Beacon Field Airport®


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

©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.

Current Interest !!

World's largest steam engine that could --> N&W J Class 611 (494,000 lbs) back on the rails again click here
(Webmaster has many fond memories of this ride)   (11/25/2015)

WINGS for the DRAGON  ---   A 1945 Classic Reread !!  (11/10/2015) story below
CAMERON, Missouri AirShow ---- > You have never seen AT-6's like this !!  click here
Celebrate 50 years of Flying at Leesburg Airport AIRSHOW SEPT 26  (9/24/2015)  story below
Popular MECHANICS names The 30 Most Important Airplanes (9/2/2015)   click here
Looking for previous links?   visit here

Latest Update: November 25, 2015  HAPPY THANKSGIVING week !
Let's Fly Click Here for TWITTER Feed   @BCNFLDAIRPORT   !!! 

Click here for
The famous Burnelli CBY-3 Loadmaster sitting in front of Zimmer's hangar October 1959, click photo to read more on the restoration process at the NEW ENGLAND AIR MUSEUM in Windsor Locks, CT. Crew Chief Harry Newman has meticulously documented the reconstruction process thru periodic postings with photos.

Beacon Field Airport®  -- Quick Facts

Beacon Field Airport® was located on Historic US Route 1 "The Hospitality Highway"  in the southeast section of Fairfax County, Virginia, 3.6 miles north of Mount Vernon.  Most know the area as Beacon Hill, one of the highest elevations in all of Fairfax County.  
The airfield operated from the 1920's and Beacon Field Airport received a license in 1932.  Recreational flying, US Mail, military training, post World War II and Korean War GI Bill pilot training, Fixed Based Operator (FBO), commercial aviation activities, and the motel City View Mansion and Cottages hospitality business,  were conducted at Beacon Field until the airport closed in 1959.  Beacon Field is now the site of modern day Lenclair Park, Target (old Memco), Beacon retail shops (Giant, Lowes, et al), Beacon Hill Apartments, and City View III (fondly known as Muddy Manor). 

On August 19, 2009,  the Beacon Field Airport Fairfax County Historic Marker was dedicated in commemoration of aviation pioneer Orville Wright's birthday also known as NATIONAL AVIATION DAY.    This holiday was established in 1939 by Franklin D. Roosevelt's Presidential Proclamation.     
The Fairfax County Historic Marker is the highest recognition awarded by the Fairfax County History Commission (visit HMDB website for more markers/info).      In July 2007,  the Beacon Field Airport at City View site was approved and added to the Fairfax County Inventory of Historic Sites  ! !  As a result the service road on the land tract was renamed  Beacon Field Airport Highway in October 2007.   This preservation effort was solely prepared and presented to the Fairfax County History Commission by  Harry P. Lehman whose family owned and operated the airport.  He is also the oldest grandson of  W.F.P. Reid Sr. an important early Fairfax County politician and developer. 


Click pic for google mapping
Mission Statement

This website strives to educate and offer a venue for the capture and preservation of the history of Beacon Field before it was lost forever as one of the nation's earliest private airports which embodied the genius of America.   
Friends of Beacon Field Airport conduct activities pro bono.  We are not affiliated with any civic associations, political parties, or special interest groups.  We collect, share, and connect information to facilitate a better appreciation for the influence of Beacon Field. 

Beacon Field News and Events


Wings FOR THE Dragon !!  
A 70 year old classic 

Wings for the Dragon by Alice Rogers Hager
November 10, 2015, Historic Beacon Field 

We recently ran across our copy of the 70 year old Wings for the Dragon 307 page chronicle by Beacon Field’s own Alice Rogers Hager and couldn’t resist a reread of the fascinating travels of this famous Beacon personality.     Alice was not only a columnist and advocate for airline travel and all things aviation, she brought her daughters to Beacon Field to learn to fly in the late 1930’s.  see Beacon Salute


As an original “embedded” reporter in the China-Burma-India (CBI) theater in the WWII conflict,  she was in the Flying Tigers territory commanded by General Chennault.   She flew the dangerous “Hump”  in a B-29 tanker known as Hump Happy Pappy.    The bomber had been reconfigured with 600 gallon fuel tanks in both bomb bays and gun weaponry removed.   

Alice described her disappointment in being assigned the tanker rather than a combat aircraft but nevertheless readily acknowledged the pilots’ skill flying full gas loads on the “secret route” through the challenging terrain.  She wrote of the two tall engaging pilots Lt. Winters of Wichita and Lt Changnon of Idaho who were delighted to have passengers and eager to converse about their frequent missions on the hump.   She and her military escort were assigned the rear compartment for takeoff.  After flaps and gear were up,  the intercom called them forward to the cockpit which “meant a crawl on hands and knees through the 60-foot heavily padded tunnel, a beautiful place in which to develop a case of claustrophobia”.  

