Calbraith â€œCalâ€? Perry Rodgers Flight of the Vin Fiz
Presented by the
First Transcontinental Flight Centennial Celebration Committee and The Long Beach Business Journal
HISTORY IN THE MAKING JetBlue is proud to be part of the Long Beach community and to be helping to build its bright aviation future.
The First U.S. Transcontinental Flight: Celebrating 100 Years Of Aviation History
A Salute To The Airport And Its Employees
‘Vin Fiz’ Replica Lands In Long Beach Arena
A Century Of Aviation History In Long Beach
Smithsonian’s ‘Pioneers Of Flight’ Exhibit Features Original ‘Vin Fiz’
Soaring Toward ‘The Airport Of The Future’
Long Beach Airport Reaching New Heights; Builds On The Past
Squire ‘Razzle Dazzle’ DuRee Helps Bring Completion Of U.S. Transcontinental Flight To Long Beach
If Cal Rodgers Crashed Today: The Evolution Of Aviation Safety
About The Cover
The Women Aviators Of Long Beach
Long Beach Airport Thrives On Diversity
Douglas Park: From Aircraft Manufacturing To ‘Dynamic Business Hub’
Calbraith “Cal” Perry Rodgers takes a celebratory ride along the Long Beach shoreline soon after completing his historic transcontinental flight. Presented by the First Transcontinental Flight Celebration Committe and the Long Beach Business Journal December 6, 2011
One-half left rear view of Wright model EX ‘Vin Fiz’ in flight as Cal Rodgers takes off from Sheepshead Bay, New York, at the start of his near 80-day coast-to-coast flight. (Smithsonian Institute photograph)
The First U.S. Transcontinental Flight: Celebrating 100 Years Of Aviation History ■ BY SEAN BELK STAFF WRITER
n many ways, the first flight across the United States made 100 years ago embodied the enthusiasm, determination and trialand-error that it takes to pursue a dream. Much like any invention, modernization or major discovery, the accomplishment pushed the limits of normalcy into what would later become a thriving new way of life. A 32-year-old, self-proclaimed daredevil and sportsman named Calbraith “Cal” Perry Rodgers took off from Sheepshead Bay, New York, on September 17, 1911, aboard a Wright EX-1 biplane called the “Vin Fiz” and headed for the West Coast. Nearly three months later, after more than a dozen crashes and several stops along the way, Rodgers became the first person to fly across the country, landing on the shores of Long Beach – about where Pine Avenue ends today. The event represents a turning point in history that changed the nation’s and the world’s trajectory forever. The momentous achievement set the platform for many early aviation pioneers, who carried on the passion for flight – considered one of humankind’s most significant accomplishments.
Early Aviation In the year 1911, aviation technology was still in its infancy. Only eight years had passed since Wilbur and Orville Wright proved that man could fly at the famous launch site at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. The Wright’s rickety planes were airborne for only seconds at a time, but powered flight was a feat that had never been done before. What followed were longer distances as the Unidentified man (left) helps Callbraith Perry Wrights, along with other Rodgers (center) button his vest, probably before a flight. Biplane partially visible in background aeronautical pioneers, engi- is probably the Wright EX ”Vin Fiz.” (Smithsonian neers and self-made risk- Institute photograph) takers with larger than life personalities, forged ahead and pushed past the boundaries of gravity. The stakes grew higher as more and more attempts were made to complete longer flight distances.
A Man Of Adventure Rodgers, who at age 6 became partially deaf after contracting scarlet fever, was no stranger to adventure. The Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, native came from a long line of history makers as the great-grandson of Naval hero Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry and the great-great nephew of
REGIONAL ADMINISTRATOR’S CERTIFICATE OF COMMEMORATION presented to
In commemoration of the first transcontinental flight between Sheepshead Bay, New York and Long Beach, California completed on December 10, 1911 by Calbraith “Cal” Perry Rodgers with his Wright Model EX “Vin Fiz” Bi-Plane. This momentous historic event forever established the role of aviation in America.
December 10, 2011
William C. Withycombe Regional Administrator Federal Aviation Administration Western-Pacific Region
Right side view of Wright (Co) Model EX "Vin Fiz", piloted by Calbraith Perry Rodgers, in low-level flight, probably shortly after takeoff. Several buildings of a farm or small factory visible in background; a horse pulls a four-wheeled carriage along the road behind the fence at midground. (Smithsonian Institute photograph)
Commodore Matthew Calbraith Perry, known for opening up trade between Japan and the U.S. While in school, Rodgers immediately gravitated toward sports activities and went on to become a well-known football player, yachtsman and car and motorcycle racer. The thrill seeker then traveled to Dayton, Ohio, in the summer of 1911 to meet up with his cousin, John, who was one of the first Naval officers assigned to test out the original Wright planes in the Full-length view of Calbraith “Cal” Perry Rodgers posed standing, grinning, beside his Wright (Co) Model EX “Vin Fiz,” 1911; one-half left front newly formed Naval Air view of aircraft, close up. Crowd in background; unidentified man in aircraft, kneeling on pilot's seat. (Smithsonian Institute photograph) Service. flight, he wanted to complete his journey by continuing to the Pacific After about 90 minutes of flying instruction from Al Welsh, a Wright Ocean. Several beach cities offered incentives, but Rodgers chose a employee at the Wright school, Rodgers qualified for his “pilot’s li- $5,000 offer by a committee of the Long Beach Chamber of Comcense” from the Aero Club of America. This was before traffic control merce, headed by Squire F. Duree. At the time, Long Beach was and air navigation existed. His deafness prevented him from entering known for its long stretch of beach, which provided an ideal landing the U.S. Naval Air Service. He took his short flight experience and spot for airplanes. went on to compete in the Chicago International Air Meet and took a Although Rodgers crashed one last time after departing Pasadena, cash prize of $11,000 for flying a Wright model “B” for three hours, he eventually made his way to the shores of Long Beach, on Decem23 minutes and 10 seconds. ber 10, to the sight of more than 50,000 spectators lined up on the The Wright Company sold Rodgers a Wright Model EX, a lighter, beach to watch him finish the first transcontinental flight. The entire smaller version of the Wright B plane and the first Wright plane ever trip, traveling from east to west coasts, encompassed more than 4,000 sold to a private buyer. miles and took more than 80 days.
Then came the big challenge. A $50,000 wager by newspaper baron William Randolph Hearst was offered to the first aviator to fly across the United States within 30 days or less, which sparked Rodger’s interest in attempting the cross-country feat. In the process he became the first airborne advertiser. To finance his journey, Rodgers agreed to be sponsored by Armour & Company to promote its Vin Fiz grape juice drink. His Wright Model EX biplane the first “flying billboard” with the company’s grape juice drink logo painted on the underside of the wings, and eventually came to be called by its namesake, the “Vin Fiz.” Along the way Rodgers also dropped Vin Fiz promotional leaflets from the sky. In exchange for the advertising, Armour & Company paid Rodgers
Gaining national notoriety and a sure spot in aviation history books, Rodgers met his maker shortly after his momentous feat. On April 3, 1912, just about four months after finishing the historic flight, Rodgers took his plane up to test it before giving passengers a ride. He reportedly hit a flock of seagulls about 100 yards west of the Pine Avenue Pier, causing him to crash into the surf and break his neck – although the official cause of the crash remains underdetermined. Rodger’s accomplishments were followed by notable aviation pioneers, such as Lts. John A. Macready and Oakley G. Kelly, who made the first non-stop transcontinental flight in 1923; Charles “Lucky Lindy” Lindbergh; Amelia Earhart; Jimmy Doolittle and many more – each contributing to our exciting and enthralling aviation history for years to come. ■
$3 per mile to the mid-west and then $5 per mile beyond, eventually earning him about $23,000.
