2007 Floyd Bennett Field Fly-In
Photo by John Musolino
Brooklyn, NY – For a short time, the sights and sounds of yesteryear returned to Floyd Bennett Field. Fabric covered biplanes adorned the flight line, and the sound of radial engines filled the air. The annual Floyd Bennett Field Fly-In was held on the weekend of September 8 and 9, and visitors were greeted by a wide variety of historic aircraft and near perfect weather. The fly-in was held in conjunction with a dedication ceremony, celebrating the completion of a full-scale replica of the 1903 Wright Flyer. The aircraft was built through a collaboration of several New York area chapters of the Experimental Aircraft Association, and will go on display at FBF.
Early visitors to the fly-in were treated with the arrivals of a number of the display aircraft, each accompanied by one or more fly-bys. The American Airpower Museum at Republic Airport was well represented at FBF. The museum brought their C-47 transport and B-25 Mitchell bomber. In addition, they also had a P-40 Warhawk, F4U Corsair, and TBM Avenger on display. Warbirds over Long Island, based at Brookhaven, was also out in force. Their P-51 Mustang and P-40 Warhawk made their usual formation arrival. In addition to these Warbirds, the flight line was filled with vintage aircraft, many from Bayport Aerodrome or Brookhaven. Several Stearman biplanes were on hand, in a variety of colorful schemes. A number of vintage Cessna and Piper aircraft were on hand, including at least three Cessna O-1 observation aircraft. Two British-built de Havilland Tiger Moth trainers were in attendance as well.
Photo by John Musolino
It wasn’t all old aircraft though. The NY Air National Guard was on hand with an LC-130, a variant of the C-130 Hercules transport. The NYANG operates these ski-equipped aircraft to supply scientific stations in the Antarctic. The US Marines sent a CH-46E Sea Knight helicopter along with a crew that has seen service in Iraq. Speaking of helicopters, the NYPD had an Agusta A119 on display, alongside a NY State Police Bell 430 used for executive transport. Also in the helicopter area of the flight line was an FBI Eurocopter and a US Coast Guard Dolphin. As the NYPD Aviation Bureau is located at FBF, we were treated to an impromptu air show as helicopters made low passes over the crowd while leaving for and returning from patrol duties.
In addition to the aircraft on display, a line up of vintage NYPD patrol cars was on hand. These cars have been restored and displayed by private owners. The NYPD K-9 unit conducted a demonstration of how a police dog and handler do their job. The Coast Guard, the Long Island Soaring Association, and several community groups were represented as well.
There was only one disappointment on the day, when there was a buzz in the crowd about a scheduled fly over by a Stealth Fighter. As one of the speakers was in the middle of his speech, he said “And here comes the stealth fighter.” Just then, the F-117 roared past and disappeared into the distance, never to be seen again, in a fly-by that was unfortunate to those in attendence.
At the end of the day, visitors were again treated to an aerial parade of vintage aircraft, as many of the aircraft on display departed FBF, making passes over the crowd. It was a fitting end to a wonderful day of aviation past and present.