RIP Aviator47
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MV Santa
GTS250, 1960 VBA, 1975 VBC, 1980 P200E cutdown
Joined: 04 May 2010
Posts: 4263
Location: Sedgwick, Kansas
Sun Jan 01, 2017 6:17 pm quote
I've been thinking all day about what to say. I knew I had to say something but what more could I add that hasn't already been said.

Whenever I saw that Al had commented on any subject I knew that I had to read it carefully and school was in session. Eyes front. Here comes the straight dope. Take notes. There will be a quiz later. He would argue his point backed up by facts. He was a mentor to us all. His kind will not come this way again.

He will be missed.

Matthew TenBarge
Molto Verboso
Mia Dolce II 2017 GTV 300, Ragazzo Vespa 946, Il Pazzo BV 350, & Mia Dolce GTV 250 -sold-
Joined: 03 Jan 2010
Posts: 1729
Location: Oak Island NC
Sun Jan 01, 2017 6:23 pm quote
So sorry that we've lost this gem of a human from this life. I hope there are scooters in the next one.
Veni, Vidi, Posti
Neutrino MP3 492.7 AK, 2013 Moto Guzzi Norge
Joined: 29 Mar 2008
Posts: 21465
Location: Harriman, Tennessee, Tn
Sun Jan 01, 2017 7:01 pm quote
Al is missed by many. I only have had the pleasure of talking to him thru MV. One get person for sure.

God Speed Al.
Veni, Vidi, Posti
Neutrino MP3 492.7 AK, 2013 Moto Guzzi Norge
Joined: 29 Mar 2008
Posts: 21465
Location: Harriman, Tennessee, Tn
Sun Jan 01, 2017 7:05 pm quote
everybody lets give Al 1 last thumbs up and make him the the most karma roundels. find a post and let do this.
Petty Tyrant
GTS250 GTS300 MP3 500
Joined: 11 Oct 2005
Posts: 29653
Location: Bay Area, California
Sun Jan 01, 2017 7:06 pm quote
Ooof. This has weighed heavily on me for the last two days.

Al was a remarkable man, and I am better for having known him -- which makes his loss that much harder. Funny when he wanted to be, and pointed when he needed to be. Often at the same time. I made Al a moderator before I ever met him (such is the way of internet forums) and then finally met him in person during the 2010 Italy tour. I treasure that trip, and all the great friends I made there in that short time.

It's actually really difficult to convey exactly how big of a void Al's passing leaves, not just here at MV but IRL, and for all of us who had the honor of knowing him.

As a note of protocol, MV lost two really good staff members in 2016. I had been planning on reverting the forum colors back to normal on January 1st (today), as it had been long enough (I think) since Julie's passing. With Al's passing, though, I'll leave it as it is. It looks like we will be in mourning for a while longer.


2009 GTV250 (Gone), 2003 Inder trailer, 2001 BMW R1100RT
Joined: 24 Jun 2009
Posts: 4141
Location: Santa Cruz California
Sun Jan 01, 2017 9:10 pm quote
I always appreciated Al's posts. Always well thought out and technically sound. He was always a gentleman. I wish I had someone like him on my everyday life.
El Macho
KTM Super Duke 1290, Vespa GTS 300
Joined: 27 Oct 2006
Posts: 9022
Location: Belfast Metropolitan Area
Mon Jan 02, 2017 1:32 am quote
That's a great picture Jess, of all of us hanging on Al's every word as he holds court. I can't help but chuckle at Ardy's enigmatic smile, which might say, I've heard that one before. A fine memory; I'll never forget him and how he catalysed a number of friendships.
Vespa GTS
Joined: 09 Jan 2008
Posts: 4750
Location: Maynard MA and Cape Cod
Mon Jan 02, 2017 5:43 am quote
So sad. What a terrible loss for our group of friends.
I'm wishing the best for his family.
2006 Vespa GT (Rocket): 2005 Vespa GT (Razzo): 2006 Vespa GT (Crash): 2007 Vespa GT (Vanessa): 2009 Yamaha Zuma 125 (Zoom): 2018 Yamaha Xmax (Max),
Joined: 26 Sep 2006
Posts: 4252
Location: Jacksonville, Florida
Mon Jan 02, 2017 5:59 am quote
I feel so fortunate to have met Al and Ardy this year while Sarah and I enjoyed our first adventure with the Vespa Club del Mediterraneo. It was wonderful.

She and I had a few conversations with Al and it was clear the love he had for the group. And you could see how everyone loved Al. Our last talk was a lengthy discussion outside the front door to the hotel in Poggibonsi. He was so filled with fun stories.

