Hello, and welcome to my blog. My name is Anthony W Riccio II, aka Billy, and I’m dedicating this website to my father, Anthony (Tony) Riccio. He was a pioneer in aviation to the Niagara Frontier during the 1940s, and his story needs to be shared.
Tony was always interested in aviation when he was growing up and started flying at an early age. His flight instructor was Michael Steffen while he was learning to become a pilot in the 1930s at Burgard Vocational High School. He graduated in 1935 and founded Gardenville Aeronautical in 1939, which later became Buffalo Air-Park.
He became a test pilot for the Republic Aviation Corporation during World War II and flew their P-47 Thunderbolt out of Farmingdale, L.I. At that same time, Buffalo Air-Park was used by the government to train civilian flight instructors. After the war, it became a significant center for private flying and thrived in the 1950s.
The airport continued after Tony passed away in 1976 with my mother, Ruth Riccio taking control of all operations. These were quite challenging times for her, which included a devastating hanger collapse during the Blizzard of 1977 and a decline in private aviation. These circumstances led to the sale of Buffalo Air-Park in 1986 to Robert Jacobs and became Buffalo Air Field, but she continued to work there until her retirement in the early 2000s.
This blog is a tribute to my father and his legacy of aviation throughout his life. I have so many things of his in boxes that I feel I need to share before they become forgotten in storage somewhere. He spent his life perfecting the skills required to be a great pilot, and I owe him that much to share his experiences. Most are photographs, magazines, newspaper articles, and promotional brochures that he collected throughout his life with some aviation memorabilia.
I’ll try to post new photos as often as I can, but there are so many that I need to scan before I can upload them. It’s a very time-consuming process, but it is necessary to preserve Tony’s collection. I’ll be digitizing his magazine and book collection as well when time permits, but I’ll be working on the photos first. There’s a lot of aviation history sitting in boxes waiting to discovered, and I can’t wait to share it with you!
I’m looking forward to your comments or stories that you can share in regards to what I post or anything involving Buffalo Air-Park and my father. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions, and thank you for your interest in what I have to share.