Beacon Field Airport®


Elevation 249 feet, Fairfax County, Virginia         GPS 38 46'20.40"N :  77 4'54.07"W
Copyright 2015 Friends of Beacon Field Airport at City View and, no part of this website including sound or text content may be copied, reproduced or used for any other purpose without express written permission of the website owner.   Beacon Field Airport® is a registered trademark of the website owner.


 A Few Memories of the Flying Days at Beacon Field. . .

. . .and Tales of Barnstorming, Grandstanding, Near Misses, Sightseeing.

Since we launched the Beacon Field Airport website October 2007, we have received many wonderful emails and letters sharing memories of Beacon Field .    So we have created this new page to share some of those great memories and jog your memory too !

Periodically memories are posted in the order they are received and 
removed to make room for new. 

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EYEWITNESS to BEACON Burnelli History Tells His Story !

"In 1959, I worked for Paul Zimmer Aviation, which did aerial photography with a number of vintage Aircraft. I can't remember the supervisor I worked for, but he was an examiner for  the FAA qualified to issue the practical examination for the Aircraft and power plant mechanics licenses.

He assigned me to prepare the Ballard Burnelli in time to exit Beacon Field before its closing.   As we came closer to the planned departure, I recall Mr. Zimmer would make high speed runs, in order to get a feel for the Aircraft, because he was the one who was going to fly it to BWI.

I remember standing by the runway as the Ballard Burnelli departed Beacon Field, and I was told that was the last Aircraft to depart Beacon Field.

I went on to be hired by American Airlines at National Airport.   After many years I found myself as Captain for Frontier Airlines.  I received a trip assignment to BWI. To my surprise, after landing I came nose to nose with my old friend Ballard Burnelli, parked in the heart sank seeing that proud bird sitting in the grass at BWI awaiting the junk man!!   

I checked with ground control and he was surprised that I knew what the Aircraft was. He told me that the Airport Manager had a picture of it when it came to BWI. After shut down I walked down to the Airport Managers office, and as I was told, he did have the picture.  

I put at least two plus weeks on the Ballard Burnelli, and the one thing that remains is the fact that it used vegetable based hydraulic fluid.

Thanks to you all for taking care of one of my most fondest memories.   I am so happy to hear of the restoration of this aircraft."

Captain John Winter

Asst. Chief Pilot

Continental Airlines ( Ret )


I have the fodest memories of your parents, and Uncle Frank. They treated me
 like I was one of the family, as I was only sixteen when I soloed at Beacon in
 1955.  In the early eighties I rented an almost new Cessna 172 from your Dad
 at Hyde Field where he was then operating. I consider it a privilege to have
started my flying career at Beacon Field. Of course it was not uncommon to
 hear about what "Butch" was doing. Well it's nice some 60 years later to see
 that "Butch" is doing just fine.

 I forgot to include one of my memories of your Dad in my earlier message. It would have been December 1955 or January 1956. In any event it was cold as hell. Your mother would have already penciled me in on the schedule for solo flight on a Sunday morning early. Things would be a little slow at that time, and I can't recall who would have propped the Aeronca, but obviously someone had. I would be practicing takeoffs and landings some touch and gos, and others from a full stop. One cold Sunday morning as I was doing this I noticed a car sittiing off to the side of the taxiway, and the male occupant had been watching me. Yep it was your Dad. He motioned for me to hold my position, and bracing himself against the prop wash he opened the cabin door and stuck his head in to talk to me. He said" You're doing good, but try this and you'll do even better." I've never forgotten that incident, and thought you might like to hear it. I think it had something to do with the tailwhell touching just a tick ahead of the mains.

Joe Kernan

Jinx Lee and Arthur C. "Joe" Brown
My father, Arthur C. "Joe" Brown, grew up on Beacon Hill Road and got his first airplane ride from Franklin Reid in his KR-34 that he was using to build time prior to being hired by Eastern. Franklin was managing the gas station on Route 1 and Dad worked there pumping gas.

