October 6, 2003

Nation's Number One Columbus Day Parade Turns To Long Island's Cradle Of Aviation For Help in Finding Rare Vintage Airplane


When the 2003 Columbus Day Parade steps off on New York City's Fifth Avenue on October 13th, one of the floats featured in the parade will pay tribute to a unique airplane built in Port Washington, Long Island in 1929: the Italian designed Savoia Marchetti S-56, an aircraft which was able to operate off land or sea.

With all the museums and resources available in Manhattan, parade organizers found the treasure they were seeking in Long Island's Cradle of Aviation. "We are very pleased that we will be able to provide assistance to the Columbus Day Parade," said Cradle of Aviation Chief Operating Officer, Claudia Oakes. "The Cradle of Aviation has very quickly developed a national reputation as a leading repository for artifacts important to the history of aviation. Being able to contribute to the successful celebration of Columbus Day only underscores that our reach is broader than just Long Island."

The Savoia Marchetti S-56, built in 1929 by the American Aeronautical Corporation, was the first plane used by the New York City Police Department, which used it to stop rumrunners during the prohibition era. "All aspects of American aviation were booming after the heroic Lindbergh flight of 1927 and many new firms with hastily developed designs were emerging to fill the demand for new aircraft," says Oakes. "American Aeronautical of Port Washington decided to market a foreign design rather than develop new ones. However, like many other designs of the period, the S-56 succumbed to the Depression. Of the 36 built, the S-56 on display at the Cradle is but one of two surviving examples."

NYS EDC Chairman Charles Gargano, one of the parade organizers, suggested the inclusion of the Savoia Marchetti S-56. "This plane is a symbol of the courageous spirit of early aviators," said Gargano. "Columbus would have been proud to be associated with those who accomplished what so many said could not be done."
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The Savoia Marchetti S-56 will be disassembled at the Cradle beginning on Monday October 6th by museum staff , riggers and truckers who will carefully plot how to disassemble this collection of fabric, wires and wood. The plane will travel to New York, by land and be uncrated at the Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum, where it will make an appearance during a benefit by the Columbus Citizens Foundation for American soldiers lost in the Iraq War. The historic fragile aircraft will then be hoisted down to a flatbed and prepared for its big appearance in the Columbus Day Parade.

"We are delighted that Long Island's Cradle of Aviation Museum, home to so many historic exhibits, has agreed to share the Savoia Marchetti S-56 with the hundreds of thousands of people who watch the Columbus Day Parade on Fifth Avenue, and with the millions who watch it on television in the United States and Italy," said Lawrence Auriana, President of the Columbus Citizens Foundation, which organizes the parade.

The Cradle of Aviation Museum and its IMAX® Dome Experience is open seven days a week, 10 am through 5 pm. "The Magic of Flight", " Extreme" and "Straight Up" play every hour on the hour. The museum is located on Charles Lindbergh Blvd, Garden City, adjacent to Nassau Community College. For further information, please visit www.cradleofaviation.org.

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