She not only wrote of  CBI aviation adventures but also of her observations regarding the runway maintenance force comprised of 6,000 Chinese men, women, and children, who worked daily on the airports mostly by hand and clad in patched clothing.     With great clarity, she relayed the tense scenes at the end of the daily missions when soldiers with binoculars would scan the skies for the swarm of homecoming planes mostly B-24 Liberators and B-25 Mitchells roaring back to the airfields manned by “dreadfully” young flight crews.


Many events retold with lots of detail, clear photographs and a little romanticism, make Wings for the Dragon very much a modern read of world aviation history!


Copies still available on eBay and other antiquarian book sites.

Leesburg Airport Celebrate 50 Years !!

September 24, 2015 — In the photo at left, Radio Announcer Arthur Godfrey surveys the damage to the hangars and his plane at Beacon Field Airport on April 25, 1934, where a sudden storm flattened the structures. In the far left, photographers and curious by standers climbed the beacon tower for a better view. {courtesy ACME photos}.

Mr. Godfrey flew many times at Beacon Field and after WWII later went on to buy Leesburg airport from Arthur C. Hyde {owner of Hyde Field, Congressional Airports}.    Famous Eddie Rickenbacker, President of Eastern Airlines, gave Arthur Godfrey a DC-3 which he used to commute to his radio studio in New Jersey.   The DC-3's fabulous Twin Wasp radial engines rattled many windows !!

This upcoming weekend, Leesburg hosts its annual airshow on September 26 and will be celebrating the 50 years of continuous operation stemming from Arthur Godfrey's acquisition of the airfield.   For more on Leesburg Airport visit this recent article in Leesburg Today--> Click Here

Aviation in Roanoke !!

Aviation in Roanoke

April 22, 2015, Historic Beacon Field Aviation in Roanoke

An excellent capture of Roanoke’s important contributions to aviation history !!   Quality large photos and comprehensive captions guide the reader thru 115 years of aviation history from the early 1900’s hot air balloon rides and Curtiss pusher biplane demonstrations at the Great Roanoke Fairs to the present day Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport (ROA).       

The authors, Marshall Harris (the son of longtime Woodrum Field Manager) and Nelson Harris (author and former Mayor), have masterfully presented Roanoke aviation history never before seen by the public. 

127 pages are packed with over a hundred aerials, maps, plats, and photographs of important events, people, and places that compel the reader not to put the book down.    Famous aviator personalities including Eddie Rickenbacker, Betty Skeleton, Squeek Burnett, and Louise Thaden, all had influence in ROA.  

With airfield names like Trout, Cook, Horton, and Shrine, the authors reveal the modern day sites of these long forgotten landing fields important to early aviation history.   This editor learned alma mater, Patrick Henry High School, was built on the site of Shrine Airfield that was originally planned for a large Masonic complex!   

A delightful book full of surprises and a masterpiece of history preservation!

This soft cover available online major retailers.  For more Woodrum Field history click here.


This vintage ROA pocket guide was found inside our previously read book
Woodrum Airfield Dedication Cachet, 1941 {courtesy Lehman collection}
Cachet commemorating US ARMY aviators in ROA in 1919 {courtesy Lehman collection}
Gyrocopter --> Deja Vu 1934  !! 

April 15, 2015--  When the gyrocopter landed on the Capitol Mall today and the pilot arrested, we couldn't help but remember the news photos of 1934.   East coast Pitcairn debuted their "wingless" helicopter by demonstrating the capabilites along the mall and flying by the national monuments.   

DEJA VU ? This news photo of November 10, 1934, shows a completely enclosed cockpit of the then "new" PITCAIRN WINGLESS Gyro Helicopter, piloted by Jim Ray, flying by the Washington Monument encased in scaffolding. Note the White House below right. CLICK PIC for youtube archive video

 Happy Fifth Anniversary !!

August 19, 2014 -- Historic Beacon Field  

It is amazing that five years ago today with looming storm clouds we dedicated the Beacon Field Airport Historic Marker on Orville Wright's birthday !   

The marker has stood tall and amassed plenty of stories to tell with thousands of cars a day driving by, a massive construction project across the street,  the cosmic experience of the Space Shuttle flyover, the prodding and poking of Geo-Cachers, the occasional adjustment from county maintenance to restore true plumb, lots of attention from the mall gardeners,  and the occasional glimpse of the neighborhood foxes.

If you haven't been back, this recent photo shows what must be the best landscaped  historic marker in Fairfax County !

August 19, 2014
 Little League Sponsor Appreciation

August 2nd, 2014 --   The Alexandria Potomac Little League presented 2 plaques to the Friends of Beacon Field for the sponsorship of the Beacon Pirates and Beacon Nationals.   The spring 2014 season was a wet one with lots of rescheduled games but all in all a successful program!!

