A rigorous and demanding Historian: these are the first words that came to my mind about Rui Costa Pinto.
And I also find other words: friendly, willing to help, a fighter, persistant and with a smile – especially when talking about Gago Coutinho.
Rui Costa Pinto has been with the Lusitânia 100 Project since its first day: March 30, 2012.
Several coincidences (?) brought together a group of persons, in Belém, Lisbon, near the monument to the 1992’s first South Atlantic Air Crossing, early in that morning.
Many of those persons did not know each other.
Next to the monument, under the Faireys III D wing, Rui Costa Pinto started talking to someone close to him. And gradually he began to speak up louder, and to all of us.
He made an evocation of the “Travessia”, by Gago Coutinho, and Sacadura Cabral. He shared with us his knowledge, and his feelings. Under the rain, which was pouring thick.
When he finished, we were no longer a group of strangers: as Daniel Filipe said, we were “subterraneous united” by everything he transmitted to us.
The urgency of the rain forced us to transfer the rest of our conviviality to Vela Latina, where we recorded the first photograph of the Founders. It was that morning that we took the decision to set up a working group, which later gave rise to the Lusitania 100 Association.
Besides many other functions and responsibilities, Rui Costa Pinto was the President of the General Assembly of the Lusitânia 100 Association.
He tirelessly studied the work that was left by Gago Coutinho. He became his greatest biographer.
He knew so well Gago Coutinho’s letter (“hieroglyphic”), that he almost always managed to finish the words of his manuscripts, even when incomplete.
Stubbornly, he researched boxes and boxes, in several archives. He wrote two books about Gago Coutinho: “Gago Coutinho – the last great Portuguese adventurer”, and “Pioneer admiral with a lieutenant soul”.
His effort and seriousness were rewarded, with even more work: several private individuals entrusted him with documentary repositories, which he tirelessly studied.
Nevertheless, he had to fight against unexpected and inexplicable difficulties: some inevitable, others outrageous.
Despite his years of work, he told me once that there was still a lot of material from Gago Coutinho to be treated – it was far from being all studied.
He was always available to share his knowledge about Gago Coutinho and the 1922 Crossing.
His gentle way of speaking involved us, and almost carried us to the presence of Gago Coutinho.
When he spoke to us about the Geographer, Rui Costa Pinto became greater than himself.
João Moura Ferreira