Oliver Andre Rosto – A Life Dedicated to Aviation

The Norse-American aviator Oliver Andre Rosto (1881-1972) was the first Norwegian to design, construct and fly a monoplane. The first flight of this monoplane (later christened “Duluth No 1″) was on February 26, 1913 from the ice of Lake Superior at Duluth, Minnesota, USA. After this flight Oliver Andre Rosto was mainly active in the world aviation and worked as inspector for the Curtiss Aeroplane & Engine Factory in the USA, for Ericson Aircraft Ltd. in Baltimore and from 1928 to 1952 for the Civil Aeronautic Authority. At the age of 71 he started to work for Transocean Air Lines and its subsidiary the Aircraft Engineering & Maintenance Company – AEMCO. This page will try to give the reader a short introduction of his life and work. In October 2011 the biography about the fascinating life of Oliver Andre Rosto has been published. The book has been written in the English language.
Here you can download the book – Oliver Andre Rosto

Oliver Andre Rosto – Short Timeline

The fascinating life of this Norse-American cannot be told in just a few fact. You will have to read the book in order to be able to enjoy his colorful life from that early day he was born until that April-day in 1972 he passed away. Here are some highlights from his life.

Det spennende livet til denne norskamerikaner kan ikke fortelles som et par tørre fakta. Du må lese boken for å kunne nyte hans fargerike liv fra den dagen han ble født til den aprildagen i 1972 han gikk bort. Her er noen av høydepunktene i hans liv.

Oliver Andre Augustinusen Røstø was born in Hemne (Norway) as the third child of Augustinus Parelius Olsen Bjerknes and Anna Kristoffersdatter Røstø.
Oliver Andre Augustinusen Røstø ble født i Hemne (Norge) som tredje barn til ekteparet Augustinus Parelius Olsen Bjerknes og Anna Kristoffersdatter Røstø.

Oliver Rosto immigrated via England to the USA. He arrived there and continued to Duluth, Minnesota. He started working for Ralph Marble as chauffeur and handy man.
Soon upon his arrival he joined the Wisconsin National Guard.
Oliver Rosto emigrerte via Storbritannia til USA. Etter ankomst reiste han videre til Duluth, Minnesota. Der begynte han å jobbe som sjåfør og alt-mulig-mann for Ralph Marble.
Like etter hans ankomst ble han medlem av Wisconsin National Guard (Najsonalgarden i staten Wisconsin).

Rosto’s brother Eilert Kristian moved via Canada to Superior, Wisconsin. He died in 1967.
Broren til Rosto, Eilert Kristian, flytter via Canada til Superior, Wisconsin. Han gikk bort i året 1967.

He started to think about building an aircraft. It would not be ready until 1913.
He worked as an automobile mechanic for the Mutual Automobile Company. The company was situated in the “Pioneer Building” at 313 West, 2nd Street in Duluth, Minnesota.
For the first time he returned to his homeland for a visit to relatives. That same year his sister Elisabeth immigrated to the USA and married Olaf Tangen from Duluth.
Rosto begynte å tenke på å bygge et fly. Det ville ikke bli ferdig til 1913.
Han jobbet som bilmekaniker for Mutual Automobile Company. Dette selskapet holdt til i Pioneer Building på 313 West, 2nd Street i Duluth, Minnesota.
For første gang reiste han tilbake til hjemlandet for å besøke familien. Samme år emigrerte Elisabeth til USA og giftet seg der med Olaf Tangen fra Duluth.

Oliver Rosto was among the founders of the Driver’s Club of Duluth, Minnesota.
Oliver Rosto var blant stiftere av ”Driver’s Club of Duluth, Minnesota”.

Rosto left for another visit to Norway. He returned in February 1912 and could have visited Paris, where he possibly flew as a passenger. He also saw Louis Blériot fly his monoplane and decided to base his monoplane on that.
October 15: Thomas McGoey, flying a Curtiss Pusher, made the first flight above the city of Duluth. Rosto missed this as he was in Norway.
Rosto reiste for andre gang til Norge. Han returnerte ikke før februar 1912 og kan i mellomtiden ha besøkt Paris, hvor han muligens fløy som passasjer. Han så også Louis Blériot fly sitt monoplane og bestemte seg å basere sitt monoplan på flyet til Blériot.

