The History of the Aircraft Wash Guys, Part Three

As we study this grass roots history of a franchise company in the making we see how opportunity in the market grows companies and how entrepreneurial thinkers take advantage of those opportunities to deliver goods and services, which match the desires of the market place. In this review of the history of the aircraft wash guys we see the company diversifying and finding other niches to serve, some of which were actually better than the original plan. This is very common and typical of entrepreneurial from the ground up companies, yet all to often government regulators and rules fail to see how real companies come to be. This study shows similarities to many of the humble beginnings. If you look at Walt Disney who started in a shed behind the studio or Apple’s jobs in the garage or even Bill Gates and his car counting machine you can see how things grow and build and entrepreneurs find and exploit niches. Now back to our story of the History of the Aircraft Wash Guys Part III:

Mr. Winslow decided after all the research that it was time to go for it; time to launch the franchise company on his own without any venture capital. He planned to build the business the way we had always done it, out of gross receipts. He kept building the business washing cars and aircraft and renamed it The Car Wash Guys. He built up car wash guys to 35 units serving 43 cities using independent contractors. In 1996 he decided to become an actual franchise company, forming Car Wash Guys International, Inc. He could now better control consistency, color schemes and service quality, driving on the comments of Ray Kroc in his book “Grinding it Out”.

Coming from aviation into automotive services he tended to run our business strictly by the book. In aviation things are more critical than in the automotive sector, but he believed that being overly concerned with the little details would actually be a good thing and advantage over the competition when dealing with cars. During the “.Com” craze he changed the name to WashGuy.com and added web sites for the different brand names. Of course Aircraft Wash Guys has always been the favorite of Mr. Winslow since this is where he started out some 27 years ago. After the successes and hardships of the learning all the other different market segments for Team Wash Guys, it was wonderful to offer Aircraft Wash Guys as a completely separate Franchise Module to those people involved in aviation who would like to own their own business.

Wash Guys wash cars, trucks, boats, concrete and many other things and as you are probably aware, aircraft washing requires different training, soaps, equipment and wastewater recovery for environmental reasons. The FAA will with hold monies for aircraft improvements if airports are not following strict environmental laws. It is for this reason Mr. Winslow has been so proactive in helping the team with environmental compliance and giving his expertise to government agencies who are developing BMPs for the Aviation Industry.

In 1997 Lance Winslow met and hired Arthur Dickey the originator of Tidy Plane to work in product development. Trying to better a product called Dry Wash, using kerosene as the active ingredient. Tidy car tried to market Tidy Plane, but that didn’t work to well without Arthur’s devotion. Arthur helped the company design labels and with the help of his chemist design better products which were safe for the aviation cleaning industry working actually out of Lance’s garage. Arthur was one of the original Tidy Car Franchisees, his dad once owned a small airline in Los Angeles, which flew jets and later had one of the top performing Mail Boxes Etc. franchises. Tidy Car made Arthur stop his Tidy Plan Concept, through a franchise agreement clause feeling it did not work with their brand name. A decade Later Tidy Car sold that brand name to Ziebart. Arthur’s brother operated the Tidy Car Franchise after that and did lots of aircraft washing for jet customers in Florida. Arthur was hired away from the founder’s of the Paxton Super Charger, and the Paxton Racing Team after he had developed their super wax brand to sell in Wal-Mart and Pep Boys, after Arthur left the brand never did reach it’s full potential. Arthur with all this knowledge made it easy for us to comply with all the MSDS requirements. Arthur after developing the companies product line moved on to explore other opportunities and continued his passion with the Dry Washing Concept and with a friend convinced Fed Ex to use it exclusively in many markets and he set up with some associates a network of operators using his new blend.

In 2000 Mr. Winslow gave a notice to all Car Wash Guys stating it was forbidden for them to wash planes due to potential negative PR in newspapers if they polluted, plus the insurance requirements and equipment was not right in case of damage and the UFOC for Car Wash Guys did not cover these issues and those independent contractor contracts were10 years old. This was a major dilemma. So the team got together to make a set of training videos, upgrade equipment so that the team could keep the aviation customers and comply with the laws. Several of the franchisees with Car Wash Guys complied and kept washing Aircraft. It was determined that the market in aviation was not being satisfied so we have expanded into a full-blown franchise system. It was noticed that FBOs, Flying Schools and especially the fractional jet market was really taking off. This allowed the Car Wash Guys to sign Aircraft Wash Guys agreements or in some cases where they bought specialized equipment made verbal agreements for them to continue.

Then as we started get going the FTC hurt many of our franchisees by attacking Car Wash Guys and then the other terrorists of 9-11 just about put the death blow in General Aviation, but aviation people are tough as they come and today the market sector is rebounding. Lance often wondered who was worse the government terrorist regulator lawyers or the actual Osama Bin Laden and company?

Mr. Winslow has always been passionate about flying and aviation. His Father was a decorated naval Aviator flying in the Puerto Rico Squadron F-8s during Cuban Missile Crisis, 250 combat missions in an A-4, later CO of a Naval Squadron (A-7 Corsair II), later Captain in the Navy, later and Airline Pilot (737, 727, DC-10, 747, 777, 757), then after retirement, currently fly’s a Gulfstream Corporate Aircraft. Mr. Winslow’s dad wishes he could be flying F-18s in the Sand Box right now. Mr. Winslow’s Grandfather was head of FAA in Fresno International Airport and flew in a B-24, while his step grandfather flew a B-17 Flying Fortress) and his other grandfather built the first laser ring gyro now used as a guidance system throughout the aviation, marine and space industries. It is in my blood. Lance Winslow’s brother is a Pilot in Command for a C-130 in the US Marines stationed out of Miramar.

Today the Aircraft Wash Guys team has washed for Millionaire Aviation, Executive Jet, etc. And companies like Raytheon, Cessna and others. They have washed jets in Little Rock Arkansas, Scottsdale AZ Airpark, Colorado Springs CO, Bozeman MT, Columbus OH, Van Nuys CA, Palm Springs CA and many other airports across the country. The goals today include having 35 Aircraft Wash Guys in 2007 and 50 by 2009 and 100 by 2011. Ambitious, Big time, and can they do it? Well they think its possible, time will tell. They do have some competition in the Industry like any business, not much, but they plan on doing whatever it takes to be and stay leading edge.

If you study any service franchise in the United States or in the aviation sector any great company you will see they all came from the most humble beginnings, made mistakes along the way; had to battle with government regulators and competitors and press on to succeed. Of all the great names in aviation hanging up in the wall in museums across the country such as the Wichita Aviation Musuem, Wright Patterson Aviation Museum or even the Smithsonian you see the diehards that make this industry and this country great. Recently Burt Rutan made such a comment to Congress during his testimony on the birth of the private space industry. America is great but we must get out there and take a few risks if we want to stay on top.

The Historic TWA Terminal and Lockheed Consellation at JFK

INTRODUCTION:

As I passed the curb-parked convertible and entered the doors of the Eero Saarinen-designed TWA Terminal with its winged, flight-suggesting roof at JFK International Airport on a mid-September day, nothing, I noted, had changed, except that the passenger check-in counters flanking either side were refreshingly devoid of lines. Perhaps that should have been a hint.

Mounting the dozen stairs and then redescending those that led to the familiar Sunken Lounge, I eyed the Solari split-flap arrivals and departures board, its panels periodically flipping and clacking like stacking poker chips, but they only revealed blank squares. There were no flight numbers, no times, and no destinations.

Yet by views of the vintage airliners on the ramp through the floor-to-ceiling angled glass displaying TWA’s red-and-white livery, but lacking a single jet engine, my destination today could only be labeled “history” or, even “aviation history.” Perhaps that was appropriate for the “luggage” I brought: a carry-on consisting of a clipboard and a pen.

The scene before me was a suspended one. The period music and the announcements echoing through my head transported me to the one I was not in.

“TWA Starstream Flight 802 to Paris, now boarding at gate one,” they said.

My eyes, scanning past the location of the once famous and familiar Brass Rail Restaurant toward the dual, main terminal connecting tubes still covered with chili red pepper carpeting to the departure area, I fully expected to take in one or more Boeing 707-320Bs with their bluntly pointed, radome noses, 35-degree swept wings, and Pratt and Whitney JT3D-3B low bypass ratio turbofans.

Yet the Lockheed L-1649A Starliner Constellation, representing the pinnacle-of-piston development, indicated that the era preserved and depicted “out there” was not the one my mind tried to convince me still existed “in here.” Instead, it was two decades earlier, of the 1960s, and I had entered a preserved pocket of time.

THE TWA TERMINAL:

As an expression, representation, and development of the post-World War II-fueled, technology-facilitated commercial airline industry and the then-named Idlewild International Airport whose evolution resulted from it, the TWA Terminal was and is an architecturally aesthetic symbol of it all. It captures the sensation of flight with its wing-resembling shell and the fluid, open interior beneath it.

Unlike many of today’s single-building, multiple-airline facilities, it traces its origin to 1954 when the Port Authority of New York devised its terminal city concept. Anticipating the need for infrastructure to cater to increasing travel demand, it implemented a plan in which each major carrier would design, build, and operate its own terminal, fostering, in the process, brand identity. Although the TWA facility was the architectural response to the Port Authority’s masterplan, its airline-association was one of its intentions from the start, as stated by the project commission, which first sought an efficient ground operations infrastructure, but secondarily wanted “to provide TWA with advertising, publicity, and attention” with it.

That the chosen site for it was at the apex of the airport’s access road, cemented the intention almost as much as the hardened substance which formed it, and that it still does today, despite the two-decade interval since the airline’s demise, serves this post-carrier purpose.

Eero Saarinen, a Finnish-American architect and designer and sometimes considered a mid-century master, was chosen to transform both Idlewild’s and TWA’s vision into concrete reality in 1955. Tracing his own genealogical roots to his father, Eliel Saarinen, an architect, and his mother, Loja Saarinien, a textile artist, he could claim that the talent ran through his veins just as freely as did his blood when he was born in 1910. After studying sculpture in Paris, architecture at Yale University, and design at the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan, he transformed material into aesthetic function in such creations as the St. Louis Gateway Arch and Washington-Dulles International Airport.

Although Eero Saarinen achieved his goal of crafting an abstract representation of flight in the TWA Terminal, its inspiration was never definitely determined, some suggesting that a thumb depression into a hollowed grapefruit rind resulted in the eventual curved, concrete, symmetrically positioned roof sections that seamlessly flowed from the piers that supported them and were only separated by narrow skylights. The four met at a circular pendent center point.

The roof’s wing surface curvature or camber continued in the crimson and white interior by means of the upper walkaway supported columns that merged into both floor and ceiling as if they were integral to them. Its lack of rectangularity was evident in its other features. The stairways, for instance, were curved and its terminal and departure lounge connecting corridors were more like cylindrical tubes.

Its overall expression was one of 1960s neo-futurism and space-age Googie architecture.

Despite what ultimately proved to be Saarinen’s architectural achievement, it also became his legacy, since a year after he inspected its superstructure in 1961, he passed away at 52, never having seen his finished product.

While it was intended to serve small piston airliners whose capacities never exceeded a hundred, it was not suited to TWA’s narrow body jets, such as the 707 and the 727, much less its widebody ones, including the 747, the L-1011 TriStar, and the 767, requiring the addition of jetbridge-connected boarding satellites.

After the carrier’s 2001 demise, its signature terminal awaited purpose or preservation. Its demolition, at least, had already been spared. In 1994, it was designated a New York City landmark, at which time then Chairwoman of the Landmark Preservation Commission, Larie Beckelman, commented in “The New York Times,” “This is perhaps the quintessential modern form, expressing movement and the whole concept of flight.”

Eleven years later it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. With its presence at least assured, it still awaited the two “p’s”-preservation and purpose.

