Floyd Bennett Industry


                There are an rising quantity of New York spot airports, together with these on Prolonged Island, in Westchester County, and in New Jersey, however couple are able to name New York City’s really very first airport.  Even less are able to explain why it no lengthier exists.  That airport is Floyd Bennett Industry and it has experienced 3 distinct historic phases.

                Tracing its origins to Lindbergh’s historic, New York-Paris solo flight, it experienced alerted the planet to the truth that the plane experienced not departed from New York at all, but from Prolonged Island as an alternative, and that the only serious “New York” airport experienced been situated across the condition line, in New Jersey.  Hence indicating the need to have for a devoted, New York-situated, municipal airport, it experienced led to the institution of a panel headed by famed aviator Clarence D. Chamberlain to lookup for a acceptable site for 1. 

The subsequently selected site, a 387-acre marsh on Barren Island south of Brooklyn, New York, experienced housed a tiny group, a horse-rendering plant, and the correctly-named, one-dirt runway Barren Island Airport, which experienced been owned by Paul Rizzo and experienced been made use of for periodic passenger sightseeing flights.  The site, section of 33 little islands, enjoyed favorable winds, lacked method obstructions, experienced been predominantly fog-free, and made available broad expanses for upcoming expansion.  The airport, meant as a condition-of-the-art gateway to what experienced been viewed as 1 of the world’s finest metropolitan areas, experienced been named “Floyd Bennett Industry” just after the Brooklyn resident and naval aviator who experienced served as Richard E. Byrd’s pilot on his historic North Pole flight in 1926.  Both experienced been given the Congressional Medal of Honor for the feat.

Development, by the Town Office of Docks, coincidentally occurred on Oct 29, 1929, the exact day that the inventory industry experienced crashed, and entailed the relationship of the islets by filling in their interspersing channels with six million cubic ft of sand pumped from the base of Jamaica Bay and boosting its resultant elevation sixteen ft previously mentioned the tidewater, to connect it to Prolonged Island.

Runway fifteen-33, spanning 3,a hundred ft, and Runway 6-24, at 4,000 ft, experienced constituted the airport’s very first topographical building tasks, alongside with a taxiway.  All through the two-year time period in between 1929 and 1931, four pairs of hangars experienced equally risen from the former marshes: internally measuring one hundred twenty by 140 ft, the steel frame buildings featured trussed, arched roofs, concrete slab floors, and wood decks, and experienced been supported by forty five-foot-very long pre-cast concrete piles.

A neo-Georgian-type, purple and black brick, two-story Administration Constructing, completed in 1931, experienced been sandwiched in between the now-extended, airport obtainable Flatbush Avenue and the runways, and featured a semi-octagonal, 3-floored, projecting manage booth of glass and steel atop it.  The developing experienced also served as the passenger terminal.

Floyd Bennett Industry, which experienced been presented the 3-letter IATA code of “NOP,” experienced been devoted on June 26, 1930 amid a traveling armada of 600 US Military Air Corps plane led by Charles Lindbergh and Jimmy Doolittle and attended by a 25,000-solid crowd.  The airport, which experienced officially opened a year later on on Could 23, 1931, experienced been presented the US Office of Commerce A-1-A ranking, its greatest, because of its hitherto sophisticated amenities: its modern terminal, paved runways, and their lighting techniques for nighttime functions.

These amenities, attracting an rising quantity of well-known, “Golden Age” pilots this sort of as Wiley Publish, Jacqueline Cochran, Roscoe Turner, Amelia Earhart, Howard Hughes, and Clarence Chamberlain, enabled them to begin or terminate document pace and length flights below because of its strategic, east price tag site and very long runways, which experienced permitted large gas load gross bodyweight take offs to be done.

Need dictated growth.  In 1936, two extra runways experienced been completed: 3,500-foot Runway 1-19 and 3,200-foot Runway 12-30.  The unique Runway fifteen-33 experienced also been lengthened to 3,500 ft at this time.  Involving 1936 and 1938, the Performs Progress Administration experienced produced supplemental provider wings in between every hangar to property machine retailers and servicing amenities.