Rosto returned from Norway in February. In the autumn his monoplane was close to ready. Only the engine was missing. James “Jimmy” Ward visited the workshop of Rosto and he wanted to buy the monoplane. Rosto said he wanted to learn to fly on it himself first.
I februar returnerte Rosto fra Norge. På høsten var hans monoplane nesten ferdig. Kun motoren manglet. James “Jimmy” Ward besøkte verkstedet til Rosto og ville kjøpe monoplanet. Men Rosto sa at han først selv ville lære å fly flyet.

The 35hp Anzani-engine arrived in Duluth and Rosto can finally complete his aircraft. By January he is ready for take-off.
February 26: Oliver Andrew Rosto made the first flight in his Rosto Monoplane. During the spring he made another twelve flights.
April: Norwegian polar explorer Roald Amundsen arrived in Duluth for a lecture. He and Rosto met and became friends.
July 4: A schedule display flight of the Rosto Monoplane in co-operation with “The Duluth News Tribune” had to be cancelled due to heavy rain. It was not rescheduled. A contest to name the monoplane was organized and the name “Duluth No.1” won.
Den bestilte 35 hk Anzani-motor ankommer til Duluth og Rosto kan gjøre ferdig flyet hans. I januar er han beredt til den første flyvningen.
26. februar: Oliver Andrew Rosto gjennomførte den første flyvningen i hans Rosto Monoplane. På våren gjennomførte han i alt tolv flyvninger.
April: Den norske polarhelten Roald Amundsen ankommer Duluth for et foredrag. Han og Rosto møtte hverandre og ble venner.
4. juli: En planlagt flyvning i samarbeid med ”The Duluth News Tribune” i hans Rosto Monoplane måtte innstilles på grunn av et utvær. Det ble heller ikke gjennomført senere. En konkurranse for å finne et navn til hans monoplan ble organisert av avisen og navnet ”Duluth No 1” vant.

Agnes, Rosto’s sister immigrated to the USA.
Agnes, søsteren til Rosto, emigrerte til USA.

February: Rosto participates in the ice races on the Lake Superior. He wins one of the races in his Overland automobile.
Februar: Rosto deltar i et billøp på isen til Lake Superior. Han vinner en av konkurransene i hans Overland-bil.

April: Rosto started to work for the Curtiss Aeroplane & Motor Co. as inspector.
August: Rosto got fined for speeding in Duluth: $ 22.50!
He met Frithiof “Fritz” Ericson in Duluth, Minnesota and Rosto applied to join Ericson to work in the Canadian Curtiss Factory in Toronto. He was to travel to Russia to assist in the construction and training of Russian crews. Unfortunately, the contract between Russia and Curtiss was cancelled after Tony Jannus crashed in a Curtiss seaplane in the Black Sea. Rosto never travelled to Russia.
October 6: Rosto became an American citizen during a ceremony at the Douglas County Office in Superior, Wisconsin.
December 9: Rosto left for a vacation to Norway.
April: Rosto begynnet å jobbe for Curtiss Aeroplane & Motor Co. som inspektør.
August: Rosto får en bot for å ha kjørt for fort i Duluth: $ 22,50!
Han møter Frithiof ”Fritz” Ericson i Duluth, Minnesota og Rosto søker seg til Curtiss’ kanadiske fabrikk i Toronto. Herfra skulle han reise til Russland for å hjelpe å sette sammen flybåter og trene opp russiske besetninger og mekanikere. Dessverre ble kontrakten mellom Russland og Curtiss annullert etter at Tonny Jannus forulykket i en Curtiss flybåt i Svartehavet. Rosto reiste aldri til Russland.
6. oktober: Rosto blir amerikansk statsborger under en seremoni på Douglas County Office i Superior, Wisconsin.
9. desember: Rosto reiser på ferie til Norge.

