November is National Aviation History Month, and what better way to celebrate it than exploring the available resources at the Cradle of Aviation – Long Island! Yes, the Cradle of Aviation isn’t just the name of the aerospace museum in Nassau County – Long Island earned this moniker due to its part in the history of flight. The first ever non-stop transcontinental airplane flight was made in 1923 by John Macready and Oakley Kelly, who took off at Mitchel Field and landed in San Diego. Then, just four years later, Charles Lindbergh made the first ever transatlantic solo flight from Roosevelt Field to Paris France. Many of us now take these historical leaps for granted, as it is easy to hop aboard a plane to get to our next destination. This month, visit one of the great local museums dedicated to Long Island’s rich history in aviation, and consider going a step further and signing up for some flying classes, or purchasing classes for a loved one for a memorable holiday gift!
Aviation Historical Spots
The Cradle of Aviation Museum
Find out what makes Long Island the “Cradle of Aviation,” and check out 75 real air and spacecraft including not just planes, but hot air balloons and an actual Lunar Module. Expand your knowledge of aviation by going to the museum’s Sky Theatre Planetarium to see movies like Air Racers, a heart-pounding look into the legendary Reno National Championship Air Races, narrated by Paul Walker, which is now showing every day.
Grumman Memorial Park
This free public park pays tribute to all of those from Grumman who lent a hand in the development of aviation and aerospace advances on Long Island. The Calverton park is centered on an authentic F-14 Tomcat built by Grumman, and also includes other aviation artifacts.
Long Island Republic Airport Historical Society
Republic Airport in East Farmingdale has a vibrant history in the aviation world, and was created by Sherman Fairchild during the aviation movement in 1927 as his own flying field and airplane factory. The Historical Society, located in the lobby of the airport, shares the photographic history of this location and those that worked there, especially the Grumman workers who tests airplanes in the late 1920s and early 1930s.
American Airpower Museum
Fewer people know about this hidden gem in Farmingdale, which offers a walk-through experience through hangers and control towers used during World War II. Explore the museum’s collection of vintage airplanes, and interact with historians and war veterans who are eager to share their stories.
Interested in learning to fly, but have little to no experience? There are many flight schools across Long Island that are harbored largely by the major and private airports. Flight lessons make a great gift for the thrill-seeker in your life, and will make memories that will last a lifetime!
Mid Island Flight School
101 Hering Dr, Ronkonkoma, NY
Long Island Flying
2111 Smithtown Ave, Ronkonkoma, NY
Heritage Flight Academy
2075 Smithtown Ave, Ronkonkoma, NY
1300 New Hwy, Farmingdale, NY
Academy of Aviation
7150 Republic Airport Suite 101, Farmingdale, NY
Danny Waizman Flight School
233 New York 109, Farmingdale, NY
Ventura Flight Training
8100 Republic Airport, Farmingdale, NY