James Tarver Lowe had his first success in aviation when at age 12, he won a rubberband-powered airplane contest at Macon's Herbert Smart Airport. He went from Lanier High School to Auburn University, returning to his hometown to start an air conditioning business. In 1937, after only three and a half hours of instruction, Lowe soloed an Aeronca C-3, and soon began teaching part-time for the flight school at Herbert Smart Airport. One of his students, Ann Hall, became his wife in 1941. That same year, Lowe moved to Douglas, Georgia, where Jim worked with Wes Raymond and Claude Brinkerhoff, founders of a flight school to train Army Air Corps cadets in the Stearman PT -17. After Pearl Harbor, Lowe joined the Navy and received his wings in Corpus Christi, Texas. Assigned to Naval Ferry Command in November, 1942, he picked up aircraft at the Grumman factory in New York, the General Motors plant in New Jersey, and other aircraft plants throughout the country, then delivered them to their first-duty stations throughout the United States and South America. From 1942 until 1945, Jim Lowe accumulated 1,600 hours in 39 types of aircraft, attaining the rank of Lieutenant Commander.
At the end of the war, he returned to Macon, began a fixed base operation and in 1946, built a hangar at Herbert Smart Airport for Lowe Aviation Company. The following year, a tornado destroyed the Lowe hangar, and Jim persuaded the City of Macon to relocate the municipal airport operations, including the Delta and Eastern Airlines DC-3 service, to Cochran Field which had been turned over to the city by the Army Air Corps. During the half century following, Jim Lowe gave nearly 7,000 hours of flight instruction, helped hundreds of pilots earn their certificates, and flew millions of miles of charter service. Jim and his wife, Ann, raised three sons, all qualified pilots. An active supporter of general aviation, F AA-designated flight examiner, and certified aircraft mechanic, Jim Lowe logged more than 20,000 hours of flight time during 50-plus years.
One of middle Georgia's first generation of fixed base operators, he provided hundreds of pilots the first step toward careers in aviation. James Tarver Lowe was enshrined in the Georgia Aviation Hall of Fame May 18, 1996.