I am so sorry that it was the only gathering where we would be able to spend time with such a fine man.

I looked through my photos and came up with this one I shot while on the ferry to Elba. He looked to be having a fine time.

IMG_7016 Al.JPG

2006 250ie
Joined: 13 Jun 2012
Posts: 272
Location: Bellingham, WA
Mon Jan 02, 2017 8:38 am quote
Al's flag waving "welcome to MV from the sunny Aegean" to new members will be missed. Rest in peace, Al. My thoughts are with your family.
Triumph Street Scrambler 2018, Suzuki VanVan200 (sold), 2015 Sprint 125 (sold)
Joined: 12 Apr 2015
Posts: 2160
Location: Finland
Mon Jan 02, 2017 9:46 am quote
He looks so happy and energetic in all the pics, I'm sure he lived a full life.
Never met him, but always payed attention when he made contribution in MV - and he did that a lot.
2017 BMW R1200GS and 2018 Ducati Multistrada 950. 2010 Vespa GTS 250 (shared)
Joined: 30 Aug 2009
Posts: 4112
Location: San Diego
Mon Jan 02, 2017 10:02 am quote
A Profound Loss
Hello all-

Haven't been around much. I learned of Al's passing on another social media platform from a mutual "friend". I was thunderstruck.

Since my first visits to this site, Aviator 47 has been a true leader, great source and good friend to many who sought information and advise. He welcomed all who were interested in visiting his cherished islands and if the pages of MV are any testament to his legacy it is a large, warm and open-hearted one.

It is my loss to have never actually met him.

Rest easy Al. You did more for many than most.

My condolences to the family and friends that grieve you.
GTS 250,P-200,Rally-200,Honda CB160,Ninja Rabbit
Joined: 16 Apr 2012
Posts: 35
Location: Campbell, CA
Mon Jan 02, 2017 10:34 am quote
So sad to find this.

I was always was so impressed by his contributions to our community. He was another key to this being such a great forum and will be deeply missed here.
Veni, Vidi, Posti
2007 Vespa LX 190, 2011 LXV150ie
Joined: 26 Oct 2008
Posts: 8641
Location: Annapolis, MD, USA
Mon Jan 02, 2017 11:05 am quote
I'm truly shocked and devastated.

There are many adjectives that could be used to describe Al, but fair, generous, and incredibly knowledgeable come to mind.

Though I never had the opportunity to meet him face-to-face, my wife Deborah and I are forever in his debt for the assistance he lent us in planning our unforgettable scooter-borne honeymoon in Tuscany.

Ride on, Al.
Molto Verboso
14 Auto Stella 125, 10 GTS Super 300, 01 ET2-70, 64 Allstate, 61 VNB, 57 Lambretta LD125 - yes it runs!
Joined: 09 May 2006
Posts: 1410
Location: Baltimore-Washington
Mon Jan 02, 2017 11:21 am quote
We biologists obsess with measurements. We measure a life by its impact on its surroundings. A dry blade of grass withers unnoticed. Not Al. He was that huge forest tree who gave shade, nourishment and protection. In seconds, Al made friends of strangers, he made his friends into their friends, and he caused at least one marriage among us. Even those of you on MV who never met him could tell that he was a master of wisdom, checklists, and generosity. But after the last leaf has fallen and the trunk tips over, the tree still influences and nourishes its environment for many years before vanishing. We are a community because of Al, and we will carry on because of his influence.

In Al's honor, we of the Vespa Club del Mediterraneo will do a simultaneous ride on Sunday, January 8th at 10 am US Pacific time (actually the 9th in Asia and the western Pacific). Al's impact was such that people will be riding in many time zones around the world. I'll make a separate post about that ride but want to give you a heads up.

For me, it was a privilege to go on four of Al's European scooter adventures, including his first in 2009 and last a couple of months ago. Here are two pics from Tuscany in 2012, including some of the best company and pizza I've ever had, and Al's saintly wife who has my heartfelt condolences.

