Captain Adolphus W. Gorton, US Navy (Ret), (1897-1989), was born January 29, 1897 in Pawtuxet, a direct descendant of the Gortons who founded the City of Warwick. He graduated from Moses Brown and entered Dartmouth in 1916, but left to join the American Volunteer Motor Ambulance Corps in France. He sailed abroad on May 5, […]
Captain James R. Henderson USN (Ret) (1924 – 2010) retired from Quonset Point Naval Air Station in 1975 after a 32-year Navy career that started in 1942 and spanned three wars. He flew more than 10 different aircraft and served in torpedo and anti-submarine squadrons on 12 different aircraft carriers. He served as Landing Signal […]
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 […]
2/LT William E. Hill (1923- 1943) was a Tuskegee Airman and Fighter Pilot. Narragansett native Hill, described by the Providence Journal as the first black pilot from Rhode Island in the Army Air Forces, was killed November 22, 1943 during a training mission over Lake Huron. Lieutenant Hill was serving with the 302nd Fighter Squadron of […]
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 […]
Harry M. Jones (1890-1973) Described in a 1912 Providence Journal article as Rhode Island’s “1st home grown aviator”, Jones managed the very first air show ever held in Rhode Island that same year. He was also the first (and last) person ever to land a plane on the Boston Common. Jones was best known, however, […]
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).
LT George S. Lima (1919-2011), a Tuskegee Airman, was born April 4, 1919, son of Cape Verdean immigrant parents who settled in Fall River. His father worked in a mill, while his mother and other family members ran a boarding house and a grocery store. When the Depression hit in the early 1930s, the family […]
Providence native Ogden R. Lindsley Jr. (1922-2004) moved to North Kingstown at the age of 14 and graduated from North Kingstown High School in 1939. He entered Brown University in 1940, majoring in Engineering. In January 1942 he enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps. He trained as a flight engineer and as a door […]
Mary Ann Lippitt (1918-2006) was a descendant of an old and influential Rhode Island family that was very active in Rhode Island business and politics. In 1944 she learned to fly during a visit to Virginia, and was soon a skilled aviatrix. She worked as a flying instructor in Virginia and served in the US air postal service before returning to Rhode Island. She was one of about a dozen women pilots in the state.
CW5 Joseph S. Ludovici, U.S. Army (Retired) (1938-2017) was eight months old when he was taken on his first airplane ride; he soloed on his 16th birthday, after his sophomore year at Woonsocket High School. Joseph was a lifelong pilot, both as a civilian and as a member of the RI Army National Guard (1955-1997). From […]
Sabatino ‘‘Sabbie’’ Ludovici (1910-2001) Born in Oguila, Italy, this pioneer aviator was also founder and chief flight instructor of Skylanes at North Central Airport. He started flying in 1927, and launched his first flight school at the What Cheer Airport in Pawtucket (later the site of Narragansett Race Track). In 1932 he moved to Smithfield […]