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I found no biographical file for pilot Ruch during my reviews of the archives of the National Air & Space Museum (NASM), Washington, DC.




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Larry Ruch, Date & Location Unknown (Source: Apte Family)
Larry Ruch, Date & Location Unknown (Source: Apte Family)

Larry Ruch was born in Beaver, Kansas on August 15, 1903. His father, Christian J. (1872-1959), was a farmer; his mother, Laura M. (1878-1957) was not employed outside their home. His father's father was a German immigrant, making Ruch a third generation American.

I know little of his early life and education, and there was no information in the biographical files reviewed by me in the archives of the National Air & Space Museum (NASM), Washington, DC. Census information documents four years of college.

However, the 1910 U.S. Census placed him at age 6 with his family in Haviland, KS. He had two younger sisters. His father was now employed as a manager and owner of a telephone service.

Interestingly, if you look up the location of Haviland in southwestern Kansas, and compare it to the distribution of U.S. telephone service on this 1910 map (Haviland is on a line between Kingman and Dodge City on this 1910 map, and along Rt.400 on Google Earth), you'll see there was no local telephone service in that general area in 1910. Ruch's father probably saw that opportunity and filled the niche. But I digress...

The 1920 Census again placed Ruch, 16, with his parents, his two younger sisters, and now a younger brother. His father's occupation was now listed as, "Manager, Telephone Exchange." His business ust have been a success, at least for a decade (in the 1930 Census he was a wage worker, in a "Plumbing Shop." But he lived in McPherson, KS in a home valued at $5,000, perhaps leveraged from selling his telephone business. More digression...

According to this 1928 REFERENCE, Ruch graduated from Friends University in Wichita, KS in 1922. He joined the military in March 1924, serving with the 4th Observation Squadron at Wheeler Field, T.H. and then as a flying cadet at Brooks Field, TX until May 1924. From the dates in the linked reference, his military service was extremely brief, as he was reported to be in commercial aviation as early as October 1924. It's doubtful if he spent enough time in the military to complete flight training. Regardless, he learned to fly barely 20 years after the Wright Brothers showed the way.

The reference goes on to document his experience as chief pilot for Arkansas City Airways from 1925-26, his jobs with Swallow Airplane Co. and Arrow Aircraft Co. in 1926, and his jobs from April 1927 with the American Eagle Aircraft Corp. and Porterfield Flying School. He had his ticket punched as transport pilot, test pilot, chief pilot and demonstration pilot.

He was probably with American Eagle Aircraft and Porterfield Flying School at the time the following article was published. It describes a successful, Kansas airmeet on a crisp fall day. Note the mention of fellow Register pilots Art Goebel and William Ong. I left the right-hand column intact so you could see some of the other local news of earthquake, death by illumination gas and county fair exhibits.


The Manhattan (KS) Mercury, October 21, 1929 (Source: newspapers.com)

Interestingly, on the same page, was an article with the headline, "A SELLING MOVE BREAKS MARKET: BOTH NEW YORK STOCK AND CURB TICKERS BEHIND: Subjected to One of Most Overpowering Movements in History -- Cities Service a Hard Hit Curb Issue." This Monday issue of The Manhattan Mercury provided a preview of three days later, when, on October 24, 1929, called Black Thursday, occurred the largest sell-off of shares in U.S. history, and October 29, 1929, called Black Tuesday, when investors traded millions of shares on the New York Stock Exchange in a single day. It was the evening of the Great Depression and the U.S. economy wouldn't be at pre-crash levels until 1954.

The 1930 Census, taken in April, placed Ruch in a hotel in Kansas City, MO on Armour Blvd. He was coded as age 26, married, but NOT a military veteran. His occupation was listed as "aviator."

Larry Ruch During the 1930 Ford Reliability Tour (Source: Forden)


Ruch partipated in the 1930 Ford Reliability Tour (photo,right), which was held September 11-27, 1930. He placed 13th and won $200, performing at an average speed of 101.4MPH. He flew an American Eagle E-430, NC457V, S/N 302, accordihg to this REFERENCE (S/N 905 according to aerofiles.com). The Tour passed through Colorado Springs, CO, and Ruch signed (along with about 20 other members of the Tour) the Register there at Peterson Field on Monday, September 22nd flying 457V.

