Sparsely populated, as evidenced by the once thinly scattered rural estate, Long Island, still in its innate condition, was covered with forests, but one, the central clearing, the largest east of the Mississippi River, stood like an oasis in the desert, and served as a hatchery for air life. They called it "the Hempstead Plains." Almost destined as an air threshold, its flat, unobstructed expanses were called for flight, giving place to experimenting with planes, flying fields and pilot schools, an area where vehicles spread their wings and rose from the womb that incubated them, continuing the ascending path that would one darkened the atmosphere for days and connected the planet to the moon.
Located on the eastern edge of the earth, a dividing line that is only transcontinental to the west or transatlantic to the European continent, the area close to New York, the world's densest city, served only to geographically cement this air base.
Glenn Hammond Curtiss, the first to triumph over Long Island with his Golden Flyer biplane, won the American Science Trophy after making the 25-mile route around Mineola Airport on July 17, 1909, attracting other aviation-inspired people and the first commercial aircraft buyer.
Growing aviation interest and experimentation quickly eclipsed the confines of the small field, resulting in the establishment of the nearby Hempstead Plaines Airport, whose nearly 1000 acres expanded 25 wooden hangars and grandstands by the summer of 1911. Moissant School, the country's first civilian institution, has opened a fleet of seven Bleriot monoplanes operating on five structures. Harriet Quimby then issued her first pilot license.
Long Island soil, nourishing aviation as much as grass, provided the stage for the first International Aviation Meeting of the Year at Belmont Park in Elmont, attracting both American and European pilots racing and setting speed and performance records with a growing collection of early designs , while Sheepshead Bay in Brooklyn served as the source of the first transcontinental flight operated by Calbraith Rogers at the Wright & # 39; designed by EX Vin Fiz biplane September 17, 1911. Stopped in San Diego, California, 49 days later, despite a dizzying array of hoop stops and airframe reconstruction requiring demolition.
The first U.S. Air Mail route, though a short, temporary, six-mile stretch from Garden City to Mineola on Bleriot aircraft, happened that year as well.
Hempstead Plains Airport, taking on a military role, provided a training ground for National Guard pilots in 1915, and two years later, it became one of only two U.S. Army fields with a fleet of four Curtiss JN-4 Jenny aircraft. It was also the year when the Hazelhurst Field was redesigned, in honor of a military pilot who lost his life in a plane crash.
To meet the increased demand for military pilot training, field no. 2 was established south of the existing Hazelhurst Airport in 1917 and was later renamed "Mitchel Field" in July of the following year, after then-Mayor of New York John Purroy Mitchel.
The first scheduled airmail line, which occurred in May 1918 from Washington to Belmont Park with Curtiss Jennys, led to the first heavy transatlantic transatlantic crossing from Long Island to Portugal the following year with a trio of Navy, four-wheeled amphibious flying ships Curtiss NC. only one of which has finally arrived on the European continent, after two interstitial stops in Newfoundland and the Azores.
The roots of many Long Island aircraft manufacturers were planted during World War I.
The "golden age of aviation", coupled with numerous speed, distance and altitude records, resulted in two notorious nonstop flights. The first one, implying a single-engine Fokker T-2, resulted in a 26-hour, 50-minute transcontinental crossing from Roosevelt Field to San Francisco in 1923, while the second was Charles Lindbergh in the world. the famous, solo, nonstop, transatlantic flight four years later, on May 20, 1927, in the Spirit of St. John the Baptist Louis.
After its almost symbolic rollover into the blurry dawn before departure, the silver monoplane fell into the darkness, doubt and uncertainty of consensus belief about the attempt, but the tiny orange glow that pierced the sky on the horizon somehow reflected promise and hope – a goal to be pursued. From the present point of view, however, France looked equally infinitesimal. Yet the precarious take-off, mud and water, barely clearing the trees, served as a threshold for successfully covered 3,610 miles across the Atlantic to Paris.
By 1929, integrating with its former half known as "Curtiss Field", Roosevelt Field was considered the "world premier" for its paved runways and trails, instrument flying equipment, hangars, restaurants and other early thirties. the largest such facility in the country with 450 pool-based aircraft and some 400 hourly movements. It was also home to Roosevelt Air Force School, one of the largest civilian pilot training facilities in the United States.
During the three-year post-World War I expansion phase, which occurred between 1929 and 1932, Mitchel Field developed into one of the United States & # 39; the largest military facilities with eight steel and concrete hangars, barracks, operating buildings and warehouses, and served as home to many combat, bomber and observation squads. It was here that the first non-stop transcontinental bomber flight took off, operating a B-18 aircraft in 1938, while two P-40 Warhawk squadrons were grounded during World War II.
In fact, the war-requiring claim served only to deepen Long Island's air core, resulting in the explosive peak of military aircraft design and production by 1945, at that time about 100,000 locals engaged in aviation employment, primarily with the Republic Air Force the Grumman Corporation and the Aeronautical Engineering Corporation, in the merger of man and machine that eventually triumphed in the war.
The first of these, founded in 1931 as the Seversky Aircraft Corporation, moved to larger facilities, redesigning itself the Republican Aviation Corporation seven years later and becoming the Army's second largest supplier of Air Force fighters due to copious amounts of P-performance -47 Thunderbolts sold them.
The second, founded in 1930 by Leroy Grumman, became the Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation and was synonymous with Navy and Amphibious spacecraft, the first of which included the two-seater FF-1, F4F Wildcat, F6F Hellcat, TBM / TBF Avenger, F7F Tigercat and F8F Bearcat, the latter including Grumman Goose, Widgeon, Mallard and Albatross.
Changing, post-war conditions, however, began to drag Long Island's aviation roots, as military aircraft contracts were no longer required, and the suburbs of booming Roosevelt and Mitchel Fiels were closed. However, to date, more than 64,000 civilian and military aircraft have been dropped by its manufacturers.
Crossing the atmosphere, aviation transformed into aviation.
Dr. Robert Goddard, who successfully designed the world's first liquid fuel rockets in Massachusetts, received a $ 50,000 grant from Harry Guggenheim on Long Island to conduct related research and testing, and eventually designed a liquid fuel rocket engine. , a turbine fuel pump and a gyro control device.
Eleven airlines subsequently bid to design and manufacture the required component of the Project Apollo Moon Lunar Transmission Mission Module, allowing crew members to travel between the command module in orbit and the moon's surface, and NASA awarded Grumman a contract in 1962. Two simulators, ten test modules and 13 operational Lunar modules were built during the Apollo program, the most famous of which was the LM-5 "Eagle", which disappeared from the Apollo 11 spacecraft on July 20, 1969 and linked the first man to the moon, leaving its imprint and base on the Lunar itself modules as eternal proof of this feat.
Aviation seed planted in the Hempstead Plains of Long Island has thus sprouted and grown, linking its own soil to the moon.