Port Washington Aviation History


6th Annual Cruise of the L.I. Aviation Country Club, c. 1928

arch462In Sands Point, members of the club await the start of the sixth annual seaplane cruise of the Long Island Aviation Country Club.

The Club was based in Hicksville, but eliminated after World War II with the development of Levittown.  For more information see the Long Island Early Fliers Club‘s article about the Long Island Aviation Country Club: http://www.longislandearlyfliers.org/news_archive/07marchapril.htm

Draftsmen at the American Aeronautical Corp. Plant, 1929

arch266The plant was located on Manhasset Isle.

Photo courtesy of of the Estate of Joseph J. Gaeta.

Curtiss Sail Plane in Flight, September 13, 1922


On September 6, 1922 Glenn H. Curtiss successfully flew his sail plane for the first time, in Manhasset Bay.  The plane had no motor and relied on wind and a tow-boat to bring it up to speed.  This photograph was taken of the plane just a week later!

We found an article that appeared in the New York Times on September 7, 1922, reporting on Glenn H. Curtiss’s first successful flight with the “sail plane” on September 6!  To read the entire article, click here to download the PDF.  Otherwise, here are some highlights:


After four disappointing attempts to fly his recently developed glider, or sail plane, as he terms it, over Manhasset Bay, near Port Washington, L. I., yesterdary, Glenn H. Curtiss, pioneer in American aeronautics, unexpectedly made a sustained flight lasting nine seconds while the plane was being towed by a speed boat back to the hangar.

“This is the first step in sea soaring,” said Mr. Curtiss . . . “We must pattern after the albatross, which takes off from a wave and soars immediately.  To keep soaring, we must have knowledge of the variations of air currents over the water.”

. . . The glider is an exact copy on a small scale of the N. C. boats built by the Curtiss Company for the navy.  Constructed of duraluminum, a light metal, with spruce struts and silk fabric covered wings, the glider has a wing spread of 28 feet, a length over all of 24 feet, and a height of 7 feet.  Its weight empty is 140 pounds.

Mr. Curtiss said that the tests yesterday had opened up…the possibility of using a sail plane as a trailer for a flying boat, forming what might be termed an air train.

Dornier Do X Over New York City, c. 1920s

fom243The Dornier Do X was the largest and bulkiest flying boat at the time of its production in 1929.  For other impressive views of this aircraft see the photos at Airliners.net or  a scale model of the plane at Hobbylinc.com.

Photo from the collection of Frank Strnad.

Aerial View of Manhasset Isle, 1927


Billy Bomar Hanging by His Hands, c. 1925


Typical of the air thrills at the time is Billy Bomar hanging by his hands from a strut of a New Standard over Manhattan.

Photo from the collection of Frank Strnad.

American Aeronautical Corp. Type S-55 Taking Off From Manhasset Bay, 1929

fom23The gas-carrying barge and recreational boats in the background depict ongoing activities in the bay – both commercial and recreational.

Photo from the estate of Joseph J. Gaeta.

Wing Walkers on a Waco 10, 1929

ovakinney_strndFor women as much as men, the lure of flight was potent.  Miss Ova Kinney, on left, is one of two wing walkers on a Waco 10 flown by Paul Rizzo over Barren Island Airport, now part of the Gateway National Recreation area, 1929.

Photo from the collection of Frank Strnad.