The Coshocton Tribune, Sept 25, 1929 (Source: Apte Family)

OCR article from The Coshocton Tribune, Sept 25, 1929 “American Eagle Planes Visit Local Airport on Tour of United States Wins Yale Prize. The convoy of ships in the American Eagle nation-wide goodwill tour, sponsored by the American Eagle Aircraft Corporation, Kansas City, MO. took off from the Coshocton Flying Service field at about 12:30 after a visit of several hours at the local …. Jack Lowe, who is in charge of the tour, stated today that the planes' visit to this city, which was reported for Monday afternoon, was not scheduled until Tuesday afternoon and that the notice sent to Mayor Johnson Smith was made thru an error at the company's offices in Kansas City. Two of the planes landed here yesterday afternoon, while the other ships in the tour continued to Zanesville when they became confused by the fields of the Flying Service and the Coshocton Airways. As a result of their failure to stop here yesterday the tour returned this morning and halted while enroute to Mansfield. A fair-sized crowd greeted the planes and was entertained with a stunt flight by Larry Ruch, chief test pilot of the American Eagle Aircraft Corporation. Ruch performed a difficult feat when he passed over the field and climbed from the rear cockpit into the front seat, leaving the plane uncontrolled for several minutes. In addition to this stunt, he flew upside down, performed several loops, barrel rolls, tail spins and other tricks which constitute a stunt flyer's category….”


Back in 2014 (yes, I have a to-do list that is severely backlogged), I received an email from the granddaughter of a Golden Age pilot in Maine named Wylie Apte. She had collected several news ariticles about Ruch, which she shared with me. Below is her first message.

"Information: Ensign Larry D. Ruch was a test pilot/Lead Trainer at American Eagle circa 1927-29. He flew with my Grandfather Wylie L. Apte, Sr. in the New England Flying Circus Association and did several air shows in Northern NH in the early 1930's."

At left and further below are OCR copies of the articles as she sent them to me. They are roughly in chronological order, and describe Ruch's avaition activities in New England during the early 1930s.


Unsourced and Undated News Article (Source: Site Visitor)



But first, Ruch's flying was not without incident. Ruch was 28 when he and a student dunked their airplane into the Missouri River, right. The date would have been approximately 1931. This article was shared by another site visitor.

Closer to home, Ruch visited Tucson three times, all in NC473Y, a Stinson SM-8A (S/N 4281). His first landing was on Thursday, June 25, 1931. He carried three passengers, Sam Serenea, W.H. Toft and L.G. Tushingham. Based at Staten Island, NY, they were inbound at 11:10AM from El Paso, TX. They departed later that day westbound for Los Angeles, CA.

Six days later, on July 1st, Ruch and the same passengers landed at Tucson from San Diego, CA. They departed the same day for New York. At this time Ruch was an Ensign in the naval reserve and included his rank when he signed the Register these first two times. Finally, six months later on December 10, 1931, Ruch again landed at Tucson with NC473Y. He was following the same New York to Los Angeles itinerary. His passengers this time were Mr. & Mrs. M.T. Gordon, Jr.

The new England Flying Circus Association figured throughout the series of articles shared by Apte's grandaughter. They continue below.

Below, news of a 1932(?) air circus at Newport, NH. Parlin Field is located in sothwestern New Hampshire. It is still operational. A history of Parlin Field is at the link. Ruch performed his usual routine.

Unsourced News Article May 17, 1932 (Source: Apte Family)

