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Archives at The Museum of Flight

Bennedsen, Ole Birk, 1916-2012



  • Existence: 1916-2012

Biographical Note: Ole B. Bennedsen

Ole Birk Bennedsen served with the United States Army Air Corps during World War II and later worked as an engineer for Boeing.

Bennedsen was born in Kimballton, Iowa on July 13, 1916. His first experience flying was with a barnstormer flying a Curtiss Jenny in the 1920s. He finished high school in the 1930s, obtained a teaching certificate, and then joined the United States Army Air Corps in 1940. His flight training began in 1942 with gliders, eventually progressing into other types of aircraft. After earning his pilot's wings in spring of 1944, he began flying B-17E, F and G aircraft. In the fall, he was assigned to the Eighth Air Force, 487th Bomb Group at Lavenham Air Field in Suffolk, England. Between September 1944 and February 1945, Bennedsen and his crew flew 35 missions over refineries and factories targets all over Germany, most of them in the B-17G "Bonnie Lassie," named for his daughter. Bennedsen then became a co-pilot for cargo transport missions until the end of the war.

Upon returning to the United States, Bennedsen obtained an engineering degree from Iowa State University in 1949. He joined the Boeing Company as a mechanical engineer in 1950, working on projects including the X-20 Dyna-Soar, the LGM-30 Minuteman Missile, and the Lunar Roving Vehicle for the Apollo 15. While at Boeing, Bennedsen remained in the United States Air Force Reserves until he retired a Lieutenant Colonel in 1976. He retired from Boeing in 1982 and later went on to volunteer at the SeaTac International Airport USO.

Ole Bennedsen passed away on May 18, 2012 at the age of 95.

Biography derived from collection materials and donor information.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Ole B. Bennedsen World War II Collection

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: 2011-07-01
Contents of the Collection The Ole B. Bennedsen World War II Collection documents Bennedsen's service as a pilot of Boeing B-17 aircraft on operational missions over Germany near the end of World War II. This small collection includes a Pilot's Flight Log with entries from 1943-1945, a pay card, and a list of all of Bennedsen's 35 operational missions over Germany, which includes the dates and names of German cities. Also present are two black-and-white photographic prints depicting Bennedsen and his "Bonnie Lassie"...

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