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Rhode Island pilot seeks state officeRhode Island pilot seeks state office

Ross McCurdy is a high school science teacher, a pilot, and a proponent of clean, renewable energy. This year he updated his resume to include political candidate, running as an independent for lieutenant governor in his home state of Rhode Island.

Ross McCurdy, seen here preparing for a flight in 2012, is running for lieutenant governor in Rhode Island. Photo courtesy of Ross McCurdy.

A U.S. Air Force veteran, McCurdy professes a passion for clean, renewable energy and the environment. In his 20-year career at Ponaganset High School, he has worked with students to develop a hydrogen-fuel-cell-powered rock 'n' roll band, electric bikes, and a street-legal fuel-cell Model T hot rod. He also completed a 7,000-mile transcontinental road trip in a pickup truck fueled with biodiesel made from used cooking oil.

In 2012 McCurdy combined his environmental interests with flying, traveling coast to coast in a Cessna 182 whose piston diesel engine could run a 50-50 blend of biofuel and traditional Jet A.

Flying is a part of McCurdy’s campaign. He has been spreading the word of his candidacy with pilots and others he meets flying for breakfast. Block Island State Airport is a favorite destination.

McCurdy belongs to Madcap Flying Club, based at North Central State Airport in Pawtucket. He flies the club’s 1969 Cessna 172K.

“Without our flying club most of the members probably couldn't afford to fly and wouldn't be flying,” McCurdy said. “With a wife and four school-age kids that would probably include me, so I am very glad to be a member.  The members in our club often fly together and help each other stay current with instrument approaches and other aspects of aviation.”

McCurdy also has used the Cessna to take aerial photos. “I took a scenic sunset photo flight of the five wind turbines off the coast of Block Island just before a lieutenant governor candidates’ debate, and spoke on how these are the first offshore wind turbines in America, and how Rhode Island needs to make a big push for more offshore wind turbines and clean, renewable energy,” he said.

“Aviation provides an amazing opportunity to gain a unique and fresh perspective, to travel quickly and efficiently, and get a bird’s eye view of the natural beauty we need to protect,” McCurdy said.

McCurdy squares off Nov. 6 against incumbent Lt. Gov. Daniel McKee (D), Republican Paul Pence, Independent Jonathan Riccitelli, and Joel Hellmann of the Moderate Party of Rhode Island.

Jill W. Tallman

Jill W. Tallman

AOPA Technical Editor
AOPA Technical Editor Jill W. Tallman is an instrument-rated private pilot who owns a Piper Cherokee 140.
Topics: Pilots

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