Collision Course Throughout the journey, Rodgers used the cross county railroad tracks as a map. Knowing there would be at least a few crash landings, a train car with spare parts and mechanics, provided by Armour and Company, followed the “Vin Fiz” throughout the voyage. The exteriors of the train cars were labeled with further advertisements for Vin Fiz. A support crew accompanied him on the ground in the three-car train, consisting of Rodger’s wife, mother, a friend, two mechanics and two assistants who managed supplies, fuel, repair parts and spare engines. Throughout the trip, numerous problems occurred: electrical storms, broken skids, a cracked cylinder and engine explosions. In total, Rodgers made 68 separate take offs and landings, crashed 16 times and suffered shrapnel injuries to his shoulders and arms. Finally, on November 5, after several ups and downs, Rodgers landed at Tournament Park in Pasadena, California. This was the original destination spot required for Hearst’s challenge, but Rodgers missed the deadline by 19 days.
Final Flight To Long Beach But Rodgers didn’t stop there. In order to make a true cross-country
One-half left rear view of wreckage of the Wright Model EX “Vin Fiz,” resting on its nose after a hard landing at Huntington, Indiana, during Cal Rodger’s coast-to-coast flight. Unidentified men crowd around the damaged left wings. (Smithsonian Institute photograph)
‘Vin Fiz’ Replica Lands In Long Beach Arena Page 4
Permanent Display To Honor December 10 Landing Of First Transcontinental Flight ■ BY SEAN BELK STAFF WRITER
t’s been hundred years since Calbraith “Cal” Perry Rodgers landed on the sand in Long Beach and completed the first crossing of the United States by air. City officials, community members and business leaders are now commemorating the momentous feat with a permanent fixture. As a tribute to the significant mile-marker in American aviation history, of which Long Beach was a part, on December 10, 2011 – exactly a century after Rodgers made his historic landing – a plaque and a onethird-scale replica of Rodgers’ Wright EX-1 biplane, known as the “Vin Fiz,” will hang from the ceiling of the lobby in the Long Beach Arena. The display is less than 900 yards from where Rodgers first landed on the beach near the bygone Pine Avenue Pier at Linden Avenue and Seaside Way. The trip from Sheepshead Bay, New York, to Long Beach, California, took more than 80 days to finish. Over the past year, Long Beach City Councilwoman Gerrie Schipske chaired the First Transcontinental Flight Centennial Celebration Committee, which organized events to celebrate a century of aviation history in Long Beach that have led up to the official 100th anniversary on December 10. The dedication, she says, fulfills a promise city officials made 100 years ago to place a marker at Rodgers’ landing spot, but never followed through. “Unfortunately, in 1911, a little less than $50 was raised and the marker was never made,” she says. “We are keeping that promise on December 10, 2011.” Some of the events helped raise funds to pay for the “Vin Fiz” replica through the Rosie the Riveter Foundation, she added. Arizona Aircraft Replicas of Arizona constructed the model. JetBlue Airways, celebrating its 10th anniversary this year with Long Beach Airport as its West Coast hub, is helping to underwrite a substantial portion of the replica. “We became really interested in the synergy between the historical accuracy of what had happened and the JetBlue story going forward as part of aviation today in Long Beach,” says Robert Land, JetBlue’s senior vice president of government affairs. “It’s sort of like a match made in heaven.” Coincidentally, the low-cost carrier’s first flight from Long Beach in 2001 was to New York’s JFK airport, similar to Rodger’s transcontinental flight but in the opposite direction. ComAI AIRCRAFT RCRAFT OWNERS OWNERS AND AND PILOTS PILOTS AS ASSOCIATION SOCIATION 421 A Aviation viation Way • Frederick, Frederick, M MD D 2170121701-4798 4798 www.aopa.org www. a op a .org
November November 22, 2011 During During the the past past century, century, aviation aviation has made made great great advances. advances. What was was once once reserved reserved for for the the b bold old and daring daring few few is now now the the preferred preferred me means ans o off ttransportation ransportation fo forr millio millions. ns. Those Those ad advances vances have been been made made possible possible only only w with ith the the ssupport upport of of forward forward thinking thinking people. people. In 1911, when when the the Long Long Beach Beach business business community community invited invited Cal Cal Rodgers Rodgers to to complete complete the the firs firstt transcontinental transcontinental flight flight here, here, they they he helped lped mo move ve aviat aviation ion forward. forward. Rodgers Rodgers accomplishment accomplishment marked marked a significant significant milestone milestone for for the the fledgling fledgling science, science, and art, art, of of aviation. But But he might might never never have completed completed tthe he flig ht without without tthe he e ncouragement aviation. flight encouragement and financial support support of of those those city city leaders. leaders. Today, Today, the the City City of of Long Long B Beach each remains remains a hub hub for for aviation aviation progress. progress. From From its its thriving thriving airports to to its its warm warm welcome welcome for for events events like AOPAs airports AOPAs Aviation Aviation Summit, Summit, Long Long Beach Beach continues continues tto op prove rove tthat hat it is a co community mmunity o off fo forward rward thinking thinking people people who who are ready ready to to invest invest in the the future future of of aviation. aviation. I am honored honored to to b be ep part art of of the the centennial centennial celebration firstt transcontinental celebration of of the the firs transcontinental flight flight and on on behalf behalf of of the the more more than than 400,000 members members of of the the Aircraft Aircraft Owners Owners and Pilots Pilots Association, Association, I want want to to congratulate congratulate the off L Long Beach the City City o ong B each and its its citizens citizens for for their their commitment commitment to to preserving preserving aviation aviation history while working building even history w hile w orking ttoward oward b uilding an e ven more impressive future. ture. more imp ressive fu
Craig L. L. Fuller Fuller Craig AOPA President President and CEO CEO AOPA
pared to Rodgers’ some three-month journey that involved 68 landings and 16 crashes, JetBlue offers nonstop transcontinental flights that take only five to six hours, he says. “We in essence recreated Cal Rodger’s flight in the other direction and have kept it as a permanent flight – more or less during different seasons – for the last decade,” Land says. “We’re keeping his legacy alive and keeping that route flourishing.” Although missing out on the $50,000 prize offered by newspaper baron William Randolph Hearst, who challenged pilots to complete the flight from
Jaime Johnston, president of Arizona Aircraft Replicas, LLC, in Scottsdale handled the contruction of the model of the “Vin Fiz.” He supplied the above photographs as examples of how he progressed toward completion of the project.
New York to Pasadena, California, in 30 days or less, Rodgers nevertheless completed his cross-country journey. He was then enticed by a $5,000 offer from the Long Beach Chamber of Commerce to finish the coast-to-coast flight in Long Beach. After a severe crash that left him hospitalized and the “Vin Fiz” damaged yet again, Rodgers eventually touched down on the shores of Long Beach, meeting up with local aviators Beryl Williams, Frank Champion and Early Daugherty, as well as 50,000 cheering people. Steve Goodling, president and CEO of the Long Beach Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, said the replica and display in the Long Beach Arena would expose thousands of event attendees to Long Beach’s aviation history. It’s a welcome addition to the many references of the city’s historical past, he says. “Many of our exhibits actually flow into the Arena area, so it will give visitors a chance to see our history in aviation,” Goodling says. “It’s just another piece of history about Long Beach.” The display will be unveiled as part of a dedication ceremony that will feature several speakers: Councilwoman Gerrie Schipske; Long Beach Airport Director Mario Rodriguez; Steve Goodling; Phyllis Ortman, chair of the Long Beach Airport Advisory Commission; Ken Snavely, Long Beach postmaster; Bill Withycombe, regional administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration; Craig Fuller, president of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association; and Jim Lloyd, the pilot who reenacted the “Vin Fiz” flight during the 75th anniversary in 1986. ■
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Smithsonian’s ‘Pioneers Of Flight’ Exhibit Features Original ‘Vin Fiz’ Exhibit Displayed At National Air And Space Museum In Washington, D.C.