Although Floyd Bennett Industry experienced grow to be the United State’s 2nd-busiest airport two yrs just after it experienced opened, with fifty one,828 annual take offs and landings, couple of them experienced constituted commercial functions which usually transported travellers, baggage, cargo, and mail.  Mayor Fiorello La Guardia experienced consistently attempted to create the facility as New York’s theory municipal airfield, usurping the part played by Newark in New Jersey, but given that passenger profits experienced then only been incremental to a carrier’s profitability, and not integral to it, like that of the mail, and given that the US Postal Service alone experienced refused to transfer its New York functions center from Newark to Floyd Bennett Industry, the airport could never grow to be the feasible commercial facility envisioned for the duration of its inception.  Other than American Airlines’ short-term relocation, it experienced largely remained a General Aviation airfield.

Yet, the most vital chapters of aviation’s Golden Age experienced been created below.  Involving 1931 and 1939, 10 notable cross-country and sixteen transatlantic and spherical-the-planet flights experienced all originated or terminated from the marsh-to-concrete transformed patch appendaged to southern Brooklyn.   

In July of 1931, for occasion, a Bellanca CH Pacer, a large-wing monoplane run by a one, 300-hp Wright J-6 Whirlwind engine, experienced founded a length document of five,011.8 miles when it experienced flown from Floyd Bennett Industry to Istanbul, Turkey.  On August 29 of the subsequent year, a Pratt and Whitney Wasp Junior-run Waddell Williams experienced founded a new transcontinental pace document of 10.19 hrs on its flight to Los Angeles.  In July of 1933, Wiley Publish experienced flown a Pratt and Whitney Wasp-engined Lockheed Vega named “Winnie Mae” about the planet in seven times, 18 hrs, 49 minutes, and 30 seconds.  He experienced also been the very first to circumnavigate the globe solo, covering fifteen,596 miles in four times, 19 hrs, and 36 minutes.

Wings experienced stretched from Brooklyn as much as the Middle East.  In August, for case in point, an Hispano-Suiza-run Bleriot one hundred ten experienced flown the five,657.4 miles to Syria in 55 hrs.

By 1934, eight transatlantic flights experienced occurred from Floyd Bennett Industry and numerous successively enhanced transcontinental kinds.  Major James H. Doolittle, piloting a Wright Cyclone-run American Vultee, experienced notched up a transcontinental document for a passenger transport group plane, completing the Los Angeles-New York sector in 11.59 hrs.  A 2nd transport group document experienced been obtained in April of that year when a TWA DC-1 experienced flown from Burbank in 11 hrs, five minutes, forty five seconds.  Douglas DC-1s subsequently founded 22 pace documents from Floyd Bennett Industry with large gross weights, simulating commercial transport payload and selection capabilities.

1 year later on, on April 21, 1936, Howard Hughes experienced founded an intercity pace document when he experienced flown a Wright Cyclone-run Northrop Gamma in between Miami and Brooklyn in four hrs, 21 minutes, 32 seconds.  Later on in that year, in Oct, a Bellanca Flash, run by a Pratt and Whitney Wasp engine, experienced flown to Newfoundland and London-Croydon in 13 hrs, 17 minutes.

Howard Hughes, taking the spotlight yet again in 1938, experienced piloted a Lockheed 14N Super Electra, run by two Pratt and Whitney 900-hp Wright Cyclones, on a document-breaking international circumnavigation, completing the flight in 3 times, 19 hrs, eight minutes, and 10 seconds.

Probably the most well-known flight blunder, or so it is alleged, also occurred that July when Douglas Corrigan, who experienced been denied authorization to fly to Europe, submitted a flight plan to California as an alternative.  After taking off in his Curtiss Robin, run by a a hundred sixty five-hp Wright Whirlwind J-6 engine, the plane proceeded nonstop to Eire in 28 hrs, 13 minutes, allegedly owing to “compass troubles,” therefore earning him the nickname of “Erroneous Way Corrigan.”

