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Updated: February 11, 2007
Floyd Bennett Field
Wiley Post's Aircraft in front of the Administration Building and Old Control Tower on July 14, 1938.
A Seversky Monoplane at FBF
A Seversky Floatplane at Floyd Bennett Field on June 29, 1933. Note the light tower in the background.
Floyd Bennett Field
Aircraft near Hangar 6 at Floyd Bennett Field in 1938.
Sherry Sutton Photo

Located in the southern part of Brooklyn, NY, Floyd Bennett Field was New York City's first municipal airport. Its distance from Manhattan made it a commercial failure, so it never received the planned airline service. The long runways, isolated location, lack of surrounding obstacles, and very light traffic made this field the ideal location for initiating record breaking flights during the "Golden Age of Aviation".

The field was built on Barren Island, at the end of Flatbush Avenue, in the southern portion of Brooklyn. From the 1850's, Barren Island was the site of Menhaden processing plants, and became the home of rendering plants and about 1,500 workers from the 1890's to 1930. The rendering plants received dead horses from New York City and recovered the fat and other usable products from the carcasses. The smell from Barren Island was said to be unbearable. The bay is still known as "Dead Horse Bay". In the 1920's, Paul Rizzo operated the "Barren Island Airport", a modest operation compared to Floyd Bennett Field, but nonetheless, the first airport on the site.


Floyd Bennett's Boyhood Home
Floyd Bennett's Boyhood Home
Warrensburg, NY
Who was Floyd Bennett?
The new airfield in Brooklyn was named in honor of Floyd Bennett, a naval aviator and the pilot of Admiral Byrd on his historic polar flights.
Floyd Bennett
Floyd Bennett, Warrant Officer, US Navy
1890-1926

The Naval Reserve Air Base (NRAB).
After the Naval Air Station Rockaway closed down in the early 1930's, the Naval Reserve Units stationed there moved across the Rockaway Inlet to the new Naval Reserve Air Base (NRAB) at Floyd Bennett Field. NAS Rockaway was the launching point for the first trans-Atlantic flight in May 1919. A four-engine, Navy-Curtiss biplane, the NC-4 began its historic voyage in the waters just offshore of the future site of Floyd Bennett Field. Naval Aviation had maintained a presence in the area from 1917 until 1971.

Learn more about the NAS Rockaway and the NC-4 by visiting the Historic NAS Rockaway Web Site!

Chance Vought Ad
A Magazine Advertisement showing Chance Vought SBU-2 Aircraft at Floyd Bennett Field.

The following is an on-line archive of historic flights and events at Floyd Bennett Field (abbreviated FBF to save space). The notation (Photo) indicates that there is a digital photo of the pilot, aircraft, or event available for viewing. Simply click on the desired photo and use the "Back" button on your browser to return to this list.

5/23/31 - Airport Dedication.
A crowd of 25,000 attended this aerial demonstration led by Charles Lindbergh and Jimmy Doolittle. A flotilla of 600 US Army Air Corps aircraft circled the field as part of the airport dedication. Admiral Byrd, Mayor Walker and his wife, and Mrs. Floyd Bennett were present at the dedication of the airport.

7/28-30/31 - FBF to Istanbul, Turkey Flight.
Russell Norton Boardman (age 33) and John Louis Polando (29) flew a Bellanca CH Pacemaker high-wing monoplane named "Cape Cod", powered by a 300-hp Wright J-6 Whirlwind engine, to Istanbul in 49:20 hours establishing a distance record of 5,011.8 miles. As the runway at FBF was just 5,000 feet long, they needed to remove a fence and clear a parking lot to add another thousand feet to meet their required takeoff distance. The phone and electric utilities even took down poles along Flatbush Avenue.

7/28-29/31 - FBF to Moylegrove, Wales Flight.
Just 18 minutes after Boardman and Polando departed, Hugh Herndon Jr. and Clyde Pangborn flew a Red Bellanca CH-400 Skyrocket, named "Miss Veedol" (registration NR-796W) and powered by a 425-hp Pratt & Whitney Wasp engine, to Moylegrove, Wales in 31:42 hours. They stopped in Japan on their flight around the world and finally landed at FBF on 10/17/31. The aircraft was later named "The American Nurse" and was lost in the Atlantic Ocean without a trace in 1932.