THE TWA HOTEL:

Preservation and purpose, in the event, became two sides to the same coin-that is, restore the 392,000-square-foot terminal to recreate its 1960’s splendor and serve as the anchor and lobby to another two sides-in this case, two rectangular, black glass buildings with 512 hotel rooms developed by MCR/MORSE and four architectural firms at a $250 million-plus cost.

Architect Richard Southwick, who oversaw the project’s restoration, noted of the TWA Flight Center, “(It was) the perfect symbol of post-war optimism, the magic of flight, and the elegance of mid-century modern architecture.”

Its first guests were accepted in May of 2019.

As a “lobby,” it contains the Sunken Lounge with the Solari flight board; a cocktail lounge; a Sundries Shop with vintage copies of “Life,” “Time,” “Good Housekeeping,” and “Family Circle” magazines; an old-fashioned shoe shine station tucked in the corner (of course); a TWA Gift Shop whose every item, one way or the other, displays the airline’s logo; a 10,000-square-foot fitness center with a cycling studio, treadmills, ellipticals, a spa section, and personal trainers; and the Paris CafĂ© by Jean-Georges, which occupies the footprint of the original one, along with that of the Lisbon Lounge, on one of the two mezzanines and serves cuisine inspired by TWA in-flight menus. There is also 50,000 square feet of meeting and event space.

The two cylindrical tubes-the “Saarinen” to the left and the “Hughes” to the right-lead, by way of midway, originally nonexistent cutouts, to the two seven-story glass, metal, and concrete hotel structures, which were required to be complimentary to, but distinguishable from, the landmark terminal.

Seven layers of triple-glazed, 1,740-pound, insulated, floor-to-ceiling glass ensure in-room silence, despite the fact that ramp-taxiing aircraft are only yards away.

Rooms, which either overlook this scene or the terminal, rent for $250 per night, with lower priced intervals bookable for transit passengers who only seek a short sleep and a shower.

The roof features the Infinity Edge Pool and observation deck, along with a bar.

Only the “Saarinen” tube, back on the main level, leads out-or, in the reverse direction, in-to this preserved pocket of time, as expressed by the two floor designations-or eras-on which the elevator at its end alights: “1960s TWA Hotel” and “Present Day JetBlue,” according to the two buttons the passenger can press to travel there.

THE MUSEUM DISPLAYS:

While the Eero Saarinen designed terminal can be considered a collective, retro, but still-living arena, several areas serve to accentuate it in museum form.

“Located in various spots throughout the former TWA Terminal-the heart of our hotel-as well as in the event center and in the areas that connect our hotel flight tubes to JetBlue’s Terminal 5, the exhibits (curated by the New York Historical Society) allow visitors to experience the jet age through authentic artifacts, interactive displays, and personal narratives,” according to the TWA Hotel website.

Its 2,000 items hail from the TWA Museum in Kansas City, as well as from the former airline employees who donated them.

“Exhibitions focus on TWA’s history, including Howard Hughes tenure as owner, TWA uniforms from 1945 to 2001, and Saarinen’s development of the terminal at Idlewild Airport,” the website continues.

Stressing the latter’s importance, Mike Thornton, New York Historical Society curator, stated, “The Saarinen terminal is a monument to the optimism and vision of the jet age. These exhibitions invite people into the glamor and fun that Saarinen and TWA worked so hard to create and foster.”

A desk, old fashioned typewriter, and system timetable set-up next to the elevator, for instance, recreates a TWA corporate office, while wall displays tell the carrier’s story, along with its Howard Hughes influence and its historic aircraft.

Black-and-white photographs gracing the walls opposite the hotel check-in counter depict TWA’s early “airline of the stars” image, with the likes of Jimmy Durante, Marilyn Monroe, Lucille Ball, Elizabeth Taylor, Bob Hope, Frank Sinatra, the Beatles, and Mary Tyler Moore boarding aircraft as diverse as the Ford Trimotor and the Boeing 707.

A TWA flight crew uniform and luggage exhibit is located on the second of the two mezzanines.

“The glamor of air travel in the jet age catapulted TWA pilots to star statuses, many of them celebrated as much for their dashing good looks as their ability to navigate a transatlantic flight,” according to the exhibit. “Pilot uniforms with gold epaulets, pins, and jaunty hats burnished their admired role as those who could fly through the clouds on the new jets of the 1960s.”

The evolution of flight attendant uniforms, displayed on mannequin bodies, depict the five designers who created them: Don Loper (1960-1965), Dalton of America (1968-1971), Valentino (1971-1975), Stan Herman (1975-1978), and Ralph Lauren (1978-2001).

THE LOCKHEED CONSTELLATION:

Jotting notes in the Sunken Lounge as I awaited my flight, I realized that even here I was immersed in Saarinen’s world, bodily cradled by womb chairs at tulip tables, both of which he designed.

The board continued to click and clack, sometimes displaying departures by carriers such as Pan Am. Even it had taken off for a final time, deposited in that dimension known as “history.”

Ground attendants-I guess the in-flight “stewardess” counterpart was an acceptable, albeit sexist, title in those days-took drink orders.

Subliminally, subconsciously, and emotionally, I suddenly knew that it was time to board my flight. No one called it. History did-the lure and love of aviation history, that is. Responding, I rose from my Sunken Lounge seat, filing down the corridor past the library-cum-bookstore Reading Room, and finally opened the door to the tarmac. There were no lines. No one stopped me. No one asked me for a boarding pass. Flights destined for yesteryear apparently did not require them. What has already played out in time was free and available to anyone who wished to recreate or relive it.

Walking over the lines painted to represent mock Runway 04-Right/22-Left, I approached the airliner, poised on the ramp in its 1960’s glory. If I could have stood on a ladder, I could have faced it, nose-to-nose. As a six-decade technological interval, its propellers did nothing to detract it from its sleek design profile.

From the long, angled, aft-retracting nose gear strut, which touched the tarmac with its dual, equally angled tires to save rubber during tight ground turns, my eyes moved up to the black nose cone and the seven-pane cockpit windscreen. The fuselage, emulating an airfoil, gently sloped upward behind the cockpit and downward again at the rear, just before the triple vertical stabilizers, an engineering solution to low-ceilinged hangars. The straight, but tapered wings, mounted at a seven-degree dihedral and lined with deicing boots on their leading edges, sported four, three-bladed propeller, Wright Turbo-Compound engines. The aircraft, registered N8083H “Star of America,” had returned “home” and in many ways was Trans World Airlines.

Eagerly anticipating its refurbished cabin, I climbed the boarding steps, which proclaimed, “Up, up and away with TWA,” and stepped inside. “Away” I would.

THE EARLY CONSTELLATION VERSIONS:

Like the Eero Saarinen designed terminal, the Lockheed Constellation was a product of the same force-ever-increasing post-war demand, except the airliners, embodying advancing technology, also needed to remain competitive with other carriers that operated rival designs.

TWA, however, had an additional urgency for a modern fleet replacement. Compared to United’s northern and American’s southern route coverages, its mid-continent one placed it at a disadvantage.

What was needed (by all three airlines) was a larger capacity, longer-range, more comfortable counterpart to, if not replacement for, the ubiquitous twin-engine DC-3 on one-stop transcontinental routes.

“Howard (Hughes) had the idea he could steel a lot of the Hollywood crowd’s business away from the other fellows, if we had a super-deluxe airliner that could fly nonstop L.A. to New York, or even one-stop via Chicago,” according to Jack Frye, TWA’s Vice President of Operations in Douglas J. Ingells’ book, “L-1011 TriStar and the Lockheed Story” (Arco Publishers, 1973, p. 73). “He was talking eight or nine hours flying time, coast-to-coast, about post-posh interiors with a club car atmosphere in a day plane, and Pullman-style berths for night trips. It all sounded far out, but Hughes was dead serious.”

Three quad-engine, new-generation airliners were proposed by the three competing aircraft manufacturers at this time: the DC-4E from Douglas, the B-307 Stratoliner from Boeing, and the L-44 Excalibur from Lockheed, which, in April of 1939, served as the Constellation’s early foundation, featuring a triple vertical tail, a 36-passenger complement in a pressurized cabin, a 1,200-US gallon fuel capacity, and a 40,000-pound gross eight.

As a larger development of the Excalibur, the L-49, which would prove the first in a series of more ambitious versions, was powered by four 2,200-hp Wright Duplex Cyclone engines, and could carry a 6,000-pound payload at between 250 and 300 mph at a 20,000-foot cruising altitude. Its still-air range was 3,500 miles. Most unique to the design, however, was its fuselage.

“… The Constellation’s fuselage, of circular cross section throughout its length, featured a cambered centerline to give it an airfoil profile in side view,” according to M. J. Hardy in his book, “The Lockheed Constellation” (Arco Publishing Company, 1973, pp. 12-14). “This served both to increase the maximum width of level floor, especially in the nose and tail sections, and to shorten the nose wheel leg by drooping the front fuselage… “

After reviewing the design’s specifications and making corrections of his own, Hughes ordered the type-initially nine, but subsequently 40. Since TWA itself could not afford the expenditure, he had no choice but to pay for the aircraft himself. “Send the bill to the Hughes Tool Company,” he instructed.

First flying in prototype form on January 9, 1943, it demonstrated that all of its design goals had either been achieved or exceeded. Maximum (not cruise) speed was 347 mph and gross weight was incrementally increased from an initial 68,000- to a final 86,250-pound maximum.

Its intended commercial application, however, was placed on hold. The December 7, 1941 Pearl Harbor attack, opening war in the Pacific theatre, relegated the luxurious airliners to a troop and supply transport, and those L-49s rolling off the production line and modified for wartime service, were redesignated C-69s and were delivered to the US Army Air Force instead. On one such flight, an aircraft in TWA colors and piloted by Hughes during the first half of its transcontinental sector and by Frye on the second half of it, covered the 2,400-mile Burbank-Washington distance on April 17, 1944 in record time, clearly demonstrating the design’s potential.

“We did not deliberately set out to establish a new transcontinental record,” Frye later stated. “The trip was made in six hours, 58 minutes simply because the Constellation was designed and built to fly at such remarkable speeds.”

The first production Constellation, now designated L-049 to distinguish it from the original, pre-war variants, was certified by the Civil Aeronautics Board on December 11, 1945, and TWA inaugurated the type into transatlantic service between New York and Paris-Orly three months later, on February 5. Powered by R-3350 engines with three-bladed, 15.2-foot-diameter, reversible pitch, fully feathering propellers, the appropriately named “Star of Paris” carried 35 passengers to the City of Light via Gander and Shannon.

Ten days later it placed the type on the transcontinental route between New York and Los Angeles, completing the eastbound leg in 9.45 hours and the westbound one in 11. In comparison to American’s and United’s slower, unpressurized, two-stop DC-4s, the Constellation offered a distinct competitive advantage.

Lockheed’s “Of Men and Stars” history noted, “In the five months that followed introduction of the Model 049 to commercial airline service in February 1946, the majestic triple-tail transports set new standards of speed, comfort, and safety. They made 300-mph schedules a reality (and) ocean-to-ocean nonstop flights commonplace.”

While the type’s 92.5-foot length and 123-foot wingspan initially remained the same, two subversions introduced increased range and improved performance.

The L-749 intended for intercontinental services, carried 565 additional US gallons of fuel, for a new 5,820-gallon total, increasing its range by some 1,000 miles. Maximum take off and landing weights were respectively increased to 102,000 and 87,500 pounds.

Both versions introduced new propellers, flap deflection increases, and improved cabin heating, cooling, and ventilation systems.

A significant Constellation operator, TWA counted 12 L-749s and 25 modified L-749As in its fleet, over and above its original L-049s, enabling it to serve transatlantic routes to London, Paris, Rome, and then-named Bombay.

Accommodation varied according to market. Its “London Ambassador” service, for example, which was inaugurated on April 8, 1951, was configured with 18 berths. “Sleeper Flights” carried 32. Five-abreast, all-coach transatlantic services seated 60 and US domestic ones 81.

