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Nothing like a 'Late Night Flight'

While drinking, a Pilot bet he could land outside the bar, 2 hours later he touched down New York City, in a stolen aircraft. Years later he repeated the stunt because someone wouldn't believe him.

In September 1956 after drinking heavily at a bar in New York City, Thomas Fitzpatrick made an intoxicated barroom bet that he could travel from New Jersey to New York in 15 minutes.

At 3 a.m. he stole a single-engine plane from the Teterboro Airport and flew without any lights or radio before landing on St. Nicholas Avenue near 191st Street, in front of the bar, where the bet was made.

The New York Times called it a "fine landing" and a"'feat of aeronautics." For his illegal flight, he was fined $100 after the plane's owner refused to press charges.

In October, 1958 just before 1 a.m. Fitzpatrick again stole another plane from the same airfield and landed on Amsterdam and 187th Street after another bar patron disbelieved his first feat.

For his second stolen flight, judge John A. Mullen sentenced him to six months in prison. When asked why he had undertaken the 2nd flight, Fitzpatrick told the police "he had pulled off the second flight after a bar patron refused to believe he had done the first one.

Fitzpatrick had been s a Marine during the Korean War and received a Purple Heart. He has three sons and was married to his wife, Helen for 51 years ,while working as a steamfitter. He died in 2009 at the age of 79.

Fitzpatrick has a mixed drink named after him for his feat called the "Late Night Flight."

from Historian


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