Floyd Bennet Field airport plan crashes and burns

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Mill Basin and Marine Park are a no-fly zone.

A pie-in-the-sky pitch to bring commuter flights back to Floyd Bennett Field is being attacked by leaders as a horrible use for the historic airstrip turned national park.

“If this was a pilot program, the pilot would crash,” said Assemblyman Alan Maisel (D–Marine Park), who thinks the neighborhood has enough problems dealing with planes going in and out of nearby JFK Airport. “JFK shouldn’t even be where JFK is, but we’re stuck with it.”

Members of the Floyd Bennett Field’s Historical Aircraft Restoration Project — airplane aficionados who restore vintage fliers — floated the idea of reopening the field this weekend.

The group says allowing planes to fly over the strips where Amelia Earhart and Howard Hughes once took off would alleviate air traffic at JFK.

“The existing runways could handle some of the larger aircraft,” said Dante Dimille, a retired graphic artist and U.S. National Park Service volunteer.

Floyd Bennett Field can fit an 8,500-foot runway — larger than any of the runways at LaGuardia Airport — and state-of-the-art air traffic control systems would ensure that landings and takeoffs at Floyd Bennett Field wouldn’t conflict with planes gliding toward JFK Airport.

Right now, a handful of special flights are held at Floyd Bennett Field each year, so expanding to accommodate daily flights wouldn’t be a huge stretch, plane lovers said.

Yet local elected officials want to ground this idea before it takes flight.

“Floyd Bennett Field is in the middle of a national park,” said Councilman Lew Fidler (D-Marine Park). “We should treat it like a jewel, not like this.”

New York City’s first municipal airport, Floyd Bennett was added to the 26,000-acre Gateway National Recreation Area in 1972.

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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