“Flying Boat”: Rediscovering the Romance of Aviation History

In the heart of New York’s LaGuardia Airport, nestled within a historic Art Deco building, lies the Marine Air Terminal—a time capsule to the golden age of aviation. Once the bustling home of the iconic Pan Am Clipper, the world’s first taste of commercial passenger travel, this terminal stands as a reminder of the glory days of flying boats. However, as land runways and engineering advances took center stage, the novelty of flying boats faded into the background in the United States.

But filmmaker and Greenwich native, Dirk Braun, is on a mission to revive this forgotten era of aviation history. With his upcoming documentary, aptly named “Flying Boat,” Braun wants to reignite the fascination for these ultimate adventure machines that once graced the skies.

The Ultimate Adventure Machines: Unveiling the Grumman HU-16 Albatross

Braun, the founder of Red Mtn Production, is crafting a full-length feature film that delves into the history of the Grumman HU-16 Albatross. This remarkable aircraft, a flying boat with a storied past, takes center stage in Braun’s narrative. The film not only explores the technological marvel of the Albatross but also highlights the passionate individuals dedicated to its preservation.

“I want to touch upon the romance of flying and the synergy between man and machine,” says Braun. In an era dominated by automation and streamlined controls, he aims to capture the essence of passion and excitement that flying boats bring—machines capable of feats beyond the ordinary.

A Diverse Community of Enthusiasts: Guardians of Flying Boats

Braun introduces us to a diverse group of enthusiasts—airline pilots, retired military aviators, and private individuals—who own, maintain, and fly the few remaining flying boats. These individuals, according to Braun, form a unique community bonded by a shared love for these extraordinary aircraft.

Co-producing alongside Tom Casey of Rye and with the support of production associate Cory Bixler from Darien, Braun has dedicated the last 10 months to extensive research, filming, and brainstorming the direction of the “Flying Boat” project.

Journey Across the Skies: From Connecticut to the Bahamas

Braun’s project takes him on a journey across the region, from the scenic landscapes of Connecticut and the bustling streets of Manhattan to the sun-kissed shores of Bermuda and the Bahamas. One remarkable location in this adventure is the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Arizona. Here, an Albatross lay dormant in a boneyard for nearly 46 years until Tom Casey, Braun’s collaborator, decided to rescue and restore it in 1994. Despite years of neglect, the flying boat has been reborn into a beautiful machine, embodying the resilience and beauty of aviation history.

As “Flying Boat” takes shape, Braun invites us to rediscover the romance, excitement, and adventure woven into the fabric of flying boats—an era that deserves to be remembered and celebrated for generations to come.

Watch Flying Boat, Now Streaming