6/3/32 - Failed Transatlantic Attempt.
Stanislaus F. Hausner attempts a transatlantic flight from FBF to Warsaw, Poland, in a Bellanca CH Pacemaker, named "Rose Marie" and powered by a 300-hp Wright J-6 Whirlwind engine, and makes a forced landing at sea. He is rescued by a British tanker 8 days later.

7/5-6/32 - Failed Round-the-World Attempt.
James Mattern and Bennett Griffin flew a Lockheed Vega, powered by two Pratt & Whitney Wasp engines, from FBF to Harbor Grace, Newfoundland, and then non-stop to Berlin, Germany in 18:41 hours. They continued as far as Borisov, Russia in this failed round-the-world flight attempt.

8/23 (25?) - 9/11/32 - Failed Transatlantic Attempt.
Colonel George Hutchinson and his family flew a Sikorsky amphibian, powered by two Pratt & Whitney engines, from FBF, but made a forced landing off the coast off Greenland. They were rescued two days later by a British trawler. In addition to the Colonel, his wife Blanche, daughters Kathryn and Janet Lee, a crew of 5 manned the aircraft.

8/29/32 - Transcontinental Record.
James G. Haizlip flew a Weddell-Williams, powered by a Pratt & Whitney Wasp Junior engine, from FBF to Los Angeles, California, in 10:19 hours, establishing a new transcontinental record.

8/29/32 - Failed Transcontinental Record.
Roscoe Turner also flew a Weddell-Williams, powered by a Pratt & Whitney Wasp Junior engine, from FBF to Los Angeles, California, in 10:58:39 hours, but was beat by Haizlip.

9/13/32 - Failed Transatlantic Attempt?
William Ulbrich flew a Bellanca Skyrocket powered by a Pratt & Whitney Wasp engine, from FBF with passengers Dr. Leon Pisculli and Edna Newcomber, but was lost at sea.

11/14/32 - Transcontinental Record.
Roscoe Turner flew a Weddell-Williams, powered by a Pratt & Whitney Wasp Junior engine, from FBF to Burbank, California, in 12:33 hours, establishing a new East-West record.

Northop Gamma at Floyd Bennett Field
Texaco "Sky Chief" Northrop Gamma at Floyd Bennett Field.

Northop Gamma at Floyd Bennett Field
Closue up view of Texaco "Sky Chief" Northrop Gamma at Floyd Bennett Field.

Northop Gamma and Frank Hawks
Frank Hawks and Northrop Gamma.

6/2/33 - Transcontinental Record.
Lieutenant Commander Frank Hawks flew a Northrop Gamma, powered by a Wright Whirlwind engine, from Los Angeles, California to FBF, in 13:26:15 hours, establishing a new West-East non-stop record.

6/11-12/33 - FBF to Haiti Flight.
Captain J. Errol Boyd, Robert G. Lyon, and Harold P. Davis flew a Bellanca monoplane, powered by a Wright Whirlwind engine, from FBF to Saint Marc, Haiti in about 24 hours.

6/15/33 - Failed Round-the-World Attempt.
James J. Mattern flew a Lockheed Vega, powered by two Pratt & Whitney Wasp engines, from FBF across the Atlantic, and makes a forced landing in Siberia. He later flew part of the way back to New York.

Amelia Earhart at Floyd Bennett Field
Autographed photo of Amelia Earhart at Floyd Bennett Field June 28, 1933.
7/1/33 - Transcontinental Record.
Colonel Roscoe Turner flew a Weddell-Williams, powered by a Pratt & Whitney Wasp Junior engine, from FBF to Los Angeles, California, in 11:30 hours, establishing a new East-West record.

Balbo at Floyd Bennett Field
Balbo at Floyd Bennett Field.

