Ada Rogato (1910 – 1986) received from her parents, Italian immigrants, the same education given to most women of that time – but she wanted to learn to fly. She did abandoned her goal even when her parents separated and she had to help her mother with activities such as embroidery and crafts to support themselves.
She managed to collect enough money to take flying lessons in 1935 and received her pilot’s licence the following year. Later, she followed a course in skydiving and earn the first paratrooper licence awarded to a Brazilian. Ada used her skills to participate to aviation shows demonstrating acrobatics and parachute jumps. In 1948, when the authorities decided to air combat the coffee berry borer – a pest that threatened the crops of our main export at the time – she accepted the challenge of fulfilling the task that made her a pioneer of crop dusting in Brazil.
Single and childless, she worked for the government for a living. She began in 1940 as a clerk in the Biological Institute and retired in 1980 as head of technical section of the Sports and Tourism. In the 1950s, she was an aviation editor of the Journal of the Flyers as well as the magazine Speed.
In 1956, Ada was invited to be part of the organizing committee of the celebrations of the fiftieth anniversary of the 1st Flight of the 14-bis. Her suggestion was to fly through all the Brazilians States and Territories to honor and publicize the achievements of Santos-Dumont. On this trip, she traveled 25,057 kilometers in 163 flight hours. She flew her tiny Cessna over unexplored parts of the Midwest, landed at airfields in newly opened forest and visited several Indians villages. She became the first woman to flight solo over the Amazon jungle, including the far-fearful passage Xingu Pipe-Jacareacanga, in a small airplane.
After reaching the Arctic Circle, the highest airport, and the depths of the Amazon, she still wanted to reach the southern continent. Four years later (1960), she reached Ushuaia, in Tierra del Fuego (Argentina), the southernmost city in the world.
As member of the Fiftieth Anniversary of the 14-bis, she became involved with the Santos-Dumont Foundation (FSD) in order to care for the collection of the inventor and support the development of aeronautics. As head of that entity as successively counselor, secretary and president, Ada welcome the most distinguished visitors of the Museum of Aeronautical FSD (the first in South America).