3. Gathering Information

“The Whole is Greater than the Sum of its Parts”

My plan was to collect as much Zahns information as possible — old photos, slides, 8mm movies, maps, aeronatical charts, ads, newspaper articles, etc. — and stitch the best parts of that information into a single, unified model of Zahns.

Crowdsourcing and Facebook

Collage of photos from the Zahn's Airport Project Facebook group
Small sampling of photos from the Facebook group

The Zahns Airport Project Facebook group was launched in November, 2008. I built it to gather together kindred souls who also loved Zahns, and as a way to crowdsource material for the project.

The Facebook group has nearly 300 members, and boasts a huge collection of Zahns photos and videos.

Without the help and support of the members of this group, the project would have been impossible!

eBay, Google, and the Abandoned Airfields Site

Surprisingly, eBay became a treasure-trove of useful (and original) Zahns material. Over the years, I’ve found Zahns color slide collections, photos, pilot logbooks, matchbook covers, Zahns ashtrays, and license plates.

The Zahns Airport entries on the Abandoned & Little-Known Airfields site has photos and first-person histories of Zahns — you won’t find these anywhere else.

In-Person Visits

Left-over visibility markers from Zahn's Airport
The Zahns “Visibility Markers”
(Seabro Ave, Amityville)

Since beginning the project, I’ve made several trips “back home” to Long Island, NY. Zahns Airport is gone, but if you look closely, you can still see some remains, including several of the visibility markers (“spheres”) on the power lines just to the north of the field, as well as the cement foundation of the old Air National Guard building. (A Google Earth “street view” in the neighborhood will reveal about a half-dozen more!)

The staff at the Cradle of Aviation Museum, Newsday, and the Queens Public Library also opened their doors (and photo archives) and provided the project with a mountain of photos. (You can see many of them in our Flickr collection.)


N4372J, when it lived at Zahn's Airport
N4372J, then and now

I also had the chance to meet (and fly with) Adam R, who purchased N4372J, one of the Cherokee 140s owned by the Amityville Flying Service. And I’m certain I logged more than a few hours in that plane during my flight training!

N4372J, as seen by the fuel pumps in the Zahn's Airport simulation
N4372J – simulated!

You can also fly N4272J in the Zahns model. When I built the Zahns model, I also created an Amityville Flying Service “skin” for the X-Plane Cherokee 140.

AFS Logo

The skin features a completely restored version of the colorful AFS logo.

Next: Building the Hangars