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learned to fly here
I also joined the Air Force. Learned to fly. Got to sit in the cockpit of a F-105 as a kid.
I grew up there. When I was a little girl, 6 or so, I asked my mother what Daddy did at work. She said: ask him when he gets home. After dinner, I did. He asked me if I wanted to go to work with him on Saturday. He had to go in on Saturday for 3 hours in the morning. So, I went with him. Even though he was in meetings "up the street" as they called it, (Conklin Street), I stayed in his office, in the main hanger above the assembly line and watched them build the F-105. I used to sit on the 3 foot wide cat walk, 4 stories in the air with my feet dangling over the side. We did this for years. Then we would pick up his dry cleaning in Farmingdale and do the food shopping at the A& P on Broadway in Hicksville and go home. 1957, we started this. The truth is that had my father and many of the middle management people not fought to keep the plant open, Fairchild would have closed it as fast as Northrup closed Grumman. But Republic stayed open till 1988. 20 plus more years.
Reply to @david: The original tower as well as 2 of the hangers remain on the east side of the field. One of which houses the American Airpower Muesum. They have a nice collection of war birds. Memorial day, and Labor day, they usually have airshows, with a few nice fly-ins.
This mall is built on the site of the former the Republic Aviation Corporation. During World War II, it built over 9,000 P-47 Thunderbolts together with several other aircraft. Fairchild bought out the company in 1965, and the plant closed in 1988. The last building was demolished in 1997 to make way for a mall expansion.