TwHP Lessons

Floyd Bennett Field:
Naval Aviation's Home in Brooklyn

[Photo] Naval Air Ferry Squadrons Memorial Plaque, Ryan Visitor Center.
(Floyd Bennett Field Task Force)

(Floyd Bennett Field Task Force)


alking along Floyd Bennett Field's historic hanger row today you can almost hear the roar of the mighty engines that powered aircraft on their way to patrol the vital sea lanes of the Atlantic during the German U-Boat offensive of 1942. Look into Hanger B and imagine the ground crews receiving newly built planes from companies like Grumman, Vought-Sikorsky, and General Motors, testing them, and then commissioning some 46,000 aircraft. Imagine the Air Ferry Squadron One (VRF-1)¹ pilots soaring off to deliver Wildcats, Hellcats, and Avengers to Navy and Marine aviation units on their way to fight in the major battles of the Pacific during World War II.

Floyd Bennett Field's heritage in both civil aviation and military aviation is long and rich. However, its greatest impact on United States history took place during World War II when the "Janes who made the planes" and the men who tested and delivered the aircraft made Naval Air Station New York (Floyd Bennett Field) the busiest naval air station in the nation. By reducing the processing time for aircraft from 10 days (1941) to three days (1943) they insured that the huge number of aircraft flowing off the assembly lines reached U.S. and Allied forces.

Located in Brooklyn, NY, today Floyd Bennett Field is preserved by the National Park Service as part of Gateway National Recreation Area. Although it lacks the bustle of the past, it is not silent. In Hangar B, volunteers contribute thousands of hours annually restoring vintage aircraft that once flew from the field. Visitors tour the airfield learning its proud story: its defense of the nation during World War II as it guarded ships leaving New York Harbor, as well as its role in one of the greatest industrial feats of all time, giving wings to the armed forces of the United States.

¹ VRF is the World War II naval air squadron designation for a ferry squadron, which transports newly manufactured and tested planes around country to embarkation points.


About This Lesson

Getting Started: Inquiry Question

Setting the Stage: Historical Context

Locating the Site: Maps
 1. Aerial Photograph of Floyd Bennett Field Historic District, 1980
 2. Aircraft Manufacturers Supplying Floyd Bennett Field, 2003
 3. World War II Aircraft Ferry Routes Originating from Floyd Bennett Field, 2003
 4. Naval Air Ferry Transcontinental Ferry  Route, c. 1943

Determining the Facts: Readings
 1. Floyd Bennett Field, World War II 1941-1945
 2. The Janes Who Built the Planes
 3. Aircraft Delivery Unit and Naval Air Ferry Command Deliver the Planes

Visual Evidence: Images
 1. Ryan Visitor Center at Floyd Bennett Field,  Control Tower, 2004
 2. WAVE operating radio equipment at the  control tower, NAS New York, 1943
 3. Ryan Visitor Center at Floyd Bennett Field,  Stylized Globe, 2002
 4. VRF-1 Squadron Insignia, 1943
 5. Crew of women aircraft workers in  Grumman factory, Bethpage, New York, c. 1943
 6. Planes and Navy personnel in front of Hanger  2, NAS New York, c. 1944
 7. Inspection of ferry squadrons, NAS New  York, c. 1944
 8. WAVES displaying objects associated with  their jobs, NAS New York, 1945

Putting It All Together: Activities
 1. Graphic Design
 2. Oral History Interview
 3. World War II in the Local Community

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Gateway National Recreation Area

The lesson is based on the Floyd Bennett Field Historic District, one of the thousands of properties listed in the National Register of Historic Places.



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