7/1-8/12/33 - Balbo's Transatlantic Flight.
Italian Air Force General Italo Balbo led a group of 25 Savoia-Marchetti S-55X seaplanes, powered by twin 750-hp Isotta-Fraschini Asso engines, from Orbetello, Italy, to Amsterdam, Iceland, Labrador, and Chicago. After two airplanes crashed along the journey, the group of 23 planes stopped at FBF for 6 days on their way back to Rome, Italy. The flight marked the 10th anniversary of Mussolini's rise to power.

7/15-17/33 - Transatlantic Flight followed by a Fatal Crash.
Captain Stephen Darius and Stanley T. Girenas flew a Bellanca CH-300, named "Lithuanica" and powered by a 300-hp Wright J-6 Whirlwind engine, from FBF to Soldin, Germany, were they were killed in a crash. They were attempting a flight to Kovno, Lithuania. This was the 7th transatlantic flight.

7/15-22/33 - Round-the-World Flight.
Wiley Post (Photo) flew a Lockheed Vega (registration N-105W) named "Winnie Mae", powered by a Pratt & Whitney Wasp engine, around the world in 7 days, 18:49:30 hours. During that flight, he covered 15,596 miles in 4 days, 19:36 hours, establishing a new record. A crowd on 50,000 people gathered at FBF to see him arrive.

8/5-7/33 - FBF to Syria Flight
Lt. Maurice Rossi and Paul Codos flew a Bleriot 110, powered by a Hispano Suiza engine, from FBF to Rayak, Syria in about 55 hours, and established a distance record of 5,657.4 miles.

9/2/33 - Crash.
Francisco de Pinedo was killed in a crash during takeoff from FBF.

9/25/33 - West-East Record Flight.
Colonel Roscoe Turner flew a Weddell-Williams, powered by a Pratt & Whitney Wasp Junior engine, from Burbank, California, to FBF, in 10:04:55 hours, establishing a new West-East record.

2/28/34-4/25/34 - South American Flight.
Laura H. Ingalls flew a Lockheed Air Express, powered by a Pratt & Whitney engine, from Glenn Curtiss Airport, North Beach, NY, on a 17,000 mile tour of South America, including a solo flight across the Andes. She returned to FBF after the flight.

5/14-15/34 - FBF to Rome Flight.
George R. Pond and Cesare Sabelli flew a Bellanca Pacemaker, named "Leonardo da Vinci" and powered by a 300-hp Wright J-6 Whirlwind engine, in an attepted non-stop flight from FBF to Rome, but were forced to land at Lahinch, Ireland, after 32:00 hours due to a fuel system problem. Later they flew to Rome. This was the 8th transatlantic flight.

5/27-28/34 - Paris to FBF Flight.
Lt. Maurice Rossi and Paul Codos flew a Bleriot 110, powered by a Hispano Suiza engine, from Paris, France to FBF in 38:27 hours, the second non-stop flight from Europe to America. In August of 1933, both men had flown from FBF to Rayak, Syria.

Weddell-Williams 44 at Floyd Bennett Field
Roscoe Turner's Weddell-Williams 44 at Floyd Bennett Field in 1934.
9/1/34 - West-East Record Flight.
Colonel Roscoe Turner flew a Weddell-Williams, powered by a Pratt & Whitney Wasp Junior engine, from Burbank, California, to FBF, in 10:02:57 hours, beat his old record (9/25/33) by about 2 minutes, and established a new West-East record.

Aerial of Floyd Bennett Field
11/25/34 - Aerial Photo of Floyd Bennett Field. Note the original runway 15-33 and 6-24 layout. Both became taxiways in 1942.

1/15/35 - Passenger Transport Record Flight.
Major James H. Dolittle flew an American Airlines Airplane Development Vultee (?), powered by a Wright Cyclone engine, non-stop from Los Angeles, California, to FBF in 11:59 hours, and established a transcontinental non-stop record for a passenger transport airplane.

2/20-21/35 - Passenger Transport Record Flight.
Leland S. Andrews also flew an American Airlines Airplane Development Vultee (?), powered by a Wright Cyclone engine, non-stop from Los Angeles, California, to FBF in 11:34:16 hours (beat Dolittle by almost a half-hour) and established a new transcontinental non-stop record for a passenger transport airplane.

