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3) History of the Rockaway Naval Air Station

Updated: April 4, 2007


NAS Rockaway - Circa 1919
US Navy Photo
(Click on image for a larger view)

Naval Air Station (NAS) Rockaway was one of the U.S. Navy's original Naval Air Stations. Operational between 1917 and 1930, it was staffed with as few as a handful of men to as many as a maximum of 1,285 men. Over 80 buildings and several large hangars were constructed. Fort Tilden's battery of four 12 inch mortars were also located inside the boundaries of the 96 acre NAS Rockaway.

The famous Navy-Curtiss NC type "Nancy" flying boats of NAS Rockaway were the first aircraft to cross the Atlantic. Due to the inadequate fuel capacity of the NC aircraft, the aircraft landed many times to be refueled by pre-positioned Navy ships. This flight was a triumph in 1919 and remained so until 1927, when Charles Lindbergh made his solo, non-stop flight from Roosevelt Field, Long Island, NY, to Paris.

In addition to the NC aircraft, the base also had F-5-L, HS, and N-9 Squadrons, as well as dirigibles, free balloon, and kite balloons. NAS Rockaway was also used as an advanced training facility for Navy aviators.


Types of Aircraft Based at NAS Rockaway


Chronology of NAS Rockaway


The following chronology is derived from U.S. Navy on-line historical records, a review of original records in the National Archives Record Groups 45 and 72, selected NY Times stories, and a review of the original logbooks (1919-1920) of the NAS Rockaway:
Apr 16, 1917
The City of New York grants the Navy a permit to occupy it's Rockaway property.

Jun 14, 1917
The establishment of patrol stations along the Atlantic coast was implemented as the first contract for base construction was let. The contract covered sites on Long Island located at Montauk, Rockaway and Bay Shore.

Dec 12, 1917
In a test to determine the feasibility of carrying fighter aircraft on dirigibles, the C-1 lifted an Army JN-4 (Jenny) in a wide spiral climb to 2,500 feet over Fort Tilden, N.Y., and at that height released it for a free flight back to base. The airship was piloted by Lieutenant George Crompton (Naval Aviator #100), Dirigible Officer at NAS Rockaway, and the plane by Lieutenant A. W. Redfield, USA, commanding the 52nd Aero Squadron based at Mineola (Long Island, NY).

Jun 5, 1918
SWEEP ATLANTIC FOR U-BOATS AND VICTIMS; Airplanes, Dirigibles, Patrol Boats, Chasers, and Artillery Protect Coast. MINEOLA, L.I., June 4.--Thirty airplanes, some of them equipped with high explosive bombs, patrolled the southern coast of Long Island from dawn to sunset today on the lookout for U-boats or for survivors of vessels destroyed by German submarines. No traces of any kind were discovered by the patrols.(NY Times)

Jun 5, 1918
CITY LIGHTS OUT IN AIR RAID TEST; Aviators Make Observations Preliminary to Possible Darkening of Streets. ANTI-AIRCRAFT GUNS READY System of Siren Signals Arranged to Warn People of Danger from the Skies. BIG CITY LIGHTS OUT IN AIR RAID TEST. Electric signs and all lights, except street lamps and lights in dwellings, were out in this city last night in compliance with orders issued by Police Commissioner Enright at the suggestion...(NY Times)

Jul 10, 1918
GERMAN BOMBS ON SHORE.; Six Found at Rockaway Point Supposed to Come from Raider. (NY Times)

Aug 24, 1918
A collision of two HS-2L Flying Boats (A-1273 and A-1175) resulted in the deaths of 3 persons at Rockaway NAS. The HS-2L is a biplane flying boat with a single pusher (rear mounted propeller) Liberty 330 horsepower engine. The HS-2L had a crew of three men and was ordered by the Navy in 1918. The design is a version of the Loughheed Brothers (later called Lockheed) F1 Flying Boat.

Sep 11, 1918
Click here to see the patrol map from a typical day of HS-2 aircraft on patrol from NAS Rockaway. Four patrols at approx. 10 a.m. and four patrols at approx. 7 p.m.

Oct 22, 1918
The twin-engine dirigible C-1, commanded by Major B. L. Smith, USMC, and with crew consisting of Lieutenant R. A. D. Preston, USNRF, Lieutenant (jg) D. T. Hood, USNRF, Ensign W. L. Hamlen, USNRF, Ensign M. H. Estorly, USNRF, and two civilian mechanics, M. Roulette and James Royal, was delivered at NAS Rockaway, having flown that day from Akron, Ohio, via Washington, D.C. The Aero Club of America later awarded Smith and Hamlen its Medal of Merit for this flight.

At the end of WW1, there were 24 seaplanes and two dirigibles stationed at Rockaway NAS.