TWA retired its last L-049 at the end of 1961.

THE SUPER CONSTELLATION:

Technical advancements, along with increased speed, safety, and comfort introduced in the five years since the end of World War II, created unprecedented demand for both domestic and international air service, toward which Lockheed, with its three basic L-049, L-649, and L-749 variants made a significant contribution. Although subsequent updates, designated L-749B and L-849, would have offered even greater performance with, respectively, uprated piston and Napier Eland turboprop powerplants, passenger demand indicated the need for greater capacity instead, achieved through stretches of the existing fuselage. Because flight tests with L-749s demonstrated that its gross weight capability could be as high as 137,000 pounds with its original wing, no major design modifications were required.

Based upon studies for an earlier, 100-passenger, but never built L-949, the first and, in the event, only stretched version, the L-1049A Super Constellation, incorporated a new wind screen, an 18.5-foot fuselage insertion for a new 113.4-foot overall length, rectangular passenger windows that replaced the previous oval ones, and provision for 730 additional gallons of fuel in a new center section tank.

Powered by four 2,700-hp R-3350-956C18 CA-1 engines, it incorporated a larger fin to counteract the additional weight, a 728-cubic-foot underfloor baggage and cargo volume, an improved pressurization system to create a 5,000-foot altitude at 20,000 feet, a 6,550-US gallon fuel capacity, and a 120,000-pound maximum weight.

Certification, although initially only at a 100,000-pound gross weight, took place on November 29, 1951 and TWA, which ordered ten of the 24 L-1049As produced (Eastern operated the remaining 14) inaugurated them into service on September 10 of the following year.

“Model 1049 emerged as a stretched version of the original Army Air Corps cargo transports,” according to Ingells (op. cit., pp 80-82). “In its original form, Connie was designed to carry 65 passengers. Model 1049 could carry 99.”

“Connie was a lady, who simply had to keep up with the latest styles,” he went on to say (p. 83).

The new version enabled TWA to inaugurate transcontinental Ambassador Service on October 19, 1953, which retained the Chicago intermediate stop on westbound legs, but omitted it on eastbound ones. These were completed in under eight hours. Despite the competitive promise it carried when pitted against American’s DC-6Bs, it only lasted six weeks. Thereafter, its DC-7s could cover the distance nonstop in both directions.

The Super Constellation series culminated with two other versions. Power equaled payload and performance and the introduction of 3,250-hp Wright Turbo-Compound R-3350-972TC18 DA-3s, along with the optional installation of two 600-US gallon tip tanks, provisioned it with a 7,750-US gallon total, giving it a 4,620-mile range with reserves. Ninety-nine single-class passengers could be comfortably accommodated in the 92-foot-long, highly sound-proofed cabin. Northwest Orient, launch customer for the resultant L-1049G, took delivery of the type on January 22, 1955.

TWA placed orders for 12 and then eight L-1049Gs in October of 1953 and November of 1955. Its aircraft featured weather radar, the two wing tip fuel tanks, 700 pounds of cabin insulation, and two-compartment General Electric air circulation ovens that could simultaneously heat 60 pre-cooked meals.

THE STARLINER:

If any aircraft, and any version of that aircraft, were symbolic of Trans World Airlines, it was the Lockheed L-1649A Starliner. It seemed to make that statement today.

Necessity, as always, provided the direction and pointed to the destination, the latter being the long-range ones airlines had to cover without wind, seasonality, and payload restrictions, and Douglas, soon to introduce the intercontinental version of its DC-7C “Seven Seas” with its ten-foot greater wingspan, injected Lockheed with new impetus if it wished to remain competitive. Although the resultant L-1649A was a technical success, the year required for its considerable redesign alas placed it on the market too late for anything but paltry sales.

A modified wing, key to its improved capability, served as a foundation laid earlier for an L-1449 to have been powered by turboprops from either the US or UK, but which, in the event, had neither been proven suitable nor certifiable. Nevertheless, it incorporated 37-foot-long, integrally stiffened skin panels, full-depth tank end ribs for a new four-tank fuel system, closely spaced ribs, and a revised trailing edge and Fowler flaps.

While work on this version ceased in early-1955, engineering resources were reassigned to what would become the definitive, longest range version, the L-1649, which was later designated L-1649A Starliner. Overall length remained the same as that of the Super Constellation series, but a tapered, 150-foot, thinner wing of higher aspect ratio was mounted further back on the fuselage and four 3,400-hp Wright R-3350-988TC18 EA-1 Turbo-Compound engines were installed further outboard, reducing cabin decibel levels. The larger-diameter, synchronized, low tip-speed Hamilton Standard propellers, coupled with 900 pounds of additional cabin insulation, cemented its quiet interior.

Its maximum take off weight was 156,000 pounds.

The first of two flying prototypes in its three-aircraft test program took to the air from Burbank on October 11, 1956 and TWA took delivery of the first of 25 L-1649As the following April.

Configured for 30 first and 34 coach seats, along with an eight-berth first class sleeping compartment, it operated “Nonstop Ambassador” service from New York to Los Angeles and San Francisco, later introducing the concept from Boston and Washington. Its transatlantic service, “The Jetstream,” served London with 74-passenger coach cabins as of July 1, 1957 and was subsequently extended to Paris, Frankfurt, and Rome. Transpolar flights, from Los Angeles to London with an intermediate stop in San Francisco, commenced October 2. The following year, in March, the London-San Francisco sector was covered in 19 hours, 5 minutes, which beat its previous record. All-coach “Golden Barron” transcontinental services were also operated with the type.

Compared to the initial C-69 military transport, the L-1649A Starliner had weight, power, and capacity increase of, respectively, 44.5, 47, and 72 percent.

“Rugged, reliable, easily flyable, distinctly styled, and naturally graceful” is how TWA Captain Dave Richwine described the aircraft (Morgan, op. cit., pp 8-9). “The Lockheed Constellation has been a star performer… and is most certainly a candidate for one of the all-time great commercial transports… Conceived in love for aviation and in hope of enhancing the future of commercial air transportation, she was born in the last World War II years, first serving her country as a military air transport. Following her strenuous baptism as a 93,000-pound fledgling that started life sans steerable nosewheel and reversible props, she took her place in the commercial air transport industry. Since then, she has probably undergone more developmental stages than any other commercial air transport in history to finally emerge supreme as a member of the piston royalty in the form of a 160,000-pound 1649A Jetstream.”

A total of 856 military and commercial Constellations, which only featured two fuselage lengths and two wingspans, of all versions was built. Before TWA operated the last one, albeit in freighter form, on May 11, 1967-replaced by Boeing 707-120s-its Constellation fleet had transported an estimated 50 million passengers between 1946 and 1967, and during 1959, the type’s peak, it counted 32 L-049s, 12 L-749s, 27 L-749As, 9 L-1049As, 28 L-1049Gs, and 29 L-1649As in its inventory. I was in one of the latter ones today.

“STAR OF AMERICA:”

The Constellation that stood ready to accept passengers at the restored TWA Terminal on that mid-September day, N8083H, had rolled off of Lockheed’s Burbank production line in 1958, flying under the carrier’s colors, first as a passenger airliner, then as a freighter, for only four years.

As I entered the cabin, I thought of M. J. Hardy’s words. “An outstanding example of piston-engine airliner design at its peak, the Constellation well befits the dictionary definition of its name as ‘a group of fixed stars, or an assemblage of splendors or excellences,'” he said (Hardy, op. cit., p. 7).

While “Star of America” was configured as a cocktail lounge, there was enough of its design as an airliner left to inspect.

A view into the metallic green cockpit, in which the JFK tower frequency issued an unceasing barrage of instructions to active flights, provided a glimpse into what the pilots viewed-from the sky through the three forward and four side window panes to the half-moon yokes, engine indications on the center panel, the four throttles on the pedestal, and the flight engineer’s station, on whose table was laid both a normal and an emergency checklist. Aside from his own panel that sported a myriad of indicators, there were also throttles, engine superchargers, mixture controls, and fuel shut-off valves.

Behind and to the left of the cockpit was the separate navigator’s station, whose crew member determined the aircraft’s location by taking star fixes through the roof-installed astrodome.

The cabin-converted cocktail lounge was configured with both burnished gold upholstered banquets and traditional four-abreast seats with TWA headrest covers, and the carpeting was airline indicative bright red.

Since no boarding pass indicated the one assigned to me, I chose a window one on the port side, settling into the 1960’s dimension and studying the upper wing surface and the two projecting piston engines. Propellers they certainly sported!

A Royal Ambassador menu detailed what might have been served if I had been in flight at that time: hors d’oeuvres of American caviar and an assortment of delicacies from the cart; cream of asparagus soup; a garden salad with bleu cheese or French vinaigrette dressings; entrees such as chateaubriand, chicken champagne, lamb rib roast, and lobster thermidor; a cheese board with a selection of fresh fruit; cassata siciliana; and after-dinner coffees. Vintage wines, of course, flowed throughout the repast.

The Constellation’s cocktail menu today indicated purchasable items, such as “Cocktails 316,” spirits, wine and champagne, beer, nonalcoholic beverages, and snacks like a charcuterie, marinated olives, hummus, and a cheese board.

A cutout provided a view of the aircraft’s framework-that is, the outer skin and longerons of its fuselage.

Paris and Hollywood mural replicas adorning the aft sidewalls represented those eight-by-four-foot ones designed by Mario Zamparelli that depicted 25 TWA-served destinations from Boston to Bangkok in the Starlight Lounges of its Constellations.

As I deplaned through the aft, left door and descended its boarding stairs, I thought of Douglas J. Ingells’ concluding words about the airliner.

“Her sleek lines, the shark-like profile of her fuselage, her distinctive triple tail, and the many advanced features she pioneered, left a high heritage in the annals of commercial aviation. She had class, grace, and beauty. And of all the so-called ‘Sky Queens,’ her reign will never be forgotten,” (Ingells, op. cit., p. 83).

THE JOURNEY:

I spent some three hours immersed in the Eero Saarinen created era, and it took far less time than that to walk down the Constellation’s aisle, from its forward to its rear door. Yet as my feet once again made contact with the ground-and, perhaps, the 21st century-I realized that I had just completed a six-decade journey into history, not of motion, but of mind.

Bibliography

Hardy, M. J. “The Lockheed Constellation.” New York: Arco Publishing Company, 1973.

Ingells, Douglas J. “L-1011- TriStar and the Lockheed Story.” Fallbrook, California: Aero Publishers, Inc., 1973.

Morgan, Terry. “The Lockheed Constellation.” New York: Arco Publishing Company, 1967.

The History of Mattituck Airport

Located in the Town of Southold on Long Island’s North Fork, Mattituck Air Base (21N) is the area’s only privately owned, public-use airfield, occupying 18 acres and offering a single 2,200- by 60-foot asphalt runway-in this case, 1/19. Approaches to the first of the two magnetic headings are conducted over the Great Peconic Bay.

Established in 1946 after Parker Wickham returned from his World War II duty of maintaining Army Air Corps airplanes at his Mojave Desert base, he was given 16 acres of his father’s farm for an airfield after his return home, because, according to his father’s assessment, “There’s no money in potatoes, anyhow.” Before the asphalt, the “runway” was nothing more than a strip of moved grass.

Aside from its use by private pilots who were able to land and base their aircraft near their North Fork homes, its principle, revenue-generating element was its engine repair and overhaul facility, which was sold in 1984, repurchased by family members four years later, and sold again in 1999 to Teledyne-Continental, which renamed it Teledyne-Mattituck Services on November 9 of that year.

As one of the northeast’s longest established piston engine overhaul repair shops, it operated as a subsidiary of Teledyne Technologies, Inc., leasing the building from the Wickham family. It was subsequently purchased by China-based AVIC International, at which time it was renamed Mattituck Services, employing 70 at a time during its peak, or some 350 per annum, and was responsible for at least a dozen engines per week, or more than 500 per year.