May 4: Rosto returned to the USA and continued to work for Curtiss.
August: The U.S. Navy accepted Rosto’s application as inspector at Curtiss.
4. mai: Rosto kommer tilbake til USA og fortsetter å jobbe for Curtiss.
August: US Navy aksepterer hans søknad som inspektør for US Navy hos Curtiss.

May: Rosto started as Assistant Inspector of Engineering Material for the U.S. Navy at the Curtiss plant at Buffalo, NY. He was later transferred to Curtiss Engine Company at Garden City for inspection work on engines.
October: Rosto moved again, now to Rochester for inspection work at Rochester Motor Inc. and Kellogg Manufacturing Co.
November 11: The Armistice is signed, ending the hostilities of the Great War.
December 14: Rosto resigned from the U.S. Navy. He was urged to resign due to the reduction of civil inspectors.
Mai: Rosto starter som Assistant Inspector of Engineering Material for US Navy på Curtiss-fabrikken I Buffalo, NY. Han ble senere overført til Curtiss Engine Company i Garden City for inspeksjon av motoren.
Oktober: Rosto flytter igjen, nå til Rochester for inspeksjonsarbeid hos Rochester Motor Inc. og Kellogg Manufacturing Co.
11. november: Våpenhvillen trer i kraft – Første Verdenskrig er over!
14. desember: Rosto sier opp sin stilling hos US Navy. Han ble oppfordret til å si opp, fordi US Navy ellers måtte si ham opp.

Rosto started to work for the Lindsay-Fuller Inc. Exporters. The firm was in commercial business. Rosto was responsible for the European market. He travelled several times to Norway and Europe for work.
Rosto begynner å jobbe for Lindsay-Fuller Inc. Exporters. Selskapet driver med handel. Rosto er ansvarlig for det europeiske markedet. Han reiser forskjellige ganger til Norge og Europa.

Rosto arrived in Norway and had brought along a 1914 Pierce-Arrow 38C2.
Rosto ankommer til Norge og han hadde tatt med en bil av merke 1914 Pierce-Arrow 38C2.

April 18: His daughter Ella Løvgren (later Westerås) is born in Oslo. Ella did not see her father and was not told until at a late age that Oliver Rosto was her father.
18. april: Hans datter Ella Løvgren (senere Westerås) blir født i Oslo. Ella så aldri hennes far og ble først på et senere tidspunkt fortalt at Oliver Rosto var hennes far.

Oliver Rosto started to work for the Ericson Aircraft Ltd. importing and modifying Curtiss JN-4 Canuck from Canada. Rosto became the plant manager in Baltimore.
Oliver Rosto startet å jobbe for Ericson Aircraft Ltd. Selskapet importerte og modifiserte Curtiss JN-4 Canuck fra Canada. Rosto ble direktør.

July: Due to lack of work at the Ericson Aircraft Ltd Rosto resigned and started to work for the Department of Commerce, Bureau Aeronautical Branch as Airplane Inspector at Wichita, Kansas. He did inspection work at the Travel Air Manufacturing Co, the Stearman Aircraft Co., the Swallow Airplane Co. and the Cessna Aircraft Co.
In Baltimore he met Mary Garecht, who he married on November 3, 1928 at the Immanuel Lutheran Church, Wichita, Kansas. He settled in Wichita, while his wife stayed in Pennsylvania with her daughter and parents.
Juli: På grunn av mangel på arbeid hos Ericson Aircraft Ltd, sa Rosto opp stillingen sin og begynte å jobbe for Department of Commerce, Bureau Aeronautical Branch som Airplane Inspector at Wichita, Kansas. Han skulle sjekke fly under bygging. Han sjekket flyene hos Travel Air Manufacturing Co, Stearman Aircraft Co., Swallow Airplane Co. og Cessna Aircraft Co.
I Baltimore møtte han Mary Garecht. Den 3. november 1928 giftet de seg i den Immanuel Lutheran Church, Wichita, Kansas. Han slo seg ned i Wichita, mens hans kone fortsatt å bo i Pennsylvania sammen med hennes datter fra et annet ekteskap og hennes foreldre.

