Stormville Airport : Stories : Lockheed Lodestar
We received a note from Jason Barnett, "I recently purchased the remains of a Lockheed C-60 Lodestar that had once been based out of Stormville Airport. (N43WT) I was able to pull up photos of it from the 1970's while based there. I saw on your site a story from David Mason talking about flying this plane."
David Mason wrote to say, "I first saw N43WT at the Stormville Airport in the early 1970's when it was owned by Willy, Sandy and Bobby Sweet. They were using it as a jump ship for their Sport Parachute Center. They also had a Cessna 195 that they used. Every weekend in the summer months they would take jumpers up to 12,500 feet so they could free fall. My job was to re-fuel it and marshal it into the pick up location. I also have about 10 jumps out of it. The Sweets were good guys. They even let me fly in the right seat a few times. After I left NY to go to Arizona for college they took it to Florida and used it there for many years as a jump ship. I later heard it went to the Lone Star Air Museum. It was a good plane. Everybody liked it as a jump ship. I attached the photos I have of it. Good luck with it."
The Lone Star Air Museum displayed it as a U.S. Navy cargo plane until Hurricane Ike flooded it. Jason goes on to tell his story:
"After being hit by Hurricane Ike in Galveston TX, the plane was pushed off to the side of the runway for a few years. The Lodestar had been completely submerged in salt water from the hurricane storm surge(about 12ft of water)! It went through several owners after the storm and finally it was hauled to a local scrap yard where I stumbled upon it.
"The Galveston fire department had been using it for training purposes and cutting holes in it. They even went so far as to drive a truck through the side of it. It made me sick to see what they were doing to it, so I bought the fuselage and brought it home not really knowing what to do with it. I just knew that such a piece of history deserved more than the way it had been tossed around.
"As an aviation artist and a huge WWII fan, I see more to the remains of this fuselage than most will. I found evidence inside that the fuselage once had a front and rear astrodome when it was a C60 in WWII. That usually signifies that it was used for navigational training. They used to have C60's in Hondo, TX in the war to train navigators, so it is possible that the plane originated here in Texas. I'm trying to research that now.
"I travel a lot to shows to sell my artwork. My plans at this point are to patch up the giant holes torn in the fuselage and turn the fuselage into a giant panel truck to transport my work. Since the nose was so badly damaged, and I'm a B25 fan, I've started the process of making the nose look like that of a B25. Obviously this is a long term project.
"I have removed loads of debris from inside the fuselage. The entire inside of the fuselage was packed with debris and grass that had forced its way in during the powerful hurricane. I pulled the rotted insulation and interior panels out of it. I removed what was left of the bathroom and that is when I found the link to Stormville NY. Someone in the past had stenciled Stormville on the bathroom door. I've saved the old door because I figured one of you might want it as a souvenir.
"Take a look at my website, JasonBarnett.net. There are pictures of some of the artwork on there. The engine nacelles and the wing stubs were severely corroded and I cut them up into small panels to paint "nose art" on them. Eventually these pieces will end up in the hands of aviation art collectors."