Continental Motors listed its activities as “engine overhauls built to factory service tolerances; factory engine sales and installation specialists; major powerplant and airframe maintenance; propeller maintenance and repair; your in-stock source for parts; 50-hour, 100-hour, and annual inspections; inspection repair programs; and fuel system calibration and adjustments.”

For the 12 months ended on September 27, 2007, the single-strip Mattituck Airport averaged 33 movements per day, or 12,200 per year, and counted 32 single-engine based aircraft.

After Parker Wickham passed in 2011, he ceded ownership to his son, Jay, and his wife, Cyndi, who maintained and operated the airfield for five years. But a decline in general aviation due to its ever-rising costs, leaving only a handful of airplanes still based there, and the closing of the repair shop in the summer of 2012, left him little choice but to sell the airport four years later, an intention he announced on June 3, 2016. Because of costly repairs, its fuel tanks had already been given to Albertson Marine, Inc., of Southold.

The Continental Motors’ shop itself, closed after four years of declining general aviation business and its inability to remain profitable with two separate facilities, was integrated with its Fairhope, Alabama, plant.

“Very bluntly, I think both of us and Lycoming have done a good job of pointing out the value of factory options and that has made a contribution across the board to the decline there,” according to Rhett Ross, Continental Motors’ CEO. “It was not an easy decision, but that facility has been marginal for at least the half decade.”

All 20 remaining employees were laid off.

While the Town of Southold deemed the purchase cost-prohibitive and its revenue potential minimal, “saviors” came in the form of Paul Pawlowski and Steve Marsh, partners in the Hudson City Savings Bank project on Main Road in Mattituck. Advising existing pilots to remove their aircraft by September 30 of 2016, they intended to excavate the runway and demolish all buildings, with the exception of the carriage house, the car barn, and the newest hangars, but otherwise keep the airfield as it had been.

The History of Brookhaven Calabro Airport

A recent visit to Brookhaven Calabro Airport, hidden behind a forest of trees and private homes and accessed by local Dawn Drive,, on a raw, late-March day whose steel wool sky was so low that it almost scratched you, revealed what was, but not necessarily what could be.

The ramp near Mid-Island Air Service was littered with mostly single-engine airplane types, punctuated by an occasional twin, and the almost unexpected sputter of an isolated propeller from a Cirrus SR-20 on this marginally visual flight rules (VFR) day cracked the silence like a hammer hitting a sheet of glass.

The blond brick structure at the field’s north end, the once-proud classroom and training monolith of Dowling College’s Aviation Education Center, stood frozen in time, promise of the past that failed to deliver the airport’s future.

The lone, low-level, cement block terminal, staffed by a single monitorer of the facility’s common traffic advisory frequency (CTAF), housed the equally shuttered luncheonette, nucleus, to a degree, of any general aviation airport, since it gave local and cross country pilots a destination and a purpose, and bore witness to numerous student pilot-instructor duos discussing airplane handling techniques over the years atop paper New York sectional charts doubling as tablecloths.

A glimpse into the rectangular room, which displayed a “Maintenance Shop” sign, revealed its former raison d’ĂȘtre, sporting circular stools, a lunch counter, a cold cut slicer, and a rusting coffee maker. A recent inquiry indicated interest and its resurrection as an eatery. Perhaps it also indicated its repurposed future.

The non-towered, dual-runway, 795-acre, public use general aviation airport, one mile north of the business district of Shirley in eastern Long Island, Suffolk County, was owned by the Town of Brookhaven.

Originally designated Mastic Flight Strip, it was constructed at the end of World War II, in 1944, on 325 acres to provide logistical support for the US Army Air Corps, after which its title was transferred to New York State and ultimately Brookhaven Town’s Division of General Aviation in 1961, current owner. Given its present “Calabro” moniker, it was named after Dr. Frank Calabro, who was instrumental in its development, but who, along with his wife, Ruth, met their untimely demises in an aircraft accident three decades later.

Construction and expansion yielded a rising crop of hangars, shops, fixed base operators (FBOs), the present terminal, and a second concrete runway to supplement the first in 1963.

Those, including 4,200-foot Runway 6-24 and 4,255-foot Runway 15-33, are both paved and lighted, but the latter features an instrument landing system (ILS), equipped and maintained by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

$1.5 million of the collective $5 million in federal Department of Transportation (DOT) grants, most of which were earmarked for nearby Long Island MacArthur Airport in Islip, facilitated the recent beacon and taxiway lighting system replacements.

“We need to maintain runways, lights, structures, and navigational aids,” according to Marten W. Haley, Brookhaven Town’s Commissioner of General Services, which includes the airport itself. “Everything has a finite lifetime.”

The airport’s several fixed base operators and other tenants include Brookfield Aviation, Mid-Island Air Service, Northeast Air Park, Ed’s Aircraft Refinishing, the Long Island Soaring Association, Island Aerial Air (for banner towing), NAASCO Northeast Corporation (which performs airplane and helicopter repair and overhaul), and Sky Dive South Shore.

Dowling College’s School of Aviation, once the airport’s cornerstone, but closed when the Oakdale-based university itself declared bankruptcy and ceased operations in 2016, had offered bachelor’s degrees in Aerospace Systems Technology and Aviation Management, and had participated in the FAA Air Traffic Control Collegiate Training Initiative. A fleet of private pilot aircraft and Fiasca flight simulators had enabled its students to earn private, instrument, multi-engine, instructor (CFI), and commercial ratings.

Although the field has principally entailed general aviation flight activity, there have been a handful of other events throughout its history.

As the new base for the former, 44-passenger Swissair Convair CV-440 Metropolitans operated by Cosmopolitan Airlines from Farmingdale’s Republic Airport and its self-named Cosmopolitan Sky Center after they had been transferred here, for example, they, along with a smattering of other types, offered junkets to Atlantic City’s Bader Field.

The Grand Old Airshow, held in 2006 and 2007, was created to transport spectators to earlier, biplane and World War II eras and showcase Long Island aviation.

Having enticed visitors through flyers and its website, it had urged them to “join us this year as we go back in time to celebrate Long Island’s Golden Age of Aviation,” a time when “biplanes graced the skies decades ago.” It continued its pitch by offering the experience of “bygone days of aviation, as World War I dogfights, open-cockpit biplanes, World War II fighters, and, of course, the famous Geico Skytypers, soar through Long Island’s blue skies.”

The shows themselves had featured antique vehicles and static aircraft displays, the latter encompassing TBM Avengers, Fokker Dr-1s, Nieuports, and Messerschmitt Me-109s, while aerial stunts had included comedy maneuvers performed in Piper J-3 Cubs by “randomly chosen” audience member Carl Spackle; Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome-borrowed Delsey Dives and balloon bursts targeted by Great Lakes Speedsters, Fleet 16Bs, and PT-17 Stearmans; speed races between runway-bound motorcycles and airborne, low-passing PT-17s; aerobatics by SF-260s; and skywriting by Sukhoi 29s.

A Sikorsky UH-34D Sea Horse Marine helicopter, used for combat rescue in Vietnam, during the Cuban Missile Crisis, and by NASA during the Project Mercury astronaut recovery program, had demonstrated search-and-rescue procedures.

Both Long Island aviation and formation flying had also been well represented. Shows had featured Byrd, N3N, Fleet Model 16B, and N2S Stearman aircraft from the Bayport Aerodrome Society; P-40 Warhawks and P-51 Mustangs from Warbirds over Long Island; F4U Corsairs from the American Airpower Museum; and North American SNJ-2s from the Republic Airport-based Geico Skytypers.

Vintage vehicle and aircraft rides were available. Spectators brought their own lawn chairs and lined them up next to the active runway amid period dress and speeches given by Tuskegee Airmen. Concession trucks sold everything from hot dogs to ice cream and souvenirs and numerous aviation-related schools and associations established booths.

The Grand Old Airshow, held during two consecutive falls, was a single-day, single-visit, outdoor glimpse toward the sky where Long Island’s multi-faceted aviation history was written and where it was recreated.

A 2008 a non-flying tribute to Vinny Nasta was also offered. A Riverhead High School art teacher who hailed from Wading River, he lost his life at 47 years of age when the reproduction Nieuport 24 he was flying at Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome nose-dove into the woods after its mock dogfight with another replica, of a Fokker Dr.1 Triplane, on August 17 of that year.

Dr. Tom Daley, a former Dowling College Dean of Aviation, Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome Air Show Director, and creator of the Brookhaven Grand Old Airshow, was forced to discontinue what had become an increasingly popular autumn event.

“There was some local opposition to the show,” he said, “and everyone had their hand out. I was required to give x-number of dollars for security, x-number for emergency medical presence. I couldn’t do it anymore. There was no way I could run an air show and meet expenses with expectations like that.”

Today, Brookhaven Calabro Airport’s 217 based aircraft, 92 percent of which are single-engine types, five percent of which are multi-engine, and three percent of which are gliders, provide most of its activity. For the 12-month period ending on March 25, 2005, there had been 135,100 annual airplane movements, or an average of 370 per day, and 99 percent of them belonged to the general aviation category, enabling student pilots to pursue licenses and practice weekday touch-and-go’s at a non-towered airfield.

Hinging on this segment of aviation is its future.

Long Island MacArthur Airport: The Frontier Years

Promise to Ronkonkoma-located Long Island MacArthur Airport, operating in the shadows of Manhattan-proximity La Guardia and JFK International airports, always came in the form of new airline serve, which attempted to achieve profitability and replace that which the discontinued ones failed to. Several ultimately unsuccessful low-cost and upstart carriers left little more than a fading imprint during the past half-decade.

Alaska-based PenAir, for example, seeking to replace the popular, multiple-daily Saab S-340 flights once operated by Business Express and later American Eagle between Long Island and Boston, forged tis own link in July of 2013 with two daily roundtrips operated by the same 34-passenger turboprop. But poor load factors led to its discontinuation a year later.

“We were losing money,” according to David Hall, PenAir’s Chief Operation Officer. “We just weren’t able to get to a consistent operating profit. Unfortunately, it’s a business and that’s how it works.”

Another attempt was made by low-cost, Las Vegas-based Allegiant Air, which inaugurated two weekly roundtrips to Punta Gorda, Florida, in December of 2013. Because their winter sun-seeking draw diminished in the spring, they were discontinued on May 26 of the following year and were intended to be reinstated in December. They never were.

Still another Islip entrant was Elite Airways. Founded, as reflected by its name, in 2016 by airline veterans wishing to establish a higher-quality airline that deviated from the proliferation of no-frills ones, it was certified as a US Part 121 air carrier that offered charter and scheduled service, initially transporting professional and college sports teams, company executives, heads of state, White House press corps, and VIP tour groups. Headquartered in Portland, Maine, but concentrating its maintenance, crew training, sales, and marketing in Melbourne, Florida, it operated charter flights for the first six years of its existence before transitioning to scheduled ones with a minuscule route system, including Melbourne-Portland, Naples (Florida)-Newark, Naples-Portland, Vero Beach (Florida)-Newark, and Rockford (Illinois)-Fort Collins (Colorado) sectors. Its 11-strong Bombardier Region Jet fleet consisted of a single CRJ-100, five CRJ-200s, and five CRJ-700s.

Seeking incentives, such as reduced or waved landing fees, underserved airports with its 50- and 70-seat aircraft, It intended to offer sunbirds air links between New England and Florida, very much the way Northeast had with its 727 “Yellowbirds” in the early-1970s before Delta acquired the carrier. Because of its airline veteran founders, who additionally endeavored to resurrect the higher quality inflight service of the full-fare legacy carriers, it bore similarities with no-longer existent KIWI Airways.

Elite touted itself as “Melbourne’s hometown airline.”

Catalyst to the Long Island MacArthur service was passenger request.