Nov 1918 - Status of NAS Rockaway
1,200 Enlisted men
105 Officers
40 Seaplane Pilots
8 Dirigible Pilots
25 Kite Balloon Pilots and 45 Students
24 "Bombing Planes"

Nov 27, 1918
The NC-1 took off from Rockaway Beach, N.Y., with 51 persons aboard, establishing a new world record for persons carried in flight.

Jan 18, 1919
RADIO TELEPHONE DIRECTS AIRSHIPS; Demonstration by Navy in Opening Campaign for War Savings Stamps. PLANES DO AS INSTRUCTED Change Course While Flying in Heavy Mist on Orders from Roof of Equitable Building. A demonstration in directing aircraft by radio telephone was given yesterday from the roof of the Equitable Building. It was arranged by the navy as a feature of the opening of the $2,000,000,000 War Savings Stamp campaign. The radio communication was between a group of men on the roof of the Equitable Building and Navy Dirigible A242, escorted by a formation of airplanes... (NY Times)

Feb 1, 1919
1,500 MEN FIGHT FIRE AT AVIATION CAMP; Whole Plant at Rockaway Point Imperilled by a Wild Outburst of Flame. 8 HYDROAIRPLANES BURNED Two Buildings Destroyed, with Heavy Loss--25 Liberty Motors Wrecked Beyond Repair. Bucket Brigade Helps. Navy Dirigible Saved. A fire, which started from the explosion of a gasoline torch in the hands of a workman yesterday, destroyed two buildings and threatened for a time to wipe out the Naval Aviation Station at Rockaway Point. The property loss was heavy, some persons asserting that it...(NY Times)

Feb 25, 1919
GM 2C Frederick Joseph Reardon, USNRF and Ch Btsn's Mate Eugene Briggs Dedrick, USNRF were killed at the Rockaway NAS when a bomb exploded.

Apr 5, 1919
Commander R.W. Cabaniss takes command of the Rockaway Naval Air Station and remains until November 7, 1919.

Apr 5, 1919
NC-3 FAILS TO FLY IN ROCKAWAY TEST; Navy Seaplane Sticks to Water, Owing to the Balky Motor. RUSHING WORK ON NC-4. Men Who Are to Make Transatlantic Flight Selected--Commander Towers Their Chief. The NC-3, one of the seaplanes which it is hoped will bring to the United States the honor of being the first to fly the Atlantic, refused to leave the water yesterday at Rockaway Beach. The test was made in the late afternoon, and the machine, loaded with 29,500 pounds, sped around Jamaica Bay ...(NY Times)

Apr 24, 1919
NC-3 TAKES AIR CARRYING NINE; Navy Seaplane's Successful Trial Arouses Hopes of Transatlantic Victory.WEATHER GIVES A CHANCE British Planes May Be Held in Newfoundland Until Our Airships Are Ready to Start. The possibility that the United States may be the first to start an airplane on a transatlantic flight and get away bofore the climatic conditions permit the Sopwith and Martinsyde biplanes to leave Newfoundland was discussed by ...(NY Times)

May 5, 1919
At 4:10 p.m., HS1 seaplane A-1692 with pilot Ensign Hugh Jacob Adams and assistant pilot Chief Machinists Mate Harlod B. Corey fell into a tail spin and landed on a hydrogen tank. Both were killed instantly.

May 5, 1919
NAVY FLIERS START TODAY FOR HALIFAX DESPITE ACCIDENTS; On Eve of "Hop Off" HS-1, Flying Over Station, Falls, Killing Two Men. FIRE DAMAGES TWO PLANES Flight Commander Says the Weather Is Ideal and Two Machines Are Ready to Go. THIRD FOLLOWS TOMORROW Rush Repairs to Elevators of NC-4 and to Upper and Lower Right Wings of NC-1. NAVY FLIERS START TODAY FOR HALIFAX DESTROYERS OFF FOR POSTS. Leave Trepassey to Patrol Flight Route to the Azores. The eve of the scheduled departure of the naval seaplanes for Newfoundland, on the first leg of the first American attempt, to fly across the Atlantic, was saddened late yesterday afternoon when a HS-1 type of seaplane, which was manoeuvering above the Rockaway ... (NY Times)


May 8, 1919
At 10 a.m., three, Navy-Curtiss, flying boats departed Rockaway NAS to begin the first trans-Atlantic oceanic crossing. Only the NC-4 completed this historic journey.

Click here for a photo of the NC-4 and learn more about it's flight (www.aviation-history.com)

Also see the The First Across Organization
May 17, 1919
MISSING BLIMP C-5 GIVEN UP AS LOST; What British Steamer Thought an Airship Believed to Have Been an Iceberg. LAST SEEN ENTERING CLOUD May Sink Through Loss of Gas or Explode Through Expansion Caused by Sun. Doubt C-5 Was Seen After Sundown. MISSING BLIMP C-5 GIVEN UP AS LOST Coil to Ask Another Chance. OFFICIAL REPORT OF MISHAP. Unavoidable, Due to Wind Conditions, Commander Coil Says. ST. JOHN'S, May 16.--Reports that the missing American dirigible C-5, which broke loose here yesterday and disappeared, had been salvaged by a British steamer having proved unfounded, American and British naval officers have given her up as lost. (NY Times)

Jun 5, 1919
Three F-5-L aircraft 3616, 3336, and 3578 depart for Hampton Roads, Va.

