T50 Pheasant Hunting

Yes, you read that title correctly. I recently discovered photographs of my father with two other men standing before a Cessna T50 after a pheasant hunting trip. At least 12 birds are hanging from both propellers, so it was a very successful day, not including the few hanging from the center airspeed indicator!

Tony Riccio (left), other two men unknown.

I don’t recall Tony being a hunter when I was growing up, but this photo dates back to the late 1940s or early 1950s, and he was a much younger man. The group had a great time, from the smiles on their faces!

1947 Cessna T50 after a Pheasant Hunting Trip.

Unknown men, but very happy with their Pheasants!

So let’s stop and examine these photos. How did Tony land, or more importantly, take off a Cessna T50 in a grass field? The aircraft frame is light due to the steel tubing, wooden stringers, and fabric covering, which allows for slow operational speeds, but it’s not a bush plane. Am I correct, and would you admit to a similar experience? Leave a comment, and I would love to hear your story!

Tony (left), unknown photographer (center), unknown man (right)

But then again, it’s my father piloting this T50, and I’m sure he was out to impress these gentlemen and the poor photographer. So did he need a new set of trousers when they returned to the Air-Park? Unfortunately, there aren’t any photos stating such, and I wonder if he regretted taking the assignment.

Tony Riccio (left), other two men unknown.

Buffalo Air-Park owned this 1947 Cessna T50 with a serial number of 6652, and Tony was very proud to park it in a tie-down spot next to the office where everyone driving by could see it’s a beauty!

Tony Riccio (right), another unknown man.

The twin radial engines provide the necessary power of 245 HP each that rotates the variable-pitched propellers. The earlier models had fixed-pitched props. The cabin will occupy five, with a small cargo area in the tail section. Plenty of room for Tony, his two mates, a photographer, and their gear. Plus, the pheasants from that day’s adventure.

I love the nostalgic feeling when looking at these old photographs and thinking of a time so different from our current surroundings. Of course, it would be fascinating to experience the past personally, but that’s just smoke and mirrors, and I can only use my imagination. Or better yet, maybe share your “Time Traveling Device,” and we’ll go back together. I’ll even offer to buy us lunch!

Tony (center), two other men, unknown.

I hope you enjoyed these photos. Take care, my friends, and I’ll see you in the next post!

Tony Riccio

Tony Riccio in a three piece suit, 1930s.
A very determined young man, 1930.

From the hundreds of pictures that I have of my father, Tony, I decided to assemble a short timeline to better illustrate his life but not bore you with an extensive family photo album. I have chosen the most relevant ones starting with him as a young man until his passing in 1976. I’ve divided the photos into seven pages, with about ten on each page.

Tony Riccio sitting in the pilot's seat of an Alexander Eaglerock biplane.
Tony in the pilot’s seat of an Alexander Eaglerock.
Tony Riccio wearing his leather flighting jacket, helmet, and goggles.
Tony in his new leather flight jacket, helmet, and goggles.

I hope you find this interesting as much as I do and can’t help but think about the thousands of hours of flight time he accumulated throughout his lifetime.

Tony Riccio standing next to an Alexander Eaglerock, A-15, owned by the Burgard Vocational High School.
Tony is building up his flight time in an Alexander Eaglerock, A-15, owned by the Burgard Vocational High School, where he received his aviation diploma on February 26, 1935. A Kinner K-5 radial engine powers this airplane and is easily recognized by the shape of the cylinder heads.
Tony Riccio piloting an Alexander Eaglerock, A-15, on takeoff.
Looking good Tony! Nice and steady.
Tony Riccio and his flight instructor talking about a flight lesson while sitting on the wing of an Alexander Eaglerock, A-1.
Tony, on the left, goes over a flight lesson with his instructor in a Waco UPF-7 that was used in the CPT program at the start of WWII.
Tony Riccio's aviation diploma from the Burgard Evening Vocational High School dated February 26, 1935.
Tony’s aviation diploma, graduated on February 26, 1935.

Happy Birthday Dad!

Just a quick post to wish my father a happy birthday and that I think of him everyday! Enjoy the photos and Happy Halloween!

Tony suited up for a flight lesson in a Alexander “Eaglerock” biplane in the early 1930s. Notice the Kinner K-5 radial engine!
The back side of the above photo.
Tony and his first airplane, The General Aristocrat 102-E with a Wright J6 radial engine. I don’t have a date yet, but I would guess mid 1930s.
The back of the above photo.
Tony in his bright yellow J3 Cub, late 1930s.
The back of the above photo.

Happy Birthday Tony

Tony in a P-47

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!