Air Al: Farmingdale man known for aerial cinematography

Based at Republic Airport in Farmingdale, Al Cerullo is the go-to guy when producers need shots of New York City or its surroundings, including Long Island.

Based at Republic Airport in Farmingdale, Al Cerullo is the go-to guy when producers need shots of New York City or its surroundings, including Long Island. (5/25/16)

FARMINGDALE - A Long Island man is known as one of the best aerial cinematographers in the television and movie business.

Based at Republic Airport in Farmingdale, Al Cerullo is the go-to guy when producers need shots of New York City or its surroundings, including Long Island.

Like many pilots of his generation, Cerullo began his career flying combat choppers in Vietnam. A few years after his return to Long Island, he started shooting film from a helicopter and hasn't stopped.

His footage has appeared in more than 500 movies, 200 TV shows and countless commercials. Most of the work is done in an impeccably maintained Twinstar.

"I've been flying it since 1995, just rebuilt in 2009," Cerullo says. "It's a 1982 model, but the only thing that's '82 is the body."

One shot that sticks in his mind was for a scene in "Home Alone 2."

"That's when Macaulay Culkin was on the deck of the World Trade Center as we flew very close. I could have reached out and shook his hand," he says.

When he's not filming a scene, Cerullo often gets into the action himself as a stunt pilot.

Even after 50 years of flying, Cerullo is just as busy as ever.

"I just came back from D.C. I worked on 'Bourne 5' and 'The Purge' and I am going back to D.C. in two weeks for the new Spiderman," he says.

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