“The funniest thing is that if it wasn’t for people who are originally from Long Island, we wouldn’t be here,” according to Elite Airways president John Pearsall. “On our route we’re presently flying between Newark and Vero Beach… we’ve had more people asking for Islip, Long Island, than any other destination we fly to.”

Twice-weekly service, on Friday and Sunday, to Portland, Maine; Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; and Melbourne, Florida, on which $99.00, $139.00, and $149.00 introductory fares were respectively charged, began on June 17, 2016, amid the typically upbeat comments from Pearsall, who said that he expected “passenger demand to be strong for these new routes” and Islip Town Supervisor Angie Carpenter, who commented, “I am thrilled that the Town of Islip is entering into a partnership with Elite Airways. The addition of Elite to the Long Island MacArthur Airport family will offer both residents and those living in Nassau and Suffolk counties the opportunity to travel to some of the most desirable vacation destinations along the east coast… “

The Portland route continued to Bar Harbor, while that to Melbourne was envisioned as being extended to St. Croix, the US Virgin Islands.

Because of Elite’s presence in Rockford, Illinois, it also contemplated connecting Islip with that Chicago-alternative destination.

“We will be announcing additional destinations as we get more and more familiar with the market here,” Pearsall said.

Another route then under consideration was that to Newport News, Virginia, slated for a March 13, 2017 inauguration. But it was forced to postpone it because of a pending investigation concerning the $3.55 million state funding, intended for infrastructure improvement that was allegedly used to guarantee a loan for a low cost carrier.

Although the controversy did not involve Elite itself, it found it prudent to avoid the airport.

“The Peninsula Airport Commission has been informed that Elite Airways has chosen to temporarily suspend service from the Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport (to Newark) due to the continuing negative and inaccurate headlines, which are preventing the introduction of this brand new property to our community,” according to a statement. “The commission and Elite Airways have a great working relationship as well as support for one another. We look forward to setting a new launch date over the next few months. We feel certain that Elite will find success out of the market, and that our community will enjoy their ‘Elite Class’ of service.”

“It was a difficult decision to postpone the start of service… ,” Pearsall said, “as the Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport has been a great partner to work with. We strongly believe in the market and want to give this service the best possible climate to start in. Postponing the start date will allow both the airline and the airport to be more successful in launching new air service to meet the needs of the community.”

It never did. Nor did it to Rockford. And existing Islip service, considered seasonal, was suspended between January 15 and February 16, 2017, before it was reinstated and severed a second time at the end of April. Although a second reintroduction was slated for July, it was never implemented.

While the service duration of these carriers was brief, one, National Airlines, never even touched down on Long Island soil.

Founded in 2008, the Orlando-based airline operated passenger and cargo flights with Boeing 747-400BCFs as National Air Cargo, but upgraded to public charter service on June 11, 2016 under Department of Transportation (DOT) PC#16-038, whose flights were sold by FlyBranson Travel LLC dba (doing business as) Branson Air Express and operated by National Air Cargo Group, Inc., which itself did business as National Airlines.. Its fleet, a pair of Rolls Royce 40,200 thrust-pound RB.211-535E4-powered Boeing 757-200s configured for 170 (26 first class and 144 coach) and 184 (22 first class and 162 coach) passengers, was intended for a six-destination route system, encompassing Aguadilla, Puerto Rico; Islip, New York; San Juan, Puerto Rico; Sanford-Orlando, Florida; St. John’s, Newfoundland; and Windsor, Ontario.

“At National Airlines we provide an enhanced passenger travel experience air mile after air mile,” it described itself. “Our uncompromising quality, unrelenting service, and unmatched agility set us apart as one of the market’s most elite passenger airlines. We travel farther, move faster, and arrive on time with a focused commitment to safe performance. From the runway to the horizon, National provides a world-class flight experience.

“National is committed to customer care. We believe our passengers are the most precious cargo that an aircraft can carry, and therefore we treat each individual as an elite global VIP. From the dedicated service of our inflight crew to the undeniable beauty of our aircraft, we focus on the details.”

Planned were two weekly departures to Aguadilla as Flight N8 273 on Monday and Friday and four to San Juan as Flight N8 231 on Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday from Islip. All were scheduled to leave at 0900.

“The city of Islip is a wonderful and engaging community.” according to Edward Davidson, National’s president and CEO, “and Long Island MacArthur Airport offers both outstanding service and convenience for our customers. National Airlines believes there is demand for our unique brand of exclusive service of inclusive fares between Islip, San Juan, and Aguadilla.”

“There is a vibrant Puerto Rican community in and around Islip and the entire New York City region,” he continued, “and we believe travelers will find our combination of convenient location and inclusive service very attractive.”

Although it would have constituted the first nonstop service to the Caribbean from the Long Island airport, a lack of suitable equipment precluded its inauguration, resulting in a six-month delay and prompting passenger refunds.

“National has experienced challenges acquiring the very popular Boeing 757 aircraft,” according to a statement issued by Town of Islip Supervisor Angie Carpenter. “Regretfully, this has prompted National to postpone the June 1 launch from Long Island MacArthur Airport to Puerto Rico. However, the Town remains very enthusiastic in welcoming National Airlines t to our airport family.”

It was never given the opportunity to do so.

The airport fared far better with the next carrier to touchdown on its runways, ultra-low-cost, Denver-based Frontier. Announcing nonstop service to Orlando in May of 2017, the airline, an Airbus A320 operator, placed itself in competition with incumbent Southwest to that destination and Florida in general, offering unbundled, $39.00 introductory fares, with additional fees for checked baggage, early boarding, drinks, snacks, and refundability. Based upon advanced bookings, it became the threshold to a significant Islip presence that would entail more nonstop flights and to further destinations than Southwest itself and (then) Elite had offered.

As part of 21 cities it was adding to its existing 61, it was considered the first step in an expansion that would double its size in the next five years.

“Islip is going to be part of the largest expansion in Frontier’s history,” said Scott Fisher, the carrier’s senior director, at a MacArthur news conference.

Because of airport facility availability, a lack of congestion, and the reconstruction of La Guardia, which it also served, Fisher labeled it an “easy airport experience” in the otherwise competitive New York market. “This became a no-brainer in terms of a partnership,” he said.

“We thank you for your confidence in what we know is truly a treasure that has been untapped,” Islip Town Supervisor Angie Carpenter said to Fisher at the news conference. “This is really going to reap a tremendous amount of rewards for everybody.”

Touching down at 0936 after an inbound ferry flight from Orlando on August 16 and given a water cannon salute from MacArthur Airport Fire-Rescue, the single-class Frontier A320-200, designated Flight F9 1779, became the inaugural departure, pushed back from the gate at 1045. It would return as Flight F9 1778 at 2155 that evening.

It became the first in a dual-phase expansion at MacArthur, with service to Fort Myers, Miami, New Orleans, Tampa, and West Palm Beach beginning on October 5, and that to Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, and Minneapolis the following April 9, 2018. Atlanta and Chicago constituted two of the airport’s once-served, but subsequently lost destinations. They remained the two still most-requested ones.

Yet, because deregulation facilitated the rapid entry and exit of markets, and very low-fare carriers such as Frontier, by necessity, were forced to adopt hairpin triggers when revenue fell below expectations, a significant portion of its Islip route system was modified shortly after disappointing load factors dictated the need to do so.

The first destination to be eliminated, on March 5, was New Orleans.

“We constantly evaluate route performance,” according to Frontier spokesman Richard Oliver III. “Unfortunately, this capacity was better… redeployed elsewhere in our route network.”

Airport Commissioner Shelley LaRose-Arken echoed this reality.

“Unfortunately, one of (Frontier’s) ten routes-New Orleans-did not perform as was anticipated, and therefore adjustments to the schedule are being made to ensure the carrier continues to be successful in the market.”

Like the first in a string of falling dominoes, however, it knocked down Miami and Fort Myers on April 8.

“They just weren’t meeting our expectations,” Oliver III said.

Two more dominoes fell on July 5-namely, Detroit and Minneapolis.

“We haven’t seen the level of demand that we need to see for the routes,” said Daniel Shurz, Frontier’s Vice President of Commercial Operations.

Myrtle Beach and San Juan replaced two of the original destinations, and Fort Myers, Miami, and West Palm Beach were being considered for reinstatement during the winter 2018-2019 season.

Despite the cancellations, Frontier remained committed to Islip, provided load factors ensured adequate profitability.

“We’ve been working together with the airport and they’ve done a good job promoting service,” said Shurz.

Although American Eagle and Southwest remained the long-time anchor tenants, they made tiny adjustments themselves. The former upgraded its 37-passenger de Havilland of Canada DHC-8-100 turboprop to American’s Philadelphia hub to a 45-passenger Embraer ERJ-145 pure-jet, representing a 31-percent capacity increase, while the latter inaugurated one-stop, single-aircraft service to Raleigh/Durham, via Baltimore, facilitating same-day return business travel.

Long Island MacArthur continued its perpetual search for airlines, while the airliners themselves continued their search for passengers and profitability in the shadow of the New York airports, as evidenced by the latest round of carrier entries and exits. Yet, despite losses between 2011 and 2014, with the $2 million one its largest in 2012, it ended 2017 with an almost $3 million surplus.

In the fiscal year from February 2017 to February of 2018, it recorded 6,473 aircraft departures, a 10.67-percent increase, 694,000 arriving passengers, a 17.28-percent increase, and 697,000 departing passengers, a 17.43-percent increase, according to DOT statistics. The number of nonstops served more than doubled, from seven to 15.

Like American Airlines in the 1970s, Northeastern International in the 1980s, and Southwest in the 1990s, Frontier could serve as the catalyst to the airport’s next development cycle, provided it can determine the markets that ensure its profitability and long-term presence.

An Aircraft Detailer’s Dream – No Bug Stick Wings

It seems like a thousand years ago when I started my first real business washing aircraft at age 12. It turned out to be a very astute business decision in hindsight. Still, as a 12-year old it was really hard work, and I can remember scrubbing the bugs off the leading edge and wings of small light aircraft and business jets. Then I’d have to wax them really good to help me get the new bugs off next time I washed the same aircraft.

That was then, and this is now and there may be relief on the way for future young aircraft cleaners. Let’s talk, let’s discuss some new future technologies in Aerospace.

There is a great video on YouTube talking about NASA wing research for modern aircraft. The title of the video is: “The Super-Efficient Future of Air Travel” and it is well worth watching. Fast forward the video to: 16:00 on the video.

This video discusses the drag, both induced drag and parasitic drag, from dead bugs and how this affects a wing’s performance, which is another reason why aircraft detailers are constantly washing and waxing the wings of aircraft.

Now then, just imagine in the future specialized coatings that prevent dead bugs (smushed ones) from sticking – wouldn’t that be a wonderful thing, yes, I agree totally. Wow, looking back, all I can say is; I sure wish they had such coatings back then, I’d have certainly saved myself so work, or would I have — maybe not, because if those coatings existed my aircraft washing, cleaning and detailing services may not have been needed.

Well, either way, these new technologies will be a complete game-changer for the Aircraft Detailing Industry, much like no-stick Teflon pans changed things for cooking bacon and eggs. Material Science has come a long way, and it is amazing just how much it will reshape the world we live in the future, even for those sub-sectors of our economy, things like aircraft washing and cleaning.

Sometimes I feel as if our industry doesn’t stay up on all the new technologies that affect us, and yes, it is a relatively simple business sector to participate in, nevertheless a prudent operator or owner of such a business needs to stay up with the leading edge of aerospace tech to stay ahead of the competition, thus, I thought you might like to hear about this. After all, we don’t want any of our workers getting carpal tunnel while scrubbing off all those obliterated and baked on bugs do we? Please consider all this and think on it.