Rosto joined the U.S. Army Air Corps, Material Division, Procurement Section.
Rosto ble tatt opp i U.S. Army Air Corps, ansvarig for flymaterial.

September: Rosto became an Airline Maintenance Inspector and was now responsible for the control of maintenance at airlines.
September: Rosto ble Airline Maintenance Insepector og var nå ansvarlig for kontroll av vedlikehold hos flyselskapene.

President Roosevelt ordered the creation of the Interdepartmental Committee on Civil International Aviation. It was to gather information and make recommendations pertaining to civil international aviation. In 1936, Rosto was send to Europe, India and Asia to make a report.
October: He received the rank of Captain in the U.S. Army Air Corps. By 1950 he had the rank of Colonel.
President Roosevelt beordret dannelse av en komité for internasjonal sivilluftfart. I 1936 ble Rosto sent til Europa, India og Asia til å skrive en rapport om vedlikehold hos flyselskapene.
Oktober: Han blir kaptein i US Army Air Corps. I 1950 var han blitt øverste.

June: Rosto flew as a passenger on the Junkers Ju 52/3m, LN-DAE “Havørn” from Bergen to Trondheim and Tromsø. Pilots were his friend Bernt Balchen and Finn Lambrechts. The seaplane belonged to Det Norske Luftfartselskap, Fred. Olsen & Bergenske AS.
Juni: Rosto fløy som passasjer på den norske Junkers Ju 52/3m, LN-DAE “Havørn” fra Bergen til Trondheim og Tromsö. Pilotene var hans venner Bernt Balchen og Finn Lambrechts. Sjøflyet tilhørte Det Norske Luftfartselskap, Fre

Oliver Andre Rosto in 1936

d. Olsen & Bergenske AS.


Rosto did inspection work on United Air Lines’ route network between San Diego and Seattle.
He was in the autumn added to a six-man CAA-board headed by Raymond B. Quick that would put the new Boeing 314 Clipper through its final tests.
Rosto gjorde inspeksjonsarbeid hos United Air Lines’ ruter mellom San Diego og Seattle. Fra høsten ble han med i en gruppe fra CAA under ledelse av Raymond B. Quick, som skulle sertifisere Boeing 314 Clipper.

March: Rosto is part of the CAA officials investigating the crash of the Douglas DC-2-112, NC-13789 (c/n 1299) of Transcontinental & Western Air, Inc (TWA). This accident is known as the ”1938 Yosemite TWA Crash”.
Mars: Rosto er medlem av CAA-tjenestemenn som undersøkte ulykken av en Douglas DC-2-112, NC-13789 (c/n 1299) til Transcontinental & Western Air, Inc (TWA). Ulykken ble kjent som ”1938 Yosemite TWA Crash”. Et fly forsvant og ble ikke funnet før tre måneder senere!

Second World War began. It lasted until August 1945.
Annen Verdenskrig begynte. Den varte til august 1945.

He was transferred to Washington D.C. and from there send to the Field Office in London, England. His division became the Safety Regulation Aircraft & Components Service, Scheduled Air Carrier, Maintenance Division. He was to implement and check the CAA-regulations that were implemented on foreign airlines’ workshops.
Rosto ble overført til Washington D.C. og derfra til “Field Office” i London (UK). Hans avdeling hadde navnet Safety Regulation Aircraft & Components Service, Scheduled Air Carrier, Maintenance Division. Han var ansvarlig for innføring og kontroll av CAA-regler i de utenlandske flyselskapenes verksteder.

February 20: The workshop of the Scandinavian Airlines System – SAS at Oslo/Fornebu officially received the CAA Certificate. Rosto was there to support his boss Roland Sturtewant and the U.S. Air Attaché in London, Mr. E.A. Lister.
March 3: Oliver Rosto was officially retired. During a ceremony in Washington D.C., he received the Civil Aeronautics Administration Certificate of Merit.
20. februar: Verkstedet til Scandinavian Airlines System – SAS på Oslo/Fornebu mottok sitt CAA-sertifikat. Rosto var der sammen med hans sjef Roland Sturtewant og den amerikanske flyattache fra London, Mr. E. A. Lister.

