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 and built his own airport. In 1935 he moved to Mendon, MA and launched Skylanes, which relocated a few years later to its permanent home in Lincoln. Ludovici was a flight instructor in the Navy during World War II, and later joined the Army, serving as a mechanic. In 1969 he also developed the first aerobatics instruction program ever approved by the FAA. For many years Skylanes was the only approved aerobatics school in the country. Ludovici gave flight tests for the FAA for 32 years. By the time he was 78 he had exceeded 45,000 flying hours. He also received the Airman of the Year Award from the Rhode Island Pilots Association.
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