PHOTO: Fred Losch, left, and Dick Rossi, right, stand by their hall of fame plaques at the Fallbrook Air Park. The pair are the first inductees to the Fallbrook Aviation Hall of Fame.


Two famous World War II aviators were inducted into the new Fallbrook (Calif.) Aviation Hall of Fame on Veterans Day. The pair, Dick Rossi and Fred Losch, are long-time Fallbrook residents, said Tom Wilson, president of Friends of the Fallbrook Community Airport. Doug Dwyer, vice-president of FFCAP, spearheaded the hall of fame, saying it is designed to highlight the surprisingly large number of aviation exploits of Fallbrook residents. Fallbrook is a tiny airport located in North San Diego County, adjacent to Camp Pendleton.

Rossi is a 6.5 victory ace with the famed American Volunteer Group, better known as the Flying Tigers. In 1941 and ’42, the AVG surmounted huge odds during their brief but illustrious combat tour in China. When that group disbanded, Rossi remained in China, flying “The Hump” for the Chinese National Aviation Corporation. After the war, Rossi was a founding member of the Flying Tigers cargo airline.

Losch, as a Marine Corps lieutenant, served in fighter squadron VMF-214, the storied “Black Sheep” squadron headed by the colorful Gregory “Pappy” Boyington. Losch’s record includes many hair-raising ground attack missions and at least one aerial victory. After the war, Losch built a successful construction supply business in Los Angeles before retiring to Fallbrook.

Both men have strongly supported FFCAP, Wilson said. Rossi and Losch were inducted by the FFCAPark during a simple ceremony at the Air Park’s viewing common. Highlight of the ceremony was a fly-by of a P-40 Warhawk and an F4U Corsair, as flown by Rossi and Losch during World War II. Both airplanes were supplied by the Planes of Fame museum in Chino, Calif. The P-40 was flown by John Hinton; the F4U by John Maloney. Because both airplanes are fitted with jump seats and FFCAP members Mike Smith and Bonnie Wills were along for the ride.

For more information on the group, contact Wilson at (760) 728-9062.

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