Antonio Augusto Schorcht
Navy Lt. Antonio Schorcht
Collection of Guilherme Poggio, 11-24-05

by Mauro Lins de Barros
via email, Sept. 2002
     I am a researcher on the history of Brazilian Naval Aviation. As one of the important early names is Orthon Hoover, from time to time I attempt to find more about him. Today, the catch was your page, Hoover.
     Perhaps some additional info may be of interest:
     Orthon Hoover apparently first came to Brazil in mid-1916 as a Curtiss representative to the Brazilian Navy which had just purchased three "F" boats to innaugurate the Naval Aviation School (Escola de Aviação Naval - EAvN). It seems that, in spite of being a trained mechanic, he did not hold a pilot's license. That he was an able pilot is evident, however, as he was the instructor to the first naval aviators, starting with 1st. Lt. Raul Ferreira Vianna Bandeira, 1st. Lt. Antonio Augusto Schorcht and 2nd. Lt. Victor de Carvalho e Silva in October of the same year.
     He also flew some notable flights, as the first Rio de Janeiro-Ilha Grande raid on October 12, 1916. In 1917, Lt. Schorcht graduated as an instructor and Hoover's importance in the EAvN gradually diminished. It is not clear when he left. In 1919 he was hired by the State of São Paulo to train pilots in the new aviation branch of São Paulo's Public Force (a kind of paramilitary police). He was an inspiring force behind the project to build aircraft locally, the first of which was named, appropriately, the "São Paulo".
     From then on, I lost track of him. Sometime, he changed the spelling of his name to "Orton" and married a brazilian lady. In 1932, during the Paulista (i.e. São Paulo's) revolution, he flew with the rebel (i.e. paulista's) forces and bombed the naval river monitor Pernambuco, an ironic twist to a former Naval Aviation instructor. It seems likely that he became a brazilian citizen, but this is not clear to me.
     Excuse me for the lengthy email. You may, of course, use it at your convenience.
     Congratulations on a nice and informative site.
Truly yours,
Mauro Lins de Barros
Editor's Note:
     I am truly grateful to Mauro for sharing this bit of information on several of the pioneer Brazilian aviators. If by chance you have any other information, which might help both of us to tell their stories, we would love to hear from you.
     The reference to the Curtiss "F" boat was especially exciting for me. It was my father-in-law, Walter E. Lees, who flew that plane during the first years of his career. If you are interested in that phase of his life, which includes many photos of the "F" boat, please click on:
Walter E. Lees

