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Author Topic: 15S- Lester State Ultralight Flightpark  (Read 2809 times)

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hotrod150

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15S- Lester State Ultralight Flightpark
« on: July 31, 2009, 06:54:41 PM »
  I was looking at a WS-DOT Washington road map today & noticed that they had an airport symbol on the Stampede Pass cross-Cascade route, aways west of the pass in the mountains. Looked at my sectional, it noted the town (?) of Lester but no airport shown. Looked it up on Airnav: 15S Lester State Ultralight Airpark. Sez it owned by WS-DOT Aviation Division but also sez "closed indefinitely".  I guess it might be on David's "Lost Airports" site, but I never even heard of it before this. What's the scoop?

Eric

davidh

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Re: 15S- Lester State Ultralight Flightpark
« Reply #1 on: July 31, 2009, 09:30:07 PM »
All the details are on the Lost Airports site. Why wouldn't they be?  ::)
David Herman
N6170T - 1965 Cessna 150E
Boeing Field, Seattle, WA

hotrod150

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Re: 15S- Lester State Ultralight Flightpark
« Reply #2 on: August 01, 2009, 06:51:40 AM »
  Too lazy to look for it there- I was hoping for a synopsis and maybe some discussion (reminissing, etc) about it.

davidh

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Re: 15S- Lester State Ultralight Flightpark
« Reply #3 on: August 01, 2009, 10:48:58 AM »
The info is all there, and it would take you all of three clicks of your mouse to find it (literally, click the mouse 3 times) but you want me to type up a summary here to save you all that trouble.

Let's see, should I go have some breakfast, or spend 15 minutes retyping the story that's already well documented online and seems to work just fine for everyone else?

Hmmm....
David Herman
N6170T - 1965 Cessna 150E
Boeing Field, Seattle, WA

hotrod150

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Re: 15S- Lester State Ultralight Flightpark
« Reply #4 on: August 01, 2009, 07:06:31 PM »
  I did look it up, right after I typed the above post. Good history recap there. But I guess nobody's gonna chip in with any reminiscing about the time they landed there with one engine in a DC-3 (or whatever), which is really what I was looking for. Interesting that the state  would name it an "ultralight Airpark", but I guess with only 400'  usable it was either that or STOL airpark.

Eric

Don W.

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Re: 15S- Lester State Ultralight Flightpark
« Reply #5 on: August 02, 2009, 11:12:41 AM »
  I did look it up, right after I typed the above post. Good history recap there. But I guess nobody's gonna chip in with any reminiscing about the time they landed there with one engine in a DC-3 (or whatever), which is really what I was looking for. Interesting that the state  would name it an "ultralight Airpark", but I guess with only 400'  usable it was either that or STOL airpark.

Eric


Here is a little reminiscing. The airport was in a good place to give you landing spot if caught in weather between the east & west. Thats just what happened to my Dad & brother.I just pulled out my Dads old logbooks & found the entry. On April 30 1965 they had left Walla Walla in Dads Bonanza & were headed for Victoria B.C. when they got caught in weather. They had landed at Ellensberg after leaving Walla Walla possibly waiting for better weather. His log books don't say why but just says they landed there.( It does say flight time was 3hrs. 15 min. between Walla Walla & Lester so there must have been some manuevering trying to get around  weather. Compare that to the 1.2 hrs from Lester to Victoria) It must have cleared a bit so they left Ellensberg & headed West. I remember my brother saying they came over Stampede pass & tried to push through the weather but it got worse & worse.(He's in Canada right now in an area with no phone service or I'd call him & ask for more info. about the flight) They tried to turn back east but it had closed in too. I never heard my Dads version as pic so I don't know just how bad of a situation they were actually in & he died in 1990 so I cant ask him. Anyway I'm sure Dad knew Lester was there & was probably counting on it as an out if things turned sour. Well it did turn sour & they landed at Lester & wound up staying in a bunkhouse at the old Weyerhauser logging camp that was just east of Lester. The loggers were very accommodating. It wasn't a first class Hotel but it was what they had. There were lots of trains going through in those days. They tried to get out 3 times either that day or the next day. He noted beside the Lester entry (3 flights) in his logbook. My brother said when they tried to get out of there several times & they circled up & up to try to get over the top but the clouds  were over the service ceiling of the plane. They finally got out on May 1st & made a 1.2 hr trip to Victoria. So although there is no way of knowing for sure I would say its possible that if Lester wasn't there my Dad & brother could have wound up on the side of a mountain on that could have been fatefull day back in 1965. (Of course some could say that being that Lester was considered his out he flew into weather he wouldnt have if Lester wasnt there to begin with so it may be that the fact that Lester was there is what almost killed them. Even so, we have all made mistakes & even if this was the case just the fact that it was there after the possible mistake, made all the difference in the world to them that day!) Like said earlier my Dad died but my brother is still very much alive. So its possible that I owe my brothers life to Lester due to the fact that it was there at the time! Id like to see it brought back into existence.
« Last Edit: August 02, 2009, 12:00:12 PM by Don W. »