Newspaper clipping no reference, Thursday May 17, 1932? “AIR CIRCUS Season's Opening of Parlin Field Marked by Thrilling Program: Aerial Stunts Witnessed by a Record-Breaking Crowd on Sunday The Air Circus staged at the Parlin Airport under the auspices of Claude J. Brewster Post, No 25, American Legion, On Saturday and Sunday, May 12 and 13, was the official opening for the season and was witnessed by a crowd of 2500 spectators. The aerial show on Sunday was the finest yet to have been held in Newport. The first event on the program was the aerial parade, which was composed of seven ships, all federally and state licensed planes, which flew in formation over Newport to Lake Sunapee, returning to the airport. Another spectacular event was aerial (thunder and lightning) bombing by Percey Osborne, local pilot, which greatly delighted the crowd. Balloon bursting by Lee Bowman and bomb dropping by Wylie Apte proved to be exciting events. The greatest thrill of the show was when Ensign Larry Ruch of the US Naval Reserve did 21 complete tail spins from an altitude of 6000 feet, thereby establishing a record for himself. Other features of his part of the program included Immelmann turns, originally invented during the World War by a German aviator, in escaping from the Allies. The purpose of the Immelmann turn is to gain altitude and change the direction of flight. Ensign Ruch also did snap barrel rolls, half loops and half rolls, slow rolls, hammerhead and whip stall, wingovers, a 1000 foot side step and upside down flying. George Robertson, a licensed rigger and parachute jumper, who has had six years’ experience in the Army Air Corps, and is a Newport man, did a sensational parachute jump of 2000 feet. There were several climbing and speed races, which were enthusiastically enjoyed, and passengers were taken up for fifteen-minute rides between stunts. Ed Horne, well known in New England, as being connected with the aviation industry, especially at Fabyans in the White Mountains, had charge of the field activities and acted as announcer. The visiting pilots were Robert Hayes of Ashland, flying a Challenger-Robin plane, and Pete Dana of Concord, flying a Great Lakes Sport plane. Due to impaired motor trouble, the Autogiro, which was scheduled to appear, failed to function.”

Below, a longer article describing and detailing of the 1933(?) air show.

Unsourced News Article Probably October 1933 (Source: Apte Family)

Newspaper clipping No reference, No date (probably October 1933?) “WHY SHE DIDN'T USE HER PLANE RIDE TICKET Girl at North Conway Air Circus Balks at Going Up if Boy Friend Can't Be with Her by James T. Sullivan. If you happen to be upcountry these days and see a placard stating that there is to be an air circus billed you will be repaid for waiting a day or so to see it. That is what a number of people touring NH found when they went to the North Conway Airport last Sunday. If anyone wants to get an idea of how air-minded people are today, the aviation circus will prove it readily. When three of the pilots, Ensign Larry Ruch, Wylie Apt and Lee Bowman, and their planes were on the field at 1:30 there were some 300 motor cars and about 1000 people present. Many others on the highway saw the program. Around the pilots swarmed people anxious to take a flight. Three men handed out books with tickets of different colors, so as to distribute passengers among the planes. It was an interesting study to watch what followed. At first the young lads of high school age were clambering onto the planes, pushing others back. After the first dozen people had been up, and it was evident that the aviators "knew their stuff" by the easy way the planes lifted into the air, circled around and landed, there was a decided change among the others. Then the older folks took a hand. Johnny and Jimmy, and Billy were grabbed and shoved back by Ma and Dad and told not to be in a hurry. So, Pa and Ma went up by dozens, and the older they were the greater seemed to be their enjoyment.

