At approximately 3 a.m. on September 30, 1956, Thomas "Fitz" Fitzpatrick; A Marine during WWII, and a Army Veteran of the Korean War, was having a drink in Washington Heights one night when another patron bet him that he couldn't go to New Jersey and be back in 15 minutes., while intoxicated, stole a single engine plane from the Teterboro School of Aeronautics in New Jersey and flew without lights or radio before landing on St. Nicholas Avenue near 191st Street in front of a New York City bar where earlier he had been drinking and made an intoxicated barroom bet that he could travel from New Jersey to New York City in 15 minutes. The New York Times called the flight a "feat of aeroneutics" and a "fine landing". For his illegal flight, he was fined $100 after the plane's owner refused to press charges.
On October 4, 1958 just before 1 a.m., Fitzpatrick again intoxicated stole another plane from the same airfield and landed on Amsterdam and 187th street in front of a Yeshiva University building after another bar patron disbelieved his first feat. For his second stolen flight, Judge John A. Mullen sentenced him to six months in prison stating, "Had you been properly jolted then, it’s possible this would not have occurred a second time." Fitzpatick said "it's the lousy drink" that caused him to pull the stunt.