■ BY SEAN BELK STAFF WRITER
hile the first transcontinental flight across the United States was an epic adventure, the legendary “Vin Fiz” airplane flown by Calbraith “Cal” Perry Rodgers during the more than 4,000-mile journey in 1911 carries a tale of its own. The National Air and Space Museum (NASM) at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C., currently houses what the museum considers the
original “Vin Fiz” airplane in its “Barron Hilton Pioneers of Flight” exhibit. But, conjecture continues to this day about the plane’s authenticity. The airplane artifact was made from airplane parts believed to have come from the “Vin Fiz”, collected after Rodger’s flight. “People will tell you, ‘that’s not the real airplane; that’s a reproduction in the Smithsonian, because it crashed all these times and everything was rebuilt,’” Peter Jakab, curator for the Smithsonian’s early flight collection, told the Business Journal. “While it’s true, almost none of the airplane that left New York landed in California, it was rebuilt many times along the route . . . There were enough flown ‘Vin Fiz’ parts to create more than one airplane. That’s how you can still have the original airplane existing BOARD OF SUPERVISORS even though there are stories about COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES it being destroyed.” 822 KENNETH HAHN HALL OF ADMINISTRATION/ LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA 90012 TEL (213) 974-4444 / FAX (213) 626-6941 / WWW.KNABE.COM
Known as the first airplane the Wright Brothers ever sold to a private buyer, the Wright EX-1 biplane was a single-seat special design used for exhibition flying and was a slightly smaller version of the Wright’s standard Model “B” flyer. According to the Smithsonian, it was powered by a 35-horsepower, Wright vertical four-cylinder engine and carried enough fuel for a maximum of 3-1/2 hours of flying time. Armour & Company, a meat packing company, sponsored Rodgers’ trip and the plane took on the Vin Fiz name as an advertising gimmick, promoting the company’s grape juice drink of the same name. The plane was accompanied by a rail car financed by Armour & Company and adorned with the Vin Fiz logo. The special train accommodated the Rodger’s family and his support crew, along with a “rolling workshop” filled with spare parts to repair and maintain the airplane along the flight. But, throughout the ordeal, the name was just about the only thing that remained intact. Rodgers made 68 separate takeoffs and landings throughout the trip and crashed a total of 16 times. Not only did Rodgers endure several injuries himself, but the plane that left Sheepshead Bay, New York, was not the quite the same plane that landed in Long Beach, California, after more than 80 days of flying. It was rebuilt several times throughout the journey after a series of problems, including engine explosions and accidents. After Rodgers made his momentous landing on the shores of Long Beach on December 10, 1911, his final destination for the coast-to-coast flight, he kept the “Vin Fiz” and a twoseat Model “B” airplane, which he used to take passengers on rides, at the Dominguez Air Field. He later moved the airplanes to Long Beach. Tragically, just four months after finishing the transcontinental journey, Rodgers died after crashing his Model “B” off the shores of Long Beach. His brother, Lt. John Rodgers, acquired the “Vin Fiz” after Rodgers’ death; the plane was then passed on to Rodger’s wife, Mabel. In 1914 the “Vin Fiz” was handed over to Rodger’s mother, who was officially awarded possession after a court ruling regarding Rodger’s estate. Several stories have circulated about where the airplane ended up next. Some have said the “Vin Fiz” was completely destroyed in a crash after being flown by someone else. Other reports indicate the plane was scrapped in the Wright factory in Dayton, Ohio, after the company was sold in 1916. Nonetheless, the version that landed at the Carnegie Institute in Pittsburgh in 1917 and then acquired by the Smithsonian in 1934 was reconstructed using scrap parts left over from the original historic flight, making the plane the most genuine replica of the original aircraft, according to the Smithsonian. The Smithsonian replaced the airplane’s fabric in the early 1960s, leaving the airframe untouched. The whereabouts of the original engine, however, are unknown. The airplane, a brief description of Rodgers’ flight and a large piece of original fabric are on display at the NASM’s early aviation gallery. Jakab said Rodgers’ display remains a “foreshadowing” of early aviation of the 1920s and 1930s. For more information on the “Vin Fiz” display, please visit www.nasm.si.edu. ■
DON KNABE SUPERVISOR, FOURTH DISTRICT
December 10, 2011
Dear Friends: Congratulations to the Vin Fiz Committee for its efforts to celebrate, commemorate and bring awareness to the 100th Anniversary of the First Transcontinental Flight between Sheepshead Bay, New York, and Long Beach, California, completed on December 10, 1911. While the promised marker is only 100 years late, it is fitting that Long Beach honors this great achievement as well as the man who made it possible. Thank you for the opportunity to join you in recognizing Cal Rodgers’ efforts in completing the first transcontinental flight in his Wright Model EX-1 pusher plane. What a sight it must have been to have 50,000 people lined up on the long stretch of hard sand and surf as Rodgers landed on the sand and water near Pine Avenue Pier. It is a pleasure to join you in this well-deserved celebration!
First Transcontinental Flight Centennial Celebration Events Long Beach: On December 10, the public is invited to join Long Beach city officials and other dignitaries at 1 p.m. at the Center Theater of the Long Beach Convention & Entertainment Center, 300 E. Ocean Blvd., for a free reception and dedication honoring Cal Rodgers and the first transcontinental flight. Held on the 100th anniversary of Rodgers’ December 10, 1911 landing in Long Beach after his takeoff from Sheepshead Bay, New York, on September 17, 1911, the dedication features a plaque and a one-third-scale replica of the “Vin Fiz” airplane Rodgers flew during his historic journey. Winners of the “We Can Soar” essay contest and the JetBlue opportunity drawing will also be announced. For more information or to RSVP, visit www.vinfizlongbeach.com. Other: On December 10, the Hiller Aviation Museum, 601 Skyway Rd. in San Carlos, hosts an educational event that explores Cal Rodgers and Robert Fowler, two aviators who completed the earliest transcontinental flights across the United States. The event includes presentations, the original Wright engine from Fowler’s Cole Flyer and a full size replica of Rodgers’ “Vin Fiz” airplane. Admission is included with the purchase of a museum ticket. For more information, visit www.hiller.org. • During the month of December, the featured theme at the Fort Worth Air and Space Museum Foundation, 6238 Camp Bowie Blvd. in Texas, is “People in Aviation.” For more information, visit www.ftwaviation100.com. – Editorial Assistant Katie Musso
Squire ‘Razzle Dazzle’ DuRee Helps Bring Completion Of U.S. Transcontinental Flight To Long Beach ■ BY TIFFANY RIDER SENIOR WRITER
ased on stories handed down by family members and letters written by his great-great-grandfather Squire DuRee, Mike DuRee describes a man who had a passion for Long Beach. Though he died more than a decade before Mike was born, Squire’s story continues to live on and be told.
Beach. However, the competition required Rodgers to complete his air voyage in Pasadena. Squire followed Rodgers travels closely, and once he landed in Pasadena he thought it would be fitting if he could get Rodgers to fly from Pasadena to Long Beach to finish at the Pacific Ocean – thus a true transcontinental flight. Determined to convince Rodgers, Squire and his fellow members of the Long Beach Chamber helped raise $5,000 to pay the aviator to make Long Beach the final destination. Rodgers agreed, and Squire turned the event into a “great big spectacle,” Mike said. Shortly after, Squire’s interest in promoting the beach community led him to become the city’s first superintendent of recreation – pre-dating today’s director of parks, recreation and marine. “During his tenure there, he decided that because the beach was so popular and there were so many thousands of people on the beach all the time, he partnered up with the Miller Family and established the first professional lifeguard service in Long Beach,” according to Mike.
