8. Floyd Bennett Field Was the Start & Finish Point for Howard Hughes’ Record-Setting Flight

Photo by Aaron Asis

On July 14, 1938 at 2:34 PM, Howard Hughes and his four companions completed a circumnavigational flight around the world in 3 days 19 hours 14 minutes and 10 seconds, shaving off off 3 days 23 hours 35 minutes from Wiley Post’s record-breaking flight in 1933. For Floyd Bennett Field, this was nothing new since it was a popular airfield for pilots looking to break records. Between 1931 and 1939, 26 around the world or transatlantic flights started or ended at Floyd Bennett Field.

Hughes’ flight started at Floyd Bennett Field on Sunday July 10 at 7:20 PM, and finished at the same field, making stops in Paris; Moscow, Yakutsh, Omsk, Russia; Fairbanks, Alaska; and Minneapolis, Minnesota. Hughes and his crew flew at Lockheed 14 Lodestar Monoplane, the primary sponsor of the New York World’s Fair in 1939, for which Hughes was an aeronautical advisor.

The iconic flight and life of Hughes was the subject of Martin Scorsese’s 2004 film, The Aviator. Hughes’ record stood for 49 years until a group of three French pilots and one Canadian beat it by 2 hours and 29 minutes in 1987.