Arliss Ryan


Newport Air Park was not the first airfield on Aquidneck Island. In 1921, the Army Air Service, in an effort to make commercial mail and Army and Navy flying safer and more convenient, selected eleven emergency landing sites in Rhode Island. Two of the sites were in Newport, one at the Naval Air Station, the other at the Newport polo club. In 1929, the first real airport on the island opened on Coddington Cove (now site of the Naval Undersea Warfare Center) on the shoreline approximately 1.5 miles west of the present site. Photographer John T. Hopf, who took his first aerial photos flying from this airport in 1938, includes a 1941 photograph of the site in his book, Newport: Then And Now. The man who gave aviation a permanent home on Aquidneck Island was Colonel Robert F. Wood (1919-1991).