Hjalmar Riiser-Larsen (SAS) and Oliver A Rosto during a visit of Rosto in Oslo.

He started to work for Trans Ocean Air Lines and its subsidiary Aircraft Engineer & Maintenance Company – AEMCO.
Etter hans pensjonering begynte han å jobbe for Trans Ocean Air Lines og dets datterselskap Aircraft Engineer & Maintenance Company – AEMCO.

October 7: Rosto received the “Civil Aeronautics Administration Silver Medal for Distinguished Service” from James S. Beasley of the CAA’s International Region in San Francisco.
7. oktober: Rosto mottar “Civil Aeronautics Administration Silver Medal for Distinguished Service” fra James S. Beasley fra CAA i San Francisco.

Trans Ocean Air Lines files bankruptcy. Rosto is now out of work and finally retired.
Trans Ocean Air Lines går konkurs. Rosto er nå uten arbeid og går av med pensjon.

December 15: During the Kitty Hawk Celebrations of The Early Bird of Aviation Inc. the 80-year-old Oliver Rosto was handed over a plaque with the text: “Commemorating the first solo flight of Oliver A. Rosto made on November 15, 1909 awarded by The Early Birds – an organization of pioneer aviators who flew solo before December 17, 1916”. Although the date of the first flight was wrong, he did fly before December 17, 1916.
15. desember: Under Kitty Hawk festen, organisert av The Early Bird of Aviation Inc. den 80-år gamle Oliver Rosto fikk en plakk med teksten: “Commemorating the first solo flight of Oliver A. Rosto made on November 15, 1909 awarded by The Early Birds – an organization of pioneer aviators who flew solo before December 17, 1916”. (Til minne om den første sole flyvning til Oliver A. Rosto, gjennomført den 15. november 1909 og gitt av The Early Birds – en organisasjon for luftfartens pionerer som fløy solo før 17. desember 1916). Selv om datoene av hans første flyvning var feil, fløy han allikevel før 17. november 1916.

Rosto made a flight in a Lockheed T-33 Shooting Star. He was at that moment 87 years old!
Rosto flyr i en Lockheed T-33 Shooting Star. Han var da 87 år gammel!

April 2: Rosto suffered a stroke and was taken to the Peralta Hospital in Oakland, CA.
April 10: Rosto passed away in peace.
April 13: Rosto was cremated and his ashes were spread above San Francisco Bay by his dear friends Lars Lind and Glenn Plymate. The aircraft used was the Cessna 195, N195K of Glenn. It was the last flight Oliver Rosto made.
2. april: Rosto får en hjerneblødning og blir overført til Peralta Sykehus i Oakland, CA.
10. april: Rosto gikk bort i fred.
13. april: Rosto er kremert og hans aske ble spredt over San Francisco Bay av hans kjære venner Lars Lind og Glenn Plymate. Flyet de brukte var en Cessna 195, N195K tilhørende Glenn. Oliver Rosto hadde sin aller siste flyvning!

January 30: Evelyn Westerås, child of Oliver Rosto, dies at the age of 92 years in Ballangen, Norway.
30 januar: Evelyn Westerås, barn av Oliver Rosto, sovnet stille inn, 92 år gammel. Hun døde i Ballangen, Norge.

Clubs he was member of/Foreninger han var medlem av:

The Norwegian Club, San Francisco

The Over 50 Club

National Aeronautic Association

The Early Bird of Aviation Inc.

The OX5 Aviation Pioneers

Silver Wings

Ye Ancient and Secret Order of Quiet Birdman

Certificate of Aviation Hall of Fame

The familiy Westerås receives the certificate that Oliver A Rosto is inducted in the Aviation Hall of Fame of Minnesota.

Oliver Andre Rosto was inducted into the Minnisota Aviation Hall of Fame on May 2, 2009.
Den 2. mai 2009 ble Oliver Andre Rosto tatt opp i the Minnisota Aviation Hall of Fame.