Long Island Aviation Fund

Sparsely populated, as shown by the once thin scatter of farmhouses, Long Island, still in its infancy, was carpeted, but one central clearing, the largest east of the Mississippi River, stood like an oasis in the desert and served as a breeding ground for air life . It was called the Hempstead Plains. Almost predetermined as a threshold for air, its flat, unobstructed spaces, designed for flight, provide a place for experimenting with airplanes, airfields and flight schools, an area where vehicles spread their wings and rise from the uterus, which incubated them, pursuing the ascending path, which will one day overshadow the atmosphere and connect the planet with its moon.

Located on the eastern outskirts of the country, the dividing line, which only transcontinental points to the west or transatlantic to the European continent, the area in the immediate vicinity of New York, the most densely populated city in the world, served only to geographically consolidate this aviation foundation. ,

Glenn Hammond Curtiss, the first to make an air triumph over Long Island with his Golden Flyer biplane, won the Scientific American trophy after completing a 25-kilometer 30-round flight around Mineola on July 17, 1909, attracting other people inspired by aeronautics and the first commercial the buyer of the aircraft.

The growing interest in aviation and experimentation, which quickly overshadowed the borders of a tiny field, led to the creation of the nearby Hempstead Plains airfield, with almost 25 wooden hangars and stands built on almost 1,000 acres by the summer of 1911. The country's first such civil organization, which opened with a fleet of seven Bleriot monoplanes, operating from five structures. He subsequently issued the first female pilot license, Harriet Quimby.

Long Island soil, nourishing not only grass but also aviation, provided the ground for the first International Aviation Meeting last year at Belmont Park in Elmonte, attracting US and European pilots who raced and set speed and performance records with an ever-growing collection early specimens, while the Sheepshead Bay in Brooklyn served as the source of the first transcontinental flight piloted by Calbraith Rogers in the Wright Brothers. designed the EX Vin Fiz biplane on September 17, 1911. He stopped working in San Diego, California, 49 days later, despite a dizzying array of stops on the route and accidents associated with the reconstruction of the airframe.

The first U.S. airmail route, albeit a short, temporary, 6-mile stretch from Garden City to Mineola by Bleriot, also took place this year.

The Hempstead-Plains airfield, taking on a military role, provided a place to train pilots for the New York National Guard in 1915, and two years later it became one of two army fields in the United States with a fleet of four Curtiss JN-4 Jenny aircraft. It was also the year it was renamed the Hazelhurst Field in honor of an army pilot who died in a plane crash.

To meet the growing demand for army pilot training, Field No. 2 was created south of the existing Hazelhurst Airport in 1917 and was subsequently renamed the “Mitchell Field” the following July after New York Mayor John Purroy Mitchell.

The first regular air mail service from May 1918 from Washington to Belmont Park with Curtiss Jennis led to the first heavier air transatlantic transfer from Long Island to Portugal the following year with a trio of naval forces. four-engine amphibious flying boats Curtiss NC, only one of which ultimately reached the European continent after two intermediate stops in Newfoundland and the Azores.

The roots of many Long Island aircraft builders were laid during the First World War

The "Golden Age of Aviation", associated with numerous records of speed, distance and altitude, led to two famous non-stop flights. The first, including the single-engine Fokker T-2, led to a 26-hour, 50-minute transcontinental transition from Roosevelt Field to San Francisco in 1923, and the second was Charles Lindbergh. the famous, solitary, non-stop, transatlantic flight four years later, on May 20, 1927, in the spirit of St. John the Baptist Louis.

After its almost symbolic reversal into the foggy dawn before departure, the silver monoplane was plunged into darkness, doubt and the gloom of the consensus belief about the attempt, but the tiny orange glow piercing the sky on the horizon somehow reflected the promise and hope – the goal for which it was necessary seek. However, from the current point of view, France seemed just as infinitely small in size. However, the dangerous, mud and water-blocking takeoff that barely cleared the trees served as a threshold for 3,610 miles successfully passed across the Atlantic to Paris.

By 1929, Roosevelt Field, having teamed up with its former half, known as Curtis Field, became known as the World’s Premier Airport due to its cobbled runways and taxiways, flying equipment, hangars, restaurants and B in the early 1930s, it was the largest such facility in the country with 450 aircraft based and approximately 400 hour movements. It also housed the Roosevelt Aviation School, one of the largest training sites for civilian pilots in the United States.

During the three-year expansion phase after World War I, which took place between 1929 and 1932, Mitchell Field became one of the United States & # 39; The largest military facilities, with eight steel and concrete hangars, barracks, operational buildings and warehouses, served as home to many fighter, bomber and observation squadrons. The first non-stop transcontinental flight of a bomber operated by the B-18 in 1938 set off here, while two P-40 Warhawk squadrons were based on the field during World War II.

Indeed, the demand caused by the war only deepened the Long Island aviation core, which led to an explosive peak in the design and production of military aircraft by 1945, when about 100,000 local residents were employed in the aviation sector, mainly with the Republican Aircraft Corporation and Grumman Aircraft Corporation, in the fusion of man and machine, which ultimately won the war.

The first of them, founded in 1931 as the Seversky Aviation Corporation, moved to larger facilities, seven years later renaming itself the Republican Aviation Corporation and becoming the second largest supplier of fighters for the army aviation corps due to the abundant number of high-performance P -47s Zippers sold to them.

The second, founded in 1930 by Leroy Grumman, became the Grumman Aircraft Corporation and was synonymous with the Navy and amphibious aircraft, including the twin FF-1s, F4F Wildcat, F6F Hellcat, TBM / TBF Avenger, F7F Tigercat and F8F Bearcat, and the latter includes Grumman Goose, Widgeon, Mallard and Albatross.

However, the changed post-war conditions began to draw the roots of Long Island aviation, as contracts with military aircraft that were no longer needed were terminated, and the invasion of the suburbs strangled the fields of Roosevelt and Mitchell. However, by that time, more than 64,000 civilian and military aircraft had landed by its manufacturers.

Going beyond the atmosphere, aviation has turned into outer space.

Dr. Robert Goddard, who successfully developed the world's first liquid fuel rockets in Massachusetts, received a $ 50,000 grant from Harry Guggenheim on Long Island for related research and testing, and ultimately developed a rocket engine for liquid fuel. turbine fuel pump and gyro-controlled steering gear.

Eleven aerospace companies subsequently proposed the development and manufacture of the necessary component for the transfer of the lunar module as part of the Apollo Lunar Mission project, which allows crew members to travel between the orbital command module and the lunar surface, and NASA entered into a contract with Gramman in 1962. Two simulators, ten during the Apollo program, test modules and 13 operational lunar modules were built, the most famous of which was the LM-5 “Eagle”, which detached from the Apollo 11 spacecraft on July 20, 1969 and connected the first person. to be with the moon, leaving its mark and the foundation of the lunar module itself as an eternal evidence of this feat.

Thus, the seeds of aviation planted on the Hempstead Long Island Plains grew and grew, combining their soil with the soil of their moon.

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