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37XA Skydive Houston / Sky Lakes Airport Beacon Tower


Beacon tower was dismantled at:

La Porte Municipal Airport
Harris County, Texas
gps: 29.666847, -95.065045

Beacon tower restored and moved to:

37XA Skydive Houston / Sky Lakes Airport
Waller County, Texas
gps: 29.987820, -95.932992

Skydive Houston Airport (FAA LID: 37XA, formerly 37X) is a privately owned, private airport located in unincorporated Waller County, Texas, United States.

Harvey Hartman writes:
Our residential aviation community was established in 1964/65 as Sky Lakes Subdivision and was depicted on the FAA's aeronautical charts as Sky Lakes Airport, 3XS7.  However, sometime in the late 1990s, the name of the runway was renamed Skydive Houston (while the name of the subdivision remained Sky Lakes) and the FAA ID was changed to 37X.  A short time later, the ID was changed to 37XA because 3-letter identifiers are normally assigned to major airports such as LAX, DFW, etc.

Regardless of it's new name, the residents continue to call it Sky Lakes Airport.

Contributed by Harvey Hartman

Select small photo to see large version

My Restoration of a 1920s Airway Beacon By Harvey Hartman

Harvey Harman undertook a remarkable task, starting in 2006 when he bid on and won a contract to dismantle the old airway beacon at La Porte Municipal Airport.  Before he made his bid he also obtained approval from the Building Committee at the residential airpark where he lived to install it.  He has written an absolutely charming account of his trials and tribulations in making his dream come true. 

During the dismantling process he located a "cast-brass" builder's plate on the tower, indicating that this tower was an early model of the airway towers, having been made before 1930.

This is a good indication that this tower started it's life along an airway in the late 1920's and was moved to the La Porte Municipal Airport as many of the airway towers were when they were no longer necessary every 10 miles.  Because of poor record keeping, we may never know for certain where this tower originated from, but we do know that it was dismantled and moved from the La Porte Municipal Airport, Harris Co., Texas in 2006.

Remeber while reading about his project that some expertize is need before trying to accomplish what he has done.  This is very dangerous and the slightest slip could have fatal results.

Click on a link to read his story (these are .pdf files; you need a pdf editor/reader to access):

Part #1-A Little Background History

Part # 2-Dismantling and Removing the Beacon & Tower

part 1

Summerizes the use of airway beacons and how he identified and obtained his airway beacon from the La Porte Municipal Airport.

Tells about his experience in dismantling the beacon at the La Porte Municipal Airport in July 2006.

Part #3-Constructing the New Tower Foundation

Part #4-Pouring the Shed and Cap Slabs

Shows how he constructed the new foundation at Sky Lake resident airpark in 2012, and some of the trouble he encountered. Shows details of wiring and construction of a shed next to the tower's pad.  Also, the lower two tower sections are sandblasted, painted, and bolted to their pad.  January 2013

Part #5-Building the Shed

Part #6-Restoring the Last Tower Section

Construction of the 13'x19' shed, security fence arround the tower, and Ground Rod Pit. March 2013 Shows how he prepared the electrical conduits, which required fabrication, created custom mounting brackets for his "Lad-Saf" climbing system, installed 2 lightening rods, and obstruction lights. November 2013

Part #7- Last Tower Section (continued)

Part #8-Last Tower Section (continued)

Creating a windsock support structure. March 2017.

Preparing the tower top for installation. November and December 2014

Part #9-THE BIG DAY!!!

Part #10-Finishing the Tower & Running Wires

Shows how the tower section was lifted into place and attached.  New Years Eve 2014. Getting the lightning rods installed and wired to the ground rod pit, adding the obstruction lights, installing ladder, fabricating distribution boxes, and pulling wiring into place to operate it all. February 2014

Part #11-Building and Installing the Beacon

Part #12-The Airmarker

See how Harvey made the decision to design his own beacon from a used propane tank and the process of creating it from beginning to finished results.  April 2016 Explanation of the air marking he placed on the top of his shed and what it means.

Part #13-Reflections

Part #14-Whats Left?

Looking back at all he accomplished and the friends he made along the way. Harvey's plans for the future.

Part #15-Preview

Next up for the airway tower, restore a 24" double-drummed airway beacon. July 2017    

If you have an old beacon or tower, that you would like to donate or sell (cheaply), Harvey knows of a few museums that are looking for them to restore, for all to enjoy.


You Tube Video of beacon in operation

Sky Lakes Airport Association on Facebook

Sky Lakes Airport website

More photos and information about the restoration of the La Porte Municiple Airport on Zhanna's SurveyStation

AirNav for: 37XA Skydive Houston Airport

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