“I’ve heard people refer to him as the ‘Razzle Dazzle’ guy. I think that’s probably pretty fitting based on everything I know about him. He would come up with interesting ways to promote Long Beach and all that Long Beach had to offer.” Mike Duree on his great-great-grandfather, Squire Duree
When Calbraith “Cal” Perry Rodgers completed the first transcontinental flight across the United States, he took this mailbag with him. The mailbag has several signatures from members of the DuRee family after Rodgers landed in Long Beach. (Long Beach Airport Photograph) At right, Mike DuRee, assistant chief with the Long Beach Fire Department, is the great-great-grandson of Squire DuRee. Squire, in conjunction with the Long Beach Chamber of Commerce, helped raise funds to pay Rodgers to complete his transcontinental flight in Long Beach. (Photograph by the Business Journal’s Thomas McConville)
Squire moved to Long Beach from Colorado Springs in 1888 to live in the beautiful seaside community. “He chose Long Beach for his family because it was like ‘Iowa by the sea,’” Mike said. “Basically a little seaside community that had tremendous potential.” Squire initially worked as a grocer, running his own small store at 23rd Street and Pasadena Avenue – what was then considered the suburbs just outside of Downtown Long Beach. Over the years Squire became actively involved in promoting the city through the Long Beach Chamber of Commerce. He established the downtown farmers’ market, an idea that was likely spawned from his work as a grocer. From there, Mike said, Squire became known for his unique and “wild” ideas for promoting Long Beach. “I’ve heard people refer to him as the ‘Razzle Dazzle’ guy,” Mike said. “I think that’s probably pretty fitting based on everything I know about him. He would come up with interesting ways to promote Long Beach and all that Long Beach had to offer,” such as a twins beauty pageant and a strongest man competition. Squire was also fascinated by aviation. At the time, Daugherty Field was up and coming, and Squire had dreams of being an aviator. Realizing that he didn’t have the skill to do it, Squire decided he would do what he did best – and he started promoting the city as an aviation destination. When Squire learned that Calbraith “Cal” Rodgers was competing to be the first to complete a transcontinental flight – from Sheepshead Bay, New York, to Pasadena – he initially pushed for Rodgers to finish his flight in Long
Squire’s service to the city established a DuRee family tradition, Mike explained. Squire’s son, Alan DuRee, became a firefighter and served as chief from 1933 to 1946. Alan’s son, Stan DuRee, followed in his footsteps and served from 1947, working his way up to battalion chief before retiring in 1976. Stan’s son, Richard DuRee, became a firefighter in 1970 and retired in 2000. Mike DuRee, Richard’s son, became a firefighter in 1993, making him a fifth generation city employee and the only fourth generation firefighter in the city, he said. Today, Mike serves as assistant chief of operations. “This city has a ton to offer, and I see it every day,” Mike said. “What I found in all of [Squire’s] writings that have been passed down was that he saw the potential in Long Beach every single day, and he spent every single day trying to promote it.” ■
Long Beach Committee Commemorating First Flight Formed in the summer of 2010, the Committee to Commemorate the First Transcontinental Flight was created by Long Beach Councilwoman Gerrie Schipske, who serves as the committee’s chair, to observe the 100th anniversary of this historic flight by Cal Rodgers. The committee held monthly meetings to plan celebratory events throughout the year and to raise money for the dedication of a one-third-scale replica of Rodgers’ “Vin Fiz” airplane that will hang in the Long Beach Arena. The site is a short distance from where his flight was completed on December 10, 1911. The committee has expressed an interest in continuing its focus on Long Beach’s aviation history after the December 10 conclusion of the centennial celebration. Organizations represented on the committee are: Aerolease/Aeroplex; The Boeing Company; California State University, Long Beach; Cessna Aircraft Company; the City of Long Beach; EAA (Expirimental Aircraft Association); Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University; Historical Society of Long Beach; JetBlue; Long Beach Airport Advisory Commission; Long Beach Chamber of Commerce; Long Beach City College; Long Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau; Long Beach Municipal Airport; Long Beach Public Library; Long Beach Rosie the Riveter Foundation; Long Beach Sailing Foundation; and UPS. – Editorial Assistant Katie Musso
If Cal Rodgers Crashed Today: The Evolution Of Aviation Safety
With New Technology, National Events Comes New Safety And Security Measures ■ BY SEAN BELK STAFF WRITER
o say there have been a lot of changes in aviation technology and safety since Calbraith “Cal” Perry Rodgers flew his flimsy, one-seat Wright EX-1 biplane to make the first United States transcontinental flight by air 100 years ago would be an understatement. His daring, more than 4,000-mile journey that took almost three months
United States companies began rapidly designing and building their own airliners in the 1950s and the larger airplanes raised the stakes for loss of life. From then on, the Federal Aviation Agency, now known as the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and a branch of the Department of Transportation, was formed. Various advancements and events have occurred since the formation of the FAA, including: deregulation of the aviation industry; the creation of air traffic control systems using radar and computers systems; and unionization. Then, in September 2001, the terrorist attacks on New York’s World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon, changed the face of airport security forever, prompting the federal government to form the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) which, by the following year, assumed all aviation security responsibilities. Security and safety measures at and around the Long Beach Airport have changed dramatically over the past century and today involve a complex multi-faceted coordination of efforts between police and fire departments, control towers and federal agencies. If an incident occurs, airport operations staff is immediately contacted by control towers, and the signal is sent out to on-airport agencies. The
Applying new technology with aircraft design – and trial and error by daring aviators of the early years of aviation, followed by test pilots – has not only made flying safer as the years continued, but also helped address issues such as noise in neighorhoods located near airports. (Top photograph by the Smithsonian Institute and at right by the Business Journal’s Thomas McConville)
to complete, involved a total of 16 crashes and dozens of stops along the way. Although he survived to finish the flight, he died just four months later, reportedly hitting a flock of seagulls while flying over Long Beach. Flying at the time was risky business, with shoddy engines in rickety planes without any navigation devices except plain sight. The high-flying stunts and aerobatics above Long Beach were dangerous, for sure. However, by today’s standards, an airplane crash is a much more serious matter. Aviation safety and security are nearly one in the same, as national events, such as the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and numerous international events have shaped how airports approach the safety of pilots, passengers and the community at large. With CAPITOL OFFICE P.O. BOX 942848 SACRAMENTO, CA 94248-0001 (916) 651-4027 FAX (916) 327-9113 LONG BEACH OFFICE 115 PINE AVENUE, SUITE 430 LONG BEACH, CA 90802 (562) 495-4766 FAX (562) 495-1876 PARAMOUNT OFFICE 16401 PARAMOUNT BOULEVARD PARAMOUNT, CA 90723 (562) 529-6659 FAX (562) 529-6662
California State Senate SENATOR
ALAN LOWENTHAL TWENTY-SEVENTH SENATE DISTRICT Representing the communities of Artesia, Avalon, Bellflower, Cerritos, Downey, Florence-Graham, Hawaiian Gardens, Lakewood, Long Beach, Lynwood, Paramount, Signal Hill, South Gate and Willowbrook
LEGISLATIVE ETHICS VICE-CHAIR SELECT COMMITTEE ON SUSTAINABLE SCHOOL FACILITIES CHAIR SUBCOMMITTEE ON CALIFORNIA PORTS & GOODS MOVEMENT CHAIR MEMBER BUDGET & FISCAL REVIEW BUDGET SUBCOMMITTEE #2 ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY INSURANCE TRANSPORTATION & HOUSING
December 10, 2011
The City of Long Beach has traditionally been recognized for the important role it played during the golden age of aviation. Marking the 100th Anniversary of Cal Rodgers’ amazing achievement—flying his Wright Model EX-1 more than 4,000 miles from Sheepshead Bay, New York to Long Beach, California, is cause for celebration. It is a fitting recognition of this moment in history for a replica of his plane, the “Vin Fiz,” and a plaque to honor this feat be dedicated near the location where it actually landed. I am extremely pleased to offer congratulations to the Committee to Commemorate the First Transcontinental Flight as you bring local and national awareness of this significant event in the City of Long Beach’s history. It is a great day for the people of Long Beach, and I look forward to a wonderful celebration. Sincerely,
Alan S. Lowenthal State Senator, 27th District
larger and more advanced airplanes, the risk for potential loss of life in a crash has increased substantially. After the number of commercial airline services began to increase in the 1920s and 1930s, some airport operators used early air traffic controls based on visual signals, mostly standing on the airfield waving flags, to increase safety. Shortly after the first air traffic control centers were established, the independent Civil Aeronautics Authority was formed in 1938, with an Air Safety Board that would conduct accident investigations and recommend ways of preventing accidents.
