Since this is the 43rd anniversary of The Blizzard of 1977, it’s only fitting to look back at the hanger collapse at Buffalo Air-Park and remember the planes that were lost. I was only 9 at that time and still remember the sadness I felt seeing so much destruction.
My father was born in Italy on October 31st, 1911. He became a US citizen in June of 1920 along with his parents, my grandparents, Michele and Anmina Riccio. He would have been 108 years old. He passed away on February 5th, 1976.
I remember as a young kid that Halloween wasn’t a day he enjoyed. It wasn’t because it was his birthday, but he was constantly being interrupted during dinner time by of all the neighborhood kids ringing our doorbell for Trick or Treat.
So Happy Birthday Dad and enjoy your peaceful flight!
I believe this photo was taken sometime in the 1940’s. The original building was only a single story and then Tony added the second story later on. Also added was a right rear addition for the snack bar and restrooms.
The front service area was to the left as you walked through the front door and accessible through a separate left side exterior door with access to the apron. Knowing Tony, most likely this photo would have been staged.
This is a photo of the lounge with the snack bar in the back. It would have been located on the right side as you walk through the front door. Tony is the man behind the counter on the right and he is helping a gentleman on the left. A woman is sitting in a chair reading while the two men talk.
This photo shows some exterior building renovations with new awnings and signs. The trim has been painted brown and landscaping was added under the front windows. I believe that the snack bar was also renovated at this time which included a longer counter with additional stools, an expanded menu, and a larger dining area. It was promoted as a small restaurant by a new exterior sign.
Check out the hand written menu! This photo shows that the wall has been opened up and the counter has been extended. The aircraft artwork was also hung and it looks as though the counter was in the middle of being painted brown. I love the mustard container sitting on the counter!
These last 2 photos show that the snack bar was renovated into a small restaurant with an additional seating area. The wall was opened up and a longer counter was installed. New artwork was hung over the counter which replaced the single propeller that was there originally. The payphone and restrooms were located through the entrance way to the left of the window. Although the restaurant was eventually closed and replaced by vending machines I still remember sitting on these stools when I was young. Unfortunately the restaurant was removed before I had a chance to see it.
This is the first post on my new blog. I’m just getting this new blog going, so stay tuned for more. Subscribe below to get notified when I post new updates.
I added 2 new pages and both are articles on Buffalo Air-Park written in the 1950’s. You can use the menu at the top or bottom of this site to access the pages or click on the links below to take you there directly.
Check out https://buffaloairpark.wordpress.com/flying-august-1953/ for an interview with my father about the history of Buffalo Air-Park at the time of that article.
This second article https://buffaloairpark.wordpress.com/nys-aviation-bureau-october-1952/ was featured in this flyer where my father was interviewed about Buffalo Air-Park on pages 5 & 6. This is an interesting publication because it also talks about aviation news at the time of that writing.
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.