George Armitage (1887-1948) Born in England, he came to Rhode Island as a youngster and attended Providence public schools. He may have been the first person to fly in Rhode Island; it is known that he began experimenting with “power driven gliders” as early as 1905. A 1934 article in Rhode Island Review stated: “To […]
Navy veteran of WWII, local and international businessman, aviator, and inventor, R. W. (Dick) Foote was born in Providence in 1919. Foote’s successful business career followed his service as a Naval Aviator and test pilot during World War II. He was also instrumental in the development of the first “anti-blackout” or “pressure suit”, the forerunner […]
Edson Fessenden Gallaudet (1871-1945), Aviation Pioneer/Aircraft Manufacturer In 1898, four years before the Wright Brothers, he constructed and flew a glider, now in the Smithsonian, which embodied the principle of the warping wing. In 1911 he learned to fly at the Wright school, earning US pilot’s license #32 and a similarly low number in France. […]
Antoine Gazda was an Austrian count, a race car driver, and a World War I fighter ace (on the losing side), but he spent World War II in Providence, living in suite 1009 of the Biltmore Hotel. The work he performed here in Rhode Island was considered so crucial to the Allied war effort that […]
Otto Hermann (c. 1870-1930): Otto Hermann was an auto stuntman who held a 1907 patent for a double loop-the-loop automobile-stunt ramp. He moved to Providence from Atlantic City, and started building his own biplane in the summer of 1909, described in a Journal article as “the first one to be tried out on testing grounds […]
Edward Albert Johnson (1885-1949) was born in Newport, RI in January of 1885. He developed an interest in aeronautics and spent May-October, 1915, at the Curtiss school in Buffalo. He first soloed in 1915 and received Pilot License No. 32. He joined the Curtiss Aeroplane Company and became its representative in England. After the US […]
Raised in Providence, Harold Edminston Lemont, Jr. (1920-2003) was an aeronautical engineer and inventor who graduated from Moses Brown School, and Rhode Island State College (now URI).
Cranston native Pasco “Pat” Melone (1913-2007) was an accomplished flight instructor, aerial photographer, aerial banner tower, and aerial acrobat. Called “Rhode Island’s version of Waldo Pepper”, he soloed at the old Buttonwoods airport at the age of 17 after less than 7 hours of dual flight time. According to his family, he was told “not […]
Victor Pagé was born in 1885 and graduated from Classical High School in Providence in 1904. Although best known for his accomplishments in the automotive field, he may well have designed and built the first airplane ever to fly in Rhode Island. By 1909 he had already published his first aviation book, and was already […]
Hugh Willoughby (1856-1939) Newport resident Hugh Willoughby was was an avid inventor, traveler, aviator, and sportsman. He built his first serious aircraft model in 1894, the same year he organized the Naval Reserve in Rhode Island (he graduated from the Naval War College in 1896). By 1900 he was a noted aerial photographer, taking pictures […]
Born in 1942, Wakefield native Rick Wilson earned the Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross, two Single Mission Air Medals, a Navy Commendation Medal and 46 mission Air Medals in Vietnam. He flew more than 900 missions in his 13 months of flying in-country, consisting primarily of recon insertions/extractions as well as medevac. He was 2nd […]
Retired Air Force Colonel Joseph Zinno designed, built and flew America’s first human-powered aircraft, and is a flying veteran of three wars (WWII, Korea and Vietnam).