Jun 7, 1919
F-5-L aircraft 3336 departs for Hampton Roads, Va. (may have had mechanical difficulties on June 5, 1919)

Jul 4, 1919
Seaplane 1884 crashes off Manhattan Beach.

Jul 17, 1919
"7:45 p.m. Received a call from Kennedy's dock at Rockaway Point that an Army plane had crashed near there. At 7:50 p.m. SP #179 left the station for Rockaway Point to pick up the men and plane." Captain Flogel and Lt. Duke, US Army, were slightly injured and departed for Mineola, Long Island the next day.

Jul 17, 1919
NC-4 TO TAKE AIR ON RECRUITING TOUR; Seaplane Will Be Disassembled at Central Park Today. WILL FLY UP MISSISSIPPI Naval Officers Attribute Increaes In Recruits Here to Airship's Presence. After being on exhibition in the sheep meadows at Central Park, about opposite Seventieth Street, for the last two weeks, the NC-4 will be disassembled today, and in four or five days will be taken to Rockaway Beach, where she will be thoroughly overhauled. When this is completed the seaplane, with the... (NY Times)

Sep 11, 1919
Flying Boat type F-5-L number 3596 is transferred to Rockaway NAS. The F-5-L is a biplane type flying boat with two tractor (forward mounted propeller) engines.

Sep 18, 1919
Flying Boat type F-5-L number 3612 was transferred from Rockaway NAS to the Navy Yard.

Sept 20, 1919
Flying Boat type F-5-L number 3606 arrives at Rockaway NAS from Philadelphia.

Sept 24, 1919
After it's historic flight, the NC-4 was put on display in the summer of 1919. It was returned to service and returned to NAS Rockaway after a flight from Atlantic City, NJ on this date.

Oct 18, 1919
Flying boats F-5-L 3606 and 3596 depart for Burlington, Vt.

HS2 1919 and 2240 depart for Albany, NY, and free balloon #5605 departs with four persons aboard.

Oct 26, 1919
Aircraft H16 #854 arrives from Pensacola, Fl.

Oct 27, 1919
Aircraft F-5-L #3610 departs for New York.

Oct 28, 1919
Aircraft H16 #858 arrives from Pensacola, Fl.

Nov 7, 1919
Commander R.W. Cabaniss turns over command of the Rockaway Naval Air Station to LtCDR Archibald H. Douglas.

Nov 11, 1919
Aircraft H16 3597 arrives from NAS Hampton Roads, Va.

Nov 12, 1919
Aircraft H16 3336 and 3597 depart for Chatham, Mass, and an experimental triplane arrives from Mineola, NY.

Nov 15, 1919
F-5-L 3606 and 3610 (type F-5-L) arrive from Portland, Me.

Nov 16, 1919
F-5-L 3596 arrives from New Haven.

Nov 24, 1919
F-5-L 3662 and 3859 arrive from USS Atlantic Air Dept.

Nov 30, 1919
HS2 1919 "turned turtle while taxying(sic) in bay". The aircraft overturned and no injuries were incurred.

Dec 2, 1919
Aircraft 3606 (type F-5-L) arrives from Hampton Roads, Va.

Jan 4, 1920
The NC-4 was damaged by ice brought in with the tide.

Jan 13, 1920
Dirigible B-10 arrives from Cape May, NJ.

Feb 25, 1920
At about 3 p.m., MF seaplane 4417 with pilot LtJG H.T. Stevens and Machinists Mate 1st Class E. F. Lindsay (mechanic) crashed from an altitude of about 1000 feet striking nose first on the cement road. Both occupants were killed.

Feb 28, 1920
Free Balloon S-16 leaves on a flight with and later lands in Disrael, Quebec, Canada. Free Balloon A-5605 also left on a flight and later landed in Canaan, NY, while Free Balloon A-5598 also left on a flight and later landed in Orleans, Vt. Each balloon had 3 persons on board, a pilot, an assistant pilot and a passenger and arrived the day following the launch from Rockaway.

Mar 11, 1920
Flying boats F-5-L 3597 and 3617 arrive in Hampton Roads from Rockaway.

Mar 14, 1920
The lower right wing of flying boat F-5-L 3597 is damaged by ice.

Apr 11, 1920
Flying boats F-5-L 3596 and HS2 1211 and 1691 depart for Atlantic City, NJ from Rockaway and all return the same day.