airport has its own fire department and police department in case of an emergency or crash on the airfield. In the event of a crash, the primary goal of first responding firefighters is to evacuate people from the wreckage and reduce loss of life. The airport, which today encompasses 1,200 acres and an eight-mile perimeter, has also developed ways to prevent airplane crashes through improvements in communications and such programs as the Wildlife Mitigation And Management Program which discourages wildlife, such as birds, from inhabiting airport facilities. Security screening at the airport was for the most part operated by the airlines themselves, with the Long Beach Police Department stepping in. John Blood, the airport’s chief of security and superintendent of safety, said the Bureau of Aeronautics Police operated airport security and safety from the 1940s to 1960s. The airport eventually switched to having its own airport police prior to the advent of the federal TSA. Blood explained that in today’s world every accident is treated as a “crime scene” first. Security-screening measures are operated in co-operation with a wide range of agencies using advanced technological capabilities, keeping a close eye on activities. All personnel on the airfield must be authorized with badges. This collaboration of forces has benefited security measures. “Over the last couple of years, we have had outstanding technology as far as screening equipment and cameras, our officers are better trained and the aviation law enforcement here is specialized,” he said. “In Long Beach, we have an outstanding relationship with our federal security director and I think it’s one of the best in the country. We share information, share systems and meet regularly. I think that’s a benefit.” ■
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The Women Aviators Of Long Beach Female Pilots Paved The Way To Make Aviation History ■ BY SEAN BELK STAFF WRITER
rom establishing the first all-women transcontinental air races, known as “Powder Puff” air derbies, to ferrying military aircraft across the country during World War II, to preserving their legacy for years to come, female pilots played a pivotal role in the history of Long Beach aviation. The origins of these remarkable women flyers can be traced back to a group of licensed women pilots, who called themselves The Ninety-Nines, named for the 99 original charter members. The group formed at Curtiss Field in Valley Stream, New York, on November 2, 1929, the year of the inaugural National Women’s Air Derby – the first official women’s-only air race in the United States. The band of female pilots came together with a purpose: to promote and teach flying to women across the country, secure jobs and make sure their achievements were recorded in the files of history. Today, the Ninety-Nines’ membership roster has grown to thousands of licensed women pilots across the world.
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The Golden Age Some of the founding members who gained national prominence and recognition got their start in aviation right here in Long Beach. During the “Golden Age of Aviation,” one notable aviator was Gladys O’Donnell, who at age 25 received her pilot’s license. She entered the National Women’s Air Derby, competing against 19 other contestants for a $25,000 prize for flying from Santa Monica to Cleveland, Ohio. O’Donnell took second in the historic race, while famous aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart took third. Earhart, elected the Ninety-Nine’s first president in 1931, took her first flying lessons in 1921 in Long Beach, becoming proficient in advanced aeronautics and aerobatics. She went on to perform flying stunts in air rodeos on an airfield owned by Earl Daugherty, one of Long Beach’s founders of aviation. O’Donnell, nicknamed “The Flying Housewife,” continued to compete in air derbies, against men as well as women. Her husband, Lloyd O’Donnell, had founded the O’Donnell School of Aviation, one of the first flying schools in Long Beach. The two married when she was 17, then had two children before going into flying.
Long Beach Firefighters, Local 372
Proud to be a Part of the Storied Aviation History of Long Beach
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2640 North Lakewood Blvd Long Beach, CA 90815 At age 17 in 1921, Gladys married Lloyd O’Donnell, who operated the O’Donnell School of Aviation in Long Beach. In 1929 she decided she wanted to learn to fly and became the first licensed woman pilot in Long Beach. Photo above is a construction class held at O’Donnell Aviation. (Photographs from Long Beach Airport and Business Journal archives.)
562.597.4401 www www.hilongbeach.com .hilongbeach.com
Accounting Division Team â€“ From left, Jill Casey, Martha Mino, Jocelyn Gallito, April Turnbull, Ken Mason (executive assistant), Accounting Manager Adela Rodriguez, Administrative Officer Claudia Lewis, Norma Garcia and Benjamin Paramo.
Airport Management Team â€“ Standing Facilities Management Officer Fred Pe Manager J.C. Squires; Senior Civil Eng of Noise Compliance Mario Fabila; an Sedlak. Seated from left: Administrativ Director Mario Rodriguez; Public Affai Operations & Facilities Bureau Manag
Airport Operations â€“ Facilities Management Officer Fred Pena and Acting Superintendent of Airport Operations Karl Zittel.
Leasing Division â€“ From left, Jimmie Smith, Laura Pio and Mark Echmalian.
Maintenance & Facilities â€“ Superintendent Dean Crider.
Airport Dispatch â€“ From left, Jessica Marquez, Keisha Pink and Travis Harris.
Left to right: Public Works Inspector Martin Carbullido; Airport Deputy Project Manager Luis Garcia; Senior Civil Engineer Jeffrey Sedlak; and Parsons Brinkerhoff Project Engineer Norm Peterson.
Airport Operations â€“ From left, Brian Eldrige, Clint Vallee, Jonathan Murphy, Chris Sansenbach and Myron Vander Beek.
Maintenance & Facilities Division â€“ Employee Luis Felix. Maintenance & Facilities Division â€“ Employees Kenyon Labostrie and Kevin Singleton.
Public Affairs Office â€“ From left, Jo Eileen Shock and Public Affairs Of
Long Beach And Airport Poli uniforms) and members of th Pictured, from left, are: Chief Longcob, Officer R. Nunez,
Building Services Division â€“ Left to right, Violetta Carillo, Juanito Romano, Avelino Alberto, Carmen Rivera, Marg Margarita Sanchez and Facilities Management Officer F
g, left to right: Chief John Blood; ena; Finance & Administration Bureau gineer Rachel Korkos; Superintendent nd Senior Civil Engineer Jeffrey ve Officer Claudia Lewis; Airport irs Officer Kerry Gerot; and ger Carol Carlton-Lowe.
Engineering Division â€“ Left to right: Jeffrey Sedlak, senior civil engineer; Rachel Korkos, senior civil engineer; and division employees Henry Monfiero and Stephan Lum.
