A guy walks into a bar with a Cessna

Saturday night, September 29, 1956: While sitting at his local watering hole–Joe’s Bar on St. Nicholas Avenue and 191st Street in NYC– having a drink and laughing with friends, Thomas Fitzpatrick, a combat vet turned steamfitter, accepted a challenge to fly from New Jersey to Washington Heights in 15 minutes.

Now Tommy Fitz happened to be a man of many skills, having lied about his age (just 15) to serve in the Marines in China, and going on to fight first with the Devil in the PTO then with the Army in Korea, learning to fly a Grasshopper along the way.

AVG pilots inspecting an L-2 Grasshopper in SE Asia, by the amazing Romain Hugault

Shortly after Fitz left to prove his point, he showed up outside with a (borrowed) Cessna 140 and taxied up just before last call.

Responding police took Fitz off for flying a stolen plane while drunk and later had the Cessna dismantled to get it out of there. For his illegal flight, he was fined $100 after the plane’s owner refused to press charges

Nonetheless, Fitz repeated the stunt two years later. 

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