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Monday, September 22, 2014

The Best Bet EVER

Biplane flies of Manhattan c. 1930. Areal view of old Manhattan skyline.
Areal view of old Manhattan skyline. 
In 1956 Thomas Fitzpatrick, a 26-year-old pilot, was in a bar in Manhattan . . . 
so you already know this is going to be a good story . . .
and made a bet that he could travel from New Jersey back to the New York in 15 minutes.
Pilot Thomas Fitzpatrick, speaking to police, in front of the small airplane he stole and landed on a street in Manhattan, blocking traffic, after a bar bet. 1956. The Best Bet EVER and other stories of pilots. marchmatron.com
Pilot Thomas Fitzpatrick lands a stolen plane on St. Nicholas Ave to win a bar bet.
He left the bar and at 3 am returned from New Jersey . . .   
in a stolen airplane . . .
that he landed, while drunk, on St. Nicholas Ave in front of the bar.
From a police report of the flight: “He landed on a street with lampposts and cars parked on both sides. It was a wonder.’’
A stunning, surreal aerial photo of Manhattan in 1944 by Andreas Feininger for LIFE
Aerial photo of Manhattan in 1944
by Andreas Feininger
It gets even better.
Two years later, while patronizing a different bar, a fellow patron refused to believe the prior event.
Mr. Fitzpatrick left and at 1 am he returned from New Jersey, in a stolen airplane, that he landed, while drunk on Amsterdam Ave.

Pilot Thomas Fitzpatrick, 2 years after the first drunken flight, stole another plane and landed on Amsterdam Ave to win a bar bet.
(The police drew chalk marks around the plane.)

The first time Fitzpatick took the illegal, alcohol fueled flight, he was fined $100 after the plane owner refused to press charges. The second time he had let his pilot’s license lapse because he “Didn’t want to fly anymore,” and was sentenced to jail for 6 months. 
Old metal sign for New Jersey’s Teterboro School of Aeronautics, where drunken pilot Thomas Fitzpatrick, stole small aircraft to land on the streets of Manhattan during bar bets in the 1950s. The Best Bet EVER and other stories about pilots. marchmatron.com
Pilot Thomas Fitzpatrick stole both of the planes from
New Jersey’s Teterboro School of Aeronautics.
Both times, the airplanes had to be dismantled and driven back to New Jersey.
Stylized map of Harlem New York and Moonachie New Jersey showing Pilot Thomas Fitzpatrick drunken flight in the 1950s. The Best Bet EVER and other stories of pilots. marchmatron.com
Moonachie, New Jersey and Upper Manhattan, New York
Fitzpatrick has a mixed drink named after him for his feat called the Late Night Flight:
1/2 ounce Kahlua, 1 and 1/2 ounces vodka, 1/2 ounce Chambord, 5 blackberries, 1 egg white, and Dash simple syrup
Stylized map (close up) of Harlem New York and Moonachie New Jersey showing Pilot Thomas Fitzpatrick drunken flight in the 1950s. The Best Bet EVER and other stories of pilots. marchmatron.com
Close up of Moonachie, New Jersey and Upper Manhattan, New York
#pilot #fly #bet #NYC

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Other stories of Pilots:
Dogfight
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