VEJA Online
June 12, 2003
Reprinted by Permission

     "In the online magazine report "O poder da faixa" (12 of June), VEJA wrote that Washington Luis (1926-1930) was the first president to fly.
     From Brasilia, the minister of the Superior Military Court, Flavio Flores da Cunha Bierrenbach, wrote: "the first president of the Republic to fly was not Washington Luis, (Washington Luis Pereira de Sousa), but Wenceslau Braz (1914-1918), ten years before. On April 2, 1917, he took off from the wharf on the Ilha das Enxadas, in a hydroplane of the Naval Aviation piloted by Lieutenant Antonio Augusto Schorcht , flew over the Bay of Guanabara and continued on to Niterói .
     The reader Antonino Da Silva, of Mococa, São Paulo, also remembered the feat of Wenceslau Braz? the first head of State to fly in a Brazilian military airplane over the domestic territory. But it seems that VEJA, the minister and the reader had forgotten somebody.
      One who remembers the incident in detail is reader Graco Magalhães Alves, of Natal, Rio Grande do Norte: "Hermes da Fonseca(1910-1914) flew in a Farman military airplane piloted by Lieutenant Albert Fequant, in Mourmelon, France, in day 8 of July of 1910.
      On April 15, 1913, in a Curtiss airplane piloted by the American David H. McCullough, Marshal Hermes da Fonseca flew over the Bay of Guanabara, (the first flight of a Brazilian president in skies of Brazil)". (VEJA, june 26, 2002)
Editor's Note: In case you read Portuguese, here is the original article from VEJA which was sent to me through the courtesy of Julio Cesar de Barros, Secretário de Redação, Revista VEJA. I am eternally grateful to him for his kindness on behalf of the magazine.
Na reportagem "O poder da faixa" (12 de junho), VEJA informou que Washington Luís (1926-1930) foi o primeiro presidente a voar. De Brasília, o ministro do Superior Tribunal Militar Flavio Flores da Cunha Bierrenbach escreveu: "O primeiro presidente da República a voar não foi Washington Luís, mas Wenceslau Braz (1914-1918), dez anos antes. No dia 2 de abril de 1917, decolou do cais da Ilha das Enxadas, em hidroavião da Aviação Naval pilotado pelo tenente Schorcht, sobrevoou a Baía de Guanabara e foi até Niterói". O leitor Antonino da Silva, de Mococa, São Paulo, também se lembrou do feito de Wenceslau Braz - o primeiro chefe de Estado a voar em avião militar brasileiro sobre o território nacional. Mas parece que VEJA, o ministro e o leitor se esqueceram de mais alguém. Quem lembra com detalhes é o leitor Graco Magalhães Alves, de Natal, Rio Grande do Norte: "O marechal Hermes da Fonseca (1910-1914) voou no avião militar Farman pilotado pelo tenente Albert Fequant, em Mourmelon, França, no dia 8 de julho de 1910. Em 15 de abril de 1913, no avião Curtiss pilotado pelo americano David H. McCullough, o marechal Hermes voou sobre a Baía de Guanabara (o primeiro vôo de um presidente brasileiro nos céus do Brasil)". (VEJA, june 26, 2002)
     If you search the net for "Schorcht +Aviação" using Google, (11-25-05), you will find about 23 relevant links.
Aviação Naval
da Marinha do Brasil,
     There is a brief mention of Schorcht in the introductory paragraph of this article. If you can read Portuguese, you can access the site by clicking on the title above and enjoy the entire interesting article.
     If you need a version in English, you can use the following translated extract:
     "The beginnings of military aviation in Brazil and the history of naval aviation are a bit confused, perhaps beginning on October 14, 1911, when the Naval officer, Jorge Möller, was the first military man of the country to be licensed as a pilot. A short time later, in 1914, the Brazilian School of Aviation was established and Lieutenant August Antonio Schorcht became the first Brazilian military flight instructor. On August 23, 1916, the Navy established the School of Naval Aviation headquartered on the Island of the Hoes, in Guanabara Bay, and in the same month of August, there would be the first flight of a Brazilian military airplane, a Curtiss Model F hydroplane."
Savoia Marchetti S-55A
     This page, on the Reservaer website, offers an interesting story of the plane which first crossed the Atlantic from Italy to Brazil in 1923. Lt. Schorcht is mentioned as participating in a ceremony which was held in remembrance of that event. You will find three very nice photographs of the plane on the page. If you can read Portuguese, you can enjoy this article by clicking on the title above.
     If you only read English, you can take advantage of the following translated version.
     "Savoia Marchetti S-55A - Hydroplane of double hulls used Bombing and Patrol missions, a crew of 5 to 6 members, powered by two Isotta-Fraschini 930 Asso engines, 750 CV each - 1 tractor and 1 pusher -, a cruising speed of 233 Km/h, a maximum speed of 280 Km/h, a range of 4.500 km, a service ceiling of service of 15.000 feet. could be armed with 4 Lewis machine guns, installed in the hulls, one in each nose and two behind; 1 torpedo or 2,000 kg of bombs. Acquired for the Navy in 1931, they had been delivered by air by Italian crews under the leadership of General Italo Balbo, arriving at Rio de Janeiro in that year. They had remained in active service until 1936. They comprised the 1ª Flotilla of Bombing and Patrol of the Air Force of the Squadron.
     In 1931, on the occasion of national holidays of Argentina, 9 of July, and of Uruguay, 18 of July, a combined flotilla of 8 Savoia Marchetti airplanes, led by Capitão-de-Corveta August Antonio Schorcht, presented gifts to Buenos Aires and Montevideo, representing the Brazilian government. A notable accomplishment of Naval Aviation, which was completed without incident."

Curtiss Model F Airboat
     This page, on the Reservaer website, offers an interesting story of the plane which was the first to be obtained by the Brazilian government as a trainer for its new airforce. Lt. Schorcht is mentioned as piloting the first flight of the Brazilian president in a military airplane. You will find three photographs of the F boat and one showing Santos Dumont and Lt. De Lamare leaving the boat after their flight. If you can read Portuguese, you can enjoy this article by clicking on the title above.
     If you only read English, you can take advantage of the following translated version.
     "Curtiss F - Airboat for instruction, biplane, crew of 2 members, powered by OX-2 engine of 90 HP, a maximum speed of 69 mph, reaches altitude of 2,300 feet in 10 minutes, service ceiling of 4.500 feet, range of 5h30m. In 1916, three were acquired, becoming the first Brazilian military airplanes. These airboats remained in service until 1923.
      On January 25, 1917, while visiting the School of Naval Aviation, Santos-Dumont, boarded one of the airboats and flew over Guanabara Bay, thus becoming the first air passenger in Brazil. The airplane was piloted by Lieutenant Virginius Brito de Lamare. On April 2 of that year, President Wenceslau Braz arrived at the School on board a Curtiss F, piloted by Lieutenant August Antonio Schorcht, to preside over the graduation ceremonies of the advanced course. That flight was considered to be the first of a president in a military airplane of Brazil."

The date of his death is unknown

Editor's Note:
If you have any information on this Early Flier,
please contact me.
E-mail to Ralph Cooper

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