He got his licenses up thru Commercial on GI bill at Beacon and laughed recalling how Mary Lewis chewed him out for giving my mother a ride in a Stearman that they used for the 200hp requirement for Comm. He met Mom, Jinx Lee, at Beacon.....
She started flying at Congressional Field in July 1944 after graduating from Central High School and starting work at the Bureau of Standards. Soloed September 10 in a J-3. Instructor was R.C. Darr; I recall my parents having mentioned his name as an old timer instructor in the area...  I'm not sure if the training may have been subsidized by CAP because of the war; she stopped flying in September 1945 and started again at Beacon in April 1947. Working at Bureau of Standards and attending GWU in those years. Went back to flying at Congressional in 1948. After getting married... it didn't take her long to decide that she didn't like Dad's instructional style which involved a lot of shouting and she quit flying. 
She enjoyed riding as a passenger and after one trip that involved some scud running at about 500 ft AGL, she commented that the view was much better there than where we usually flew up higher!

Dad served watches in the observation tower as a teenager and since he referred to it as a tower I was a little surprised to see how low it was in the photo that you found. I think that the authorities viewed the observation posts as being more for homefront morale than for actual defense so maybe they weren't too worried about the height. I also recall Dad saying that kids used to climb the airway beacon tower to stop the rotating beacon and shine it on houses.

---Robert Brown

Mr. Arthur C. "Joe" Brown standing in front of his Kaiser Frazer and PT-23 at Beacon Field.
 ....Spent my early childhood there as my father, Bill Shelton, both had a plane there and flew out of there.

I am the oldest of Bill Shelton's children and when my sister sent a copy of her email regarding the field website and the reply, it brought back many fond memories of spending time at the field with my dad.
I can remember the leather sofas in the pilots lounge (i believe) and even the singular smell of old leather, cigar and cigarette smoke, paper and fuel. What a great website!  I later went on to ground school and flying at Hyde Field so I knew a lot of these people well as a teenager.  I was the only girl there at the time.  Thank you for all the work that has gone into this and for what you continue to do.  If my dad were still alive he would definitely have been your biggest supporter!

--Karen Shelton Booth

In 1954, I was standing with my grandfather, WFP Reid on the airport property between Route 1 and the Palms Restaurant watching the building's shingles rise and fall with each gust from the historic coastal Hurricane Hazel.     The large restaurant had a stone facade and to see this "rock of gibralter" falter was frightening and unnerving.
Beacon Field survived intact but other parts of Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania were not so lucky with damages exceeding $350M and many fatalities. 

--Harry P. Lehman
...   My dad, Victor M. Rudy,  used to fly in and out of Beacon Field quite a bit before my parents were married... in 1957. He used to tell my sister, Phyllis Rudy Bainbridge, and I many stories about his learning to fly, and his love of flying, especially from and into Beacon Field. He was even brave enough to take my mom up in a plane with him, from Beacon Field, when they were dating! This must have been a real labor of love for the both of them, considering that my mom, (who never even drove a car!), was always a terrible back seat driver when riding in a car, and also a nervous wreck whenever she flew on a commercial airplane!

--  Denise A. Rudy Owens

The Kernan Brothers

During the 1950's my brother Charles E. Kernan obtained all of his ratings at Beacon Field Alexandria Va. On Dec. 6, 1955 I soloed Aeronca Champ N21580E. My instructor was Gray Allison who used to fly up from Shannon Fredericksburg, Va. to instruct at Beacon. Many fond memories of Beacon.

One of my earliest flights with Chubby (Charles Kernan) was at Beacon Field on a frigid January night in 1950. I recently related that story to the family, and will repeat it here.

As many of you know Chubby started with All American Airways in 1949 as a Flight Agent. Flight Agents were also known as "Ball Bearing Hostesses".By 1951 at the urging of the cockpit crews Chubby began using his GI Bill benefits to obtain the necessary ratings to become a pilot. There were various requirements, one of which was a certain number of night solo flight hours.

Most if not all of Chubby's training took place at Beacon Field, south of Alexandria on Old #1 Highway. The GI Bill rules did not allow anyone to accompany the pilot receiving the benefit, with the exception of an instructor, which I was not. The office building at Beacon sat well off of #1 Highway at the end of a long driveway. There were slight depressions on either side of the driveway to enhance drainage. One night when I was twelve or thirteen Chubby asked me if I wanted to go flying with him. Of course a jumped at the chance, as I knew there was a strong possibility that he might let me drive his car, and I had already begun to be interested in flying, as I was flying gas powered models, and waving to Chubby when he would fly over our home in Washington. Because of the GI Bill rules stated above, I was instructed to crouch down in one of the drainage depressions and wait for the distinctive Yellow & Red Bottom Aeronca Champ to taxi out. When we realized that all of Beacons Aeroncas fit this distinction, I was told to wait for the one that would flash a light toward me, before I entered the airplane from the rear to avoid the spinning prop. (That Chubby always a stickler for the rules).

