Frederick Karl Gampper, Jr. bigraphy, stories - dirigible pilot

Frederick Karl Gampper, Jr. : biography

28 August 1893 - 3 March 1961

Frederick Karl Gampper, Jr. (28 August 1893 - 3 March 1961) was a dirigible pilot with license #53 issued by the Aero Club of America, and a licensed free balloon pilot. His mentors included Ralph H. Upson and Herman Kraft.


Frederick Karl Gampper worked for Goodyear from around 1913 to 1921, primarily in their lighter-than-air group. He was supervisor of dirigible operations, liaison to the Navy, pilot and instructor in Key West and Akron at Goodyear's Wingfoot Lake facility from 1917-1921. He was pilot of the Wingfoot Express blimp.Chicago Daily Journal, 22 Jul. 1919, pg. 3B

He left Goodyear in 1921 to assume the role of chief pilot of the Commercial Airship Syndicate, Ltd.,The Hiawatha Daily World, vol. 12, num. 219 one of the first commercial airlines in the United States. They ran mail and passengers between Kansas City, Missouri and Oklahoma City. The Syndicate's offices were located at the Gumbel Building in Kansas City, and their Goodyear Pony Blimp was hangared at a location along the river. The company closed after their hangar and blimp were destroyed in high winds.

His greatest contribution to lighter-than-air flight was as a teacher to many of those who would go on to design, command, and fly America's great dirigibles: the USS Shenandoah (ZR-1), USS Los Angeles (ZR-3), USS Macon (ZRS-5), and USS Akron (ZRS-4).The Hiawatha Daily World, 1937, vol. 29, num. 205

Much of his collection is with the Smithsonian Air And Space Museum, Washington, D.C. on loan from his grandson, James Michael Gampper. It consists of blueprints, manuals, newspaper articles, brochures and photographs of airships and balloons during the early part of the 20th century. The airships included are the Roma, the Wingfoot Express, and the Pony Blimp at Commercial Air Syndicate.Smithsonian Institution Research Information System, National Air & Space Museum Archives call no. 1993-0062,!227875!0

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