About Our Foundation.
The Tunison Foundation was formed in 2017 by James Lyle and Eric Zipkin to preserve aircraft in tribute to the history of World War II. When it came time to name the Foundation, the team thought of Ed Tunison, the wartime radio operator aboard our flagship aircraft, the C-47 Placid Lassie, who was the last remaining member of Lassie's wartime crew.
Though Ed passed in 2016, he was able to rejoin Placid Lassie in Normandy for the 70th anniversary of the D-Day Invasion in 2014. We returned to Europe as the lead aircraft of the D-Day Squadron in 2019, in commemoration of the 75th anniversary, and are making final preparations to return once again for the 80th this summer.
Since 2022, our aircraft have been based in Wappingers Falls, NY, where we continue to pursue the preservation and operation of Placid Lassie, the restoration of our PBY Catalina, and other projects as resources allow. We're fortunate to count more than 125 volunteers that work to keep our historic airplanes flying.
Board of Directors
Eric is the Founder and CEO of Tradewind Aviation, a private aviation company serving North America and the Caribbean with a fleet of more than 30 aircraft, founded in 2001.
Eric holds a B.S. in Entrepreneurial Management from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and currently serves as Chief of Staff of the Commemorative Air Force.
Eric holds an ATP (ASEL/ASES/AMEL/AMES) with a Commercial Glider rating and CE-525S, DC-3, G-TBM, CHV-F4U, and N-P51 type ratings. He is a CFI, CFII, and MEI with more than 11,000 hours in the air, and holds a FAST Lead formation card.
Eric lives in Middlebury, CT with his wife Ann and their sons Luc and Ben.
Garrett is Assistant Chief Pilot at Tradewind Aviation, where he started in 2014 as a maintenance assistant.
Garrett holds a B.S. in Unmanned Air Systems Science from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, and is active as a skydiver, warbird pilot, and apprentice mechanic.
Garrett holds an ATP (AMEL) with a Commercial ASEL rating and CE-525 and DC-3 type ratings. He is a CFI and holds a FAST Wing formation card.
Garrett lives in Southbury, CT with his girlfriend Maria, and is restoring a Stearman.
Richard R. Hough III
Richard is the Chairman and CEO of Silvercrest Asset Management Group, which manages almost $30 billion on behalf of families and institutions, having joined the firm in 2003.
Richard holds a B.A. in Political Theory from Princeton University. Through his background in public policy, he serves as Chairman of the Institute for Family Studies and the National Civic Art Society, and serves on the boards of the Calvin Coolidge Presidential Foundation, Christendom College, and the New York Men's Leadership Forum, and on the advisory boards of the New Criterion and the Children's Scholarship Fund. He also formerly served on the Executive Committee of the Board of Governors of the Investment Advisor Association.
As a pilot, Richard holds a PPL (ASEL/IR) and flies a Mooney. He lives in Highlands, NJ with his wife Vera and their four children.
Benjamin A. Smith
Ben is Chief Information Security Officer for iCapital Network, an alternative investment fintech firm. Previously, he was CISO for IEX and BlackRock, and has been a leader in information security in the financial industry since 2000.
Ben started his career at NAWC China Lake in 1994, and holds a B.S. in Physics from the California Institute of Technology.
Ben holds a CPL (AMEL/IR) with a Private ASEL rating and a DC-3 type rating, along with a FAST Wing formation card. He enjoys flying his Ryan Navion in NATA formation clinics.
Ben lives on a farm in Readington, NJ with his wife Christina and their daughters Anne and Katherine.
Col. John G. Grones, USAF (Ret.)
Col. Grones currently flies KC-10 tankers worldwide for Omega Aerial Refueling Services.
He retired from FedEx as Chief Pilot for the Boeing 777 fleet, in which capacity he managed 650 pilots. Prior to FedEx, John was a Captain for People Express Airlines, and served in the U.S. Air Force flying C-141s and C-17s.
