Connie’s Return Flight to JFK

By Rudy King, Media Relations Staff

While most of the John F. Kennedy International Airport landscape today is dotted with new age aircraft such as the Airbus A380 and the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, tucked inside the airport’s Hanger 20 is a cool piece of Aviation history from a bygone era that paved the way for these modern aircraft.

The shell of a 1958-era Lockheed Constellation plane, nicknamed “Connie,” was recently delivered to the airport and — while it’s no longer airworthy – the aircraft soon will serve in an entirely new capacity: as a cocktail lounge for the new TWA Hotel, which is scheduled to open next year.

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Known as the secret weapons of TWA, the Lockhead Constellation planes were things of beauty. First produced in 1939 and commissioned by TWA’s owner Howard Hughes, the aircraft, with a 50-foot wingspan and able to cruise at 300 miles per hour, broke the transcontinental speed record on a flight from Burbank, CA to New York in 1946. It also served as Air Force One for President Dwight D. Eisenhower in the 1950s.

Though these aircrafts were wildly popular in their heyday – even used by South American drug traffickers to drop drugs while in flight — only 44 L-1649s were produced. Only four remain today.
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In early 2018, MCR Development purchased “Connie” and partnered with Atlantic Models / Gigo Aviation to restore the historic aircraft to the original 1958 condition.

The fully restored plane was disassembled and transported by trailers from Maine’s Auburn-Lewiston Airport to JFK Airport, where its new career as Connie N8083H will transform into a one-of-a-kind cocktail lounge on the tarmac outside the TWA hotel scheduled to open in 2019.

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Posted in air travel, airport history, airports, John F. Kennedy International Airport, Kennedy Airport, TWA Flight Center, Uncategorized

For Port Authority Veterans, A Special Category of VIP

By Media Relations Staff

At the Port Authority’s Office of Emergency Management (OEM) headquarters in Jersey City, a new internship program is helping smooth the transition for veterans making the often challenging move from military to civilian life.

Israel Estrada and Jannia Manigault, Marine Corps veterans, and former Navy corpsman Kadeem Short are the inaugural class of OEM’s Veterans Internship Program (VIP), under the direction of OEM Director Gerard McCarty and Special Assistant Chuck Aaron. Launched in August, the pilot program not only recognizes the special skills veterans possess, but applies their professional strengths and experience to helping build emergency response strategies for the benefit of PA customers, employees and assets.

“This environment really supports our interns, which is key,” said McCarty, who also served in the Marines. “The transition to civilian life is something we feel very strongly about helping them achieve.”

Internship requirements are that participants must commit at least 16 hours a week on average to the program, while continuing their studies fulltime at a college or university. The OEM curriculum includes intensive training in active shooter and other responsive drills hosted by the Port Authority, as well as emergency management operations, strategic preparedness and hazard mitigation.

Estrada worked for a non-profit organization in Pasadena, CA. before heading east to pursue a master’s degree in in Emergency Management at the University of New Haven in Connecticut. Short is studying Homeland Security and Emergency Management at Post University in Connecticut and will start his master’s program next summer. He most recently was based at the  Naval Station in Portsmouth, Va.

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Israel Estrada, Chuck Aaron and Kadeem Short (l-r) at OEM


Manigault, who deployed to Afghanistan in 2011 for a tour of duty, is close to earning a bachelor’s degree in Homeland Security from St. John’s University and intends to pursue a master’s in Business Analytics. Like her VIP colleagues, she is receiving an extensive education in the ways OEM plans and conducts its operations.

“I may have not known what I was getting into when I started this internship, but if I continue on this path I know that it will indeed be a rewarding experience for me on a professional and personal level,” she said. “I get to continue helping people in some way, while learning to become more knowledgeable in my field.”

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Jannia Manigault, part of the first OEM Veterans internship program


Said Estrada: “There’s so much to learn here. We have access to a level of training that we wouldn’t otherwise be able to get. The great benefit of working at the Port Authority is the level of training, discipline and planning we receive.”

“It means a lot, that they’re taking the initiative for veterans,” added Short. “Working here is a great opportunity for all of us, to get the kind of experience we need.”

Aaron is a Marine veteran who conducted tours of Iraq and Afghanistan and later taught infantry officers at the military training facility in Quantico, Va., before joining the OEM. Overseeing the internship program, he said, is a source of daily inspiration.

“We work for them. They don’t work for us,” Aaron said. “We’re here to get them what they need.”

Posted in OEM, Port Authority Veterans Association, Uncategorized, Veteran's Day, veterans, Veterans Day

Preparing the PAPD’s Best to Handle the Worst

By Lenis Rodrigues, Media Relations Staff

On a recent fall morning, the quiet of the Bayonne waterfront was broken by a swarm of Port Authority Police officers descending upon the old cruise terminal in response to a report of a shooter. The officers, in full tactical gear and armed with rifles and Glock pistols, fired their weapons, barricaded the suspect and were able to apprehend him within minutes.

While the action that unfolded that day appeared real, it was actually one of the newest training programs taught to PAPD officers and those from other law enforcement agencies to help prepare them for terroristic threats. The PAPD is responsible for policing some of the nation’s busiest transportation facilities, and every facility presents unique challenges in dealing with an active threat — whether an airport, tunnel, bridge, train or even an office space.

“This training is a part of an ongoing, comprehensive effort by the agency to help improve security at all of our facilities,” said PAPD Chief of Police Emilio W. Gonzalez. “It’s an extremely challenging task, but we continue to practice and train for emergencies for the safety of the public.”

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The training program was implemented in September and is being incorporated into the officers’ future training. It includes a five-day training course that encompasses response to an active threat, downed officer rescue techniques, emergency trauma care and rescue task force concepts.

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The training was led by the PAPD’s Emergency Service Unit (ESU) but it included various commands, as well as officers from police departments in Jersey City, Paramus, Northvale and Union City in New Jersey and the Bergen County Sheriff’s Office. The sessions are critical to maintaining ongoing relationships with the PAPD’s mutual aid partners, as they would serve as a backup in emergencies.

PAPD’s emergency training was recently profiled by local news broadcasts:

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During the training session, the first thing the officers learned was how to stop the threatening individual from continuing to harm others. Officers not only are trained to neutralize the threat, but to save people’s lives through medical treatment. As the group of officers worked together to find and neutralize the threat, an officer dragged an “injured” mannequin to safety and initiated efforts to stop the wounds from bleeding.

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“Not only do we have to stop the threat, we have to save people’s lives,” said PAPD ESU Sgt. Daniel Dias, a 25-year EMT veteran. He stressed that in these scenarios, the gunshot victims’ deaths are not caused by the gunshot wounds but from loss of blood.

Each PAPD officer has access to a basic first aid kit. But the PAPD Special Operations officers carry an active shooter kit able to treat up to 15 injured people. The most important tool in the kit is the tourniquet which can tighten and restrict blood flow in as quickly as 20 seconds.

“Our role in continuing to train these officers and civilians focuses on empowering them to respond and react during a high impact situation where life threatening injuries exist,” said Michael McCabe, the Tactical Medical Coordinator assisting PAPD with its training.   “We want to ensure that all officers have a baseline knowledge in bleeding control techniques and basic first aid that will enable them to save as many lives as possible.”

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Photos by Luiz C. Ribeiro

Posted in PAPD, Uncategorized