2003-08-29 / Community

Opportunity To Fly In Vintage Airliner

Opportunity To Fly In Vintage Airliner

As part of a tribute to former airport and airline employees, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is inviting retirees who worked at their regional airports to submit essays that recall their experiences.

A panel of judges will select a dozen that are considered award winning and offer those individuals the opportunity to fly in a vintage Constellation on September 19 at the American Airpower Museum at Republic Airport.

Participants are asked to submit their essay to "Constellation Weekend," in care of The American Airpower Museum, 1230 New Highway, Farmingdale, New York 11735.

"We are looking to honor the men and women who have become such a vital part of the aviation success in the entire region. This tribute will capture their recollections and create an intergenerational experience that will ensure each family appreciates their aviation retiree," stated Port Authority Director William R. DeCota.

An important part of the essay program is its intergenerational approach. Individuals may write about their own experiences. However, families are encouraged to have young people interview the retiree about their experiences and then submit the essay to the judging panel. The length of the essay is not the criteria for being selected, rather the ability to relate a story or incident that captures the career experience of the retiree.

Jerry Kessler, President of Friends for Long Island’s Heritage, welcomed the Port Authority’s effort, calling it historic in its own right. "The actions of the Port Authority reflect an extraordinary effort by an government agency or corporation to capture and preserve who we are as a society by seeking the individual recollections of those who created that legacy. Our aviation history is particularly unique and the incentive of a Constellation flight should hopefully motivate many retirees to participate."

The four-engine Lockheed Constellation was a quantum leap forward in airliner design when it was conceived in 1939. Arguably the most stylish piston airliner ever proposed, the arrival of World War II saw limited numbers pressed into military service.

With the end of World War II, the Constellation entered service with TWA in 1946 and was used on both transcontinental and transatlantic flights. The aircraft proved to be extremely popular and was soon bought by a number of other airlines.

Despite the historical nature of the Constellation airliner, not too many examples have been saved worldwide. Of the 856 aircraft built, only a handful has been saved for museums, and only 5 are flying today. The Port Authority and the American Airpower Museum at Republic Airport have arranged to have one arrival on September 19 to offer a nostalgic flight to those participants of Aviation Heritage weekend who are selected.

In addition, members of the public who wish to fly in the aircraft for a 40-minute flight may do so with a tax-deductible donation of $400. For more information contact the museum through its website, www.americanairpowermuse um.com.

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