Al Fragola.jpg

Al Fragola pizza.jpg

Vespa Rally 180 LML Piaggio Cosa Triumph Bonneville Suzuki Burgman 400
Joined: 30 Mar 2007
Posts: 870
Location: Royal Oak, Michigan, USA
Mon Jan 02, 2017 1:10 pm quote
I'm gutted and missing Al already. He was a most delightful Vespa enthusiast and wonderful conversationalist/writer. A knowledgable diplomat, he could gently guide you back to the conversation without you even knowing that he was doing it -- totally smooth. Of course, he was passionate about so many things and that rubbed off on us all. Aviator47 was a great spirit and we are all poorer without him.
Gobshite Shiva
Kymco Downtown 300i the 'Dolphin Noise'
Joined: 16 Mar 2007
Posts: 14959
Location: London UK
Mon Jan 02, 2017 3:15 pm quote
Al was an original. A force of nature. A proper old-school gentleman. A raconteur, a scholar, a guy who could fix pretty much anything, who could charm pretty much anyone, and who knew, better than anyone I've ever met, how to live life well. It's hard to believe that he's gone.

I had the pleasure of spending time with Al and Ardy in Greece on the first scooter rally in 2009 - and had such a great time that I went back again in 2010. Al went to the trouble of getting marble trophies made up for the winners in all of the various events - I still have a little flock of them around the house. Al kept inviting me back, and I kept promising that I'd visit, and somehow I never got around to it. I'll always regret that.

Ardy, my most sincere and heartfelt condolences.

Godspeed Al.

With Billy on the top of Aghios Ilias, May 2010

On the balcony of the Hotel Adonis, Apollonas, May 2009

Moto Giro Titan
2009 GTS 250 Super Lucrezia Borgia, 2013 Ducati Hyperstrada, Little Big Red
Joined: 04 Feb 2009
Posts: 2550
Location: Carrollton, Kentucky
Mon Jan 02, 2017 4:49 pm quote
I went back and found a few pics that showed Al in his element, telling stories, holding forth, and making everyone feel like they were still having that happy childhood.

Farewell dinner in Barcelona, 2013.

Explaining a fine point of local history on Paros, 2014 Greek Islands

Al at home, welcoming the group for a visit.

2012 BMW G650GS, 2006 GTS,
Joined: 15 Jan 2006
Posts: 2089
Location: Snohomish County, WA
Mon Jan 02, 2017 5:51 pm quote
A bummer to hear.
Molto Verboso
'12 GTS 300 Super
Joined: 25 Feb 2013
Posts: 1248
Location: Austin TX
Mon Jan 02, 2017 5:53 pm quote
old as dirt wrote:
everybody lets give Al 1 last thumbs up and make him the the most karma roundels. find a post and let do this.
I will miss that little waving flag. After I read OAD'S quote from above, I thought to myself that it sounded like the right thing to do. So, I go to the last listed post. His words were "great news". It seemed like a cruel irony.

Then I saw that others had already upvoted, so I added my thumbs up there as well. There's no way to describe how inadequate it felt, yet worth doing.

He rode the good ride...
Joined: 14 Jun 2013
Posts: 18

Mon Jan 02, 2017 7:34 pm quote
Μπορεί η μνήμη του ποτέ διαρκείας... 🇬🇷
saggezza di scala
2009 'Burma Shave' Red GTS 250ie
Joined: 13 Mar 2010
Posts: 6914
Location: Israel
Tue Jan 03, 2017 2:27 am quote
WLeuthold wrote:
I looked through my photos and came up with this one I shot while on the ferry to Elba. He looked to be having a fine time.
Having never met Al in person, I only know him from his posts, our many PMs and the pictures folks have posted over the years (and here in this thread).

I think I love this photo that WLeuthold posted the best. While the other pics show Al by his scooter, eating with friends, laughing at a joke... this one shows an inner contentment that was instantly apparent to anyone who ever met him (even via PM).

The people I've meet that seem to have caused the most disturbance and upheaval in my life seem to have all been twitchy, nervous folks full of self-doubt, personal prejudices and half-formed ideas.

Al was the polar opposite.

Though vivacious and energetic, he exuded calm, thoughtful introspection and level-headedness. He was open to new information and ideas; even if they challenged long held beliefs. But he brooked no evasion or superstitions. Al worshiped at the alter of empirical data, repeatable experiences and leaving nothing to chance.

He must have been a hell of a pilot. And not surprisingly, he also seems to have been a hell of a friend.

This pic with Al basking in the warm sunlight on his face... breathing in the scent of a sea breeze... listening intently to the sound of distant surf... that is the look of contentment.

If one frequently feels that things are amiss or out of sorts in their life, and that contentment seems like an illusive, unattainable goal... keeping this picture handy as a reminder of what deep personal contentment really looks like, wouldn't be the worst idea in the world.

Nobody knows for sure where we go when we're gone... but I'd like to think it is a place with a warm sun, pleasant smells and the soft sound of distant surf.

And Al will be waiting there for us with a good story and a great meal.

