I was glad to see your story in the June 22 issue about the salvation of the historic Avenger Field rotating beacon by the good people at Lee Bottom Field (WASP airport beacon saved from dumpster).
If anyone knows of another no-longer-needed rotating beacon, Flabob Airport in Riverside, Calif., is looking for one. We have an authentic CAA lighted airway beacon tower. This tower was installed in Nevada on the airway from San Francisco to Salt Lake City in the late 1920s. Three decades later, it was relocated to the old Tri City Airport in Fontana, Calif., run by Joe and Pinky Brier, and fondly remembered as the “Brier Patch.” The original one-sided airway beacon went with it and served to locate the Brier Patch in the night. When the airport was closed, the beacon and tower were sold, but the crew sent by the buyer to remove it turned out to have a strong fear of heights and literally had to be removed from the tower by the fire department when they froze in fear. Pinky called Flavio Madariaga (the “Fla” of Flabob) and offered him the tower for free if he would remove it the next day, before the bulldozers came. Flavio mobilized volunteers and the tower was taken to Flabob where it was given to one of the volunteers and languished in the weeds until early this century when it was sold to Bill Allen of Gillespie. Bill also realized he had no good place to put it and Flabob bought it back and is planning to erect it as a landmark. Although the airways beacon can be restored, we would prefer a rotating beacon, as more suitable to an airport. The CAA-standardized tower structure was the same for both purposes.
Your excellent story also touches on the number of airport artifacts which are just thrown out when the managers of modernizing airports can’t figure out what to do with them. Any such artifacts would be treasured by Flabob, as well as such wonderful airfields as Lee Bottom Field, Sonoma Skypark, Peach State Aerodrome, and others. If any readers know of such items, please contact one of these “antique” airfields so history may be preserved.
JOHN D. LYON
Thomas Wathen Foundation