“YOUNGSTERS GET THRILL Nor was that all. Real youngsters got a thrill as parents footed the expense. Two tots not more than three years old were brought to a plane. Bending down, a woman asked one of them if they would like to have a ride. The youngster nodded. "If sister goes, I'm going" the other said without any bashfulness, edging with her elbows to get nearer to the plane. "Sure, you can both go together" Larry Ruch said, patting her on the head. So the two were tucked in, with Ma between. They were off with a series of waves and smiles, indicating one of the joys of their lives was being achieved. There was the young Miss in a well-tailored suit holding a blue ticket, and near her some of the athletic heroes from high school, with lettered sweaters. She was attractive and popular. One lad seemed to bask more in her favor than the others. He also had a blue ticket. But there was a problem. She had her eye on Larry Ruch's plane and wanted to go up with him, but she seemed to be waiting like a queen to be requested to ride by the pilot. Then the news was given to her that only one passenger went up at a time in Ruch's plane, while she had it planned for two to go together. Friends told her there was Wylie Apte's nice cozy cabin plane, with seats for two all glassed in. And Lee Boardman had a comfortable open one. Inwardly, she seemed to have more faith in Ruch apparently. (Apte note: Ruch was very handsome…) Perhaps because he was a naval officer. Keeping an eye on her most of the afternoon, the writer noted she still had her ticket, that cost someone good money. Out of the clouds at mid-afternoon, a plane was seen winging its way south from Mount Washington. It looked no bigger than a seagull with a background of clouds. Nearer it came, growing bigger all the time, finally circling the field and landing. Out stepped Johnny West. He had been held up at Berlin by clouds hanging so low he would have had to chance bumbling into the side of the White Mountain range. There came a rift for a few minutes, and he chanced it, adding to the show by doing his stunts. One of the interesting features was to see how well the grounds were policed by the North Conway firemen in their natty uniforms, with gold and silver badges. They merely had to raise their hands and say in conversational tones to step back and everyone obeyed. And for their part the firemen were rewarded with rides when the show neared its end. There was much more than merely taking rides. The aviators put on an interesting program. They did various loops during the early part of the afternoon. Later balloons were released, and it was worthwhile to see the pilots diving at them, missing sometimes, but more often bursting them with the propellers. Spectacular were the tail spins, nose dives and upside-down flying. Ruch climbed up until he was lost in the clouds. He was right above the airport. Then there was a craning of necks. Suddenly the plane appeared, whirling down in a tailspin. Some of the older women closed their eyes or stopped looking up. There was a hush too, when he changed from one seat to another high in the air and later was flying upside down. At one time doing this he made such a long circle above the field many thought he could not right the plane. There were sighs of relief when he did. And many had kinks in their necks. Youngsters solved the problem by lying flat on their backs on top of cars. When Johnny West came circling down from 1500 feet to make a dead stick landing many did not know what it was all about. He was zooming like the others. When they noted his propeller was not moving, they realized he came down with no motor to help him.

“LYNN MAN DID NOT JUMP Walter Newhall, a Lynn attorney, was the only disappointed man present. When Ensign Ruch went to North Conway to plan the air circus, he met Walter. They discussed a program including a parachute jump, but they had no jumper. Mr. Newhall stated that, it being his birthday, he would gladly make the jump. At the field, he asked Ruch when it would start. But there was a manager who had the last say. Learning that it would be the first time, he refused to sanction it. Meanwhile, Newhall's friends, especially women folks, were making suggestions about having a boat in Echo Lake, Fire Department ladders ready for a flop into a tree, and similar ideas. (Apte note: this seems to clearly dispel any notion that Walter Newhall had been running the airport at this time.) Taken altogether the North Conway air circus, arranged with the help of the Outing Club there, proved that in another year these entertainments will have their place on programs of country fairs. It proved also that North Conway has an admirable flying field. Some bought tickets for special events, including the air race ending the program. The affair had the backing of some of the best people in the town, among them Representative George W. Russell, widely known in hotel and political circles (NH State House Representative in the 1930s); Ralph Newhall of Lynn, who had his own plane here a few years ago; Walter Maguire (Apte note: Walter is the brother-in-law and partner of Ralph Newhall) and officers and members of the Outing Club.”

Below, an article dated October 5, 1933 that appears to cover the same material as the article above.

The Reporter October 5, 1933 (Source: Apte Family)