It was cold this particular night , and the sky was clear as a bell. These little airplanes didn't have much in the way of cabin heat systems, but after awhile we sort of warmed up. At the time the airspace around Washington was not nearly as congested as it is today, nor were the rules of flight very stringent. You were not required to be in radio contact with anyone, and you were pretty well on your own. Washington looked like a giant diamond from my vantage point in that little airplane, and I would view many other cities like that over my eventual career as an Airline Pilot.

I'm sure we flew over the northwest corner of the city, and Chubby probably pointed out our home to me, which I probably could not identify, but I could pick out prominent landmarks like Tenley Circle and such. At some point we ended up over the College Park area, and we both had developed a strong urge to answer the call of nature. As we were in technical violation of the of the GI Bill Rules, and Beacon Field's Rules, Chubby didn't want to land at an airport that could report those infractions to either the government or Beacon Field. (Those pesky rules again). Chubby remembered that the Department of Agriculture Airport at Beltsville Md. had recently been decommissioned , but the runways were still very usable.  Chubby landed by moonlight, and shut the little engine off.   We answered the call, and we were so relieved.

Our relief was short lived, as Chubby realized he had overlooked several things.   One, the Airport Operator at Beacon Field could tell by the amount of fuel burned whether the airplane had been in constant flight , or had been landed somewhere. Secondly, and probably more significant was the fact that these airplanes do not have automatic starters, and there is a particular way to hand start the airplane. The procedure is known as hand propping, and requires some expertise in accomplishing it.   Since I was not at all familiar with the procedure, and Chubby had minimal experience with it, we had a dilemma. It was decided that I would hold the brakes, and manage the controls in the cabin, while Chubby spun the prop by hand (talk about trust). We used every cushion in the airplane to put behind my back to make sure I could press on the brakes hard enough to hold the airplane when it started. Because of the fuel burn issue stated before, Chubby drained some additional fuel from the gascolator to simulate the amount we would have burned had we not landed.  Chubby yelled,  "CRACK the throttle 1/4 inch", which I did. Next he yelled contact which was the signal to turn on the magneto which would allow the engine to start. Next came the command "BRAKES", which I pushed so hard that I thought my feet would go through the floorboards.

This process was repeated several times before the little engine sprang to life, a nice sound as I recall. After we re-arranged the cushions, we were ready to return to Beacon Field. We were so relieved, in more ways than one. In retrospect it might have better to have just wet our pants, but as I said it was mighty cold that night. Many times after that, whenever I flew over Beltsville I would look down on those runways, and could almost make out the three wet spots near that runway.   One was gasoline, and the other two . . . well you know.

--Captain Joe Kernan, USAIR Retired


Allegheny Airlines DC-3 at Harrisburg, PA, August 10, 1957 (Courtesy CAPT Chubby Kernan)
One day I was supposed to be in the practice area which was over near Springfield.   I would have been doing turns about a point, s turns over the road etc.,    just so happened that my family was having picnic at my older sister's house near the practice area, but far enough away from it to require a diversion.
While circling the assembly,  I was trying to close the sliding plexiglass window which I had opened to wave to the crowd. With a gloved hand,  some how the window got caught in the slipstream and left the airplane, and floated toward the ground like a falling leaf.

It was cold as hell, and by the time I was almost back to Beacon I had my story all made up:   The window came loose while I was practicing.   Not so fast.   As I was taxiing toward the fuel pump, here comes a 48 Chevy with a load of my family returning the window which they had retrieved from the ground.
Now how in the hell do I tell Harry J. Lehman that was just a coincidence?

