James Harvey Hester was a Stunt Flyer who was associated with the famous Hollywood Black Cats. He served in the USAAS at Kelly
Field, TX briefly during WWI then returned to Venice. He was a test and stunt pilot in the southern California area between
1919 and 1925
James Harvey Hester was born to John and Amelia (Nichols) Hester in Rocky Ford, Colorado on July 16, 1898. The family operated
a cattle ranch there and later in Riverside, CA. After school he served as the Chief Research Engineer for the Edison Company
among other jobs but took up an interest in aviation as a hobby. By 1917 Hester was doing aviation full time in Venice CA.
He served in the USAAS at Kelly Field, TX briefly during WWI then returned to Venice. He was a test and stunt pilot in the
southern California area between 1919 and 1925. Hester was associated with the famous “Black Cats” barnstorming show and
was a friend of many of the leading aviators of the time. During this time he worked for the Timm Brothers, Douglas Aircraft,
Northrop and various film studios as a stunt flyer. After giving up flying around 1930, Hester owned an electrical and appliance
store at 516 Santa Monica Blvd. He and his wife also owned and managed a “Dude Ranch” in the Santa Monica Mountains above
Malibu called Big Oak Basin Guest Ranch. They also had a mortgage and loan business in EI Monte, CA. Avid horse riders, the
Hester family provided for and maintained many equestrian trails in the mountains around the Los Angeles area. On August 15,
1980, Jim Hester died of cancer, and is interred at Victor Valley Memorial Park, Victorville, CA.