Apr 19, 1920
2:45 p.m. HS seaplane 1817 crashed from a turn and a spin from an altitude of 300 feet, off the Army pier near west end of beach. LtJG Richard W. Thompson killed. Thompson was a student Naval Aviator on a solo flight. The aircraft fuselage broke in two pieces, and the engine was salvaged. For almost two weeks the beaches were patrolled and a grapple was used in attempts to find the body of LtJG Thompson. The logbooks do not contain any entry indicating if the body was ever located.

Apr 20, 1920
NAVAL AVIATOR DROWNED; Lieut. W.R. Thompson's Seaplane Fell into Jamaica Bay...(NY Times)

Apr 30, 1920
Seaplanes #3606 and #3610 (type F-5-L) arrive from quarterly long distance flight.

May 2, 1920
Seaplane N9 #2622 left for a local flight to observe the eclipse of the moon with Professor David Todd.

May 3, 1920
FLY UP 3 1/2 MILES TO WATCH ECLIPSE; Naval Aviators Ordered to Observe Moon Pass Through Earth's Shadow. PROFESSOR TODD ASSISTS Make Report to Navy Department--Crowds in City See Phenomenon. The eclipse of the moon last night was observed here by Lieutenants J.H. Tilton and W.H. Cushing of the naval air station at Rockaway Beach at a height of nearly three and one-half miles. (NY Times)

May 4, 1920
Civilian Seaplane #39-B, Aeromarine, piloted by Mr. Griswold and Mr. Daugherty landed enroute from Philadelphia to Boston.

May 8, 1920
Dirigible C-10 left Chatham and arrived at Rockaway.

May 14, 1920
Flying boats F-5-L 3589 and 3617 arrive from Hampton Roads.

May 15, 1920
Flying boats F-5-L 3589 and 3617 return to Hampton Roads.

May 21, 1920
Free Balloon A-5605 left on a flight and landed in Baldwin, Long Island, NY, with 3 persons on board, a pilot, an assistant pilot and a passenger.

May 22, 1920
Flying boats 3606 (type F-5-L) and 2622 (type N9) departed for Atlantic City, NJ.

May 23, 1920
Free Balloon A-5598 left on a flight and landed in Winslow Junction, NJ, with 3 persons on board, a pilot, an assistant pilot and a passenger. Flying boat N9 2622 broke free from it's moorings and was damaged at Atlantic City.

May 24, 1920
Two carrier pigeons return to station, one from free balloon with message "Just hit Jersey coast 1/2 hrs flight, Hillside, NJ, signed E.C. Hulett" and one from F-5-L plane 3606 with message "Leads are wrong on radio set from Rockaway all O.K. no sig"

May 25, 1920
Flying boat F-5-L 3596 departs for Atlantic City with spares for N-9 and then returned to Rockaway.

May 27, 1920
Flying boats 2622 (type N9) returns from repairs in Atlantic City, NJ.

May 28, 1920
R9 seaplane engine catches fire. Privately owned HS21 seaplane arrives.

May 29, 1920
Flying boat 3610 (type F-5-L) departs for Atlantic City, NJ. Carrier pigeon returns with message #1 reading "10:50 am, Haven't let out antenna yet. (probably a trailing wire, low frequency radio antenna mounted on a reel.)

May 29, 1920
Flying boats 3606 and 3610 (type F-5-L) at Atlantic City, NJ, with engine trouble. Both returned to Rockaway the next day.

Jun 7, 1920
N-9 Seaplane 2607 arrives at Rockaway from Cape May, NJ.

Jun 8, 1920
Flying boats 3606 and 3610 (type F-5-L) arrive from Annapolis, MD.

Jun 18, 1920
A reversible pitch propeller designed by Seth Hart and manufactured by the Engineering Division, Army Air Service was installed on the C-10 airship at Rockaway Beach. Test were conducted both in the hangar and in the air. When first tried out, this propeller was found very useful, but after being in use for a short time, it was found that the pitch of the propellers was unequal and that they caused excessive vibration. It wa necessary to remove them and from the C-10 and replace them with the standard Lang propellers. The Hart propellers were shipped to McCook Field, Dayton, Ohio, for further experiments.

Jun 19, 1920
Dirigible C-10, three F-5-L, one HS2, and two N-9 aircraft left for North River for Police Aviation Inauguration.

Jul 1920
An NCL Steam operated kite balloon winch was successfully tested aboard the U.S.S. Lardner by a kite balloon from the NAS Rockaway. This winch was designed for use on destroyers.

Jul 5, 1920
Flying boat 3596 (type F-5-L) made a flight under extremely bad flying conditions up the Hudson River to Poughkeepsie NY on the occasion of a celebration at that place.

Jul 16, 1920
Free balloon A-5598 made a training flight to Great Neck, Long Island after flying for 6 hours and 45 minutes.

Jul 17, 1920
Two F-5-L Seaplanes and dirigible C-10 observed the International Yacht races off Sandy Hook. Reports of the races were radioed from the aircraft. Included as passengers in the C-10 were photographers of the Pathe Film Company, International Film Company, and a reporter from the Saturday Evening Post. The duration of the flight was 8 hours and 30 minutes.

