Cradle of Aviation Museum  

The Cradle of Aviation Museum is an aerospace museum located in Garden City, Long Island, New York to commemorate Long Island‘s part in aviation history. It is located on land once part of Mitchel Air Force Base, which, together with nearby Roosevelt Field and other airfields on the Hempstead Plains, was the site of many historic flights. So many seminal flights had occurred in the area that, by the mid-1920s, the cluster of airfields was already dubbed the “Cradle of Aviation,” the origin of the museum’s name.


The first Cradle of Aviation Museum Newsletters was published periodically by the Friends of Nassau County Museum when the air museum itself was still just a dream of Kaiser and George C. Dade, the museum’s first director. Along with Henry Anholzer of Pan American Airlines and a team of volunteers, they acquired and restored numerous aircraft. These aircraft reflected some of Long Island’s aviation firsts and its local aerospace industry. The first acquisition was a World War I Curtiss JN-4D discovered in an Iowa pig barn by Dade in 1973. Lindbergh later confirmed that this was his very first airplane. According to their Spring 1979 newsletter, the museum also had a Ryan Brougham (sister ship of the Spirit of St. Louis), Republic P-47N Thunderbolt, Republic Seabee, Grumman F-11A Tiger, and a Grumman Lunar Module spacecraft. These aircraft were destined to occupy hangars 3 & 4 of Mitchel Air Force Base, which was acquired by Nassau County when the base closed in 1961. The museum initially opened with just a handful of aircraft in the un-restored hangars in 1980. A significant renovation and expansion program in the late 1990s allowed the museum to re-open in a state-of-the-art facility in 2002. Top HVAC Long Island


Today the museum contains over 70 aircraft and scale models of airplanes from various periods, including Charles Lindbergh’s Curtiss Jenny, which he barnstormed, the A-10 Thunderbolt II, and Grumman F-14 Tomcat, and an unused Apollo Lunar Module, LM-13. LM-13 was scheduled to land on the Moon with the Apollo 19 mission. Still, the task was canceled, and it remained on Earth, close to its birthplace in the Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation facility in nearby Bethpage, New York.

Many tour guides and restoration workers formerly worked at Grumman, which contributed much to the museum. The museum consists of eight chronological galleries with an approximately equal number of aircraft in each gallery. It is one of the only museums in the Long Island City, NYC, United States to cover all aspects of aviation/space history, including pioneer aircraft, Golden Age aircraft, warbirds, civil, general, commercial, jet aircraft, and spacecraft.


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