Noise Compliance Office â€“ From left, Randy Jagger; Johnathan Wilson; Eric Sheng; and Superintendent of Noise Compliance Mario Fabila.
ordan Syms, Kimberly McMahon, fficer Kerry Gerot.
ice Working Together â€“ Chief John Blood says his airport police staff (pictured in green he Long Beach Police Department work well together in maintaining security at the airport. f Blood, Sgt. Rick Curiel, Officer O. Dominguez, Sgt. D. Hohman, Sgt. Rory Arollado, Officer F. Officer W. Wendt, Officer R. Ware
, Phillip Charles, garita Wantz, Fred Pena.
Maintenance & Facilities Division â€“ Employees Scott Garrett, Steve Johns, Harley Alcorn.
Airport Operations â€“ From left, Acting Superintendent of Airport Operations Karl Zittel, Brian Eldridge, Chris Paolini and Clint Vallee.
Maintenance & Facilities Division â€“ Employee Omar Dubon. Maintenance & Facilities Division â€“ Employee Shawn Williams.
Maintenance & Facilities Division employee Miguel Vargas.
Access Control Team â€“ Steve Klinger and Connie Abaya.
Maintenance & Facilities â€“ Employee Wayne Henriksen.
The War Years
At the start of World War II, many women took to flying for reasons other than performing stunts. By 1942, an experimental group of civilian women pilots were selected by the military to serve as part of the Women's Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron, known as the WAFS, at the Army Corps 6th Ferrying Group Air Transport Command Base in Long Beach. A year later, the group was reorganized into the much larger Women Airforce Approximately 1,000 female pilots, called WASPs (Women’s Airforce Service Pilots), served during World War II. Roughly 300 of those Service Pilots (WASP) pilots were involved in the Women’s Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron, which was responsible for flying everything from fighters to heavy bombers to key ferrying bases around the U.S. Other WASP duties included courier work and test piloting. Among those ferrying aircraft organization. was Long Beach’s Barbara London (top row, right and below), who served as squadron leader. (Photographs courtesy of Barbara London.) It was the largest ferrying command base in the country and was one of the main reasons for developing the Long Beach Airport, at the time referred to as either the Long Beach Army Airfield or Daugherty Field. The women pilots ferried large military airplanes, including: P-51 Mustangs; twin-engine bombers, B-25s and A-20s; and C47s. The planes were ferried from Long Beach to locations across the country, often times involving dangerous missions and difficult conditions. Some of the original members of the Ninety-Nines served as squadron leaders for the WASPs, says Iris Critchell, a former WASP, who went on to become active in promoting Long Beach aviation and is a retired lecturer at Claremont College. “We treasure the experience of knowing so many of the founders and the women who flew in the air derby, because we worked with a lot of them, later on, during the war,” she says. “We felt we were aware of the importance of their pioneering history from the 1920s and early 1930s – long before we came along. We considered it our good
fortune to know them and get their history first hand.” Critchell says she has been a lifelong friend of Barbara Erickson London, the only WASP in World War II to receive the Air Medal. London remained active in Long Beach aviation through aircraft sales, hosting aviation events and becoming a member of the Long Beach Airport Advisory Commission. In 2005, Barbara Erickson London Drive was eponymously named at the Long Beach Airport.
Local women pilots eventually founded the Long Beach Chapter of the Ninety-Nines on February 1, 1952. Charter members were London, Critchell, Mary Aileen Pickering, Diana Cyrus Bixby, Betty Loufek, Fern Shefler, Claire McMillian Walters, May Sharp, Donna Evans, Beatrice Meads and Rita Gibson. During the 1950s and 1960s, with a nod to their past the NinetyNines sponsored women-only transcontinental air races as a way to jumpstart small-plane personal aviation. Many of the races either started or ended in Long Beach, Critchell said. “Long Beach has nurtured a tremendous amount . . . of aviation history and [contributed to] the progress of aviation,” she said. ■
Dear Transcontinental Centennial Committee: We did it! We are making history in Long Beach again as we unveil and dedicate the 1/3 scale replica of the Wright Model EX “Vin Fiz” flown by Cal Rodgers during the first transcontinental flight between Sheepshead Bay, New York and Long Beach, California. The events held throughout Long Beach since June brought awareness to Rodgers historic flight and Long Beachs deserved place in aviation history. Now, with the installed “Vin Fiz” replica and plaque, hundreds of thousands of visitors to Long Beach will relive the experience of 50,000 Pine Avenue Pier spectators who watched the flight of the “Vin Fiz” conclude on the water on December 10, 1911. Thank you to the Committee for taking the time to plan, publicize, fundraise and donate as we celebrate and commemorate the centennial anniversary of the first transcontinental flight. Most importantly, however, thank you for sharing the story of Cal Rodgers journey with the residents of Long Beach. Sincerely,
Councilwoman Gerrie Schipske Chair, Transcontinental Centennial Committee
In March of 2005, Barbara London was honored by then-Mayor Beverly O’Neill, left, and then-Vice Mayor/Councilwoman Jackie Kell, right, when a Long Beach Airport road was named Barbara London Drive. London was the only female recipient of the Air Medal during World War II. (Photograph by the Business Journal’s Thomas McConville)
A Century Of Aviation History In Long Beach
Earl S. Daugherty is regarded as one of the most influential pioneering aviators in America. From 1910 to 1928, Daugherty amazed thousands of spectators with his talents as a stunt pilot, trained pilots during WWI, and contructed aircraft. He was also a persuasive advocate for further aviation development. He used his noteriety as a stunt pilot to inspire the Long Beach City Council into approving the construction of Long Beach Municipal Airport in 1924. His efforts earned him the moniker of “Father of Long Beach Aviation.” (Long Beach Airport photograph)
Chronicling Long Beach’s Major Aviation Milestones ■ BY SEAN BELK STAFF WRITER
ust a few years into the new 20th Century, aviation and the new flying machines were all the buzz in Southern California – and Long Beach was in the middle of it all. With perfect weather, bustling railroads, oil prospects, a beach that stretched for miles and a close proximity to Hollywood – all of which made Long Beach a prime spot for early aviators to take to the air with a modern, alluring and spectacular new way of travel.
Douglas would employ some 20,000 workers. Around the same time, the military had already established its own Naval shipyard on Terminal Island. Douglas Aircraft purchased more than 200 acres of land adjacent to the Long Please Continue To Next Page
From hosting famous air derbies, to founding early flying schools, to being the site for major military and commercial aircraft manufacturing, Long Beach played a major role in the nation’s aviation history throughout the decades. Even before Calbraith “Cal” Perry Rodgers made the first transcontinental flight in 1911, successfully landing
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on the shores of Long Beach, the city had become enamored with flying endeavors. Aviation history began in 1905 with balloon demonstrations on the beach in front of “The Pike” amusement park, a local attraction that enticed people from
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miles around to partake in games, movie and live theaters, a skating rink and a rollercoaster, adjacent to the former Pine Avenue Pier.
