FARMINGDALE - Friends gathered at the Airpower Museum in Farmingdale Saturday to honor the pilot killed last night in a crash into the Hudson River.
As News 12 has reported, a vintage World War II-era plane from the museum took off from Republic Airport yesterday and came down into the river between New York City and New Jersey, not far from the George Washington Bridge. The pilot, 56-year-old Bill Gordon, was killed. His body was recovered last night, and the plane was pulled from the water today.
Gordon was honored Saturday with a traditional missing man formation of Geico Skytyper planes over Republic Airport.
Gordon was a nationally known pilot and was a central part of the Airpower Museum. Speakers honored him at Saturday's ceremony and said he will not be forgotten for all his contributions to flying history.
"From all accounts, and of what we know of Bill, he did everything right, when he realized he was facing a potential catastrophic situation, he quickly got the aircraft down in the safest place possible," said Scott Clyman, of the Air Power Museum.
Gordon was praised by Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone for helping a younger generation learn more about how Long Island came to be known as a "cradle of aviation."
"We are grateful for the work that he did, to keep alive the history of this nation and to honor the men and women who have served our country," Bellone said.
Federal investigators say the probe into the cause of the crash on the Hudson River may take six months to a year.
Fellow Airpower Museum pilots and aircraft did not appear at today's Bethpage Air Show at Jones Beach out of respect for their friend Bill Gordon.