4/30/35 - Passenger Transport Record Flight.
D.W. Tomlinson flew a TWA Douglas DC-1, powered by twin Wright Cyclone engines, non-stop from Burbank, California, to FBF in 11:05:45 hours (beat Andrews by almost a half-hour).

5/16-17/35 - Speed Records.
D.W. Tomlinson and J.S. Bartles flew a TWA Douglas DC-1, powered by twin Wright Cyclone engines, and established 14 speed records at FBF, demonstrating the increasing efficiency of transport planes and engines with heavy loads.

5/18/35 - Speed Records.
D.W. Tomlinson and J.S. Bartles flew a TWA Douglas DC-1, powered by twin Wright Cyclone engines, and established 8 more speed records at FBF, further demonstrating the increasing efficiency of transport planes and engines with heavy loads.

7/11/35 - Laura H. Ingalls flew a Lockheed Orion, powered by a Pratt & Whitney Wasp engine, from FBF to Burbank, California, establishing an East-West record for women.

Thor Solberg at Floyd Bennett Field
Photo caption: "Thor Solberg, Norwegian flyer, photographed at Floyd Bennett Field, Brooklyn, NY, May 16 in his Loeing air yacht, which he plans to fly to Bergen, Norway, next month by easy stages. Solberg attempted to fly to Norway in 1932, but the flight ended in a forced landing in Newfoundland. He will go by way of Chicago, Montreal, Nova Scotia, Labrador, Greenland, and Iceland." "Keystone View Company - AP - 5/16/34"

7/18-8/16/35 - FBF to Norway Flight.
Thor Solberg flew a Leoning amphibian, powered by a Wright Cyclone engine, from FBF to Bergen, Norway, via Canada, Greenland, and Iceland.

9/12/35 - Laura H. Ingalls flew a Lockheed Orion, powered by a Pratt & Whitney Wasp engine, from Burbank, California, to FBF, establishing an West-East record for women (Return trip from her 7/11/35 flight).

Felix Waitkus
Felix Waitkus.

9/21-22/35 - Attempted Flight to Lithuania.
Felix Waikus (Feliksas Vaitkus)(1907-1956) flew a Lockheed Vega, powered by a Pratt & Whitney Wasp engine, from FBF to Ballinrobe, Ireland, on a projected flight to Lithuania.

3/22/36 - The U.S. Postal Service rejected Floyd Bennett Field's application for the Air Terminal. This signals the failure of the field as a passenger airport as the airlines relied on the US Mail contracts for revenue and would not schedule flights to FBF.

4/21/36 - Miami to New York Speed Record.
Howard Hughes flew a Northrup Gamma, powered by a Wright Cyclone engine, from Miami to FBF in 4:21:32, establishing an intercity speed record.

9/2-3/36 - Attempted Round-trip Flight to London.
Harry Richman and Richard T. Merrill flew an Airplane Development Vultee named "Lady Peace", powered by a Wright Cyclone engine, from FBF to Llwyncelny, Wales, in 18:38 hours on an attempted round-trip flight to London, England.

9/4/36 - East-West Record Flight.
Louise Thaden and Blanche Noyes flew a Beechcraft, powered by a Wright Whirlwind engine, from FBF to Los Angeles, California, in 14:55:01, and established an East-West transcontinental speed record.

10/6-7/36 - Attempted Flight to Stockholm.
Kurt Bjorkvall flew a Bellanca Pacemaker, powered by a Pratt & Whitney Wasp engine, in an attempted flight form FBF to Stockholm, Sweden. He was forced doen in the Atlantic off the Irish coast.

Captain James A. Mollison
Captain James A. Mollison at FBF on 10/23/36.

10/28-30/36 - Record Non-stop Flight to London.
Captain James A. Mollison flew a Bellanca Flash, powered by a Pratt & Whitney Wasp engine, from FBF to Croyden Airport in London, England, not only making record time from Newfoundland, but was the first pilot to fly non-stop to London in 13:17 hours.

12/14/36 - New York to Miami Speed Record.
Major Alexander de Seversky flew a Seversky Sev 3, powered by a Wright Cyclone engine, from FBF to Miami, Florida, establishing a new speed record of 5:46:30 hours.