-- Captain Joe Kernan,  USAIR retired


November 27, 2009, Kloten, Switzerland --   "The last landing at Beacon Field took place on October 14, 1962 at 4:58 PM. The aircraft was a Cessna 150 (N1189Y) which had departed from Teterboro, NJ,  two and a half hours earlier en-route to the Washington-Virginia (Baileys Crossroads) airport. Upon arrival in the Washington DC area, the pilot, an inexperienced 22 year-old alien, got confused and mistakenly landed on one of two intersecting runways not very far from the Pentagon.   After landing, the absence of other aircraft on the ramp and some light local surface traffic using the other runway were obvious signs that something had gone very wrong.

Scared of any consequence of his mistake, the pilot decided to get airborne swiftly.  He first got out of the plane, handed a dollar bill to a couple of youngsters, asking them to stop any crossing traffic on the intersecting runway during the ensuing takeoff, then hopped back into the Cessna, backtracked and took to the air again after 19 minutes ground time, never to be worried by the police, the FAA or any other threatening authority.  {editors note: this adventure occurred as tensions were rising over the Cuban Missile crisis}.    Within 40 minutes, he was safely on the ground again at the Washington Suburban airport (Laurel, MD) where he was told, upon describing the scene of his previous landing, that it had occurred at a decommissioned airport, by the name of Beacon Field.

Now this incident may be somewhat reminiscent of Mathias Rust's landing at  Moscow's Red Square in  1987.  But the difference is significant: The Red Square landing was deliberate, the {Beacon Field} landing merely accidental.   I should know:  I was the pilot !   "

-- Jean-Francois Didisheim


{EDITORS NOTE: Since we launched the Beacon Field Airport website eighteen months ago, we have received many fascinating emails, letters, and photographs sharing memories of Beacon Field and the Groveton area.             

One of these wonderful emails came from Mr. Jean-Francois Didisheim,  born in Geneva, Switzerland,  who got his private pilot license in 1958.   In pursuit of his engineering degree with the Swiss Institute of Technology,   Mr. Didisheim was required to spend a number of months with an engineering  company as a trainee.  He chose Beechcraft in Witchita, Kansas,  and the year was 1962.    During his tenure at Beechcraft, he flew occasionally around Kansas.  

At the end of his training in mid-October 1962, he arrived in New York with a planned return home trip to Switzerland on a commercial flight.   Mr. Didisheim had a few days to explore the east coast before departure and rented the Cessna 150 at Teterboro to visit some distant family near Washington landing unintentionally at the closed  Beacon Field as he described above.   October 1962 was a tense and turbulent month in US history with USSR nuclear testing in Novaya Zemlya, U-2  flights over Cuba ,  and the looming Cuban Missile Crisis.    A heightened level of security and scrutiny of aviation activity ensued especially around the Washington metro area.     Despite all odds,  the young 007 Didisheim made a stealth landing and takeoff only to be heard from 47 years later !!

Mr. Didisheim has had a very successful 50+ year career flying single engine airplanes and gliders including aerobatics, some instructing, and instrument flight.

Now, Mr. Didishem says,  ". . . I only fly within Europe, mainly with a 1967 Bonanza. I am an unconditional fan of Wolfgang Langewiesche's book Stick & Rudder first printed in 1944. "  He also worked 26 years for SwissAir (this author's favorite airline before its dissolve in 2002) where he focused on cockpit specification in collaboration with Airbus and McDonnell-Douglas .

"And last but not least I am  delighted to have recently rediscovered the Beacon Field Airport, albeit through the internet, and to have gotten in touch with some of its friends, many of whom I hope to meet one day in the not-too-distant future".  }

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My earliest memories of flying were from '58/'59 (about 3-4 years old); remember watching the "yellow planes" (Piper Cubs?) taking off and landing, and then off to the Dixie Pig for a quick  lunch.
From those memories I went on to earn my private pilots certificate and flew for 20 years; the last 4 in an open cockpit Boeing Stearman (interestingly, it's records show it spent its last military TDYs at "Bolling Field" in DC before being sold off to  a crop duster down in South Texas, and then onto Mississippi for a restoration in 1987).
Don't get to fly much anymore, but that's OK; great memories thanks to friends, photos, video and great websites like yours!   :-)
Thanks again so very much; it brings back a ton of priceless memories of there, Alexandria, Belle Haven, and the old Eastern Airlines/Lockheed Constellations launching out of Washington National !
God Bless and Best Wishes,
--Pete Fair
Tampa, FL

Mr. Cecil "Cy" Coppage, 1932
Cy Coppage's own words about his barnstorming flight back to his hometown of Culpeper, Virginia:

On December 7th, 1931,  I finally realized a dream of a long time  that of flying back to and landing at my home town, Culpeper, VA, where I grew up to kid the guys I went to school with and visit the high school I attended.