Newspaper Clipping: The Reporter, October 5, 1933 “THRILLING AIR CIRCUS HERE THIS WEEK-END Eight Planes With Well-Known Flyers Planned for October 7 and 8. The New England Air Circus Association under the auspices of the North Conway Outing Club are showing here next Saturday and Sunday, October 7 and 8 at the White Mountain Airport, North Conway, located on highways 16-18 one and a half miles south of North Conway with a thrilling air circus and acrobatic show. They have with them all government and state licensed planes and pilots and some of America's foremost stunt pilots. They will have eight airplanes at the airport among them being a Curtiss Challenger Robin, a sister ship to the one flown by the late Dale Jackson and O'Brine to a world's endurance record of over 647 hours (27 days) of sustained flight.  [Apte note: additional information. Dale Jackson and Forest O'Brine flew July 13-30, 1929 In St. Louis, MO in a Curtiss Robin].  Dale Jackson and Forrest O'Brine zoomed onto the front pages in their overloaded aircraft and stayed there for two breathless weeks. After 420 hours and 21 minutes in the air -- 17 1/2 days -- they were cheered as heroes on August 1, 1929 with a ticker-tape parade downtown. The Curtiss Robin, introduced in 1928, was a high-wing monoplane with a 90 hp (67 kW) V8 OX-5 8-cylinder engine built by the Curtiss-Robertson Airplane Manufacturing Company. It was later fitted with the more powerful Challenger engine, which developed between 170 and 185 hp (127 and 138 kW). NOTE: Model B (90 hp/67 kW Curtiss OX-5 engine), Model C-1 (185 hp/138 kW Curtiss Challenger engine), and Model J-1 (165 hp/123 kW Wright J-6 Whirlwind 5 engine). The J-1 version was flown by Douglas Corrigan (nicknamed "Wrongway") as well as The Flying Keys]. Wylie Apte who has been operating at the Twin Mountain airport this season will be flying this ship. Apte was in the Air Service during the War and has years of experience in the aviation industry, as well as thousands of hours in the air. Some of you will remember perhaps the search conducted early this year  for young Mr. Jacobs [Apte note: Actually Simon Joseph] who was lost on Mt. Washington. Apte flew his ship for two days, flying low over the wooded terrain and dangerous air currents over Mount Washington attempting to locate Jacobs [Apte note: Joseph]. He has also made during the summer several flights to 10,000 feet and over for the Blue Hill Observatory of Boston collecting meteorological data for them. The Mt. Washington Observatory is connected with the Blue Hill Observatory.

A NEW ENGLAND FLIER Another one of the ships present will be a Curtiss Challenger Commandaire flown by Lee Bowman. This plane is powered by a Curtiss six-cylinder radial air-cooled motor, commonly known as the Challenger. It develops 180 h.p. Lee Bowman, born and raised in New England, has been operating throughout this territory for a few years. He too, is an experienced flier with plenty of mountain flying to his credit. In the summer, he usually puts pontoons on his airplane and flies off the lakes. He flew papers from Boston to White River Junction and Whitefield in 1930, carrying as many as 1,000 papers on each trip. He was the first to arrive in Boston with the pictures of the late ex-President Calvin Coolidge's funeral, experiencing a great thrill in taking off of Amherst Pond, near Plymouth with six inches of water over the ice in the lake.

“LARRY D. RUCH, STUNT PILOT The stunt pilot of the group, Larry D. Ruch, an officer in the US Naval Reserve has a total of 4,000 hours in the air as a pilot and incidentally was a classmate with Colonel Lindberg in the Army Training school at Brooks Field, TX, having received his training in the Army Flying School. Ensign Ruch will perform acrobatics and stunt flying of all kinds, perhaps the most thrilling stunt being a sensational dead stick dive without motor from 4,000 feet and at the bottom of this dive a loop. This maneuver is called among the flying fraternity, a dead stick dive and loop. He will also do a cockpit change, fly upside down, complete a tailspin from 6,000 feet, besides doing the usual acrobatics consisting of loops, rolls, slow rolls, Immelmann turns, Hammerhead whip stalls, zooms, wing overs, chandelles, etc. Ruch will be flying a Fleet Sport powered by a Warner motor. Ruch was formerly chief test pilot for the Arrow Aircraft Co., of Lincoln NE, and for American Eagle Aircraft Corp. of Kansas City, MO. Perhaps some of the local people will remember the ship that Mr. Ralph Newhall of Russell Cottages owned some time back, was a ship that Ruch had test flown when it was built at the factory. Ruch has tested over 400 new airplanes and trained approximately 350 students. Ruch was picked as a pilot for the Wright Memorial Flight, a flight to leave Dayton, OH early this spring, fly across the North Atlantic and return by way of the South Atlantic, visiting 14 foreign countries. This flight commemorates the 30th anniversary of the first flight by the Wright Brothers whose home is Dayton. The flight has been postponed until next season, due to various circumstances.

