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 1985 to 1997 he served as an instructor pilot for the RI Army National Guard, from which he retired as Chief Warrant Officer 5 (CW5). In 1969, he took over as owner/president of Skylanes, Inc, a fixed base operation at North Smithfield Airport started by his father Sabbie, a 2004 honoree of RI Aviation Hall of Fame.
In 2005 the Federal Aviation Administration awarded him the coveted Wright Brothers’ “Master Pilot” Award. Two years later the Aviation Safety Group of Massachusetts presented him with their Lifetime Achievement Award, and in 2008 he received Aero Club of New England’s Rhode Island Award. In addition to his various service awards and commendations, Joe earned the Humanitarian Service Medal when he was activated to support relief efforts during the infamous “Blizzard of 1978”.
In Joe’s lifetime, he logged well in excess of 20,000 flight hours, including more than 12,500 in airplanes and more than 7,500 in helicopters. Most of these hours were spent instructing the more than 5,000 students Joe taught to fly.
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