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In January, 1910, the first official international air meet in the United States was
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held at Dominguez Ranch, today the City of Carson, just east of Long Beach. The 10-day event was considered the birthplace of aviation, drawing dozens of American and European pilots and balloonists to compete for over $80,000 in prizes, and attracting about 175,000 observers. Two Long Beach aviation pioneers, Earl Daugherty and Frank Champion, distinguished themselves and advanced aviation history by designing and flying early aircraft. In 1910 Champion was the first Long Beach pilot to earn his wings, becoming one of the first licensed, trained and certified aviators at the Berliot School of Aviation in London. Champion then trained Daugherty how to fly; they even built their own airplanes in the basement of the beachfront Hotel Virginia in Long Beach. After the excitement of Cal Rodgers’ famous flight from Sheepshead, New York, to Long Beach, many aviators joined the pursuit of flight in the Roaring 20s. Flying stuntmen, known as “barnstormers,” performed daring feats in the sky, many of which were filmed during the silent movie era. The momentous years between 1918 and 1938 became known as the “Golden Age of Aviation”. Shifting gears, Daugherty transitioned from barstorming to helping found commercial aviation. He opened an aviation school along with a passenger-carrying side business in 1919 on 20 acres at Bixby Road and American Avenue (Long Beach Boulevard). After Daugherty helped to develop Long Beach’s first official aviation field, Long Beach city officials established the Long Beach Municipal Airport at Cherry Avenue and Spring Street, breaking ground in 1923. About four years later, the city expanded the runway with an additional 125 acres. Long Beach was also where many early women aviators took to the air. In the late 1920s, some women pilots who entered the National Women’s Air Derby, known as the “Powder Puff Derby,” took off from Santa Monica and made it to Cleveland, Ohio, in nine days. Many later gained national celebrity for their accomplishments. One was Gladys O’Donnell who, along with her husband Lloyd, founded the O’Donnell School of Aviation, one of the first flying schools in Long Beach, while famed aviator Amelia Earhart, who got her start training in Long Beach, went on to become a famous author and pilot. New feats and flying attempts continued, including aviation mechanic Douglas “Wrong Way” Corrigan’s famous 1938. Corrigan. earned his nickname when he attempted to fly from New York to Long Beach, California, but instead flew across the Atlantic Ocean and landed in Ireland. The onset of World War II brought a new wave of ever more sophisticated aircraft manufacturing. Douglas Aircraft Company, the country’s largest airplane builder at the time, chose Long Beach as its location for a new military aircraft assembly plant.
Beach Airport, primarily for the use of the airport’s long runway. By 1941, the airport’s historic terminal and administration building was constructed after Daugherty Airfield was increased by 500 acres. During the same year, employers began hiring female workers as the men were drafted into the military. At Douglas Aircraft, the women assembled parts, wiring and welding. World War II’s “Rosie the Riveter”, coined by the press, became a cultural icon. The war also brought the Army Air Corps. 6th Ferrying Group Air Transport Command to Long Beach, and the airport became the center of ferrying all military aircraft assembled in Southern California. Famed Long Beach women aviators, known as Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs), began ferrying aircraft to the East Coast for the war effort in Europe. Long Beach aviators Clarence May and Clarence Brabinjer wing walk at the same time. (Long Beach For many years thereafter, Long Beach remained in Historical Society photograph) the aviation limelight. The following is a timeline of notable moments and Harry Christofferson stage a 20-mile air race, which is filmed by Balboa Studios for national distribution. in Long Beach aviation history: 1919 – Earl Daugherty opens Daugherty School of Aviation at Amer1905 – Long Beach aviation history begins with balloon demonstraican Way (Long Beach Boulevard) and Willow Street. tions in the front of The Pike. 1920 – Long Beach Aviation field is dedicated at Willow Street and 1908 – President Theodore Roosevelt sends the 2nd Division battleship fleet, painted white and known as “The Great White Fleet,” around the Long Beach Boulevard. With nine women fliers, Long Beach leads nation in number of women aviators. 1921– Wesley May, an aviation stuntman known as the “Air Devil,” makes the first recorded refueling in-flight over Long Beach, transferring between planes with a can of gasoline strapped to his back. 1923 – The Long Beach Municipal Airport breaks ground at Cherry Avenue and Spring Street. First skywriting airplane thrills thousands; monster smoke letters traced across sky over Long Beach in publicity stunt. 1925 – Earl Daugherty sets record for carrying 7,000 passengers from Long Beach Municipal Airport without a single mishap. Two-day airmail service from Long Beach to New York announced. 1927 – Famed aviator Charles Lindbergh flies the “Spirit of St. Louis” on his historic trans-Atlantic flight. That year, he stops at Long Beach and takes residents up in the famous plane, charging $60 per person. 1928 – Airport at Terminal Island dedicated and named for Walter B. Allen. Long Beach Airport field lighted for night use – the only illuminated airport in the U.S. Earl Daugherty dies in an airplane crash Earl S. Daugherty takes a ride along the city’s shoreline. (Business Journal archives.) over Long Beach. 1929 – The city’s first air circus is held in honor of Earl Daugherty. The world with a stop and barbecue in Long Beach attended by 50,000 people. 1910 – The first international air meet in the United States is held at first glider contest in the U.S. is held at Long Beach Airport, and a Graf Dominguez Ranch. Long Beach school children were given the day off Zeppelin airship soars over the city. Frank Hawks, Long Beach Poly High and the Long Beach Municipal Band provided entertainment. That same School graduate, sets new aviation speed record. Long Beach’s Gladys year, the first airplane built in Long Beach flies. Long Beach pilot Frank Champion is the first Long Beach aviator to be licensed trained and certified at the Berliot School of Aviation in London. 1911 – Calbraith “Cal” Perry Rodgers completes the first transcontinental flight across the United States from Sheepshead Bay, New York, to Long Beach, California. Long Beach flier Earl Daugherty pilots plane for first time. 1912 – Frank Champion and Earl Daugherty begin building new airplanes in the basement of the beachfront Hotel Virginia in Long Beach. Earl Daugherty beats fast train in flying stunt. 1913 – Tiny Broadwick becomes first woman parachutist to jump from an airplane. Glenn Martin pilots the airplane. 1916 – Newspaper announces six airplane hangars to be built on the beach for accommodation of Long Beach aviators. A petition circulates to bar aviators from flying over Long Beach due to noise concerns. Long Beach aviators Earl Daugherty
Douglas “Wrong Way” Corrigan immortalized himself in flight history by making a “mistake” thought by many historians to have been intentional. On July 8, 1939, Corrigan left Long Beach, California, heading for New York. Upon his arrival, he asked the U.S. Department of Commerce for permission to fly across the Atlantic to Ireland. The DOC denied his request on grounds that his modified Curtiss Robin plane was not suited to make the flight. After hearing the news, Corrigan departed New York for Long Beach on July 18. Upon landing, he found himself in Ireland. He claimed it was an honest mistake due to cold weather which froze his compass and extremely thick cloud cover, preventing him from seeing the ocean over which he flew. (Business Journal archives)
O’Donnell wins 60-mile race at Cleveland Air Rodeo. Charles Lindbergh lauds Long Beach Airport for its state-of-the-art features, such as paved runways and night lighting. 1931 – Long Beach’s Capt. Frank Hawks sets new Paris to London record. 1936 – First airmail delivery service from Long Beach Airport. 1938 – Douglas “Wrong Way” Corrigan” takes off from New York and flies over the Atlantic Ocean, landing in Ireland instead of his original destination: Long Beach, California. During the year, four major airlines – United, TWA, American and Western – announce plans to provide service from Long Beach Airport. 1941 – Construction of Long Beach Airport terminal and administration building is completed. During the same year, the 6th Ferrying Army Air Force is established at the airport and thousands start work at the new Douglas Aircraft factory. 1942 –Long Beach Airport terminal and administration building opens and becomes the number one air- Earl S. Daugherty with his wife, Kay. They reportedly were the first couple ever married in the air. (Long Beach Historical Society photograph) port in U.S. for flight activity. Douglas Aircraft employs female workers and the cultural icon “Rosie the Riveter” is born. Long ported years later to the Evergreen Aviation Museum in Oregon. 1989 – City of Long Beach is permitted to implement interim aircraft Beach flier, Capt. Joseph D. Shaffer, is the first U.S. fighter pilot to denoise compatibility ordinance, pending appeal process. stroy a German plane in WWII. 1991 – The first Globemaster C-17 by McDonnell Douglas takes off 1946 – Lockheed P-80 Army jet taking off from Long Beach breaks for delivery from Long Beach Airport. official nonstop transcontinental speed record. 1947 – Howard Hughes pilots the world’s biggest airplane, a (Hercules) Flying Boat, later called the “Spruce Goose,” for almost a mile above the Long Beach Harbor. 1948 – Long Beach launches one of the first helicopter U.S. mail delivery services. 1952 – Long Beach’s Shirley Blocki and Martha Baechle win Powder Puff Air Derby race. 1957 – Long Beach to New York Air Force jet flight of three hours, 23 minutes shatters records. The same year, Douglas Aircraft starts Long Beach DC-8 assembly line. 1958 – First United Airlines jetliner christened by the City of Long Beach.
