Saturday, July 24, 2010

A remarkable man

In about two hours, there will be a funeral in Williamsville, NY for an 88-year old Italian immigrant who came to America during the Great Depression, who was a decorated World War II fighter pilot, and who became a noted test pilot.

Nello Infanti was the father of Steven Infanti, who is Chairman of the Board at Community General Hospital. I never met Mr. Infanti, but I feel I know him from stories Steve has told over the years. He was a remarkable man.

▪ During World War II, Nello Infanti flew 63 combat missions in a P-38 over Africa, Europe, and Russia.

He received the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal with Seven Oak Leaf Clusters.

▪ He earned an Aeronautical Engineering Degree from Rennsselaer Polytecnic Institute, plus many hours of post graduate studies at the University of Buffalo and Edwards Air Force Base.

▪ He worked for 40 years at the Cornell Aeronautical Laboratory and became its Chief Test Pilot in 1963. Mr. Infanti flew over 100 types of aircraft, many highly classified.

▪ He trained over over 800 test pilots, more than 40 of whom became astronauts. He flew with Neil Armstrong and Buz Aldrin. He also flew all the X-15 pilots, shuttle, B-1, B-2 and F-17 pilots.

▪ Mr. Infanti was a Fellow in the Society of Experimental Test Pilots.

There is a report about this remarkable man in the Buffalo News, along with his obituary.

I extend my condolences to Steve Infanti, to his mother Louise, and to the entire family.

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