”ANOTHER NEW ENGLAND FLIER John West, the remaining pilot to complete the circus is also a New England flier although he learned to fly in the mid-West and earned his wings there. Johnny has been flying for a number of years and when you watch him land his American Eagle airplane with a dead motor from 1,500 feet above the airport you need not be told he can handle his craft. Johnny will also drop bombs to a mark on the field, demonstrating in a smaller manner how it is done in the Army Air Service. On one of his drops, he will demonstrate what is commonly known in the Naval Air Service as dive bombing, diving at the target and then releasing his bomb, instead of dropping it from horizontal flight. Another trick he will do will be a demonstration to the many people that are not air-minded and have the impression that an airplane comes down out of control when the motor stops, is to cut his motor dead at 1,500 feet and land the airplane in the center of the field without the help of a motor.

“LIST OF EVENTS The list of special events in order of their appearance Sunday afternoon are as follows: 1. Grand Aerial Parade by all ships. 2. Bomb Dropping by pilot John West. 3. Balloon Bursting by pilot Lee Bowman. 4. Cockpit Change in Mid Air by Ensign Ruch. 5. Airplane Race featuring Apte, Bowman, and Ruch. 6. Motor Cranked in Mid Air by pilot Wylie Apte. 7. Sensational 6,000-foot tailspin by Ensign Ruch. 8. Dead Stick Landing by pilot West. 9. Acrobatics and Inverted (upside down flying) by Ensign Ruch. 10. Thrilling 4,000 Foot Dead Stick Dive and Loop by Ensign Ruch. There are a few pictures in Carter's Store window, North Conway, actual photographs in fact, showing Ensign Ruch doing his cockpit change, flying upside down and looping. As a special Grand Climax to this air circus the fliers have told us they are endeavoring to secure a parachute jumper in time for the circus and if they do will have this free fall parachute jump in addition to their regular program of events. The show will be free on Saturday. There will be stunt flying and passenger carrying then but the big show with ten special events will be on Sunday. A small admission for each car will be charged then. In case of rain or bad weather that prevents the carrying out of the program the entire circus will be postponed until Saturday and Sunday, October 14-15. Among the other pilots and ships that will be present are Gordon Brown of the Brown Co. of Berlin, NH, flying his powerful Travel Air biplane powered with a Wright motor; Lafayette Gosslin of Berlin flying a Lakes Sport; Elmore Barnes of Twin Mountain flying his Commandaire; Percy Osborn of Newport, flying his Fleet. On Saturday night there will be a grand ball at Intervale Playgrounds with 50 cent admission.”

Below, an unsourced article describing the penultimate air show for the 1933 season in New Hampshire. The organizers finally found a parachute jumper.

Unsourced News Article Probably October 5. 1933 (Source: Apte Family)

Newspaper clipping No reference, no date (October 1933) “MANY ATTEND AIR MEET AT TWIN SUNDAY "Bing" Crosby Makes Successful Parachute Jump. Six Planes Present. With the weather as ideal as Indian summer could bring forth, the second air meet of the season at Twin Mt. was climaxed last Sunday with a thrilling free fall parachute leap by "Bing" Crosby of the 153 Company of the C.C.C. located near Bethlehem.  This was Crosby's first parachute jump and most all his brother members from the C.C. C. Camp were there to watch him make the jump, also a few of the officers. Ensign Larry D. Ruch, US Naval Reserve flew the plane, a Challenger Commandaire that Crosby jumped from. He landed north of the airport in a clearing. There was probably 150 cars on the field, and several took rides, although the passenger business was not as brisk as the meet held there in August. There were six ships on the field, Wylie Apte flying his Curtiss Robin; Lee Bowman flying a Commandaire Challenger, Larry Ruch flying Fleet; Johnny West flying American Eagle; Elmore Barnes flying OX5 Commandaire, and Russo   flying a Great Lakes. Ensign Larry Ruch thrilled the crowd with aerobatics and stunts of all kinds doing loops, barrel rolls, Immelmann turns, chandelles, zooms, wing overs, ten complete turns of a tail spin and finished with inverted flight upside down flying. He also broke several balloons during the afternoon by flying into them with the propeller. There were several flights taken over Mt. Washington.  This is quite a flight as the pilot has to climb his ship to an altitude of 7000 feet above the Twin Mountain Airport in order to properly clear the peak of Mt. Washington. This makes the ship 8500 feet above sea level, as the elevation of the airport at Twin Mt. is 1500 feet above sea level. This practically closes the season as far as Twin Mt. Airport is concerned and the New England Air Circus Association, which operates from Twin Mountain tells us they are featuring their last air circus of the year in Northern New England at Cobleigh Airport, Lisbon next Saturday and Sunday Oct 21 and 22. They will thrill the crowd with their usual array of aerial talent and promise another parachute jump, weather permitting and if they secure the new type of parachute which they have ordered from the factory.