Private Jet Sales Approach in a Tough 2019 Buyer’s Market – Working With Trusting & Trusted Partners

2019 became a Buyer’s market since 55 of the Worldwide 404 operational Hawker 800XPs were now available for sale, (representing 14% of the entire fleet), making this a challenging market for selling a Hawker 800XP or other similar pre-owned private jet aircraft.

Consulting brokers, like The Private Jet Company, stay in constant touch with both buyers and sellers over years to answer any questions or concerns related to the private aviation industry, aircraft price trends, private jet ownership and future interests and as a result became trusted advisors for any private aviation matters.

Early in the inspection process our expert inspectors found out that after placing the aircraft with its new operator, the owner dropped the top-tier engine and APU maintenance service plans that had conveyed with the aircraft upon purchase. We advised the estate that the lack of the APU and engine programs was a significant reduction in the aircraft’s value.

The estate agreed with our recommendation and decided to re-enroll the aircraft on the top-tier engine and APU maintenance service program.

Even though the owner only flew 100 hours in the two years since the engines and APU had been un-enrolled from the maintenance service plan programs, the engine manufacturer, Honeywell, required a full enrollment inspection and performance evaluation of the engines prior to acceptance into a new APU maintenance program.

Upon the recommendation of The Private Jet Company, the estate engaged Dallas Airmotive to perform the engine re-enrollment inspection, since they did the 2011 Midlife Inspections for these engines. Upon re-inspection, the engines were found to be in excellent condition and Honeywell agreed to re-enroll the engines. Based on our direct negotiation with Honeywell on the re-enrollment buy-in amount we were able to secure a substantial discount for the owner.

With the 20-Year inspection completed and the engines and APU now re-enrolled on the top-tier programs, we contacted potential buyers who inquired about the aircraft. One buyer offered the best terms and after some negotiations on behalf of the estate, a purchase agreement was executed. The new owner was a King Air operator in the Midwest buying the firm’s first jet.

The buyer agreed to accept the recent 20-year G Inspection as their Pre-Purchase Inspection and a smooth transaction was concluded by the delivery of a highly upgraded, freshly inspected and fully program enrolled Hawker 800XP. Both buyer and seller were fully satisfied with the transaction and its outcome.

The History of Republic Airport

1. Farmingdale’s Aviation Origins:

Located in Farmingdale, Long Island, Republic Airport is an historically significant airfield to the region and the world, having played both military and civilian roles. But long before it became an airfield, it gave rise to the manufacturers that built airplanes.

“The Industrial Revolution and airplane manufacture came to Farmingdale during World War I when Lawrence Sperry and Sydney Breese established their pioneering factories in the community,” wrote Ken Neubeck and Leroy E. Douglas in their book, Airplane Manufacturing in Farmingdale (Arcadia Publishing, 2016, p. 9). “They were drawn by the presence of two branches of the Long Island Railroad… the nearby Route 24, which brought auto and truck traffic to and from the Fifty-Ninth Street Bridge in Manhattan; the level outwash plain, which provided land for flying fields; and the proximity to skilled workers… “

The area’s first aviation roots, however, were planted as far back as 1917. The Lawrence Sperry Airplane Company, incorporated that year with $50,000 of capital and located on Rose and Richard streets in the village of Farmingdale, produced its first aircraft in the form of the Messenger.

Designed by Alfred Verville of the US Army’s Engineering Division at McCook Field, the minuscule, 17.9-foot-long, all-wood biplane was intended for “aerial motorcycle” missions, alighting in small clearings to drop off and pick-up messages from field commanders, thus earning its name. Farmingdale’s aviation roots were equally cultivated by Sydney Breese, whose Breese Aircraft Company, located on Eastern Parkway, designed the Penguin. Resembling the Bleriot XI, the mid-wing airplane, powered by a two-cylinder, 28-hp, roughly-running Lawrence engine, was a non-flying, preflight trainer intended to aid US Army pilot transition from primary to operational types. Deployed on the open prairies of Texas, it sported a wingspan too short to produce lift, but allowed fledgling aviators to gain the feel of pre-departure aerodynamic forces on their horizontal tails. Of the 301 produced, only five were ever used for this purpose; the remainder were placed in storage.

2. Fairchild Aviation Corporation:

If Lawrence Sperry and Sydney Breese laid Farmingdale’s aviation foundation, then Sherman M. Fairchild cemented it.

Initially interested in aerial photography equipment, he founded the Fairchild Aerial Camera Corporation in 1920, selling two such devices to the Army, and further developed the company into Fairchild Aerial Surveys to engage in map-making when he had received a contract for an additional 20.

Seeking to replace the myriad of airplane types he operated with a single, specifically- designed camera platform, Fairchild devised the required specifications for one, but could not locate a manufacturer able to build it at a reasonable cost. Forced to do so himself, he established his third aviation company, the Fairchild Aviation Corporation, and moved into the Sperry factory in South Farmingdale, vacated as a result of founder Sperry’s tragic death in December of 1923.

The high-wing, strut-braced, single-engine utility aircraft, designated FC-1 and first flying in prototype form in 1926, featured an enclosed and heated cabin to protect the pilot and his camera equipment, but its original OX-5 engine proved inadequate. Retrofitted with a higher-capacity Wright J-4, it was redesignated FC-1A.

The FC-2 production version, supported by wheels, floats, or skis, featured increased cabin volume. Powered by a 200-hp Wright J-5, the aircraft, intended for commercial operations, sported a 31-foot overall length and 44-foot wingspan. Accommodating a single pilot and four passengers, or up to 820 pounds of cargo, it had a 3,400-pound gross weight and could attain maximum, 122-mph speeds and operate 700-mile segments.

Demand at the South Farmingdale factory soon eclipsed capacity. After aerially surveying the region, Fairchild himself chose a 77,967-acre alternate on the south side of Route 24 and Conklin Street in East Farmingdale, a site which offered prevailing, South Shore winds and multiple-mode ground access by means of a railroad line and the major, Route 110 corridor, which would facilitate both personnel and raw material transport to the new field. Repackaged into airplanes, the latter could then fly out.

“The 77,967-acre Fairchild Flying Field was developed in the late winter and early spring of 1928 and was originally owned and operated by the Fairchild Engine and Airplane Manufacturing Company,” according to the Long Island-Republic Airport Historical Society. “The first flights from (it) took place in (the) late spring of 1928 after the Fairchild Airplane and the Fairchild Engine factories were completed and aircraft were produced (there). Fairchild built Model 41, 41A, 42, 21, 100, and 150 airplanes… “

Wings, like those of the Hempstead Plains to the west, once again rose from the farm fields of Long Island, built, propelled, and supported, respectively, by the Fairchild Airplane Factory, the Fairchild Engine Factory, and the Fairchild Flying Field, after Faircam Realty, Inc., purchased the land and its initial layout was established on November 3, 1927.

Although Fairchild produced multiple models at its new Long Island aviation center, its roots would quickly prove tenuous. Moving its headquarters to Hagerstown, Maryland, in 1931, after only three years, it vacated its facilities, which were almost immediately reoccupied by the American Corporation, or AVCO, whose Airplane and Engine divisions produced the Pilgrim 100 transport for American Airways. But the Depression, taking too large a bite out of the economy, severely diminished demand for it, since aircraft acquisitions were high on a company’s cost reduction list, and its presence proved shorter than Fairchild’s. By mid-1932, it had equally disappeared.

3. Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation:

Initially located in Valley Stream, where it designed floats, the Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation moved further east, to the Fairchild Flying Field, and took up residence in the former Fulton Truck Factory, where it hatched its first production fighter, the FF-1. Powered by a single, 750-hp Wright engine, the biplane, with a retractable undercarriage, was also offered in scout configuration, as the SF-1.

The most significant aircraft to emerge from the East Farmingdale production line, however, was the Duck. Tracing its origins to the Loening Aeronautical Engineering Corporation’s XO2L-1, it had been submitted to the US Navy in 1931, but, since Loening himself lacked the required facilities to build it, he turned to Leroy Grumman, his former colleague, who re-submitted it in modified form. Accepted on April 25, 1933, the biplane, called XJF-1, was powered by a 700-hp Twin Wasp engine, which drove a three-bladed Hamilton Standard propeller. Its bracing, consisting of one set of struts outboard of the fuselage and a second one, of wires, between the two wings, was minimal for its day. Water operations were supported by a centerline, under-fuselage float, into which the undercarriage retracted.

In all, 632 JF and J2F Ducks were produced, pressed into global, multiple-role service.

Although Grumman’s Farmingdale presence exceeded that of all others, it nevertheless ended after a half-decade, in 1937, when it relocated to larger headquarters in Bethpage, Long Island.

4. Seversky Aircraft Corporation:

Seversky Aircraft Corporation next took center stage in Farmingdale when it relocated there from College Point in Queens, occupying the former American Corporation factory.

A decorated World War I ace, Alexander P. de Seversky, like Igor Sikorsky, immigrated to the US from Russia, and in 1923, developed the first gyroscopically-stabilized bombsight at the Sperry Gyroscope Company, before establishing his own Seversky Aero Corporation, which focused on aircraft instruments and parts.

Injected with fresh capital, it initially occupied the EDO Corporation’s floatplane factory.

His first major design, the SEV-3, was both aerodynamically sleek and progressive, reflecting Seversky’s aviation-intuitive nature. Powered by a single, 420-hp, nose-mounted, Wright J-6 Whirlwind engine, the all-metal, low-wing aircraft, accommodating a pilot and two passengers in sliding, tandem canopied cockpits, was either supported by a wheeled undercarriage or floats, and in 1933 established a world speed record for piston amphibians. Two years later, on September 15, it sustained a 230-mph airspeed.

The foundation of many subsequent versions, which externally exhibited only minor variations over the basic design, it evolved into the next major iteration, the BT-8. As the first all-metal, enclosed cockpit design operated by the US Army Air Corps, it featured a 24.4-foot length and 36-foot wingspan. Powered by the 400-hp Pratt and Whitney R-985-11, the 4,050-pound airplane, accommodating two, had a 175-mph maximum speed. Thirty were built. It led to the definitive version.

Originally occupying Hangar 2 on New Highway and today used by the American Airpower Museum, Seversky Aircraft Corporation took over the Grumman factory in 1937 when it had relocated to Bethpage, thus maintaining two facilities. But, echoing the short history of the East Farmingdale airfield’s tenants, it came to an abrupt end: although Seversky, like many other aviation-minded “geniuses,” possessed the necessary design skills to create progressive airplanes, he lacked the necessary managerial flip-side of the equation needed to devise a proper, and profitable, business plan to market them, resulting in a $550,000 loss by April of 1939. While conducting a European sales tour six months later, on October 13, he was ousted by his own board of directors, who voted for his removal from the very company he had founded.

Reorganized, it was rebranded “Republic Aviation Corporation.”

5. Republic Aviation Corporation:

Fairchild Flying Field’s fortune was about to change. Fueled by World War II, the fledgling Republic Aviation Corporation would explode in size and its roots would become so deeply implanted in Farmingdale soil that it would be decades before they could be unearthed.

Instrumental in that war was the Republic P-47 Thunderbolt.

Succeeding the Seversky P-35, it was the result of Army Air Corps requirements, which included a 400-mph airspeed, a 25,000-foot service ceiling, at least six.50-caliber machine guns, armor plating protection, self-sealing fuel tanks, and a minimum fuel capacity of 315 gallons.

The Republic P-47 Thunderbolt, which dwarfed all other aircraft, was the world’s largest, heaviest, single-engine, single-seat strategic World War II fighter, offering unequaled dive speeds.

War-fed growth of the officially-renamed “Republic Airport” resulted in the expansion of the company’s existing factory on the south side of Conklin Street, as well as the construction of three additional buildings, the installation of a control tower, and the lengthening of its existing runways, all in an effort to support P-47 production, which totaled 9,087 units in Farmingdale alone and required a work force of 24,000 to accomplish by 1944. Employees filtered in by the thousands every day. A round-the-clock production line spat a completed aircraft out of the factory every hour, and these were then ferried by the Women Air Force Service Pilots, or WASPs. Republic Aviation, one of the country’s primary defense arteries, pumped man-and-machine into the agricultural plains of Farmingdale and transformed them into an arsenal of democracy within an 18-month period.

