Robert (Bob) H. Simmers was born in Jamestown, North Dakota and was raised on a farm southeast of Jamestown. He attended a one room school house through the 7th grade, spent the 8th grade in Spiritwood and graduated from Jamestown High in 1965. He attended NDSU and joined the North Dakota National Guard in 1966. He was honorably discharged in 1971 after serving at Fort Lewis Washington as a Drill Instructor. He returned to the farm in 1972 and farmed with his dad until turning to aviation in 1984.
Although Bob’s professional aviation career did not start until 1984, his childhood upbringing ingrained aviation into Bob’s way of life. Bob’s parents, Francis and Irene Simmers, each had their private pilot’s license and used aviation as a means to enhance their personal life styles through travel as well as a tool to enhance their farming and ranching operations. Until about 2000 this Simmers Farm was listed on sectional charts with two grass strip runways maintained seasonally.
Bob soloed in 1963. Throughout the years he enjoyed the privilege of leisure flight. In 1984 he studied for and took the first of 13 check rides that took him from a private pilot to a flight instructor with instrument and ME ratings and earned him FAR Part 135 letters in both single and multi-engine aircraft.
He became employed as an ag and charter pilot in the spring of 1984 at Jamestown Aviation. In 1985 he became an FAA designated pilot examiner and over the next 18 years was a significant part of many pilots’ progression. He became General Manager of Jamestown Aviation in 1987 and moved to Bismarck in 1988 to assume the duties of Chief Pilot and Check Airman for an air taxi operation. He served as President of the North Dakota Aviation Council in 1989 and 1990.
Bob founded Aircraft Management Services in 1990, which has grown into Bismarck Aero Center and Mandan Aero Center, focusing on premier services and a positive working environment while offering aircraft maintenance, fuel, avionics, pilot services, hangars and flight instruction.
At the time of his induction into the Hall of Fame Bob had accumulated over 16,000 hours of flight time and flew over 100 different makes and models of aircraft.
He served on the North Dakota Unmanned Aerial Systems Authority through appointment of Governor Dalrymple. Bob has been appointed to several UAS endeavors by the State of North Dakota as a result of his voice of reason and his vision of co-existence between GA and the UAS industry. Bob’s focus in shared airspace between the parallel industries has not waivered through his involvement of the UAS industry. Throughout the State of North Dakota’s UAS endeavor, Bob has received the respect of those in the UAS industry both nationally and within the state of North Dakota while staying true to his representation of the North Dakota GA industry.
What is truly remarkable about Bob is his selfless nature amidst his accomplishments. As he looks for opportunities to protect, improve and share aviation, he also gives rides with the Experimental Aircraft Association and with friends and family, raises funds for charities such as the Scottish Rite Speech Therapy Center for Children and sponsors aviation activities. He speaks, writes, organizes, and gives to his community in numerous ways, whether for neighbors during the Bismarck flood of 2011 or a winter storm, the Salvation Army, Free Masons, Junior Achievement, or other entities.
Bob’s love for aviation has been transferred to his children, with two sons and one granddaughter directly involved in aviation. Bob and his wife, Carol, live in Bismarck. They have four boys and seven grandchildren.