Thursday, December 13, 2007

Local Airport Histories

The Daily Breeze, Long Beach Press Telegram, and who knows how many others published compact histories of the small local airports on 12/12/07. Trivia Highlights:

  • Daugherty Field (pictured in 1941, from the city website), now Long Beach Airport. Earl Daugherty started out performing with wingwalker Wesley May around the WWI era. He developed the air field for the world's first flight school in 1919. Like all the other airports, WW2 made Daugherty Field important, as Douglas Aircraft opened a plant for B17's there. Howard Hughes used it for his Spruce Goose.

  • Torrance's Municipal Airport is named for WW2 hero/Olympic runner Louis Zamperini ( reports that Nicholas Cage is developing a movie about him). The airport was a lima bean field until 1943, then became a training ground for Lockeheed P38 pilots.

  • In 1941, Jack Northrop built a plant and airstrip that he named after himself in Hawthorne. He gave the airport to the city seven years later.

  • Clover Field in Santa Monica was named after a World War I pilot, Greayer Clover, in 1922. It's lease is up and 2015, and it may not survive.

  • Van Nuys Airport began in 1928 as Metropolitan Airport--on the 25th anniversary of the Wright Brother's flight (that fact and the picture comes from the airport website). Casablanca's final scenes were filmed here.

  • Burbank's Bob Hope Airport opened in 1930 as United Airport, and was bought 10 years later by Lockheed. The airport website has its own history timeline with photos--even the opening day programme from 1930.

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