Naval Air Station Glenview

Naval Air Station Glenview
Naval Air Station Glenview
Former Glenview Naval Air Station Tower.jpg
Airport type Military: Naval Air Station
Operator United States Navy
Location Glenview, Cook County, Illinois
Built 1923
In use Closed 1995
Elevation AMSL 653 ft / 199 m
Coordinates 42°05′26″N 87°49′21″W / 42.09056°N 87.8225°W / 42.09056; -87.8225
Direction Length Surface
ft m
17/35 8,000 2,438 Paved

Naval Air Station Glenview or NAS Glenview was an operational U.S. Naval Air Station from 1923 to 1995. Located in Glenview, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago, the air base primarily operated seaplanes on nearby Lake Michigan, and later, P-3 Orions, stationed there as a staging point for Anti-submarine warfare against Soviet submarines. Before its closure, the base was also used as a staging area and departure point for aircraft participating in the annual Chicago Air & Water Show. In 1959 the Marine Corps established the Helicopter Squadron HMR-776 with the HUP-2 Helicopters. The squadron was redesignated to HMM-776 in 1962 and changed aircraft to the CH-34D. In 1972 the squadron was redesignated for the last time to HML-776 and changed aircraft to the UH-1E which was eventually upgraded to the UH-1N. This unit was deployed in 1991 in support of Desert Storm and returned 10 months later. The squadron was deactivated in 1994. This was also the home to MACG-48 C-130 Squadron until 1994.

The former air base has now been redeveloped into a residential subdivision and commercial area called The Glen, although the control tower has been preserved as a historic building. Hangar 1, including the control tower, was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1998 as building #98001357.


Pre-military history

Aerial view of NAS Glenview in the late 1940s

The base was originally built by the Curtiss Flying Service and intended to be the hub of Chicago's air service. When the field was dedicated on 20 October 1929, it was home to the largest hangar built to that time, Hangar One.

Hangar One, one of the most advanced hangars at the time, included many innovations which were considered state-of-the-art in its time. A one gigacandela electric light was erected which allowed for airfield activity in the dark. Additionally, a system of carefully designed sliding doors created dividers for storage and zone heating. Glassed-in galleries allowed passengers the opportunity to watch the mechanics at work on the ground floor. A passenger-friendly restaurant and lounge were opened in the upper levels. A loudspeaker system informed the passengers of the flight arrivals and departures. The final cost for the airfield and Hangar One was $3 million in 1930. By adjusting the price for inflation, the relative cost in 2005 would be about $32.4 million. It was widely believed to be one of the Midwest's finest airports.

In 1930, the National Air Races took place at Curtiss Field and in 1933, the International Air Races took place there in conjunction with the Century of Progress. Such aviation luminaries as Charles Lindbergh, Wiley Post, and Jimmy Doolittle attended. In 1934, Post tried to set an aviation altitude record from Curtiss. By 1938, civilian and military operations both ran out of the field, but in 1940, it was sold outright to the United States Navy. The name was officially changed to the Naval Air Station Glenview on 1 January 1943.


Accidents and incidents

  • On 30 May 30, 1943, two Marine flyers were killed when their planes collided above Pfingsten and Willow Road in Glenview. The Marines were flying in formation returning to the base on maneuvers from the USS Wolverine on Lake Michigan.[2]
  • On 11 June 1947, a plane leaving the air station to participate in an air show over downtown Chicago was forced to crashland in a field near Willow and Waukegan Roads in Glenview. The plane's landing gear broke off, but the two flyers were uninjured and no one on the ground was injured.[3]
  • On 15 January 1951 a plane flying from O'Hare International Airport to Glenview crashed into a farmer's field in Northbrook along Willow Road after it developed a problem with ice forming on the wings. All four crewmen and a passenger were killed, but there were no casualties on the ground.[4]
  • On 31 May 1959 a Skyraider flying into NAS Glenview crashed in an adjacent cemetery killing the pilot, William Byrne. Byrne's widow, Jane, would eventually become Mayor of Chicago.[5]
  • On 8 July 1968 a Douglas A4B Skyhawk piloted by Lt. William T. Reinders crashed after takeoff into a Glenview home, killing a 13 year old girl. The pilot said he could have missed the house if he had dropped the fuel tanks from the plane. He ejected at the last moment and was injured.
  • On 20 January 1977, a USCG Sikorsky HH-52A Seaguard - tail number 1448, struck three electrical transmission wires and crashed into the ice-filled Illinois River. The crew had been performing an aerial ice patrol along the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers. The names of the personnel killed in the incident were: LTJG Frederick William Caesar III USN, LTJG John Francis Taylor (CG Aviator #1620), AT2 John B. Johnson, Mr. Jim Simpson (Civilian). The Air Station the aircraft and/or crew were assigned to was AIRSTA Chicago.
  • On 12 August 1978, a British Avro Vulcan B2 XL390 of No. 617 Squadron Royal Air Force crashed during an air display. The crash occurred after a possible stall at around 400 ft (120 m), during a wing-over. The plane crashed into a landfill just north of Willow Road to avoid surrounding residential areas. All four crew members aboard perished.[6]
  • On 16 August 1986, pilot Vince Amato lost power in his F-16 at 15,000 feet and was guided to a safe landing at Glenview by Jeff McCoy, an air traffic controller at O'Hare.[7]
  • On 3 March 1991, a US Navy CT-39G Sabreliner crashed into a residential area at Dewes Street during a visual approach to Glenview NAS. All three crew members aboard perished. As the jet approached the street, the pilot turned the plane such that the wings were perpendicular to the street in "knife-blade" fashion. The jet crashed into the center of the street, and the only damage on the ground was fire damage to the front of 2 houses and a few trees were burned.[8][9] The village established a scholarship fund for the survivors of the crew.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Raabe, Meinhardt; Lt. Daniel Kinske, U.S.N. (2005), Memories of a Munchkin, New York: Back Stage Books, pp. 157–160, ISBN 0823091937 
  2. ^ "2 Marine Flyers Die As Planes Collide in Air", Chicago Tribune: 20, 1943-06-01 
  3. ^ "Plane Crash-Lands on Way to Tribune Show; Crew is Safe", Chicago Tribune: 1, 1947-06-12 
  4. ^ "Launch Probes Into B-26 Crash That Killed 5", Chicago Tribune: 1, 1951-01-16 
  5. ^ "Plane Crashes in Cemetery, Pilot Killed", Chicago Tribune: B1, 1959-06-01 
  6. ^ Unger, Robert; Benjamin, Robert (1978-08-12), "Glenview Jet Crash 4 Die", Chicago Tribune: S1 
  7. ^ "National News in Brief". San Jose Mercury News (San Jose, CA): pp. 21A. 1986-08-17. 
  8. ^ "Jet crash rocks Glenview neighborhood", Chicago Daily Herald, 1991-03-04 
  9. ^ "Accident description". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 2008-06-28. 


External links

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