The Germans experienced flown to Floyd Bennett Industry in 24 hrs, 50 minutes, 12 seconds in August of 1938 when their Focke-Wulf Fw-200 prototype, run by four 875-hp Hornet engines, experienced built the crossing from Berlin.  The return journey experienced been completed in 19 hrs, 55 minutes, 1 2nd, beating Wiley Post’s document by five and a half hrs.

Regardless of all this activity, New York’s very first municipal airport, meant as an amazing gateway to the world’s most amazing metropolis, never made into its meant position, remaining a General Aviation airfield as an alternative.  Several reasons could be cited as to why.

  1. The US Postal Service’s March 22, 1936 rejection of Floyd Bennett Field’s air terminal software signaled the airport’s largest and most definitive loss of life knoll.
  2. Flatbush Avenue experienced served as its only floor obtain.
  3. Newark Airport experienced presented greater transportation back links to Manhattan.
  4. The airport experienced commenced building and attempted to run within just the Excellent Depression.
  5. Air travel experienced not however been recognized as a general public transportation suggests.
  6. Air travel fares experienced been prohibitive to the typical general public.
  7. It would later on grow to be La Guardia Airport.
  8. Floyd Bennett Field’s 2nd substitution, the more substantial-spot Idlewild Airport, equally situated on Jamaica Bay, would also shortly be crafted.

Floyd Bennett Field’s previous commercial flight departed on Could 26, 1941, but with war clouds draping them selves above considerably of the planet, it experienced extracted extra than rain from them: it experienced adopted a new function.


                War-sparked growth of the US Navy, which experienced very first occupied Floyd Bennett Field’s Hangar five and later on Hangar 1, resulted in the eventual $9 million sale of the airfield by the Town of New York to it, and on June 2, 1941, it experienced been re-specified “Naval Air Station New York.”

                Mainly because of its proximity to New York and Prolonged Island naval plane manufacturers, among them Possibility-Vought, General Motors, and Grumman, it experienced logically been the closest airport which could acknowledge, examination, and ferry their styles to their respective fight theaters, processing almost everything from amphibious patrol plane to plane carrier-dependent fighters and bombers.  By 1943, the system experienced been completed in as couple as 3 times.

                The war experienced necessitated considerable airport infrastructure growth.  The unique Runway fifteen-33, for case in point, experienced been lengthened to 4,500-foot taxiway T-10 by 1942.  The 2nd runway to have been produced, 6-24, experienced equally been converted into taxiways T-1 and T-2, and experienced been replaced by a new, five,000-foot runway with the exact magnetic compass headings.  Runway 1-19 experienced also been lengthened to five,000 ft that year and would later on grow to be the airport’s longest when it experienced been extended to seven,000 ft.  And Runway 12-30 experienced also been expanded to five,000 ft and, nonetheless later on, to five,500 ft.

                Apart from the fixed-wing plane things to do, the Navy experienced founded the world’s very first helicopter coaching facility at Naval Air Station New York for air-sea rescue functions with Sikorsky R-4 helicopters, exercise sorties owning occurred right off of the airport in Jamaica Bay.  Military air Corps, Coastline Guard, Navy, and Royal Navy pilots experienced all trained below just before owning been sent to the China-Burma-India and Pacific Theaters.

                PBY Catalinas and other patrol plane experienced routinely flown from Naval Air Station New York to escort and defend the ships transporting elements for the Lend-Lease Software from subsurface German U-boats.

                Navy WAVES, or Women of all ages Recognized for Volunteer Fantastic Service, directed targeted visitors to and from the airfield by functioning radio devices in the manage tower.

                All through World War II, the air station, owning served as the foundation for a lot of Atlantic Fleet models, 3 submarine patrol squadrons, a Scout Observation Service device, and two Naval Air Transport Service squadrons, experienced grow to be the busiest and experienced processed extra than forty six,000 plane.

