, successful land developer in Costa Rica, and wrote a book entitled, "A 20th Century Guy". Among his many accomplishments, Jim was the past President of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots, Chairman of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, member of the American Fighter Aces Association, the first recipient of the James H. Doolittle award, and inducted into the Carrier Aviation Test Pilots Hall of Fame in 1989.