Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Floyd Bennett Field
Floyd Bennett Field, New York City's first municipal airport, is located in Brooklyn on Barren Island, near Gerritsen Beach. It is currently part of the Gateway National Recreation Area. The airport was dedicated June 26, 1930 and opened May 23, 1931. The IATA airport code is NOP.
New York mayor Fiorello LaGuardia pushed for Floyd Bennett to replace Newark Airport in Newark, New Jersey as the city's main air terminal. He was only able to persuade American Airlines to move its Newark operations to the new airport, and many passengers complained that Floyd Bennett was farther from Manhattan than Newark was. To keep the airport competitive, LaGuardia ordered the New York Police Department to escort limousines from the airport to the city at high speeds.
Its most storied flight was undoubtedly that of Douglas "Wrong Way" Corrigan, who, in 1938, after repeatedly being denied permission by the government to attempt a non-stop flight to Ireland, "accidentally" crossed the Atlantic on a flight registered to go to California.
Later, the pilot program at Floyd Bennett was abandoned in favor of a new airport in Queens, which took advantage of the then-new Queens-Midtown Tunnel to Manhattan. This airport was quickly renamed LaGuardia Airport in recognition of the mayor's efforts to undercut Newark.
During World War II, the facility was used by the U.S. military's airlift network. The renowned pilot Eddie Schneider died in a training crash on the tarmac in 1940. The Navy deactivated it in 1971. In 1972 it became part of Gateway National Recreation Area, and is now administered by the National Park Service.
Far from the city lights, the airfield offers perhaps the best dark sky site in the five boroughs. The Amateur Astronomers Association of New York meets there one night a month from May to December for observing sessions.
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