                The airport experienced grow to be a article-war reserve station, participating in roles in the Korean and Vietnam Wars, and experienced served as the foundation for the Air National Guard for the duration of the Cold War.  It experienced also been the site of civilian pilot, flight engineer, and mechanic coaching.

When all these military conflicts experienced eventually been solved, even so, the air station’s function experienced progressively diminished.


                 Decommissioned and no lengthier active as both a commercial or General Aviation airport, Floyd Bennett Industry experienced been transferred to the National Park Service in 1972, turning out to be a section of its Gateway National Recreation Location.  1 of the very first urban parks in the National Park System, it encompasses 3 models in two states: the Jamaica Bay Unit in Brooklyn, New York the Staten Island Unit in Staten Island, New York and the Sandy Hook Unit in New Jersey.

                Floyd Bennett Field’s only air activity, other than an occasional air exhibit, is that of the New York Town Law enforcement Office which bases its fleet of Bell Jet Ranger helicopters below and utilizes section of 1 of the former runways for operational needs.  As a heliport, it is specified “NY22.”

                Four of the eight unique hangars experienced been tailored for concession reuse in 2006.

                The former Administration Constructing/Passenger Terminal, now specified the William Fitts Ryan Customer Center, is open up to the general public and, though its halls and rooms offer you tiny extra than interpretive shows and a tiny reward store, 1 can nonetheless climb the concrete stairs at the building’s façade wherever travellers experienced transferred from taxis, autos, and buses, and enter the central lobby, which experienced been the site of the passenger examine-in amenities.  Soon after depositing and weighing their baggage, and obtaining a boarding folder, they experienced then exited the aft doorways to the observation balcony which experienced overlooked the propeller-spinning plane on the ramp awaiting them and accessed by transportable boarding stairs.  Baggage experienced been wheeled by cart from the building’s lower amount up the noticeably inclined ramp and across the field to the plane alone.  The manage tower experienced been right previously mentioned them, atop the terminal.

                Although the developing is now peaceful and deserted, 1 can nonetheless feeling the era’s background it experienced absorbed, of the life eventualities enacted in it and facilitated by it.  Its silence ironically tells its story, serving as the line of contrast in between what experienced been and what no lengthier was.

                Its internal roadways, once Floyd Bennett Field’s runway and taxiway infrastructure, nonetheless bear their magnetic compass headings and can be freely driven.

                Across from the Customer Center, on the east facet and at considerable length by using former Runway 6-24, is another general public-obtainable developing, Hangar B.  Built by the Navy for the duration of World War II for its VRF-4 foundation, 1 of Naval Air Station New York’s Naval Air Ferry Command squadrons, it experienced been made use of as a Naval Air Reserve coaching facility to put together pilots and floor crews for the Korean War, the Cuban Missile Disaster, and the Vietnam War.  Now made use of by the National Park Service’s Volunteer-In-Park Software Historic Plane Restoration Venture (HARP) devoted, given that 1995, to preserving aviation background at Floyd Bennett Industry and decoding its part, it homes a collection of each fixed wing and rotary plane which characterize the airport’s two theory eras—its Municipal Airport standing from 1931 to 1941 and its Naval Air Station function from 1941 to 1971—and the five companies which experienced operated from it: the Air National Guard, the New York Town Law enforcement Office, the US Coastline Guard, the US Maritime Corps, and the US Navy.

                Floyd Bennett Industry, a little parcel of land which experienced been transformed from marsh to concrete, and experienced played vital roles in New York’s Golden Age and military aviation eras, has been decreased to silence and inactivity as it now sits in the shadow of its substitution, JFK Worldwide Airport, from which mulitple, European-sure requires offs routinely come about, a shadow from which these European-sure flights experienced ironically been demonstrated.  As this sort of, it experienced served as a stage wherever a temporary, but vital piece of New York aviation background experienced been acted out, leaving only its memory and its effects—indeed, and in essence, the really function of the planet alone, proving that, when a life cycle has been completed and has fulfilled its function, that it can only pave the way for these to stick to, but can never be reused alone.