John holds an ATP (AMEL) and Commercial ASEL and Glider ratings, along with A-310, B-737, B-747, B-777, CE-500, DC-3, DC-10, L-300, and MD-11 type ratings, and is a CFI, CFII, and MEI.
John lives in Port Orange, FL with his wife Glenda, also a pilot and retired USAF Colonel, and has two adult daughters.
Guillaume de Ramel
Guillaume is a philanthropist, investor, and developer dedicated to good works in Rhode Island, providing funds to educational, environmental, health care, and social needs.
Guillaume started his career in real estate development, ran an air charter firm, and ran for Rhode Island Secretary of State in 2006 and 2014. He holds a B.A. from Hobart College and a M.A. in Real Estate Development from Columbia University.
A great-nephew of Norman Prince, the co-founder of the World War I Lafayette Escadrille, Guillaume holds a CPL (ASEL/ASES/AMEL/IR) with a Private Rotorcraft-Helicopter rating and DC-3 type rating. With more than 4,000 hours in the air, Guillaume also holds a FAST Lead formation card and flies a Cirrus SR22T and Carbon Cub EX.
Guillaume lives in Newport, RI with his son Charlie and daughter Elizabeth.
Dixon is a career public servant with the Canadian Federal Government for more than 30 years. He has been with Shared Services Canada, the federal department responsible for the government's IT infrastructure, for the past 12 years, where he ran the Security Architecture division for a decade. Dixon is now the Director for Cyber Oversight and Compliance.
Previously, he ran IT security for the Department of Industry and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, after a spell as a G6 at Canadian Army Headquarters. Outside of work, Dixon has been a leader in vintage automotive communities for more than 30 years. Dixon lives in Ottawa, ON with his wife Deborah.
Ed is an architect and CEO of Champalimaud Design, a leader in the design of luxury hotels, resorts, and residences around the world. Previously, he taught architecture at Cornell and ETH Zürich.
Ed holds a B.Arch. from Cornell University and a M.Arch. from Harvard University, and he is licensed to practice architecture in multiple states. His work has been the recipient of multiple design awards.
A lifelong aviation enthusiast, Ed started flying in college and holds a CPL (ASEL/AMEL/IR) and enjoys flying his Cirrus SR22. He and his wife live in New York City's Upper West Side and have raised two adult sons.
Roy currently works in local manufacturing as Director of Quality at J & J Precision in Thomaston, CT. His career journey started with an apprenticeship as a Tool and Die Maker and moved through Journeyman, Progressive Die Maker, capped with a leadership role as Toolroom Foreman. Recognizing opportunity, he broadened his career by moving into the business end as Production Manager and then to Quality Manager while attaining a Six Sigma black belt certificate.
Roy is drawn to all things relating to aviation; an aviation enthusiast bearing a strong sense of history, he eagerly embraces his family legacy as the son of an Army Air Corps pilot with years of vintage aircraft restoration volunteering.
He enjoys life in Connecticut with his wife Lisa, their three children, their spouses, and grandchildren.
Director of Maintenance
Steve has been an A&P mechanic for more than 45 years, held an IA for more than 40 years, been an FAA DME for more than 30 years, and been an FAA DAR for more than 25 years.
Steve is a corporate pilot and holds an ATP (AMEL) and Commercial ASEL, ASES, AMES, and Glider ratings, with BE-1900, DC-3, G-111, G-200, and G-280 type ratings, and is a MEI, CFI-G, AGI, and IGI, in addition to his A&P/IA qualifications.
Steve lives in Stonington, CT with his wife.
Sherry shoulders much of the administrative and operational burden of our growing volunteer corps. She coordinates many of our missions, books airshow appearances, and works through our many logistical challenges.
She lives in Westerly, RI.
Barry started his career as an A&P mechanic in heavy overhaul at Pan American World Airways, and later worked as an avionics line mechanic at Delta Air Lines at LaGuardia Airport. He most recently worked as a specialist in the installation and maintenance of security systems for power and utility companies, before joining the Foundation as a part-time Restoration Manager and staff mechanic in January 2024.
He lives in Kent, CT.