Ddayle

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Re: 15S- Lester State Ultralight Flightpark
« Reply #6 on: August 02, 2009, 11:26:34 AM »
Great  narrative, Thanks for sharing this bit of history. DaveR
Flying Juliette.  a borrowed 150

hotrod150

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Re: 15S- Lester State Ultralight Flightpark
« Reply #7 on: August 02, 2009, 07:10:02 PM »
  Cool story-- now that's what I'm talking about!

Don W.

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Re: 15S- Lester State Ultralight Flightpark
« Reply #8 on: August 03, 2009, 11:42:53 PM »
I got a little more info. from my brother. It was a long time ago so he doesn't remember everything but he says he thinks they landed to the east & tied down on the north side of the field. He said there were some other planes tied down too. They walked to town & went to a resterant/bar. They were talking to some other people that were in there drinking/eating &  they found out they were stranded there because of weather. Some of the people were out of town that day & the guys told my Dad & brother they could stay in one of the loggers cabins that was empty that night. My brother said it stunk pretty bad in there & there were lots of personal things lying around even money. My brother said Dad was a little worried that the loggers might come back & if the other guys forgot to tell them they were their, finding some strange guys in their cabin might not make them too happy. They didn't get too much sleep he said. He said that airport was the only thing that wasn't socked in. He said they tried to get out 3 times & climbed to 16000 ft. to try to get over it but when they got there the clouds looked just as high as when they were on the ground. Fortunately Lester never closed in because they couldn't even go east. With it listed as 2200 ft. I wonder how bad it was to get out of there with a Bonanza with what I think was an E225? Were there any obstacles like trees? Don't know. Fast forward 30 yrs. I went there to run a high rail truck over the abandoned R.R.. (Which I would never admit actually ever happened because its technically a federal offence. There were washouts & the snowsheds were burned out on both sides of the 2 mile long tunnel (thats a story in itself!) & rails were missing here & there including on both sides of the tunnel entrances. Its mostly a liability issue.)When we were there I went to talk to the old woman who had lived there since her husband got a job working on the R.R. He had died many yrs. earlier. I wanted to hear what life was like in that town during its heyday. I knocked on the door but she either wasn't there or she was afraid to answer with a stranger standing there. Cant blame her if that was the case. She was the only one still living there. The Tacoma watershed wanted to close up the town & keep people out of there including her. But she just kept living on & on. I wish I could have talked to her but it never happened. I also walked the airport.  Davids write up says it was built in the 40's. I wonder how much it was used back then? Did some of the R.R. people have planes based there? Would be interesting to know. My brother said there were tiedowns when they were there. There was damage to it allready from the water when we were there in 95. There were old cones  2 or 3 ft. at the base marking the runway edge. The grass was about 3 ft long. In the "town" remains the R.R. station was still standing. I think it was the oldest station still standing in the state. There were other buildings too but most had allready been torn down. They tore the station down since then too. Anybody have any pictures of the airport or the town during its heyday? Maybe for another forum except being this thread came up it would be neat to see pictures at least of the airport.
« Last Edit: August 06, 2009, 12:37:49 PM by Don W. »

DavidD

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Re: 15S- Lester State Ultralight Flightpark
« Reply #9 on: May 15, 2017, 02:48:09 PM »
Wish there still was a working airport there :-)

... When we were there I went to talk to the old woman who had lived there since her husband got a job working on the R.R. He had died many yrs. earlier. I wanted to hear what life was like in that town during its heyday. I knocked on the door but she either wasn't there or she was afraid to answer with a stranger standing there. Cant blame her if that was the case. She was the only one still living there. The Tacoma watershed wanted to close up the town & keep people out of there including her. But she just kept living on & on. ...


Enjoyed reading the whole thread, but I did see the following information on https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lester,_Washington
  The town's "last resident", Gertrude Murphy, died in September 2002 at the age of 99.[11][13]

http://www.historylink.org/File/3970
  and
http://community.seattletimes.nwsource.com/archive/?date=20021002&slug=murphyobit02m
Yellow 1940 BL-65 Taylorcraft