A New York City Living Aviation Museum

Floyd Bennett Field, in Brooklyn, New York, was once the busiest airport in the nation. It closed in 1972 upon the departure of the US Navy. Today it is under the purview of the National Park Service.

On the field is Hanger B, a living aviation museum.

Grumman Albatross at Hangar B

Grumman Albatross at Hangar B

I wrote more extensively about the planes and activities at Hangar B in 2012. Today (October 2016), I stopped by to see how things were going.

The hanger itself has been repaired after damage by Hurricane Sandy resulted in its temporary closure to the public. It was much needed since rain outside formerly meant rain inside.

The collection of aircraft is still the same with the restorations always in progress. The airplane restorations are done by volunteers. Almost all of the ones that I have spoken with are in their 60s and 70s and it’s quite difficult to find new volunteers with the skill set needed to fix these old planes.

If you’re in the New York City area and would like to learn something new, consider volunteering. You can work on these old airplanes under the supervision of someone with years of experience.

Since my last visit, the C-97 has been moved outside where they can run the engines and continue to do work. It looks like it also has some new paint and the tail has been reattached (too tall to fit inside the hangar).

c-97-nyc

berlin-airlift-c-97

Berlin Airlift Historical Foundation C-97 at Floyd Bennett Field

The SNJ (or T-6 and Harvard) has been stripped and primed in some spots.

SNJ Floyd Bennett Field

SNJ Floyd Bennett Field

Unlike most museums, visitors here can walk around inside the hangar and touch the airplanes. This Westinghouse J34 jet engine is on a Lockheed P2V Neptune anti submarine aircraft. The P2V was a land-based plane. The jet has an interesting story including that it ran on Avgas instead of jet fuel.

Westinhouse J34 on Lockheed P2V Neptune

Westinhouse J34 on Lockheed P2V Neptune

To save the weight and complexity of two separate fuel systems, the Westinghouse J34 jet engines on the P2V did not burn jet fuel- they burned the same fuel as the piston engines: 115–145 Avgas. The jet pods were fitted with intake doors that were kept closed when the J-34s were not running to prevent them from windmilling, allowing for economical piston-engine-only long-endurance search and patrol operations. In normal U.S. Navy operations, the jet engines were run at full power (97%) to expedite and assure all takeoffs, then shut down when the aircraft reached a safe altitude. Also, the jets were started and kept running at flight idle during low-altitude (500-foot (150 m) during the day and 1,000-foot (300 m) at night) anti-submarine and/or anti-shipping operations at sea as a safety measure in case one of the radials developed problems. – Source Wikipedia

If you are in the NYC area be sure to set aside an hour to visit Hangar B at Floyd Bennet Field.

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