Beacon Field Airport®


Elevation 249 feet, Fairfax County, Virginia          GPS 38 46'20.40"N :  77 4'54.07"W
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Beacon Flier Salute !

Colonel Edward D. Nass, Jr

Mr. Ed Nass at Beacon Field

Mr. Edward "Ed" Nass Jr. was a well known pilot in the local aviation community in northern Virginia and Maryland.     His career began at Beacon Field when he enrolled in the Civilian Pilot Training Program (CPTP) prior to WWII and belonged to the first group of local aviation cadets assigned to the 31st Class at the Army Air Corps HICKS Field in Fort Worth, Texas in July 1943(endnote1).    Following the war,  Ed continued his aviation pursuits and received his Aeronca certification at Beacon in December 1945 from Harry Lehman.

Mr. Nass with customized Cadillac

Soon after returning to the area, he married Geraldine Reid, the daughter of the Manager of the Fruit Growers Express Company, Mr. Harold W. Reid, and went to work for Lindsay-Akers Cadillac in Alexandria, Virginia (endnote2).    

Harry Lehman remembers well the blue 1952 Cadillac Coupe that Ed Nass customized after hours in the body shop.   Ed fabricated fender extensions to accommodate the installation of a "Continental" kit on the rear of the car which he drove to Beacon Field frequently.    This was quite a feat to extend the bumper and Ed's talent did not go unnoticed.

Mr. Nass continued to aggressively pursue aviation credentials and hone his pilot skills.   He won first place in the biplane race in the May 7, 1950 Langley Day Air Show held at Beacon Field. The Langley air show featured stunt and precision flying, parachute jumps, aviation record holders, aviation displays, and the latest aircraft. The Washington Post reported that the event was attended by more than 5,000 people causing traffic congestion for hours in Groveton (endnote3).

Ed's patriotism was exemplified  by his tireless dedication to the
Civil Air Patrol (CAP).   Early in his career, Ed had became a member of the CAP established by President Harry Truman with Public Law 476.   Devoting countless volunteer hours to the CAP,  Mr. Nass ultimately achieved the rank of Colonel and was looked up to by many aspiring pilots.   Beacon Field provided the CAP with an office and radio building.  Uniformed cadets received training in search and rescue, coast surveillance,  aviation, radio operation, parade ground drilling and emergency preparedness.   The CAP afforded the opportunity for many young people to gain exposure to airplanes, airports, flying, and military discipline.  

Farthest left Colonel Ed Nass on duty transporting American Red Cross blood supplies
One notable CAP service remembered by many at Beacon was the American Red Cross blood transports piloted by Colonel Nass.  

Others remember Ed performing acrobatics over neighboring Hybla Valley Airport.  He had a unique stunt deploying rolls of toilet paper at altitude and then would fly through the streaming roll cutting the paper with the prop.   Not only did this feat thrill onlookers, but provided excellent pilot training. 

Colonel Ed Nass, Civil Air Patrol
Colonel Nass (standing) 3rd from left with Dr. Wehrner Von Braun
In the late 1950's,  Mr. Nass worked for the Military Air Transport Command and was noted in the The Washington Post Federal Diary as receiving the distinguished Meritorious  Civilian Service Award in October 1956 (endnote 4).   His expertise was also sought in the early days of the American space program when the US Army Ballistic Missile Agency was experimenting with the Juno II rockets to  launch balloon satellites that would measure atmospheric density (endnote 5).   Ed's role involved training ground observers to monitor satellite trajectory.
Photos Courtesy of the Nass Family Collection