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Author Topic: Lockheed Lodestar in Beltsville, Maryland - 1945  (Read 562 times)

Christian Stock

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Lockheed Lodestar in Beltsville, Maryland - 1945
« on: September 26, 2020, 07:22:54 PM »

Rumors abound that a Lockheed Lodestar crashed near the Beltsville airport during WWII, and was forgotten/never recovered.

https://www.greenbeltnewsreview.com/issues/GNR20050106.pdf

http://airfields-freeman.com/MD/Airfields_MD_PG_N.htm (scroll down to Beltsville)

At one point, I was in an Army Reserve unit at Fort Meade, and we took buses out to the Beltsville airport, walked around a little, and then drove back to the Fort. I remember the entire facility being suitable for helicopters, but the runways were neglected and showing their age. Nowadays, only the basic layout of the runways and an airfield building marked “Beltsville Gov’t” remain. I believe it is still government property, as is much the land nearby.



The 1945 AAF Airfield Directory (courtesy of Scott Murdock) described the “Anacostia NAS Auxiliary (Beltsville Outlying Field)”

as a 421 acre irregularly-shaped field within which were 2 asphalt 3,960' runways, oriented north/south & east/west.

The field was said to not have any hangars or offer services,

to be owned by the U.S. Government, and to operated by the Army Air Forces & Navy.

Bill Needham recalled, "My dad Lt. William Needham was the operations officer at NAS Anacostia.

On 5/17/45 he took off in a Lockheed Lodestar with a co-pilot & nine passengers to instruct the co-pilot in instrument flying.

However the cloud cover was below minimums, so they decided to proceed to the Beltsville Auxiliary Airport to do one engine 'Bounces',

which we call 'touch & go's' today.

As they executed their first 'bounce' they lost the good engine when they were about 100' off the deck.

The nine passengers scrambled off & my dad & his co-pilot Commander Foley were trapped inside unconscious.

One of the passengers, an enlisted man, went back inside to rescue the pilots.

As he was inside the plane it caught fire & he was only able to pull out the co-pilot, Commander Foley.

My dad was burned to death while still trapped inside."

« Last Edit: September 26, 2020, 07:55:31 PM by Christian Stock »
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