Al Aviator 47.jpg

Molto Verboso
2009 GTS 250ie "Jigokuchou" 2001 ET2 "Luna"
Joined: 07 Aug 2011
Posts: 1563
Location: Minneapolis MN
Tue Jan 03, 2017 5:05 am quote
There truly aren't any words. If there were, they've already been said by folks who knew Al in real life.

Even for those who only knew Aviator online, his loss is keenly felt.
Moderatus Rana
MP3 250 (sold) MP3 500 (current)
Joined: 11 Jul 2008
Posts: 21497
Location: Palatka, Florida
Tue Jan 03, 2017 8:05 am quote
Even though I never met Al in person I feel I knew him pretty well from posts here, on facebook and in the moderator's lounge where he always had sound and balanced input on how to handle situations that arose needing moderation. It is also obvious what a wonderful man he was based on the remembrances of people who knew him. I will always regret not yet taking him up on his open invitation to visit him in Paros.

Godspeed on this transformation Al and condolences to you Ardy and his family and friends.
GTS 250 "Audrey"
Joined: 31 May 2008
Posts: 2117
Location: New Harbor, Maine
Tue Jan 03, 2017 8:30 am quote
Shocked and saddened. Selfishly I'll miss his posts and contributions. I've learned much from him and will miss the opportunity to learn more.

Wonderful tributes to Al from those posting before me. Heart-felt condolences to Ardy and his family and friends.
Piaggio BV250
Joined: 04 Oct 2010
Posts: 2426
Location: Historic Route 66 in Oklahoma
Tue Jan 03, 2017 9:16 am quote
Based upon my many exchanges with Al. I believe him to have been a truly honorable man in any of his thinking or actions.

Godspeed, Al.
Grumpy Biker
1980 Vespa P200e (sold), 2002 Vespa ET4 (sold), 1949 Harley-Davidson FL
Joined: 27 Oct 2009
Posts: 4738
Location: Chandler, Arizona, USA
Tue Jan 03, 2017 10:39 am quote
Oh dang. I just saw this. I'm very sad to read of Al's passing. I always enjoyed his posts.

RIP Al. You will be missed.

2010 ThunderFly 190, 2008 250 GTS
Joined: 29 Apr 2011
Posts: 2655
Location: Springboro, OH
Tue Jan 03, 2017 11:00 am quote
I'm very saddened to hear of Al's passing. His contributions here on MV were significant, and I offer my deepest condolences to his family and friends who knew him personally.

We have lost a great voice in our community and a strong ambassador of goodwill and good times all over the world.

Al will be greatly missed.
2016 GTS 300 Settantesimo Grigio Pulsar
Joined: 13 Apr 2016
Posts: 495
Location: San Antonio, Texas
Tue Jan 03, 2017 5:16 pm quote
R.I.P. Aviator. May all of our lives touch others as his did.
2012 Kymco Like 200i (Sold), 2018 FLSL
Joined: 04 Jun 2012
Posts: 2630
Location: San Jose, CA
Tue Jan 03, 2017 6:47 pm quote
I just read through the posts. It seems unreal. My condolences to his family and friends. May he Rest In Peace.
2010 Dragon Red GTS 300 Super, 2018 Grigio Titanio Piaggio Liberty S 150
Joined: 11 Jul 2006
Posts: 16295
Location: Toronto, Canada, Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Wed Jan 04, 2017 8:55 am quote
RIP Al, you will be missed by many many people both here and in real life.
Joined: 05 Jan 2014
Posts: 208
Location: glen burnie md
Wed Jan 04, 2017 4:44 pm quote
Wow another chopper driver has passed. Thatcsucks I never met the gentleman but we shared the same training and many similar flying experiences
As another forum member said every time I see a ch47 fly near me I will think c of the gentlemen fondly
Fly high sir with the wind always at your back
Scooterless (Previously owned Ruckus, Zuma, Burgman 400, GTS 250 & 300, & BV 350)
Joined: 02 Apr 2014
Posts: 303
Location: Saint Augustine, Florida
Wed Jan 04, 2017 6:36 pm quote
RIP Aviator47 - An Officer & A Gentleman
Never met Al in person. However, I did have some private messages with him on MV about traveling to Greece and we shared some stories about our time in the service.

Al retired from the U.S. Army (as a Colonel) and I retired from the U.S. Marine Corps. However, prior to his time in the Army, Al was a U.S. Marine!

Here is his message to me about how he ended up leaving the Marines and serving in the Army as an aviator...

From: Aviator47
Posted: Fri Nov 13, 2015 3:12 pm


I spent 6 yrs in the Corps (3 active, 3 drilling reserve), was on the waiting list for MARCAD, but aging faster than the list was being drawn from.

