John R. "Smilin' Jack" Schillinger, Navy, Commercial, & Ferry Pilot

John R. "Smilin' Jack" Schillinger spent 17 years as a naval pilot, 30 years as a commercial pilot, and more than 13 years ferrying air show planes for air show performers. He logged over 28,000 flight hours during his 60 years of aviation experience.
Jack wrote an entertaining memoir of his life in aviation (with photos) called Flyin' with Smilin' Jack: A Pilot's Life in the Air (released August 2010). You can buy a copy on or get one at
Jack, lived in Bloomington, Minnesota and volunteered at the Northwest Airlines History Museum.
The createspace website describes Jack's book as follows:
Flying with Smilin' Jack

List Price: $9.99

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Flying with Smilin' Jack

A pilots life in the air

Authored by John R. "Smilin' Jack" Schillinger

Flying with Smilin' Jack by John R. (Jack) Schillinger is a wry, tongue-in-cheek memoir from a pilot who has seen and flown over and through it all. Schillinger is not your average pilot. He has logged over 28,000 flight hours, spent seventeen years as a naval pilot, thirty years as a commercial pilot, and more than thirteen years ferrying air show planes for air show performers. Jack regales readers with dramatic, fascinating, real life stories about his sixty years of aviation experience, all from a man who has still kept his wits and sense of humor intact. Aviation enthusiasts, World War II buffs, and action adventure fans will be amazed at the military and aviation inside information Schillinger provides. As an added bonus, many photos are included detailing his exploits in the sky. Joining the Navy Air Corps during World War II was a highlight of Schillinger's life that sparked a lifetime of aviation adventures including brushes with history. He began his Navy career in the Midwest alongside many other distinguished Navy aviators, was a pilot for Robert Kennedy during the 1968 presidential campaign, and chatted about skiing with Gerald Ford who at the time was the House Minority Leader. Schillinger flew all over the world for the Navy including a joint American-Canadian expedition named Operation Nanook with Admiral Byrd. Operation Nanook was a mission to the Arctic to take photographs for new maps. Adverse weather conditions and low fuel levels almost cost Jack his life. Using his aviator skills, he was able to safely land in the ice filled waters of the Arctic. Jack then took to the skies as a commercial pilot and includes humorous anecdotes from his flight plans not only in the skies, but on the ground as well.

Publication Date:
Dec 14 2009
1439259844 / 9781439259849

Obituary Notice
John (Jack) Schillinger, died on June 27, 2014. 
 A funeral service will be held 2:00 PM on Tuesday, July 8th at St. Luke's Lutheran Church. All are welcome to a luncheon following the service. St. Luke's Lutheran Church | 1701 W. Old Shakopee Rd. | Bloomington | MN | 55431