JULY 2014

 A Lincoln Revival !!


July 4th, 2014, Historic Beacon Field --  Lincoln Beachey:  The Man Who Owned the Sky

Lincoln Beachey was the first guy to fly upside down, successfully repeat and perfect the loop (and lived to tell it), and the first to demonstrate “hands off” the controls.


The author Frank Marrero brillantly revives the history of this less well known but no less important early American flier LINCOLN BEACHEY who wowed crowds with his death defying dead stick aerial maneuvers that left many in the audience fainting from the sight.   Most people in the audience had never seen an airplane much less seeing a pilot walk away from the spinning craft that literally fell from the sky.    Other fliers attempting the same dare devil stunts met their untimely fate.  

The reader lives vicariously through the meticulous description of the thrills and spills of acrobatic flying and an abundance of photos. With an easy to read style,  the author presents the science and planning behind the success of the “Little Looper” aircraft that was a Glenn Curtiss design modified with a French engine to solve the gyroscopic effect.    A great read !

This soft cover book may be purchased direct from Mr. Marrero who resides in Fairfax, California ! click here   For even more Beachey info he has a webpage Forgotten Father of Acrobatics

JUNE 2014

Then and Now Historic US Route 1 
Year Long Photo Series

June 25, 2014  Beacon Field --  Our weekly photo series “Then and Now Historic US Route 1”  began in June 2013 with the Beacon Amoco construction photo and ended 52 weeks later with the survivor Travelers Motel.    We shared many of our collection of Route 1  memorabilia highlighting notable and some not so notable sites from the Potomac River to the Occoquan Creek.   

Many of the establishments have been bulldozed and are home to new business such as Miller’s Motor Court, Mt. Vee Hotel, Thieves Market, and the Mt Vernon Drive In Theatre.   A few others are still there after all these years including the World Famous Kramer’s Equipment and the Virginia Lodge.

Our series also featured events that took place along US 1 such as the Beacon Field Horse Shows and Equestrian Championships and the miracle of Eastern Airlines Flight 564.

We are excited to announce that we recently began working on the continuation of this series in book format to include more of our ever growing collection of US 1 history in the 20th century. 

This is a new challenge for us and we will share progress updates and welcome all ideas!



MAY 2014

Five years of Starbucks

Historic Beacon Field, 3 May 2014 --  After 5 years of continuous rotating display at Starbucks, we have discontinued the effort to focus on our other venues. A great deal of interest was generated by the exhibit and we are pleased to have met many who shared their memories of Beacon Field with us!

   In March 2009,  the first group of photographs of Historic Beacon Field and City View Mansion were displayed at the Starbucks located in Beacon Center which presently occupies the original Beacon Field Airport site.  Through Starbucks' generosity, prime wall space had been given to showcase our local airport history depicting the features, personalities, airplanes, and concurrent events relating to US Route 1 aviation.

Over the past five years more than 100 photographs were put on view for the customers of Beacon Starbucks.  If these images could talk, they would have very interesting stories to tell as many came from old newspaper clippings and archives, private collections, auctions, attics, and even E-bay!  The photographs acquired were in various formats and conditions and in order to produce a professional venue each required resizing, remastering, and editing.


April 2014


April Blooms at City View


APLL Spring 2014
April 5, 2014 -- Opening Day Spring 2014 --   
Friends of Beacon Field Airport are proud to be Spring 2014 sponsors of the 170 player strong Alexandria Potomac Little League and to have participated in the opening day ceremonies led by APLL President Michele Burgess.   From the minors to the majors division teams, fresh new jerseys stood out on the very green ball field on a very windy day.   Following the running of the bases, as a sponsor of two teams (Beacon Pirates and Beacon Nationals), Harry Lehman lined up on the mound to throw the first pitches.  

Youth baseball has been popular in the Beacon area for over 50 years.   The earliest games were held on the old Beacon Field Airport (see aerial below) until Bucknell fields were developed.  Recently, an Eagle Scout undertook a badge achievement project and designed and built the two very well constructed dugout buildings.   

Vice President APLL Shawn Bennett, right and Team Sponsor Harry Lehman
Local politicians and Little League alumni Supervisor Jeff McKay and Delegate Scott Surrovell also participated and reinforced the merit of LL baseball.

Another local Little League alumni, Shawn Bennett, is now the Vice President on the APLL Board of Directors.  

A season opener home run!   See later !!!

1950 USGS Aerial Photo -- Courtesy FCPA, Remastered by Beacon Friends
December 2013

GREAT Read NOT Just for Pilots !!

December 15, 2013, Historic Beacon Field -  The Aviators:  Eddie Rickenbacker, Jimmy Doolittle, Charles Lindbergh, and the Epic Age of Flight.

