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Francis S. Gabreski Airport is a county-owned, civil airport located north of the central business district of Westhampton Beachmarker, in Suffolk Countymarker, Long Islandmarker, New Yorkmarker, United Statesmarker. It is approximately east of New York Citymarker.

Known as Suffolk County Air Force Basemarker until 1969, then Suffolk County Airport until 1991, when it was renamed in honor of Francis S. Gabreski, a flying ace in World War II who was the commander of the 52nd Fighter-Interceptor Wing at the base from 1964 through November 1967 when he retired.

The airport is both a general aviation facility utilized by corporate businesses, private aviation and air taxi services and an Air National Guard (ANG) base used by the 106th Rescue Wing (106 RQW), an Air Combat Command (ACC)-gained of the New York Air National Guard, which is also based here.

History

Military operations were reintroduced in June 1970, when the 102nd Air Refueling Squadron (102 AREFS) of the 106th Air Refueling Group (106 ARG) of the New York Air National Guard relocated to Suffolk County with their KC-97 Stratotankers after the closing of Naval Air Station Floyd Bennett Fieldmarker. In 1972, the unit's mission changed from air refueling to fighter-interceptor, with the new mission of controlling the skies along the northeast U.S. coast with F-102 Delta Dagger aircraft.

In 1975, the designation and mission changed again to "Aerospace Rescue and Recovery", later shortened to "Air Rescue" and then simply "Rescue". The current names of the 102nd Rescue Squadron (102 RQS) and 106th Rescue Wing (106 RQW) were assigned in 1995. Today, the 106 RQW provides search and rescue services using HC-130P Hercules aircraft and HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopters. The rescue wing was featured in the book and movie of The Perfect Storm which details the crash of one of the wing's HH-60G Pave Hawk rescue helicopters while conducting search and rescue operations from the airport during the 1991 Perfect Storm.

Air Force One was based at the airport in the summers of 1998 and 1999 during weeklong visits by President Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton during extended stays at the Georgica Pondmarker home of Steven Spielberg in East Hampton , New Yorkmarker.

Image:Air Defense Command.pngImage:Air Combat Command.pngImage:Air National Guard.png


Facilities and aircraft

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Gabreski Airport covers an area of 1,451 acres (587 ha) which contains three paved runways. Runway 6/24 measures 9,000 x 150 ft (2,743 x 46 m), making it among New Yorkmarker's longest after JFK International Airportmarker and Stewart International Airportmarker. The airport has two additional runways (1/19 and 15/33), each measuring 5,000 x 150 ft (1,524 x 46 m).

For the 12-month period ending December 31, 2006, the airport had 434,223 aircraft operations, an average of 1,189 per day: 97% general aviation, 3% military and <1% air taxi. At that time there were 107 aircraft based at this airport: 79% single-engine, 6% multi-engine, 2% jet, 2% helicopter, 2% glider and 10% military.

Two fixed base operators provide aviation services to airport users: Long Island Jet Center and Malloy Air East.

The Suffolk County Police Aviation Section bases a Law Enforcement and MEDEVAC helicopter at the airport. The base is staffed from 7AM to 11PM by two Police Officer pilots as well as a Flight Paramedic employed by Stony Brook University Hospital. The airport is patrolled by the Suffolk County Sheriff's Officemarker.

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