Video History of San Diego Airport

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San Diego AirportSan Diego International Airport is the home to many firsts in aviation history. The good climate in San Diego contributed to its attraction for many of the developments in both military and passenger aviation. In a future post, I’ll talk more about the military aviation in San Diego.

The San Diego Airport has been known as Lindbergh Field since 1928, when the airport first opened. A year earlier, aviation pioneer Charles Lindbergh took off from San Diego on his Spirit of St. Louis, built by San Diego’s Ryan Aircraft. Lindbergh flew on to St. Louis, New York, and then on to his history making flight across the Atlantic Ocean to Paris, France.

To celebrate its 75th Anniversary in 2003, the San Diego Airport Authority released video chronicles about the history of Lindbergh Field. The nine video chronicle, each about two minutes long, takes you from the beginning of aviation in San Diego, which led the way for the United States, to current day aviation. I’ll note a few tidbits that jumped out at me when watching the videos.

I was surprised to learn in the second video that it was a San Diegan, John Joseph Montgomery, who flew the first manned, heavier-than-air flight in the United States. It took place in Otay Mesa in 1883. You can visit the hilltop where Montgomery made the first flight. Subsequently, the life of this San Diego aviation pioneer was featured in the Hollywood movie Gallant Journey. You will also find the I-5 through the South Bay is named the John J. Montgomery Freeway.

The second video also surprised me when it noted San Diego’s Ryan Airlines started the first ‘regularly scheduled’ airline service in the country. You can read more about Ryan Airline’s founder at the National Aviation Hall of Fame web site.

In the fourth video, you will learn that our own Lindbergh Field became the first federally approved airport in the country. The year was 1928.

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