“By 1945, Republic was contributing more than 30 percent of the Army Air Force fighters to the war effort against the Luftwaffe in the skies of Europe,” wrote Leroy E. Douglas in his “Conklin Street Cut-Off” article published in the September 1984 issue of Long Island Forum (p. 182). “Thus, Republic, Ranger, and its 23,000 plus workers-more than half of whom were women-did their part to win the war.”

When World War II’s doors closed, so, too, did those of the Thunderbolt factory, and Republic was forced to diversify its product range in terms of purpose and powerplant, converting military Douglas C-54 Skymasters into commercial DC-4 airliners, producing 1,059 civilian Seabee amphibian aircraft, and attempting to design a passenger transport of its own.

The resultant aircraft, the Republic XF-12 Rainbow–along with the competing, and identically-powered, Hughes XF-11–both received a contract for two.

Emulating the graceful lines of the Lockheed Constellation, the Rainbow, featuring a 93.9-foot overall length and incorporating design experience amassed during Republic’s fighter aircraft development, exuded an appearance quintessentially captured by Aviation Week and Space Technology magazine when it reported, “The sharp nose and cylindrical cigar shape of the XF-12 fulfills a designer’s dream of a no-compromise design with aerodynamic considerations.”

Peace proved the aircraft’s enemy. The close of World War II obviated its (and the comparable Hughes XF-11’s) need. Nevertheless, because of its long-range, high-speed and -altitude, day and night, limited-visibility photo-reconnaissance capability, it was ideal as a territory-mapping platform. Indeed, on September 1, 1948, the second of only two aircraft built photographed its transcontinental flight path from the Air Force Flight Test Center in Muroc, California, to Mitchell Field in Garden City, Long Island, during Operation Birds Eye.

Returning to its military roots, Republic entered the pure-jet era with a P-47 Thunderbolt successor.

Featuring a 37.5-foot length, the design, conceived shortly before the end of the war in 1944, retained the straight wings associated with propeller airplanes. These spanned 36.5 feet.

First flying on February 28, 1946, the 19,689-pound fighter-bomber, designated F-84 Thunderjet and able to climb at 4,210-fpm, established a national speed record of 611 mph, as powered by the 3,750-thrust-pound J35-GE-7. Its range was 1,282 miles and its service ceiling was 40,750 feet. Its production totaled 4,455 units.

Development of its successor began in 1949. Because of an Air Force funding shortage, Republic reduced development costs by retaining commonality, to the tune of 60 percent, with the F-84, but introduced swept wings. The aircraft, powered by a 4,200 thrust-pound Allison XJ35-A-25 engine and initially designated YF-96A, first flew on June 3 of the following year, three months before it was renamed F-84F Thunderstreak.

Korean War-sparked fund increases enabled Republic to complete a second prototype, which first flew on February 14, 1951 with a YJ65-W-1 engine, and it was followed by the first production example, which took to the skies on November 22, 1952. The type was deployed by NATO countries during the Cold War.

F-84F Thunderstreak production totaled 2,713 airplanes.

Nevertheless, Ken Neubeck and Leroy E. Douglas summarized Republic-based aircraft manufacturing by stating in their book, Airplane Manufacturing in Farmingdale (pp. 7-8). “While aviation started in Farmingdale with cloth-covered triplanes and biplanes and prop engines, after World War II Republic helped moved the United States into the jet age with the F-84 and F-84F, which assisted US forces in Korea and NATO nations in the 1950s.”

6. Fairchild Republic Corporation

Although Fairchild departed the very airport it had created in 1931, that absence was short-lived. Reappearing three years later, it took up residence in its former engine factory as the newly formed Ranger Aircraft and Engine Corporation and remained there until 1948. But, for a second time, history was to come full cycle.

Acquiring Hiller Helicopters nine years later, it became Fairchild Hiller, and in July of 1965, it purchased the majority of Republic stock, resulting in the Republic Aviation Division of Fairchild Hiller. Fairchild had thus returned to the soil in which it had planted its first seeds. In 1971, it continued its buying spree, purchasing Swearingen and producing and marketing the 19-passenger, twin-turboprop Fairchild-Swearingen Metro commuter airliner. The following year, the company adopted the official title of “Fairchild Republic.”

Its principle design, conceptualized before the Republic acquisition, was given birth by the Air Force requirement for a close air support aircraft incorporating simplicity, ease of maintenance, and short-field performance, in order to operate from small forward air bases close to the battle line.

Designated A-10 Thunderbolt II and enjoying a production run of 733, it was instrumental in the Gulf War and during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

7. Post-War Manufacturing:

Although Republic Airport and its aviation companies had been associated with mostly-military aircraft design and manufacture, several diverse commercial and space components also emerged from its doors.

Integral to the Boeing 747, for instance, were the leading edge slats, trailing edge flaps, spoilers, and ailerons built by the Republic Aviation division of Fairchild Hiller, while it was also contracted to provide a similar role in its proposed, but canceled, supersonic 2707 airliner.

Equally integral to the Space Shuttle were the Fairchild Republic components manufactured in Farmingdale.

After awarded a $13 million contract by Rockwell International of Los Angeles on March 29, 1973, Fairchild Hiller designed and developed six aluminum vertical tail stabilizers, which sported 45-degree leading edges and measured 27 feet high by 22 feet long, in Hangar 17, along with their associated rudders and speedbrakes. The first, installed on test vehicle Enterprise, facilitated its atmospheric launch from a piggy-backed 747 platform over Edwards Air Force Base on February 18, 1977, while the others were mounted on Space Shuttles Columbia, Challenger, Discovery, Atlantis, and Endeavor.

Expanding the commuter airliner involvement initiated with the Swearingen Metro, Fairchild Republic signed an agreement with Saab-Scania of Sweden on January 25, 1980 to launch the SF-340, in what became the first fully collaborative venture between a US and European aviation manufacturer. Fairchild Republic was contracted to design and build its wings, engine nacelles, and vertical and horizontal tail surfaces, with final assembly occurring in Sweden.

Fairchild Swearingen was assigned North American marketing responsibility, while a jointly owned Swedish company, Saab-Fairchild HB, established an office in Paris to fulfill this function elsewhere.

Powered by twin turboprop engines, the aircraft accommodated 34 passengers in a four-abreast configuration with a central aisle.

After completing some 100 wing sets, however, Fairchild terminated its contract work on the regional airliner, withdrawing from all civil projects, and the aircraft was redesignated the Saab 340.

8. Changing Roles:

Passed the ownership torch on March 31, 1969, Republic Airport was thereinafter operated by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), which continued to transform it into a public-use entity by acquiring 94 adjacent acres from the US government and purchasing an additional 115 privately owned ones to the south and southwest.

“The Metropolitan Transportation Authority took title to Republic Airport as a first step in converting it into a general aviation (field),” according to the Long Island-Republic Airport Historical Society.

Initiating a modernization program, it made several improvements. High-intensity lights were installed on 5,516-foot Runway 1-19 and 6,827-foot Runway 14-32, for example, the latter of which was also equipped with an instrument landing system (ILS). The Fulton Truck Factory, the airport’s original structure dating from 1916, was razed, while Flightways transformed a ten-acre site on the north side of Route 109 into a complex of new hangars, administration buildings, fuel storage tanks, and aircraft tie-downs. A dual-level Administration, Terminal, and Maintenance building opened in 1983, not far from, and shortly before, the operational phase-in of a 100-foot, $2.2 million FAA control tower.

In order to promote economic development of the surrounding region, New York State legislature transferred ownership, for a third time, to the New York State Department of Transportation (DOT) on April 1, 1983, which was advised by a nine-member Republic Airport Commission. It hardly curtailed the modernization momentum.

Indeed, eight years later, a $3.5 million, 25,600-square-foot Grumman Corporate Hangar, replacing the aircraft storage facility previously maintained at its now-closed Bethpage airfield and housing a Beechcraft King Air, a Gulfstream I, and two British Aerospace BAe-125-800s, opened.

In April of 1993, ground was broken for a $3.3 million, 20,000-square-foot SUNY Farmingdale Aerospace Education Center on the east side of Route 110.

Million Air, a subsidiary of Executive Air Support, constructed an 11,700-square-foot Executive Air Terminal and corporate hangar on the airport’s south end, and, by 2001, Air East commenced operations in its own, new, radiant-heated, 10,000-square-foot hangar, which also featured a 2,500-square-foot shop and 4,500-square-foot office and flight school. Yet another hangar-and-office complex, located in the Lambert area, opened its doors in June of 2005 when Talon Air, a charter company, began operations from it.

In order to provide increased clearance needed by the latest-generation of business jets, such as the Gulfstream V and the Bombardier Global Express, taxiway B (bravo) was relocated.

Indeed, more than $18 million in capital improvements were made since 2000 alone.

These enhancements, provisioning the airport for its new, general aviation role, had perhaps been a premonition of things to come.

In 1982, Fairchild Republic won a contract to build two new-generation Air Force T-46A training jets; but, the milestone, initially envisioned as a monetary lifeline, only provided the reverse effect: although the prototype was first rolled out three years later, it lacked some 1,200 parts, and although the second made a successful, 24-minute maiden flight in July of 1986, the contract for the program, fraught with controversy, was canceled, resulting in the layoffs of 500 employees.

Like so many companies dependent upon military contracts for survival, Fairchild Republic, without choice, ceased to exist the following year, leaving its sprouting factories and a legacy, which had begun six decades earlier. Ironically, the two names which had been the most instrumental in the airport’s beginning and growth-Fairchild and Republic-were the same two which had been involved in its demise. The doors of the Farmingdale airfield’s primarily-military aircraft manufacturing and testing chapter thus closed, and those to its general aviation one opened.

“With the company experiencing major financial problems in 1986-1987 and with the loss of support for the T-46A program in Congress, Fairchild terminated both the SF-340 and T-46A production after building only four aircraft,” according to Ken Neubeck and Leroy E. Douglas in Airplane Manufacturing in Farmingdale (p. 99). “Thus, by the fall of 1987, seventy years of airplane manufacturing in Farmingdale ended with employment and economic loss to the community and the New York metropolitan area.”

9. Airline Service:

In 1966, a year after ownership of Republic Airport was transferred from Fairchild Hiller to Farmingdale Corporation, it was officially designated a general aviation (civil) facility, fielding its first landing, of a twin-engine Beechcraft operated by Ramey Air Service from Islip, on December 7. In order to transform it into a gateway by facilitating airline connections at the three major New York airports, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority contracted with Air Spur to provide this feeder service four years later, assessing $12 one-way fares.

Although Republic was never envisioned as a major commercial airport, its central Long island location, proximity to the Route 110 corridor, and considerable infrastructure poised it for limited, scheduled and charter service to key business and leisure destinations within neighboring states. Yet its inherent operational limitation was succinctly stated in the 2000 Republic Airport Master Plan Update.

“At Republic Airport,” it explained (Chapter 3, p. 8), “the New York State Department of Transportation implemented an aircraft weight limitation of 60,000 pounds in 1984. This weight limitation restricts the operation of aircraft over 60,000 pounds actual gross weight without the written consent of the airport operator.”

“Forecasts indicate that there will be an increase in the number of jet aircraft based at Republic Airport,” the Master Plan Update stated, “as well as an increase in jet operations,” as ultimately proven by annual pure-jet operation statistics: 2,792 in fiscal year 1986, 4,056 in 1990, 4,976 in 1995, and 6,916 in 1998. And, of its average annual number of based aircraft-about 500-this segment was also the fastest growing: 10 jet aircraft in 1985, 15 in 1995, and 20 in 1998. That number has since more than doubled.

