Sunday, July 24, 2011

American Airpower Museum, Farmingdale, LI, NY

This is the American Airpower Museum, dedicated solely to the aircraft and vehicles used in WWII and later years.

They are located in Farmingdale, in one of the hangers on the former site of Republic Aviation, once one of the largest employers on Long Island. Check out my blog for more information on Republic Aviation, also known as Fairchild Republic.   It was at this complex that over 9,000 P-47 Thunderbolts were produced.  The link to my entry will be included along with the other links at the bottom of this page.

I'm sitting at the cockpit of Teacher's Pet, a full scale replica of a WWII bomber complete with machine guns positions, bombardier, radio and pilot positions.  You actually get to walk through and experience what being on a bomber is like.  With video enhancements and accompanying text, makes this exhibit worthwhile.  This is designed for younger people in order to  bridge the gap between them and their grandparents who fought during WWII.  

The museum is chock full of information regarding World War II and has an extensive collection of operational aircrafts.  Volunteers like Al Roessler, who braved the 100 degree heat to show us around, make it possible for this museum to exist.

There were lots of planes were on exhibit outside, but this gives you some idea of what is here and how big their collection is.  Many of these planes are operational and air shows during the holidays are interesting and informative, always attracting a large crowd.  This is made possible by state grants and corporate underwriting. Shelt-Air and Republic Airport management team also support the museum by keeping the collection operational
 In 2008, the American Airpower Museum was in danger of being demolished by the Federal Aviation Administration, along with another hanger, in order to meet new runway standards.
At one point, after ongoing negotiations, the FAA discovered that it did not have the authority to demolish the hangers and it was decided to dismantle the museum and move it to a more appropriate spot.
This is a great victory not only for the museum, but for thousands of visitors to learn more about WWII aircraft and understand the role it played in preserving our freedom and democracy of the United States.

On our first visit, we were impressed with the museum's collection and with the amount of information contained within its walls.  On our second visit yesterday, we once again spent close to three hours with our tour guide whose enthusiasm and extensive knowledge helped us learn much more than we had from our first visit.

Several movies and tv shows have been filmed here, more recently the new show "Pan Am" where a replica of an old Pan American airplane was used as a prop.  Susan saw two scenes from the show being filmed here and saw as the team cleaned and painted the plane to get it ready for filming. One side said "Pan Am", the other side announced to the public to "Fly Eastern Airlines."  Watch for it in the new fall lineup.

Me on a Sherman tank.

B61 Hydrogen Bomb
Here are some links:

The official site of the American Airpower Museum. Check out this very informative site.  It gives more details and provides photos and information on their extensive collection of WWII airplanes and vehicles.

Link to an earlier Clyde's Guides blog entry on Fairchild Republic and Republic Aviation.
Article on the saving of the American  Airpower Museum

Wikipedia article

New fall show on ABC "Pan Am"

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