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New York EAA Chapters' Wright Flyer Dedication September 8

 

Volunteers work on covering the wing with the unbleached muslin that comes very close to the specs used by the Wright brothers.
Volunteers work on covering the wing with the unbleached muslin that comes very close to the spec used by the Wright brothers.

EAA Chapters 594 and 528 assembled the airplane at a specially made facility in East Moriches, Long Island.
EAA Chapters 594 and 528 assembled the airplane at a specially made facility in East Moriches, Long Island.

 Hand-made propellers were airlifted from the Buffalo area
to Long Island by Jon Olstad in his Cessna 182 RG.
Hand-made propellers were airlifted from the Buffalo area to Long Island by Jon Olstad in his Cessna 182 RG.

August 23, 2007 — In a collaborative effort reflecting the true spirit of EAA, New York State chapter members plans-built a full-scale replica of the 1903 Wright Flyer that will soon be shared with visitors to the Gateway National Recreation Area?s Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn. The aircraft project will be formally dedicated at a public ceremony on September 8 at the historic facility, which was New York City?s first municipal airport.

The replica was delivered to Floyd Bennett Field and reassembled by chapter 594 and 528 members last week. The dedication ceremony is set to begin at 11:30 a.m., with EAA Board member Alan Ritchie appearing with remarks on behalf of the organization.

As EAA Chapter 594?s Michaelene ?Mickey? Carpenter explained, the project involved members from numerous EAA chapters. ?EAA members from Long Island, Brooklyn, Queens, Nassau and Suffolk counties, and all over the state contributed,? she said. ?For various reasons, it took a long time to build, but it?s now completed and scheduled to be donated so millions of New York residents and visitors can see and discover the story of the Wright brothers.?

The project was first conceived in 2001 as a tribute to the 100-year anniversary of the Wright brothers? first powered flight. Plans were received from the Interior Department, which obtained them from the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. However, they were not to full scale, so Northrop Grumman, Bethpage, Long Island, generated full-size ones for the wing ribs, wing tip bow, pilot support ribs, and the engine support structure. The full-scale drawings were then distributed to the aircraft builders and a list of major components was generated.

Alan and Selig Rosenberg of J&A Lumber Co., Ronkonkoma, New York, donated all the wood for the project. Volunteer master wood craftsman Fred Mahnken cut and color-coded all the wood, and volunteers from EAA chapters 528 and 594 in Long Island built all the wing ribs.

Chapters 69 in Warwick, 500 in Massena, and 353 in Kingsbury, donated the funds to purchase 200 yards of unbleached muslin--Carpenter was able to procure material almost to the exact specifications used by Orville and Wilbur.

Students at the Western Suffolk County Board of Cooperative Education Services in Farmingdale, constructed the rear rudders and outriggers, while EAA Chapter 528 (Suffolk County) provided the forward rudder, or canard.

EAA members in Tonawanda (near Buffalo) built the two propellers, which were flown to Brookhaven Airport in Long Island by Jon Olstad in his Cessna 182 RG. Other Long Island chapter members machined the drive sprockets and other parts for the propeller assembly. Meanwhile, volunteers from the Historic Aircraft Restoration Project at Floyd Bennett Field created a mock-up of the engine.

Chapter 594 built a special hangar at Paderos Airport in East Moriches, Long Island, where the various parts built throughout the state were assembled. That project was led by the chapter?s Henry deLaRosa. EAAer Bill Signs, pilot from the Friendship Flights, also donated to the project.

Project participants are listed on a special commemorative bronze plaque created by Russell Lay of Concordia Industries, Garden City. The plaque will be on permanent display with the airplane.

Those planning to attend the dedication ceremony may wish to arrive early and take in second annual Floyd Bennett Field Fly-In also scheduled featuring about 40 military and vintage aircraft. Another attraction at Floyd Bennett Field is a British Airways Concorde supersonic jet, which is normally on display on board the USS Intrepid aircraft carrier that?s currently undergoing restoration.

Historical note: Floyd Bennett Field was named after the famed aviator, Medal of Honor recipient, and Brooklyn resident Floyd Bennett and was dedicated on June 26, 1930. It attracted the best record-breaking pilots of the Golden Age of Aviation, including Wiley Post, Jackie Cochran, Laura Ingalls, Amelia Earhart, Howard Hughes, Roscoe Turner, and. Douglas "Wrong Way" Corrigan. The airport hosted dozens of aviation "firsts" and time records as well as a number of air races, such as the Bendix Cup.

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