12/17/36 - National Aviation Day
On this day a celebration of the 33rd anniversary or the Wright Brother's first flight at Kitty Hawk, NC, was held.

Biplane at Floyd Bennett Field in 1937
1937 - Biplane at Floyd Bennett Field.

Texaco Company Biplane at Floyd Bennett Field in 1937
1937 - Texaco Company Biplane at Floyd Bennett Field.

5/9-10/37 - Flight to London.
Richard T. Merrill flew a Lockheed Electra Model 10, powered by two Pratt & Whitney Wasp engines, from FBF to Croyden Airport in London, England, with a stop in Essex, in 20:59 hours.

5/13-14/37 - Flight from London.
Richard T. Merrill and John Lambie flew a Lockheed Electra Model 10, powered by two Pratt & Whitney Wasp engines, back from London to FBF, via Massachusetts, with photos of the coronation of George VI in 24:22:25 hours.

7/10-14/38 - Round-the-World Flight
Howard Hughes flew a Lockheed 14N Super Electra (registration NX-18973), powered by two 900hp Wright Cyclone engines, around the world in 3 days, 19:08:10 hours, testing new navigation equipment. A crowd of 25,000 people came to FBF to see him arrive.

1938 Aerial of Floyd Bennett Field
1938 - Aerial Photo of Floyd Bennett Field. Note the new diagonal runways 1-19 and 12-30 built in 1936.

7/17-18/38 - The Flight of "Wrong Way" Corrigan.
Douglas Corrigan (Photo) flew a Curtiss Robin, powered by a 165-hp Wright Whirlwind, J-6 engine, non-stop from FBF to Dublin, Ireland, in 28:13 hours. After being denied permission to make the flight to Ireland, he filed a flight plan to California, and flew to Ireland. The 31-year old pilot departed at 5:15 a.m. and claimed to have trouble with his compass and never admitted otherwise. Corrigan died on 12/9/95 at the age of 88 years.

8/10-11/38 - Nazi FW-200 Lands at FBF.
Alfred Henke, Rudolph von Moreau, Paul Dierberg, and Walter Kober, flew a prototype Focke-Wulf FW-200 (registration D-ACON), named "Brandenberg" and powered by four Pratt and Whitney 875 hp Hornet engines, non-stop from Berlin, Germany, to FBF in a record time of 24:50:12 hours.

8/13-14/38 - Nazi FW-200 Departs from FBF.
Alfred Henke, Rudolph von Moreau, Paul Dierberg, and Walter Kober, flew the same Focke-Wulf FW-200, powered by four Pratt and Whitney 875 hp Hornet engines, non-stop from FBF back to Berlin, Germany, in a record time of 19:55:01 hours, cutting the previous record of Wilet Post by 5:50 hours. Several years later, FBF would be an unlikely airport to see a Nazi German aircraft, as the field was the home of U-boat hunting, US Navy patrol planes.

12/3/38 - Women's West-East Transcontinental Record.
Jacqueline Cochrane flew a Seversky, powered by two Pratt & Whitney Wasp engines, from Burbank, California, to FBF in 10:27:55 hours, setting the women's West-East transcontinental record.

1934 Stinson for Sale by Edwin Wormald in 1939
1934 Stinson for Sale by Edwin Wormald in 1939.

1934 Stinson for Sale in 1939
Rear of Postcard. (Source: Ebay auction photo)

5/24/39 - Mexico City to FBF Flight.
Francisco Sarabia flew a Gee Bee Racer from Mexico City to FBF in 10:45 hours, beating the non-stop record flight time of 14:19 hours set by Amelia Earhart on 5/8/35. Sarabia was killed in a crash from Washington D.C. on 6/7/39.

10/15/39 - Laguardia Airport Dedicated.
FBF's possibility of commercial success is doomed by the opening of this $45 million, 558 acre airport, located at the site of the old North Beach Airport. Almost 300,000 people attended the ceremony for the field named after Mayor Fiorella LaGuardia.


Sources
Delano, Michael P., USNPS, Notable Flights at Floyd Bennett Field 1981 (Derived from Historic Structures Report, Floyd Bennett Field).

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