Surprise airplane landings tend to always make headlines, especially in the streets of a major US city. I doubt anyone can forget Capt Chesley Sullenberger landing on the Hudson River in 2009? There was a long island man who once landed on Rockaway Beach in 2011 and a pilot who landed on a small Suffolk County Road quite recently.
That makes it even more surprising that the drunken landings of Tommy Fitz have just fallen into oblivion. What started out as a harmless drunken bet in a barroom turned into a feat of aeronautic marvel when Tommy Fitz made his way into New Jersey Airport and stole an airplane. He then proceeded to land it on St. Nicholas Avenue in northern Manhattan right in front of the bar he had been drinking it.
And if you are already thinking this does not sound amazing enough for you, well what if we told you he did it again two years later? Both landings in very narrow dark roads and both after a night of heavy drinking in multiple taverns and bars around Washington Heights. And of course both times Mr. Fitzpatrick was charged with being drunk.
The first landing was made in 1956 when he took a single-engine plane from New Jersey aeronautics school and landed it in St Nicholas Avenue. In fact, the New York Times called it a fine landing and praised his ability. And then the second landing was done in 1958 just before 1 A.M. and this time he even jumped out wearing a suit, fleeing the scene!
Even more alarmingly was the second landing was done solely because a bar patron refused to believe that he had landed a plane in the street the first time. The stupid things people get up to when alcohol and bets come together.