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 in New York, 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 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 the P-47 Thunderbolt out of Farmingdale, LI. 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, including 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 1985 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 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 material as often as possible, but I need to scan so many that I need time to study before uploading 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 and news clippings first. There’s a lot of aviation history sitting in boxes waiting to discovered, and I can’t wait to share it with you! Especially his scrapbook!
I’m looking forward to your comments or stories that you can share regarding what I post or anything involving Buffalo Air-Park and my father. Please feel free to contact me and thank you for your interest in what I have to share.
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