Beacon Field Airport®

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Elevation 249 feet, Fairfax County, Virginia          GPS 38º46'20.40"N :  77º4'54.07"W
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Mr. Albert Steidel


 

Mr. Albert "Al" Steidel and four of his brothers, Gordon, Billy, Mansfield, and David, held part-time jobs at Beacon Field.   Al Steidel joined Allegheny Airlines in 1956 as a commercial airline pilot.  For 30 years, he flew DC-3s to jets and was a Captain for 24 of the 30 years.   His older brother, Gordon, had been a mechanic at Beacon and had became a pilot with Allegheny in 1951.   




Allegheny Airlines DC-3 at Harrisburg, PA, August 10, 1957 (Courtesy CAPT Chubby Kernan)
Mr. Al Steidel had served in the US Navy aboard the submarine USS Tigrone (SSR-419), Tench class submarine.   These unique submarines were diesel electric, with two propellers,  and a crew complement of six officers and sixty enlisted men.    The USS Tigrone was an attack submarine carrying twenty-four 21-inch torpedos.   Two .50 caliber machine guns and three deck guns completed its armament battery.    The range was significant at 11,000 miles and it carried 113,510 gallons of diesel fuel !
Mr. Al Steidel on left, and Mr. Harry J. Lehman, right



The Steidels were natives of the Franconia area of Fairfax County.    With a strong work ethic, the Steidel brothers were involved in all areas of the airport doing whatever was needed to be done to earn flight time.   Gordon, was a mechanic at Beacon Field, and also tied down his BT-13.    Al Steidel could be found pumping gas, chocking and tying down airplanes.  




Known for his 100 words a minute typing finesse,  Al was equally at home in the airport office maintaining airplane flight logs, processing customer receipts, and scheduling. 



Mr. Al Steidel on left, and Mr. Franklin Reid, right

Mr. Al Steidel trained at Beacon in the tandem Aeronca 7 and the side by side Aeronca, and the ex-military yellow and blue,  PT-13 Stearmans (double wing tandems, open cockpits).   The PT-13 Stearmans were purchased by Beacon Field as surplus planes following World War II.   The military had purchased over 10,000 Stearmans.



Friends of Beacon Field Airport were thrilled when Mr. Al Steidel and his younger brother Billy, attended the 1 October 2009 50th Anniversary Commemoration.    Mr. Steidel recalled many good times at Beacon Field where he and his brothers got the start on their aviation careers. 


 
Back of Mr. Steidels cap with the submarine insignias
Mr. Al Steidel at the 1 October 2009 50th Anniversary
Mr. Al Steidel at the 1 October 2009 50th Anniversary