So, on a clear but windy day, we fired up the old OX-5 Commandaire, a three place job, took off from Beacon Field, Alexandria, VA, (a late start because previously, I had to return to Beacon Field in a forced landing due to faulty low oil pressure).   This time finally on our way  I let Arny Nelson,  my friend fly the old Commandaire while in the air,  since he was a paying passenger in a sort of friendly way.   We had  a tail wind all the way down to Culpeper from Beacon Field a distance of some 78 miles.

We flew at about 4500 ft going down, finally came down a bit , because of head winds and cold to about 2500 ft.    Could see the Blue Ridge Mountains  to right, and the mouth Potomac and Chesapeake Bay a ways to the left.  Nice trip.

We flew around and over Culpeper, quite a thrill to me, even over my grandfather's house, giving all a thrill and causing people to run out of houses and into the street (even Main Street).   All were looking up at the strange and not frequently seen bird over head.  Then I landed in a cow pasture, just outside of town, after 1 hour 10 minutes flying time,  some ground speed, eh? to go 78 miles.

We got the farmer to watch the aircraft while we went into town to visit my old friends, school chums, even visited Culpeper High School.   Talked to the principal, who was surprised, to say the least, as well as several teachers on our way back to the field where the old Commandaire was waiting.  

People ran like mad to get to the cow pasture to see us take off,  I needed to add a little gas to top off tank, so got a guy named German to bring me out a couple cans of petrol (two five gallon cans of same).    Damned if, in his haste, to be sure to see us take off, a guy ran smack into a telephone pole in his Model T Ford.   What an exciting time for that sleep little town then.   1931.

Finally I took off, got the crowd to stay back and keep the cows away before I could even taxi.  After takeoff, we flew over town a bit more and at 500 ft threw out some circulars for the guy who furnished us gas.   People ran out like mad, scrambled for circulars.     Some fun!   45 minutes later landed at Beacon with 30 knot winds!!

Beacon Field Airport, 1932. Barns for hangars, late 1920's automobiles.
"Mr. Reid let us have a hangar at the airport.   We put  two dances on up there.  I got the music from the Ceremonial Band at Ft. Myer...At one time, I had about 25 bands listed....

Our first carnival was held on the old ball diamond next door to the Sunlight Grill...we made a big sum of $600.00.  We were really happy.  We had two there, then moved across the road on Mr. Reid's field.   Sears Roebuck tried to buy the field from Mr. Reid to put a store there.  He told them he wouldn't sell as long as the fire house needed it for carnivals and horse shows.    

Mr. Reid or someone promoted a motorcycle race on the field.  They had a road grader to bank a quarter mile track on the field... The Ladies Auxilliary was to run the eats stand.   My wife and I went up there early on Saturday morning.   Well the people started to come and it started to rain.  

They were from Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey....You never saw the amount of people.   They parked in driveways and on lawns.   Mr. Houck, who ran the hardware, had a fit because they blocked his business.   All businesses in Groveton shut down because they were blocked.  That is beyond a doubt the largest crowd to ever be in Groveton in such a short order....By 10:00 they were there, then it started to rain so they did not race.  Well, my wife and I had the pot on with hot dogs.  We sold them while they lasted--- about thirty pounds at 15 cents a 12:00,, the crowd was gone, but not the rain.   So that was the first and last of the motorcycle races."
--Mr. Oscar "Slade" Barnes
                                          Penn Daw Volunteer Fire Dept. Founding Member
I grew up on Dawn Dr. and remember the open field across from the Groveton Baptist Church before they built the Temple Motel (now the site of Chili's). I recall when they were building the addition onto the church; I believe the original entrance to the church was from Rt. 1.