Jul 21, 1920
While at the International Yacht races, dirigible C-10 sustains a rip in the top of it's envelope and makes a forced landing in Jamaica Bay, no injuries were reported, but the envelope was destroyed.

REPORTER DESCRIBES HIS 3,000-FOOT FALL; Glad He Was Not Ordered to Make Parachute Leap Instead of Descending with Ship. Blimp Dives Into the Water. Ballast Thrown Overboard. NAVAL AIR STATION, Rockaway, N.Y., July 21 (Associated Press). Disaster overtook the naval blimp dirigible C-10 today just after she had flashed out a radio telephone report that the racing yachts Shamrock IV. and Resolute were off on their third race. (NY Times)

Jul 21, 1920
Flying boat 3610 (type F-5-L) sent to search for lost DH4 missing from Mitchell Field, Long Island, NY. The lost Army plane was later found by a destroyer.

Jul 26, 1920
Seaplane 3606 (type F-5-L) left for Philadelphia.

Jul 26, 1920
Dirigible B-10 B-19 lands at Fort Totten, NY, with engine trouble and then returns to Rockaway.

Jul 28, 1920
Seaplanes 2512 and 2519 (type N-9) Arrive from Naval Aircraft Factory (NAF), Philadelphia.

Jul 28, 1920
Seaplane 3610 (type F-5-L) lands at Coast Guard Station #74 with a broken connecting rod.

Jul 28, 1920
Free Balloon 5605 lands in Durham, Conn, after a flight of 15 hours.

Jul 28, 1920
Seaplanes 3597 and 3334 left for Hampton Roads.

Aug 10, 1920
Free Balloon A-5605 left the station.

Aug 12, 1920
Seaplane 3610 (type F-5-L) arrives NAF Philadelphia.

Aug 12, 1920
Seaplanes 2806 and 2519 (type N-9) left and returned from New Rochelle.

Aug 14, 1920
Seaplane 3606 (type F-5-L) arrived from NAF Philadelphia.

Aug 15, 1920
Free balloon A-5605 made a landing in Fitzwilliam, NH, after a flight of 18 hours.

Aug 21, 1920
Seaplanes 89 and 93 (type F-5-L) from U.S.S. Shawmut arrive and then return.

Aug 21, 1920
Seaplane 2512 reported drifting near Coney Island.

Aug 22, 1920
Seaplane 2608 left to search for 2512 and both later returned.

Aug 23, 1920
Free Balloon A-5605 left for a night flight, wind from the east. After 15 hours and 10 minutes, the balloon landed in Middletown, Delaware.

Aug 28, 1920
Dirigible B-19 left and then returned from an exhibition flight at a Police Day celebration.

Sep 4, 1920
Free balloon A-5598 made a landing in Passaic, NJ, after a flight of 6 hours and 30 minutes.

Sep 15, 1920
Seaplane 3610 (type F-5-L) arrived at NAF Philadelphia. 59 carrier pigeons were in use at NAS Rockaway.

Sep 25, 1920
Dirigible B-19 is deflated.

Oct 15, 1920
Dirigible C-10, seaplanes 3606 and 3610 (type F-5-L) participate in Fleet tactical training Problem #11.

Oct 22, 1920
Seaplane NC-8 arrives due to damage incurred. After repairs it departs NAS Rockaway on Nov 9, 1920

Oct 25, 1920
Seaplane 3596 (type F-5-L) arrives at NAF Phildelphia.

Nov 25, 1920
Dirigible C-10 was to be used to take pictures of Aero Races at Mineola, Long Island, NY.

Nov 26, 1920
Seaplane NC-2 arrives at NAS Rockaway.

Nov 29, 1920
Seaplane NC-2 departs, Free Balloon A-5605 departs.

Dec 1920
The complement of the station was 377 men.

Dec 13, 1920
Free Balloon A-5598 was launched from the Rockaway Naval Air Station. No further report was received until January 2, 1921, when the balloon was reported as having landed 20 miles northeast of Moose Factory, Canada on Dec 14, 1920. The duration of the flight was 25 hours and 5 minutes. The balloon was piloted by Lt. L.A. Kloor,with passengers Lt. S.A. Farrell and Lt. W. Hinton.

Dec 30, 1920
Seaplane A3487 (type H16) arrives from Hampton Roads.

Dec 1920 - Jan 1921
A winter top for the airship C-10 was tested and found to be a very satisfactory improvement.

Dec 1920
Comparative tests were conducted on F-5-L propeller designs #5111 and #4987. The results of these tests were in favor of design #4987.

