John A. Rutledge Jr. (1943-2012) was born in Westerly and raised beneath the traffic pattern of Westerly Airport. John began flying as a teen and ultimately logged more than 40,000 flight hours, flying more than 30 different types of airplanes. He spent nearly 4.5 years of his life aloft, earning an Air Transport Rating, multi engine commercial privileges and type ratings in a myriad of aircraft along the way. By the time he graduated from high school he had earned his commercial ticket and started making a living as a charter pilot, making countless runs between Westerly and Block Island as well as a host of other northeast destinations. He joined commuter airline pioneer Joe Fugere in 1961 as one of the first pilots for Pilgrim Airlines, flying a Piper Comanche out of Waterford Airport. John stayed with Pilgrim in numerous capacities, rising to chief pilot before striking off on his own in 1979 to form Action Air, a charter outfit he operated until his death.
For 23 years he was a Designated Pilot Examiner and an FAA Accident Prevention Counselor. When the
FAA Safety Team program was introduced John became an enthusiastic team member.In 2009, John was
honored by the Federal Aviation Administration with the Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award for maintaining
safe operations for 50 years of incident-free flying.
More in 2015:
- CAPT William Calhoun
Captain William McBrayer Calhoun, USN, Ret. (1948-2015) was a long-time RI resident who graduated from the US Naval Academy in 1967. Capt. Calhoun was a LTJG with the highly decorated Helicopter Attack Squadron (Light) 3), nicknamed the “Seawolves”, an all-volunteer squadron formed in support of Naval Special Warfare operations and Mobile Riverine Forces.
- Bertrand T. Cournoyer
Bertrand “Bert” T. Cournoyer (1919-1967) was born and raised in Manville, RI. During WWII, Bert served as a French interpreter for General Claire Lee Chennault in Kunming, China.
- Lt. Colonel Daniel R. Fierro
Lt. Colonel Daniel R. Fierro, USAF, (Ret.) (1931 – 2007) was a long-time resident of North Kingstown, and served in the Strategic Air Command (SAC), first flying B47s and then B52s.
More in RIAHOF Inductee:
- The Allen Family of Aeronauts
The Allen Family of Aeronauts: according to New York-based aeronautical researcher Chris Lynch, “If there was a founding family of RI aviation, they are it.”
- James & Ezra Allen
Barrington natives James Allen (1824-1897) and his younger brother Ezra Allen (1840 – 1902) distinguished themselves through a lifelong commitment to aeronautics in the 19th century.
- MG Bill Anders, USAF (Ret)