Every Saturday my sister and I helped our Mom hang laundry out and I'd crane my neck as I watched planes circling over the house as they came into or left Beacon Air Field. Does my memory fail me or would some of these planes (in the 50's) have been biplanes?
Thanks for the opportunity to reminisce; I'm delighted you've created this website.  Thanks,

                                                                                                    -- Patty Ficke Young


I grew up on Groveton St. and we were to poor to have camera's but I walked from Groveton Elem School for field trips to the airport and with living a block away in a not well built house it shook everytime someone took off or landed...I would also like to know if possibly there were picture in you collection of the Old Dixie Pig and maybe Chauncie's market and the old Diary Queen somewhere in the mix of pictures I would have love it if I had taken one of the place matts at dixie pig that showed so much of Rt. One..even the races down in gum springs..if you have or would like to share please contact me


--Joyce Profitt Pollard


Love the website!  I'm the daughter of Jimmy Millan and I have my brothers Bob and Dale looking for pictures or anything else they can find regarding Beacon Field....

--Jeanne Lee

Joe and Lisa, local masons - don't know their last name but they have old photos of the airfield & lots of stories?  Do any of you still live in Alexandria ?....  We would be VERY VERY interested in hosting a gathering for any of you who could attend and for our neighbors so we could all learn more about our little neighborhood.  There are stories that the outbuildings on our neighbor's lot were originally concession stands for the pilots, the folks across the way were told a small place crashed into their home and tore off the roof long ago, and another neighbor believes they live in the original farmhouse.  And whatever happened to the City View II house?  We're pretty confused about our history here!

-- Barbara & Kirk Hampton

In the history of the airfield, I didn't see anything about when the Navy used the field as a training field during WW II. I remember them flying the old "Yellow Jackets" during that time, as I lived just below the field on Franklin Street.

-- Richard Dodson



Thanks for letting us at the Alexandria Library know about the website--it looks great!!

Please let us know if you publish anything -- we would want copies for our collection.

 --George Combs


Used to watch Piper Cubs take off and land there. (age 5).

:-)  Thanks so much!  So many fond memories of the first airport I ever visited as a kid.   (And the old Dixie Pig Restaurant nearby).   Thanks for the great memories!God Bless.

--Pete Fair


I would run my gokart on the field after it closed. . .

--Frank Doran


My twin brother Steve Sherman recently attended the dedication of the new historic  plaque.  I lived in Alexandria South in the 70's & 80's and had always heard about the airport. Great website. I specialize in the sale of historic homes in Lynchburg, VA & have a great appreciation of history. Thanks for sharing your wonderful history.

--Bob Sherman


We have lots of info on Beacon. . . My Grandfather Ray Morders


--Jeff Rhatican


My father Sylvester Sobeck performed the maintenance at the field for Frankand Harry from about 1950 to closing and moved  to Hyde Field. with them. I have fond memories of Beacon Field as a little kid.

--Fred Sobeck


Hi butchy just wanted to say good job on getting the historic sign up  I look at your site alot and it brings back a lot of good memories. I hope everything is going well for you and your family. God bless all of you.

Colin Kelly Main Sr

When I was on the PD working out of Groveton,there was a picture of me on I think the front page delivering a box of blood we called them "Blood runs" to an AT 6 Texan unless it was the Navies SNJ same thing, would have been after July 1955 until end of Dec. 1956 (Iwent in the Army) Jan 5 or so 1957, when I get back I'll go back to the Alex Library see if I can bring it up. Like the info you sent, glad you liked the mural at the bank, I gotr chills  the first time I saw it. stay in touch,

--Leonard Buzz Jackson


I have some photo's that may be of intrest to you. I have an old 1930's pinball machine with the theme being the Beacon airfield.

--Michael Beasley


I just want to say "THANK YOU" for this wonderful site! I have been researching the history of the Groveton area since I was a kid (I am now 38 years old). I grew up in Alexandria, right off of Rt. 1 (Beddoo Street) and about 8 years ago I found a postcard of the City View Inn and always wanted to know more about the mansion, the airport, and who "Chappie Cole" was. Thank you so much again for putting this together! If you know where I could find more pictures and information about the Penn Daw area, that would be great.

--T.  Delaney


We lived on Oak Street across from the airport until 1947.  It's really fun to read all of this.  We watched those planes take off and land - flew over our home.  One landed in a house on Oak Street while attempting to land.

