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Minute of History: August 24, 2011

The Effect of WWII on Republic aviation and the airport operation

(Editor’s note: The following is a reprint of the Minute of History speech given at the Village Pops Concert on Wednesday, August 10 by A. Guenter Bier, Lead Docent, American Airpower Museum.)

Good Evening Ladies and Gentlemen!

What a wonderful evening to listen to such beautiful music which was created during trying times but I just wanted to make you aware that we all are currently on historic grounds with the former Republic Aviation factory not far from here and its Republic Airport alongside. In the factory’s place is now Airport Plaza and the airport has become one of New York State’s busiest non-commercial aviation operations.

The American Airpower Museum is located in the last production hangar left and open for all to visit. The next big event will be on Labor Day weekend with lots of surprises.

During WWII over 9000 P-47s Thunderbolts were produced here and they contributed to winning this war. Many “Rosie the Riveters” were employed building those aircraft day and night.

The history of Republic goes back to 1927 and it was developed as Fairchild Flying Field. Planes were built by Fairchild, Seversky and even Grumman in the early years. In WWII Republic erected hangars and a control tower, lengthened the runways and hardened them.

Many employees who worked there also found a home in Farmingdale and surrounding neighborhoods. We all owe gratitude to those developments as they contributed to further employment and production after WWII, producing many more aircraft types which were successful in future conflicts. Republic Aviation was acquired by the Fairchild-Hiller Corporation in 1965.

The American Airpower Museum maintains a collection of Republic artifacts, historic facilities and an array of aircraft spanning the history of the company.

Let us all enjoy the concert and thank you having me speak to you!