100 Years of Flight
are beginning our celebration here at The Cradle of Aviation
Museum because New York State is historically the most important
region in the United States for the development of American
aviation as well for Curtiss-Wright.
a geographic perspective, Long Island was a natural airfield—largely
treeless and flat, with only tall grasses and scattered farmhouses,
located at the eastern tip of the U.S., western edge of the
Atlantic Ocean, and adjacent to New York City, America’s most
populated urban center. It became the center of the aviation
world—civilian and military—for over fifty years.
aviation activity in NY included hot-air balloons, gliders
and gasoline-powered airships. In 1909, Glenn Curtiss brought
his “Golden Flyer” biplane here for testing and development.
The year 1911 saw both the first airmail flights, and the first
transcontinental flight, when Cal Rodgers flew a Wright biplane
from Long Island to California in 49 days. During World War
I, Long Island was the center of both military aircraft production
and military aviator training. Curtiss, at its multiple locations,
produced over 10,000 aircraft for the war, becoming a key supplier
to the government.
the war, the pace of aviation advancement gained even greater
momentum. In 1919 the first trans-Atlantic flight was made
when a Navy Curtiss flying boat, the NC-4 built in Garden City,
flew from Long Island to England, with two stops along the
way. In 1923, the first non-stop flight across America was
made from Long Island to California. And, of course, in May
1927 we had Charles Lindbergh’s solo non-stop transatlantic
flight from Roosevelt Field to Paris in only 33 hours and
Field was also the take-off and return site of the first round-the-world
flight by Wiley Post and Harold Gatty in 1931, which took eight
days. Indeed, by the early 1930s, Roosevelt Field was the largest
and busiest civilian airfield in America with over 150 aviation
businesses and 450 planes based there.
1929, when Curtiss-Wright was formed, it established manufacturing
facilities in Garden City and surrounding areas.
Curtiss-Wright Corporation, the heir of three great aviation
pioneers—Orville and Wilbur Wright and Glenn Curtiss—was formed
in July 1929, through the union of businesses that were founded
by them, Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Company and Wright Aeronautical.
Curtiss-Wright Corporation has been a global leader in designing
and manufacturing highly engineered products, since the birth
of human flight and the inception of the aerospace industry.#
Benante is the Chairman and CEO of Curtiss-Wright Aircraft.
Update, Inc., P.O. Box 1588, New York, NY 10159.
Tel: (212) 477-5600. Fax: (212) 477-5893. Email: email@example.com.
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