4. Floyd Bennett Field Contains an Aircraft Restoration Facility
Opened in 1931, Floyd Bennett Field briefly served as New York City’s first municipal airport before its conversion to a naval air station during World War II. The field and its remaining airplane hangars are now a part of the Gateway National Recreation Area. In recent years, it has been the goal of the Historic Aircraft Restoration Project (H.A.R.P.) to preserve the aviation history of Floyd Bennett Field. Since 1996, H.A.R.P. volunteers have spent thousands of hours restoring vintage aircrafts beneath the roof of Hangar B on the east side of the field. Today, Hangar B houses one of the finest aircraft restoration facilities in the United States.
Among the rescue planes, fighter jets, and bombers housed in Hangar B is the Douglas C-47 “Skytrain.” Widely considered to be one of the greatest aircrafts ever built, the C-47 Skytrain was originally designed in 1935 as a commercial airliner. Flown by early U.S. carriers like American Airlines and Pan Am, the C-47 Skytrain was used for both short and long haul flights. During wartime, a military version of the aircraft was designed and over 12,000 were produced. The C-47 Skytrain played a critical role in World War II and was the workhorse of the Allied air effort. Capable of operating on unpaved surfaces, it delivered airborne troops to the battlefields of Normandy, army mules to the jungles of Burma, and provided vital supplies to allied forces around the world. After the war, the C-47 Skytrain was flown by the military until 1975 before being retired. There are an estimated 2,000 still flying to this day.