This is a great book! Riveting stories of the trials of early aviation through heroic tales of 3 important US aviators Rickenbacker, Doolittle and Lindbergh. The author presents successes and failures and many previously unknown details of the lives of these pioneers. From nearly being trampled by adoring fans to the shark invested waters of the Pacific, the easy writing style of the author makes for comparative personification of these aviators in memorable content. We learned a lot and think others will too!

October 2013

The RARE Grand Old Bird Gets New TAIL FEATHERS  !!

NEAM October 9 , 2013 -- Burnelli CBY-3 (N17N) Restoration in progress

New England Air Museum, Windsor Locks, CT  -- October 9, 2013

In November 2012, we reported that the Burnelli CBY-3 Loadmaster (N17N) had achieved eternal life at the New England Air Museum (NEAM) with restoration plans underway.    In less than a year, much progress has been made on the famous one of a kind bird that once was rebuilt (in 1959) on Beacon Field by Mr. Paul Zimmer and Mr. Junie Marshall.   

Harry Newman, CBY-3 Project Manager at the New England Air Museum of Windsor Locks, CT,  gave us an update this week along with these great photos.    He reports that the plane has been moved from the outside display area over to the restoration facilities with plans to remove the wings soon to be restored over the winter months.      The 35 foot long horizontal stabilizer in the photo above needed extensive repair and has been restored and recently primed.  Mr. Newman pointed out that this stabilizer is as long as most small aircraft wingspans.

Also, the twin tail booms are in restoration and NEAM plans to reassemble the entire section this winter.   This is amazing !      

Visit their museum online  or in person at the Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks, Connecticut.

Restoration underway at the NEAM {photos courtesy of NEAM}
October 2013, Restoration Underway at the NEAM {photos courtesy NEAM}
August 2013

NEW BOOK! -- Friend and local resident William J. Roberts NEW Book!

Historic Beacon Field 13 August 2013  --   Friend and local resident William J. Roberts has written a great new softcover called "River to Rails: A Guidebook to Historical Markers in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia" .   

Mr. Roberts has compiled over 225 markers and signs in his generously illustrated masterpiece.    This book is long overdue and a welcome handbook for this weary editor weaving around the tight turns and crowded streets of old town in search of history!!  

A book signing was held at the Lyceum (corner of Prince and S. Washington) Wednesday,  August 14, from 4 to 8pm.   Click here to read more on his blog page. 

Historic Airports Immortalized in Stainless Steel !!

US Route 1 Wall of Aviation

August 2, 2013 -- Dedication of the US Route 1 Wall of Aviation. Plan a visit today! FREE on-street parking (Ladson Lane) adjacent to wall. (click for google mapping)
August 2, 2013 -- Dedication of the US Route 1 Wall of Aviation L->R: Harry P. Lehman, Robert Beach, Anna Marie Hicks {photo courtesy Marcus Wadsworth}

Historic Hybla Valley, 2 August 2013 --  Friends of Beacon Field Airport were thrilled to be part of the first ever US Route 1 Wall of Aviation which was unveiled today at the corner of Route 1 and Ladson Lane on COSTCO frontage.    Friends who had been involved in the design and content had not seen the finished panels and anxiously awaited the unveiling.

Michael Armstead of Whiting-Turner works rapidly in prep for the reveal

Road construction was not yet complete and last minute tidying up of the expansive corner by the Whiting-Turner construction team gave perfect forum for the dedication event attended by Lee District Supervisor Jeff McKay,  Architect Brian Kendell of MulvannyG2, and Harry Lehman of Friends of Beacon Field.  

Supervisor McKay noted that this project was very important to the revitalization of the Route 1 Richmond Highway corridor and a focal point for pedestrians.

Harry P. Lehman speaks of site history before the panel unveiling
Harry Lehman spoke of Beacon Field and Hybla Valley Airports and noted that the location of the new Costco is on the site of metro Washington’s first drive-in, the  Mt. Vernon Automobile Open Air Theatre.   

The ceremony concluded with the suspenseful reveal as Brian Kendell orchestrated the unveil panel by panel with plenty of opportunity for photos !   The exquisite and sophisticated stainless steel panels are dramatically set in a wall shaped like a delta wing.   The panels feature notable local aviators, prominent airport features, and descriptive text.    This highly visible and unobstructed location is perfectly situated at the gateway to Route 1 aviation history .   
So the next time you are on the Highway of Cool, stop and take in a little aviation history !!     Costco opened August 8th

To read more about the individuals in the panels HJ Lehman click here,  to learn more about E.W. Robertson and Hybla Valley click here.
FoBFA have posted  the full US Route 1 Wall of Aviation text on the national marker database.  Click here to go direct to at!

Mr. Brian Kendell -- MulvannyG2 Architects
Supervisor McKay and daughter unveil the larger than life HJ Lehman
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.