Dec 15, 1920
NAVAL BALLOONISTS REPORTED IN PERIL; Lieut. Hinton of NC-4 Fame and Two Others Said to Have Hit Mountain Side. LEFT ROCKAWAY ON MONDAY Story of Crash Unconfirmed-- Air Station Without Advices From Aeronauts. Word reached the Naval Air Station at Rockaway Point last night that a navy balloon which started for Canada on Monday with three passengers had been sighted over Wells, N.Y., at 8:30 Monday night and was reported to have crashed into the side of Fork Mountain. (NY Times)

Jan 3, 1921
LOST BALLOON SAFE NEAR HUDSON BAY; ALL THE MEN ALIVE; Naval Aircraft A-5598 Landed on Dec. 14 at a Far Northern Trading Post. WORD COMES TO ROCKAWAY The Three Aeronauts Down Twenty Miles Northeast of Moose Factory, Ontario. LEFT ROCKAWAY DEC. 13 In the Air Less Than Two Days-- Wives Overjoyed--Had Not Lost Hope of Safe Return. The missing navy balloon A-5598 landed 20 miles northeast of Moose Factory, Ontario, Dec. 14, and the crew of three men are safe at a Hudson Bay trading post, according to a telegram received at the Naval Air Station at Rockaway last night. (NY Times)

Feb 14, 1921
F-5-L seaplanes 3606, 3596, MF 4417, N-9 2565, 2627, and HS2 1316 made flights to lower New York Bay to escort Admiral Bayly, RN, on board the S.S. Toloa. The dirigible C-10 also made a flight of 2 hours and 45 minutes in connection with this escort duty.

Feb 27, 1921
TWO FLIERS KILLED IN ROCKAWAY CRASH; Seaplane Runs Into Air Pocket 800 Feet Up and Falls to Concrete Roadway. COMES DOWN IN TAIL SPIN Lieut. Harold T. Stevens and Machinist Eugene Lindsay Die in Practice Flight. Two navy fliers were killed yesterday when their seaplane ran into an air pocket over the Rockaway Air Station and crashed to a concrete roadway near the hangars. They were Lieutenant Harold T. Stevens and Eugene Lindsay, a chief machinist's mate, who was serving as mechanician on the practice flight. (NY Times)

Apr 25, 1921
N-9 seaplane 2627 fell into a tail spin at an altitude of 200 feet, crashing into Jamaica Bay, and slightly injuring both occupants.

Apr 30, 1921
At 11:30 a.m., F-5-L 3596 left for Annapolis, Maryland, arriving there at 4:30 p.m.

Apr 1921
The complement of the station was reduced to 278 men in accordance with Alnav 43 which allowed discharges of men three months prior to expiration of enlistment.

May 8, 1921
F-5-L seaplanes 3795 and 4012 left for Hampton Roads with four officers to participate in the bomong exercises against ex-German vessels.

May 24, 1921
F-5-L seaplane 3606 was used for spotting the 12-inch mortar practice at Fort Tilden. Very good spots were obtained and forwarded immediately to the batteries by radio from the plane. In some cases the spots were received by radio at this station and relayed to batteries and towing ship by radio telephone.

Jun 1921
Tests were conducted on the "CT" torpedo plane constructed for the Navy by the Curtiss Corporation. Preliminary tests were unsatisfactory and modifications are being made in the plane. Tests were also begun on geared Liberty motors. So far the gears themselves have proved satisfactory. However, the installation vibrates excessively and trouble has been experienced with propeller bolts breaking.

Jun 6, 1921
F-5-L seaplane 3606 and N-9 2565 participated in the celebration at the foot of Flatbush Avenue, attending the commencement of dredging in Jamaica Bay.

Jun 11, 1921
MF seaplane 4415 and N-9 2656 left this station to attend ceremonies at the opening of the aviation field at Hartford, Conn.

Jul 1, 1921
The complement of the station was further reduced to 259 men.

Aug 8, 1921
BLIMP ON RAMPAGE CHASED BY AIRPLANE; Catapults Its Crew Into Barren Island Marsh and Sails Away Unpiloted. LANDS ON SCARSDALE FARM Just Misses Church as It Descends, Intact, After Drifting 3 Hours 5,000 Feet Aloft. The H-1, the Navy Air Service smallest blimp, went on a rampage yesterday afternoon from the air station at Rockaway Park, L.I., catapulted the pilot and crew of two into a Barren Island swamp when they attempted to bring it to earth, and, after drifting at a, height of 5,000 feet for more than three hours, ended an unpiloted tourney of fifty miles by landing gracefully on a farm near Scarsdale, N.Y (NY Times)

Aug 1921
BIGGEST NAVY BLIMP BURNS WITH 3 MORE; One Man Narrowly Misses Death When Dirigible Takes Fire in Rockaway Hangar. DUE TO SAIL IN 20 MINUTES Sparks From Workman's Hammer Believed to Have Ignited Escaping Gasoline. Twenty minutes before she was to have started for the hangar built at Lakehurst, N.J., for the ZR-2, the naval balloon D-6, the largest and newest non-rigid dirigible possessed by the navy, burned, with her hangar and three other balloons, at the Rockaway Point Naval Air Station yesterday morning.(NY Times)

Aug 22, 1921
The transfer of the NAS Rockaway property back to the City of NY to construct Jacob Reis (sic) Park is discussed.