Unsourced News Article Ca. May 14, 1934 (Source: Apte Family)
Legion Sponsored Air Circus Post 25  Newport, New Hampshire May 13, 1934 The Legion sponsored a weekend performance of the New England Air Circus Association, which opened the season at Parlin Field. An aerial parade began the festivities, with seven airplanes flying in formation over Newport and Sunapee. Aerial bombing by local pilot Percy Osborne and balloon bursting were followed by the thrill of the day: Ensign Larry Ruch of the U. S. Naval reserve did twenty-one tail spins from an altitude of 6000 feet, breaking his own record. He also did Immelmann turns, snap barrel rolls, half loops and half rolls, slow rolls, hammerhead and whip stalls, and upside-down flying. Newporter George Robertson parachuted from 3000 feet and also performed a delayed jump of 2000 feet.”


At right, an undated article from 1934 that describes Ruch performing his routine.

Below, the final clipping shared by the Apte family is what appears to be a rotogravure of Ruch from a collage on the subject of aviators and racing. The date and source are unknown.

Larry Ruch, Date & Source Unknown (Source: Apte Family)






The 1940 Census followed Ruch to Myrtle Grove, FL where he lived with his wife and daughter, Barbara age 2. Myrtle Grove is just north of the Pensacola Naval Air Station, where Ruch was serving as a lieutenant in the navy. His salary was $3,280, a good income for 1940.

On the eve of WWII, The Register of the Commissioned Officers, Cadets, Midshipmen, and Warrant Officers of the United States Naval Reseve, dated July 1, 1941, listed Ruch's rank as Lieutenant. He earned that rank December 19, 1939, and had accumulated ten years, 9 months and 13 days in the volunteer reserve, suggesting he joined the Navy in 1929.

Naval Aviation News, January 1949 (Source: google.com)



The article at right, from the Naval Aviation News for January 1949, briefly describes his service during WWII. I found no record of his flight experience with the Navy from 1932 to 1941.

From the article at right, after WWII he was transferred as a Commander from the Naval Air Station Minneapolis, MN to NAS Niagara Falls. The1950 Census corroborated his move to Niagara Falls. His occupation as "Commander Naval Reserve." Josephine lived with him, as well as daughter Barbara and another daughter, Elizabeth age 9.

In 1958, when he voluntarily retired from the reserve, there was some documentation and discussion around his years of service when he applied for retirement benefits. Did the documentation and discussion resolve his retirement application? Yes. After five pages of legal discussion in Volume 37 of the Decisiions of the Comptroller General of the United States (July 1, 1957-June 30, 1958), it was decided that his application would be, "...effective for monetary benefits as of September 1, 1955, or as of the first day of any calendar month thereafter."

At Norfolk, VA, Ruch flew West at age 64 on September 27, 1967, fifty-six years to the day before this webpage was uploaded to the server. The cause of death was "Acute coronary insufficiency," as indicated on his death Certificate, above.

L.D. Ruch Death Certificate, September 27, 1967 (Source: ancestry.com)

He flew West holding F.A.I. license No. 6484 and carrying Transport license 360. His spouse, Josephine E. Cowen, predeceased him at age 51 (1909-1960). Both were interred at the Arlington National Cemetary in Arlington, VA.


Dossier 2.1.178


The Register

I'm looking for information and photographs of pilot Ruch and his airplane to include on this page. If you have some you'd like to share, please click this FORM to contact me.


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