Was having a beer with an Army Colonel from my home town (had dated his daughter a few times, and had always been a gentleman) who was on his terminal assignment in NY to be close to home, and he suggested I consider flying for the Army.

Being a good Marine, I said, "With all due respect, Sir, what the hell does the Army fly? Kites and balloons?" His response was "Spoken like a true Marine. We have more helos than the Corps has aircraft. Be in my office at 9 in the morning and I will have your ass in flight school within 30 days."

Had no idea how he could pull it off, but figured a Full Bird must have had some connections. Got there at 9 and learned, for the first time, that he was the Director for Officer Procurement for the Northeast US. He had a SgtMaj at the ready to run me through the whole process. Asked for my Reserve Unit's phone number to get my Skipper to sign a release. Skipper said to have me run it by his civilian office on my way home and he would sign it, which he did.

Met the Colonel at the pub and gave it to him. He told me that he'd swear me in on 12 Oct, a few days off, as that was the day I first swore into the Corps. Since it was a holiday, we did the swearing in at the pub. 15 days later, I shipped to Flight School.

29 years later, I retired, having served as Enlisted (E-5), Warrant Officer (CWO-2) and Commissioned Officer (O-6).

Loved every minute of it.

Semper Fi!

2009 GTV250 (Gone), 2003 Inder trailer, 2001 BMW R1100RT
Joined: 24 Jun 2009
Posts: 4141
Location: Santa Cruz California
Wed Jan 04, 2017 7:39 pm quote
^^^Nice! Thanks for that.

2017 GTS Super 300ie 'Sofia', 2014 Suzuki SV650
Joined: 08 Oct 2013
Posts: 427
Location: Berlin, Germany
Thu Jan 05, 2017 1:58 am quote
I'm coming to this news a bit late, but the lateness makes it no less shocking.

This is very sad as it means that I will never meet the man who was a MV legend in my eyes. Someone above has already noted that if a thread had a message from Aviator47, that it was going to be a good one. I feel this way exactly.

Also sadly enough, he and I had been emailing back and forth about me joining for the 2017 version of the Vespa Club del Mediteranneo ride.

ModernVespa has lost one of the greats.
Yamaha XMAX 300, Sprint 150, PX 177 Polini.
Joined: 16 Mar 2014
Posts: 620

Thu Jan 05, 2017 6:44 am quote
I just want to say that the community aspect of this forum is amazing.
I teared up at the pic of of him enjoying the sun. What a great pic of a life enjoyed as part of a caring community.

RiP old man. Enjoy heavens roads.
Veni, Vidi, Posti
Lx 50 4T, GTS 250, S 150 (Missing in KS), Something Chinese
Joined: 21 Feb 2011
Posts: 7743
Location: KS USA
Fri Jan 06, 2017 7:16 pm quote
Here on MV he was always making anything I said in jest. Great sense of humor.
2016 GTS 300 ABS - midnight blue
Joined: 10 Oct 2015
Posts: 32
Location: South Baltimore
Sun Jan 08, 2017 7:58 am quote
I just randomly came across an article from the latest issue of Scootering magazine January 2017. It mentions Al several times. It is an article about their latest scooter tour in Tuscany. The article is several pages long with some great photos of the trip. Makes me want to go on the next one. It probably wouldn't be the same without Al though☹️.
2006 Vespa GT (Rocket): 2005 Vespa GT (Razzo): 2006 Vespa GT (Crash): 2007 Vespa GT (Vanessa): 2009 Yamaha Zuma 125 (Zoom): 2018 Yamaha Xmax (Max),
Joined: 26 Sep 2006
Posts: 4252
Location: Jacksonville, Florida
Sun Jan 08, 2017 3:30 pm quote
Bobo suggested that, in honor of Al (Aviator 47), all members attempt to ride at 1:00 Eastern Standard time today.

With two members in the area, actually four with our wives official members too, we decided to do the ride.

It was too cold for the wives, and it was Beverly's birthday, so it was just Tom and me with Russ (rwd1954) and Shane (SEVANS)

Sarah and Beverly were there in spirit.

We started at the Jacksonville National Cemetery, an appropriate place to honor a man of the military.

So, here's to Al.

Four scooterists riding for Al.

Molto Verboso
GTS 250
Joined: 23 Nov 2007
Posts: 1518
Location: Utah, USA
Sun Jan 08, 2017 7:37 pm quote
^ ^ ^

What a great tribute, you guys! Thank you for doing that!

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