1921
Most air operations cease at NAS Rockaway.

1922?
The dirigible hangar burns to the ground.

Jan 4, 1922
KEEP JACOB RIIS PARK INVIOLATE. A decision by the Sinking Fund Commission upon the Navy Department's application that a large part of the Jacob Riis Park at Rockaway be ceded to it for a permanent aeronautical station has been hanging fire for a long time. The commission would make a good beginning of the ... (NY Times)

Feb 12, 1922
Only 12 men are on duty at NAS Rockaway.

Aug 20, 1923
First Trial for Breaking City Flying Law Begins Today; Two Army Aviators Accused. The first trial under the city ordinance prohibiting aviators from flying less than 2,000 feet above the ground will take place in Far Rockaway today when Lieutenant Mikko Leikarl of 1,021 Thirty-ninth Street, Brooklyn, and Second Lieutenant Charles W. Murray of Far Rockaway are arraigned in the Far Rockaway Police Court. (NY Times)

Aug 20, 1923
2 SAVED AS PLANE FALLS INTO SEA; Fishermen Rescue Occupants When Aircraft Is Forced Down Off Coney Island. Robert Dewey, proprietor of an air transportation line between Hampton Roads, Va., and Miami, Fla., and his pilot, Duke Schiller, narrowly escaped drowning yesterday afternoon when a seaplane which they were taking for repairs to the Naval Air Station at Rockaway Point was forced down into a choppy sea five miles off Coney Island. (NY Times)

Sept 3, 1923
SEAPLANE CRASHES INTO MOTOR LAUNCH; Forced to Descend, It Hits Bow of Vessel in Jamaica Bay -- Five on Board Rescued. Hundreds bathing at Rockaway and Broad Channel yesterday afternoon saw a seaplane which had been circling Jamaica Bay make an unexpected landing, apparently right on top of a twenty-foot cabin launch. As many as could pushed out into the bay in boats expecting to find the person in the launch killed or badly injured. (NY Times)

July 26, 1924
ADMIRAL CONDEMNS BEACH AIR STUNTS; Calls Aviator's Rockaway Performance Foolhardy and Hazardous. Rear Admiral Charles P. Plunkett, in command of the Third Naval District, embracing New York and its environs, agreed yesterday with Acting Mayor William T. Collins that the performance of an aviator who did stunts last Sunday at a low altitude and imperiled and frightened thousands of persons on the sands at Rockaway Beach was a foolhardy and dangerous undertaking...(NY Times)

Aug 2, 1924
NAVY AIR PILOT FINED; FLEW LOW OVER BEACH; Says Winds Forced Him to Circle Before He Could Land -- Will Fight New Ordinance. Herbert Burr Griggs, civilian air pilot for the navy, stationed at Anacostia Flying Field, Washington, D.C., was fined $25 in the Magistrate's Court at Far Rockaway yesterday on a charge of violating the city ordinance prohibiting aviators flying low over a city beach...(NY Times)

Oct 1, 1925
The US Army 62nd Coast Artillery used the NAS Rockaway for anti-aircraft training with the permission of the Navy.

April 1927
Two Officers, 9 Enlisted Men, and 5 Civilians (Policemen) on duty. One Officer lived at the station and one watchman was on duty at night.

1927
Records from Fort Tilden refer to the "Naval Reservation adjacent to the post". The condition of the buildings there are desribed as "very bad".

Nov 9, 1927
New Navy Plane to Seek Four World Records; Tests Begin Today at Rockaway Air Station. An attempt to break four world's records will be begun with a new Vought Corsair naval plane at the Rockaway Air Station today. The plane is the first of 130 being produced by the Chance Vought Corporation for the navy, and is the counterpart of the experimental plane which made the former world's records several months ago...(NY Times)

1928
New York Naval Militia Squadrons VN-3RD3 and VN-4RD3 utilize NAS Rockaway

June 29, 1928
DIES IN PLANE CRASH AT ROCKAWAY POINT; Boy Passenger, 17, Killed, Pilot Badly Hurt as Craft Plunges 200 Feet. VICTIM ASKED TO BE TAKEN Injured Flier Says the Controls Seemed to Fail--Another Fatality in Mishap Near Summit, N.J. A bi-plane nose-diving from 200 feet crashed at the Rockaway Naval Air Station land field yesterday afternoon, killing its passenger and injuring its pilot seriously. It was a Travel-Air, being taken from Hadley Field, N.J., to Curtiss Field, L.I., for its purchaser... (NY Times)