--Arlene Stimac


Great site, I grew up in the "Valley" and remember the Hybla Valley Airport. I do remember riding my bike up that hill to Beacon Hill many times to watch the planes

--John Harris

I learned to fly at Beacon Flying Service at W32 in the early 80's when I was 16 years old. I loved to listen to Harry's stories. I miss those times.

--Brian Nicks


L ro R: Park A. Dodd Sr, Park A. Dodd Jr., Rose Head, Lena Dodd, and daughter Arlene Dodd (1941, Oak Street/Groveton)

My family moved to Groveton about 1935 when I was 4 years old. Lived on groveton street at the south end of runway until 1947.   I started delivering the Alexandria Gazette in 1941 and Mr. Reid was one of my customers. One day when I was delivering his paper,he asked if I would like to go for a ride. How exciting this was for a young kid. I received my private pilot license in 1978. This flight inspired me to build model airplanes. I built several free flight gasoline powered model planes. I would fly them  on Beacon field after the flying was over for the day.

During WWII, I remember the Navy training pilots in stearmans using Hybla valley and groveton airports. Also got to fly in one of the stearmans. My sister and I both attended Groveton elementary school. During WWII, my family alond with many others started Groveton Baptist Church in the school. The custodian was also a minister and had his own church, so in the winter months, I keep the coal furnance going over the weekend for our church and the school would be warm for students on Monday.

--Park Dodd Jr


Dodd Family model airplane at Beacon, 1946

Butch's mom Mary used to ride us from groveton elem. to the airport. butch and me used to shoot rats for dad with a twenty two rifle with bird shot. how are you doing butch, it's been a very long time since i've seen you. i hope your mother and father are still doing well. I've looked at all of the pictures on you and your wifes web site it's very good and brings back a lot of memories.  do you still have the stamp book with the old stamps that i found in the old mansion. I hope everything is going well for you and your family.  I'm doing real good I'm retired now and have five children with sixteen grand children and six great grand children. have a great new years and god bless you and your family. beacon airfield is the first time that i had ever went up in a piper cub airplane.   I was just excited to see all of the imformation about my past i remember when your dad was upset because he had lost a moose leg, and thank god i had found it in the dump behind your house.  the best of luck to you and your family . . .

--Colin Kelly Main Sr


How did you hear about   I took instruction about 1957.

--Bjorn Thedenius



Part of my father's teenage years was living in the house on the corner of Memorial Street.  I believe a plane went into the roof of the house once and he got out with the cat.  My grandparents lived there.

--Janice Knighton


I have been working on our family history and remembered going to Beacon Field with my Dad sometimes.  He worked for Capital Airlines during the day and then for Mr. Paul Zimmer at Beacon Field some evenings.  We had a lot of fun there - fish fries, plane rides, and seeing neat airplanes and, if wewere lucky, one of Dad's friends would take us for a ride.  I searched for Beacon Field and found your site.



Dad was a sheet metal mechanic and his name was Marion C. Marshall, Jr., known by most people as "Junie."  We lived in Virginia for 5 years and then we moved back to the Eastern Shore of Maryland in the early 60s (St. Michaels).  I attended Groveton Elementary School and then part of a year at William Cullen Bryant Junior High.


The teachers at Groveton had trouble with my brother - he would always complete his work and then create some mischief.  They told my mother that they were going to punish him and sat him by the window away from the other kids.  Beacon Field was just outside and later my Mom told the teachers that the punishment was really no punishment at all.  My brother loved watching the activity at the airport.


We played on Popkin's farm, sledding and skating in winter and catching catfish in summer.   Thanks for the great web site and the wonderful memories.



---Bonnie (Marshall) Messick



I use to come to the airport as a kid and try to get rides.  My uncle owned a gas station right across from the airport, where Fire station eleven is.  The name of the street is Hulvey terrace. I remember going to school with a Billy Reid at the Old Groveton Elementary School.  Thanks for the reminising.

--Dwight Hulvey

Hi!    As a former pilot at Beacon Field around 1958-1959 I find your site very interested. My plane at the time was Aeronca Champion. 

--Curt Ternsved

lived in groveton. brother took lessons there

--John Samuels


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