Aviation had always been an active part of my life growing up during the 1960’s. My Family had lived on the east end of Long Island, NY and also Palm Beach County, FL for all of my formative years. My father Paul Layman Jr. was a pilot. He was not just any pilot but rather “the greatest pilot ever” at least in my eyes as a child. There were no aircraft he wasn’t right at home with.
Brantly Helicopters and VSTOL Airplanes were common lawn ornaments that graced our back lawn in Westhampton Beach. I was a very lucky boy growing up around such planes as the P-51 Mustang (N5151T) and the Pitts S-1C Little Stinker (N22E) which now reside at the Smithsonian in Washington DC. These were just two of many aircraft that my father owned and piloted at one time. My sister and I ﬂew regularly with my father until one too many mishaps in the air created much anguish for my mother and she grounded us. Needless to say, aviation was always there, ﬂying or not.
My father used to speak of Amelia Earhart and my great-grandfather’s role in her ﬂying career, but I did not really comprehend any of it as a boy or I just didn’t have the patience to listen to long stories of people I didn’t know. It was not until I became a young man and was gifted by my father some original documents, letters and photos written by the hand of Amelia M. Earhart to my great-grandfather David T. Layman, that I realized the importance of those stories.
Read about us in the Ledger
Earhart’s Runway Grill Is Flying High
In the spring of 1928 while in the employ of the Phipps Family, David T. Layman was asked to ﬁnd a suitable candidate woman pilot to stand in for Amy Phipps Guest who had planned to be the ﬁrst woman to make a trans-Atlantic ﬂight. Mrs. Guest had just recently purchased a Fokker Tri- motor airplane from Richard Byrd (Polar Explorer) who was to use it for an Antarctic expedition but decided it was not the right aircraft for his purpose. Amy Phipps Guest’s family became aware of her impending endeavor and voiced their objection. The Guest family decided that they would support such a trip but only if another woman pilot was found
to make this ﬂight. They entrusted my great-grandfather to ﬁnd such a person.
From the ﬁrst moment Amelia was introduced to David Layman, he knew that she was the one. Amelia did eventually make that ﬁrst transatlantic ﬂight along with Wilmer Stultz and Lou Gordon. The few years after that ﬁrst ﬂight forged a strong relationship between Amelia and my great-grandparents. Amelia visited our home in Westhampton many times and corresponded with my great-grandmother often.
It is with this family history that my wife and I conceived of Earhart’s Runway Grill. It is our hope that you enjoy our restaurant and the history behind the name it bears.