May 3, 1929
NAVAL AIR STATION THREATENS TO MOVE; Likely to Be Transferred From Rockaway to Philadelphia if City Fails to Give $250,000. REPAIRS URGENTLY NEEDED But Many Want Municipal Land Occupied by Base Restored to Park System. Philadelphia Site Approved. The Naval Reserve Air Station at Rockaway Point is likely to move to Philadelphia unless a pending appropriation of $250,000 for reconditioning the station is approved by the Sinking Fund Commission before June 1, according to Lieutenant Cyril K. Wildman, executive officer of the station. (NY Times)

May 23, 1929
NAVAL AIR STATION TO QUIT ROCKAWAY; Will Be Moved to Philadelphia Because City Failed to Grant $250,000. SEVEN PLANES NOW THERE Two Squadrons of State Naval Militia Will Remain at Plant in Jacob Riis Park. Since the city appropriation of $250,000 to recondition the Naval Air Station at Rockaway Point; crippled by the April storms, has not been forthcoming, Rear Admiral David W. Taylor, vice chairman of the United States Advisory Committee...(NY Times)

Sept 9, 1929
HIT-AND-RUN FLIER KILLS MAN IN A BOAT IN JAMAICA BAY FOG; Second Fisherman Injured as Plane Skimming Over Water Cuts Launch in Two. MILL BASIN PILOT HELD He Is Questioned by Police, Who Find Him Fixing Damaged Pontoon. TELLS THEM HE HIT LOG The Low-Hanging Mist Prevented Witnesses of Crash From Getting Description of Aviator. Homicide Charge Planned. Witnesses Describe Crash. The hit-and-run aviator became a reality yesterday, when a seaplane scudding across Jamaica Bay virtually cut a motor boat in two, killed one occupant and injured the second, and then zoomed off the water into the air and disappeared. ...(NY Times)

December 9, 1929
NAVAL FLIERS AWAIT SELECTION OF STATION; Several Cities Offer Airports to Reservists Who Used Rockaway Point Field. Members of the two naval reserve squadrons to which the city has refused further use of Jacob Riis Park at Rockaway Point as a naval air station are awaiting the outcome of recommendations sent to the chief of the Bureau of Aeronautics in Washington. (NY Times)

Apr 1930
The RNAS property is transferred to the City of New York.

1930
42 of 51 structures remaining at Rockaway NAS were demolished.

Oct 12, 1930
TO WRECK AIR BASE AT ROCKAWAY BEACH; Navy Department Asks Bids for the Demolition of the War. Time Plane Station. SITE WILL BECOME A PARK Fifty-one Buildings Will Be Removed and Property Will Be Restored to City. Rockaway Hails Park Plan. Orders for the demolition of the Naval Reserve Aviation Base at Rockaway Beach, N.Y., which will be converted into a park, have been issued by the Navy Department, and bids... (NY Times)

December 1930
Demolition of buildings at RNAS continues.

April 1931
The Navy extended the lease of a hangar to the City of New York. This hangar was probably used for storage of construction equipment and materials used at the Jacob Riis Park construction site.

What's left today?
Jacob Riis Park was later completed on the site of the Rockaway NAS leaving no trace of airbase remaining today. The National Park Service has placed an interpretive display on the mall area of Jacob Riis Park and a plaque commemorating the first trans-Atlantic flight made by NAS Rockaway's NC Flying Boats in 1919.

Buildings at NAS Rockaway

Bldg# Description

1 Old Adminstrative Bldg (later, Barracks 1)
2 Barracks
3 Pigeon House (used to courier messages before radio)
4 Hospital
4B Dispensary Addition
7 Barracks
8 Barracks
9 Barracks
10 Boiler House
11 Motor Test Stand (to test run repaired engines)
13 Machine Shop
14 Storehouse
17 Storehouses (2)
19 Motor and Wing Stores (aircraft spare parts)
20 Motor and Wing Stores (aircraft spare parts)
21 Magazine Bldg
23 Gas Holder (hydrogen tank for dirigibles)
27 Dirigible Storehouse and Fabric Shop
28 Compression Bldg
29 Cylinder Storehouse
42 Instrument and Tool House
46 Carpenters Shop
52 Hydrogen Generator Bldg
56 Pigeon Breeding House
64 Lumber Storage Bldg
68 Sump Pump House
79 Garbage Storage

Admin Bldg
Mess Hall for 600 men
Bakery
Barracks for 1150 men
Quarters for 70 Bachelor Officers
Quarters for Warrant Officers
Radio Bldg
Dock
Guards Barracks
Laboratory
Blacksmith Shop

Aircraft Hangars at NAS Rockaway


Hangar 1 170'-4" x 114'-8" x 35'(destroyed by fire on 1/31/19)
Hangar C (Seaplane Hgr #2)
Hangar D 107'-11" x 112'-7" x 35'(#2)
Hangar E 215'-10" x 106'-6" x 24'Double Hangar(#3)
Hangar F (NC Hgr #2)
Dirigible Hangar 114' x 250' x 65' (burned to the ground in 1922)

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