One of the first scheduled airline attempts was made in 1978 when Cosmopolitan Airlines, operating an ex-Finnair Convair CV-340 and two ex-Swissair CV-440 Metropolitans in single-class, four-abreast, configurations, offered all-inclusive, single-day, scheduled charter packages to Atlantic City from its Cosmopolitan Sky Center. Its flyer had advised: “Fly to Atlantic City for only $19.95 net. Here’s how it works: Pay $44.95 for a round-trip flight ticket to Atlantic City, including ground transportation to and from the Claridge Hotel and Casino. Upon arrival at the Claridge, you’ll receive $20.00 in food and beverage credits good at any restaurant except the London Pavilion. You will also receive a $5.00 flight credit good for your next fight to the Claridge on Cosmopolitan Airlines.”

The carrier also briefly attempted to offer two daily scheduled round-trips to Boston on its 52-passenger CV-440s in 1980.

Facilitating this scheduled service growth was the construction of a passenger terminal.

“The terminal building, completed in 1983, has approximately 50,000 square feet of useable floor space and houses airport service vehicles, maintenance, fire protection, public terminal space, and rental areas on the first floor, plus administration offices on the second floor. Approximately 70 employees work in the building,” according to the 2000 Republic Airport Master Plan Update (Chapter 1, p. 17).

Attempting to establish a link between Farmingdale and the major New York metropolitan airport of Newark International in order to feed its departures, PBA Provincetown Boston Airline commenced shuttle service with Cessna C-402 commuter aircraft, connecting Long Island by means of a 30-minute aerial hop with up to five daily round-trips and coordinating schedules with PEOPLExpress Airlines. It advertised avoidance of the excessive drive-times, parking costs, and longer check-in requirements otherwise associated with larger-airport usage, and offered the convenience of through-fares, ticketing, and baggage check to any PEOPLExpress final destination.

According to its June 20, 1986 Northern System timetable, it offered Farmingdale departures at 0700, 0950, 1200, 1445, and 1755.

Demand soon necessitated replacement of the C-402 with a larger, 19-seat Embraer EMB-110 Bandeirante.

All of these brief, unsuccessful scheduled attempts, nullifying local residents’ ill-founded concern that Republic would ultimately develop into a major commercial airport and inflict its noise on close-proximity ears, failed to attract the needed traffic to render them self-supporting, emphasizing several airport-specific factors.

1). Republic was consistently associated with general, and not scheduled, operations during the latter part of its history.

2). Long Island MacArthur had already established itself as the island’s principle commercial facility, and carriers, as demonstrated by Precision/Northwest Airlink, gained no revenue advantage by diluting the same market, yet incurring increased airport and operational costs to do so.

“Republic Airport has had service by various commuter airlines and each has ceased service… ,” according to the 2000 Republic Airport Master Plan Update. “The commuter service market area is limited, geographically, taking into account the larger airports, such as La Guardia, Kennedy, and MacArthur and the service they offer.”

“Since 1969, Republic Airport has accommodated the region’s need for an airport devoted to private and business aircraft, as well as charter and commuter operations,” it also stated (Chapter 1, p. 1). “Because Republic is situated in the midst of residential, commercial, and industrial development, its role is inconsistent with that of a scheduled air carrier airport for commercial jet transport.”

With the number of annual passengers having consistently increased-from 13,748 in 1985 and 30,564 in 1990 to 33,854 in 1995-its future commuter role could not be entirely ruled out.

“While past efforts by commuter airlines have not been successful, the potential for future service exists and is to be considered in the planning for the airport,” it concluded (Chapter 2, p. 10).

10. The Future:

Unlike Roosevelt and Glenn Curtiss fields, which succumbed to modern-era pressures and swapped their runways for shopping malls, 526-acre Republic only surrendered a small portion of itself to the Airport Plaza Shopping Center. Instrumental in early-aviation development and in the Korean, Vietnam, Gulf, and Iraq wars, it transformed itself into a general aviation facility, peaking with 546-based aircraft and becoming the third-largest New York airport in terms of movements after JFK International and La Guardia.

Billing itself as “the corporate airbridge for Long Island’s 21st-century economy,” this westernmost Long Island general aviation facility accounts for 1,370 jobs and $139.6 million of economic activity, supporting 60 on-airport businesses. The 110,974 movements recorded in 2008 encompassed 52 by non-rigid airships, 7,120 by rotary wing, 76,236 by single-engine pistons, 6,310 by twin-engine pistons, 5,028 by turboprops, and 16,228 by pure-jets. The latter, its second-highest total, emphasizes its increasing role as the “Teterboro of Long Island,” perhaps pointing the way to its future. Indeed, companies considering the area for their corporate locations cite the airport as a major asset, since it provides close-proximity aerial access for personnel and materials.

Toward that end, the State of New York approved funding in April of 2009 for a Vision Planning process to collect data from residents, employees, businesses, and users, and then plot its future course. Specifically, the program had a three-fold purpose-namely, to define the airport’s role, to determine how it will fill that role, and, finally, to ascertain how it will work with the community to attain the desired operational and economic goals.

“As part of the National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems (NPIAS), Republic Airport is designated as a reliever airport with commercial service,” according to the 2000 Republic Airport Master Plan Update (Chapter 1, p. 1). “Under ownership by the New York State Department of Transportation, there are specific state development and policy procedures which are followed.”

Although it may never eclipse its current general aviation role, its importance was not to be underestimated.

“”Republic Airport is an important regional asset,” it stated (Chapter 1, p. 1). “It provides significant transportation and economic benefits to both Suffolk and Nassau counties. The policy of the New York State Department of Transportation and the Republic Airport Commission shall be that Republic Airport continue to better serve Long Island.”

Whatever the future holds for it, it has a nine-decade foundation upon which to base it, as acknowledged by the plaque hung in the passenger terminal by the Long Island-Republic Airport Historical Society, “honor(ing) the tens of thousands of men and women who labored here in East Farmingdale, contributing significantly to aviation technology and aircraft production.” Those men and woman turned the wheels of the 11 aviation companies based there.

Sources

Long Island Republic Airport Historical Society website.

Neubeck, Ken, and Douglas, Leroy E. Airplane Manufacturing in Farmingdale. Charleston, South Carolina: Arcadia Publishing, 2016.

2000 Republic Airport Master Plan Update, New York State Department of Transportation.

Choosing the Right Mechanic for Your Aircraft

We all know that taking care of the mechanical health of your aircraft is step one in safety, but how do you know which type of airplane mechanic should work on your plane? Here’s a general overview of the types of aviation mechanics, according to FAA Safety Briefing, the FAA’s publication on GA news and information.

Choosing the type of airplane mechanic usually is connected to the work your aircraft needs. But often, you won’t know until the problem is diagnosed.

There are generally three types of airplane maintenance mechanics: airframe and powerplant mechanic (A&P), an inspection authorization endorsed mechanic (IA), or an FAA certificated repair station. Here’s an overview of who to go to and for what.

For general maintenance: Airframe and Powerplant Mechanic (A&P)

A&Ps, also known as aviation maintenance technicians, are usually called upon for routine aircraft maintenance, such as examining engines, conducting 100-hour inspections, replacing and repairing defective parts, repairing minor structural damage, and keeping corrosion under control.

To become a certificated A&P aircraft mechanic (14 CFR part 65), a person must be at least 18 years old, read, write, and speak English, and acquire 18 months of practical experience for either airframe or powerplant certification, or 30 months of practical experience concurrently for both airframe and powerplant.

One can also complete the training by attending an accredited part 147 maintenance school. Following training, the student must pass three tests – written, oral and practical – to become certified.

For aircraft inspections: Inspection Authorization Mechanic (IA)

An IA is essentially an FAA-licensed A&P mechanic with the additional endorsement of “inspection authority” issued on a FAA Form 8310-5 (IA card). As such, IAs are authorized to do progressive and annual aircraft inspections, in addition to a variety of maintenance and alterations than non-authorized A&Ps. The benefit of this is you can get your repair work done and sign-off paperwork done at the same time, saving time and money.

In addition to inspections, IAs can also sign for an aircraft’s return back to service after major repairs (Form 337), such as the repair or replacement of major control surfaces, spars, wing and tail surface brace struts, axle replacements, and major repairs to the powerplant.

To earn an IA designation, an A&P mechanic must train an additional three years (two years active), have available equipment and a fixed base of operations, pass an inspection-specific written test, and meet the requirements in 14 CFR part 65.91.

For large repairs: Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul Station (MRO)

If your aircraft is ever in need of major repairs on complex components, such as retractable landing gear assemblies, reciprocating and turbine engines, and auxiliary power units, the smart move may be an Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul Station (MRO), aka a repair station.

A good repair station with certified, experienced mechanics will have the specialized equipment and authorizations needed for complex repairs, such as avionics and electronics overhauls, mechanical actuators, fuel systems, and carburetors. Keep in mind that different stations might specialize in areas of aircraft maintenance, but all must adhere to the regulations and policies laid out in 14 CFR part 145.

To obtain a repair station certification, an applicant must successfully complete a five-stage process: pre-application, the formal application, document compliance, demonstration and inspection, and certification.

Reference:

http://www.faa.gov/news/safety_briefing/

Choosing a Fixed Base Operator (FBO) Services Provider

An FBO services provider allows pilots to visit distant airports and access a wide range of services from aircraft preparation and repairs to accommodations and services for the people aboard while on the ground. Having a reliable, knowledgeable, and established FBO company on call is a critical component of long-distance aviation journey. Choosing the right provider can ensure that your aircraft is in top shape and ready to fly when you are, allowing you to get some valuable downtime or focus on other tasks while you’re in town. What services can you expect when you’re dealing with a local FBO provider? Here’s a closer look at what pilots need to know.

Routine aircraft preparation and maintenance

The most important services that an FBO services provider offers are those that prepare your aircraft to get back in the air when needed. The availability of fuel – including Jet A and AvGas – is absolutely critical to a pilot’s ability to refuel and take off on schedule. If your plane has an onboard oxygen system, your FBO will be able to refill both oxygen and nitrogen as required. If you have mechanical needs, a highly trained on-staff mechanic will be available to complete a walk-through of your plane, evaluate the situation, and if needed make repairs. When an FBO doesn’t have necessary parts on hand, they’ll usually manage the process of ordering and expediting the part to their location to solve the problem. From getting your systems online and working when you’re experiencing trouble to simply handling the details of turning over your aircraft, these experts take care of all the elements of navigating the local airport.

Lavatory and potable water services

Whether you’re flying a small commercial plane or you’re enjoying the comfort of a private jet, small touches make your experience more comfortable. In-flight lavatories and the availability of drinking water are key to the in-flight experience. A good FBO company will offer a range of services including lavatory pumping and the availability of aircraft safe cleaning chemicals. In addition, they’ll be able to measure the potable water onboard and refill as needed. Often the capacity on smaller planes requires that these systems receive attention each time a flight stops to refuel.

Generalized ground support

FBOs provide a wide variety of ground support services. These include the use of air stairs to exit and enter the plane, cargo loading and unloading services, the use of GPU units to power your plane, and more. If you need your food restocked or your plane professionally cleaned before take-off, an FBO can provide that support. Tie-downs and 24/7 security and monitoring of your aircraft are also part of the standard menu while you’re parked at the airport.

Meeting space and catering

When you’re flying into town for a meeting, your aircraft may not offer the ambience that you’re seeking. Sometimes you simply want the opportunity to stretch your legs. But leaving the airport and traveling to a nearby city can be an unwanted hassle. An FBO can handle the logistics of your meetings, from providing onsite conference rooms to taking care of details such as catering your event.

Partnering with the right FBO makes long distance flights easier. By hiring the most reputable FBO services provider in any destination, you’ll ensure both the quality of your stay and your peace of mind that your plane will be ready to go the moment you need to leave.