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Curator's Choice Video Collection

Cradle of Aviation Museum Historian and Curator, Josh Stoff, curates interesting short YouTube videos and provides commentary.

Virtual Museum Home > Curator's Choice > Aviation Training on Long Island

Aviation Training on Long Island
YouTube Channel: ZenosWarbirds, posted Dec 13, 2018

When the U.S. entered World War One (1914 – 1918) in 1917, the Hempstead Plains Airfield in Mineola was one of only two official Army flying fields in America. This airfield (founded in 1911), was renamed Hazelhurst Field in honor of a deceased army flyer in 1917. By the end of 1917, the field had expanded rapidly as the U.S. became more fully engaged in the war. Numerous new wooden buildings and hangers were constructed in order to meet this rapid expansion. In 1918 the field was renamed for Quentin Roosevelt, President Theodore Roosevelt’s son, an Army aviator who was killed in action during the war. Roosevelt Field later became an important civilian airfield and to this day a shopping center bears his name. Hazelhurst Field was equipped with dozens of Curtiss JN-4 “Jennies”, the most common American training aircraft used during World War One. Slow, stable and forgiving, the ‘Jenny’ was a common sight over Nassau County during the World War One years as hundreds of American aviators were trained for combat in the skies above Long Island. An original JN-4 Jenny may be seen suspended in the museum’s World War One gallery. 

This short, but high-quality video depicts various aspects of flight training on Long Island during the war. Almost all of the video was filmed on Long Island at Hazelhurst (Roosevelt) Field. There are many great views of Curtiss Jennies as well as of the open expanse that then was central Nassau County. The Army could build a huge airfield near Mineola because there was just nothing there in 1917!

Some things to look for: 

- 3:00 The open expanse of Hazelhurst (Roosevelt) Field 
- 4:30 Those are exposed Rocker Arms for the valves moving on the engine 
- 4:40 A ‘cross-country’ flight to New York City 
- 5:30 Practice bombs as exhibited in the World War One Gallery 
- 6:00 A simulator! 
- 6:50 A bombsight as seen in the World War One Gallery 
- 8:05 A Gun Camera as exhibited in the World War One Gallery 
- 9:35 Nice aerial view of Hazelhurst Field with a landing