Rivington Family Aviation History

Ace Rivington was born into living life on the edge, here's the story why....
If one word defines the Rivington family, it's adventure.  Ace's great grandfather, Cornelius ("Corny") is the first we know about, but there are family legends going back to the middle ages (mostly due to a tiny French village called Raivington whose stone church dates back centuries, and whose gravestones feature the family name).  Corny wasn't even born on land.  He came into the world in high seas the night of April 5, 1883 as his parents made passage across the Atlantic to Ellis Island, New York.  His father had found work as a stone mason and eventually moved the family to Dayton, Ohio where Cornelius would grow up making things.  


 At thirteen he apprenticed with Orville and Wilbur Wright, whose bicycle shop was a refuge for the boy that dreamed of walking on clouds.  That dream came true with the first flight in 1903. 


Cornelius’ passion for the invention of flight became an all consuming aspect of his life, and when the opportunity came up for him to become a WWI pilot, he didn’t hesitate After returning from the war Rivington found love and in 1911 the family’s first Daredevil was born, Norman Diz Rivington (Diz - because he would loop-the-loop the biplane). Norman was as intrigued by flight as his father, and at 7 years old his life would change one chilly fall day, November 8, 1918. The Rivington family had made their way out to Barron Field, Texas where they would see Ormer Locklear wow the crowd that had gathered to witness his dare devil wing-walking stunts







Wing-walkers at the time, led by Locklear, played an important role in the Army Air Corps (now the U.S. Air Force) and Navy in the advancement of aviation. They were instrumental in the first air to air refueling, as well as long distance flight records.  These were the first men to take chances on the wing.

There was little question in his parents mind that Rivington would follow in his father’s aviation footsteps…and after seeing Locklear, there was nothing else on his mind besides growing up to be one of the best pilots who ever lived.


While Rivington was busy in his teenage years learning all he could about flight from his father, out west in Venice, California, aviation visionary, Lloyd Stearman, had just founded the Stearman Aircraft Corporation in October of 1926. The following year Stearman would re-locate to Wichita, Kansas…and eventually the company would sell to Boeing, building thousands of bi-planes for military use as flight trainers in WWII. The Stearman Model 75 would become Rivington’s favorite airplane, and one that he would eventually fly as a Top Gun Trainer in the Army (PT-17 version).

In these early days of flight, spectators in the thousands would turn up at airfields to watch young aviation pioneers pushing the limits of their flying machines. As the story goes, Rivington was there in the middle of it all, showing off at the “Flying Circus.”   This is actually where he met a beautiful young female daredevil, Zoe Flightwell. Flightwell’s idol was Ethal Dare, the world’s first female wing-walker…and in the early 1930s, Sophia would follow in Dare’s footsteps out on the wings of Rivington’s Stearman. As you’d imagine they fell in love and would continue to share the same spirit of adventure with their son, Snapper Rivington Sr., and eventually with their grandson, Ace.

The early days of flight brought the unknown, and the desire to see the world from a bird’s eye view. As new goals like breaking the sound barrier, space exploration, and affordable travel on airliners came about…much of that early magic was lost. At Ace Rivington, our goal is to share the same spirit of adventure, romance and story as the original ambassadors of flight.


Now that you've read the story, shop the items inspired by the history by clicking on the images below.


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