1997 – McDonnell Douglas Aircraft Co. merges with The Boeing Co. 2001 –JetBlue Airways begins service at Long Beach Airport, which becomes the low cost carrier’s West Coast hub. 2009 – Long Beach Airport begins construction of new parking garage. 2010 – Long Beach Airport breaks ground on new passenger concourse. 2011 – Long Beach Airport’s new parking garage opens. 2011 – Long Beach celebrates 100th Anniversary of first transcontinental flight.
1961 – Coast-to-coast speed record set by Long Beach pilot J. Stanley Smith in three hours, 32 minutes. 1965 – Long Beach is recognized as the busiest U.S. airport with 422,620 takeoffs and landings. At the time, Chicago O’Hare airport is the second busiest and Los Angeles airport is third. 1967 – Douglas Aircraft merges with the McDonnell Company of St. Louis. The same year, airplane service to Catalina Island begins with Catalina Airlines flying from Long Beach. 1981 – Long Beach City Council adopts airport noise ordinance, one of the first in the country. 1984 – Howard Hughes’ “Spruce Goose” is put on display in a dome next to the Queen Mary until it is trans-
The area shown above was home to scores of commercial aircraft built by Douglas Aircraft Company and then McDonnell-Douglas Corporation. It is know known as Douglas Park, a 260-acre mixed use development by the Boeing Company. Read more about Douglas Park on Page 20. The Long Beach Airport is to the right. (Business Journal archives)
Soaring Toward ‘The Airport Of The Future’ Airport Director Mario Rodriguez Looks At Meeting Demands Of Air Transportation Page 16
■ BY SEAN BELK STAFF WRITER
hile national events and industry changes have shaped the standards of customer service and safety, airports across the United States are now looking toward the future.
Mario Rodriguez, director of the Long Beach Airport, says de-
mands on air transportation systems around the world are expected to continue to rise. The commercial aviation industry, for example, is poised to become even more complex over the next few decades as more and more people expect aviation to become their transportation of choice. “Commercial aviation in this country has been growing 4 to 6 percent [annually] no matter what age [group] you look at,” Rodriguez says. “The airspace will get more and more crowded as time goes on, because people will use it more and more . . . Aviation in general is not just about one airport or just about one airline. It’s a whole transportation system, much like the highway system. If you look at how it’s evolved, it used to be a luxury to fly, where now, to some degree, it’s a necessity.” Advancements have pushed airports, big or small, to provide convenience and security in a rapidly growing, intricate and highly centralized network, connecting both government and private sector entities. Airports have not only become essential for transportation, but have also become major employment generators and economic impact tools within the regions they reside, Rodriguez says. The Long Beach Airport, he explains, provides for 16,000 direct and indirect jobs, with an economic impact of about $4 billion in the Southern California region, according to the airport’s latest statistics. “That’s a lot of jobs, a lot of wealth and a lot of economic impact,” he says. “Although airports will never be completely perfect, because there’s no such thing as perfection in the world, it’s very important to keep these economic impact tools as viable as possible and it’s very important to slowly start running these enterprises as commercial enterprises.” In planning for projected growth, hundreds of airports across the nation are making major strides toward efficiency and capabilities. As an example, Long Beach Airport is in the midst of a $146 million
Long Beach Airport Executive Team – From left: Operations & Facilities Bureau Manager Carol Carlton-Lowe; Airport Director Mario Rodriguez; and Finance & Administration Bureau Manager J.C. Squires. (Photograph by the Business Journal’s Thomas McConville)
modernization plan involving a brand new passenger concourse, resurfaced tarmacs and a new parking garage, which was completed this year. While commercial air carriers are restricted locally by a noise ordinance, the airport currently handles a busy mix of commercial airlines, military aircraft, cargo planes, helicopters, corporate jets and small, private general aviation aircraft. Rodriguez says, not boastfully, that he foresees the airport of the future as similar to what’s being built at Long Beach, described as “an airport you can get to in 30 minutes and actually be able to board the airplane.” The main focus of the reconstruction is what Rodriguez calls “ease of use,” a concept he said airports around the world are quickly embracing as the cornerstone for future air transport systems. “That’s what we’re pushing for,” he says. “An airport of the future is
one that would be very, very easy to use, because, let’s face it, an airport is never a destination . . . It’s somewhere you go through to get on an airplane to get to your destination. So, we want to make the experience as easy as possible and as pleasant as possible.” Although the terrorist attacks of 9/11 caused a major push-back on short-distance flights due to heightened security measures, administered through the newly formed Transportation Security Administration, airports are focusing on operations becoming more convenient for passengers and airlines alike. Technological advancements will enable security screening to become less invasive and much more “transparent,” Rodriguez says. New technology is also changing the way airports operate and communicate with the aircraft they serve. From LED taxi lights on the airfield to GPS satellite navigation systems, Rodriguez says the shift has been a “quantum leap” in navigation advancement for pilots. New changes coming, whether through the Federal Aviation Administration or the International Civil Aviation Association, will most likely be handed down on a worldwide basis. One new change on the way is the switch from ground-based technology to next generation, or “Next Gen,” satellite-based technology. “When you’re dealing with a national asset of that magnitude, you’re not going to really make a leap before everything’s tested. And right now, GPS works and satellite navigation works,” Rodriguez says. “So they’re making that transition over to what is very old, tried-and-true technology to new, tried-and-true technology.” On the business side, the airport director says the Airline Deregulation Act of 1978, which wasn’t fully enacted until the early 1980s, was a major turning point in the industry that brought down prices for passengers by allowing airlines to compete for business. Although airlines continually have to balance the demand for cheaper priced tickets with customer service, in the future, Rodriguez foresees airports will help provide the full travel experience as a public entity with more of a private sector, business-oriented mentality.
“If we start thinking and operating more like a private sector entity for the benefit of everybody operating at the airport, and building the value of airports in the community, that would be very positive,” he says. ■
Long Beach Airport Reaching New Heights; Builds On The Past Modernization To Advance ‘Green’ Initiatives, Convenience, But Keep History Intact ■ BY SEAN BELK STAFF WRITER
espite the ever-changing world of aviation, the Long Beach Airport has withstood the test of time, maintaining its charming, historic persona. The near 90-year-old airport is now entering a new chapter of life, without forgetting about the past that shaped it. The airport’s existing terminal building was constructed in 1941 during World War II and is a registered historic landmark, recognized for its “Streamline Moderne” style architecture. Hidden inside the terminal exists a treasure trove of cultural significance, with pictures of early aviation pioneers hanging on the walls, mosaic tile flooring and other structural works of art. In fact, to this day, the airport keeps in touch with its heritage. Instead of the busy, impersonal archetypes of most airports that require long walks from car to plane, the Long Beach Airport transports passengers to the early years of aviation, when people walked out on the Please Continue To Next Page
Rendering above of the new Long Beach Airport terminal and related facilities and shown under construction in a photograph by the Business Journal’s Thomas McConville on December 1, 2011.
tarmac to board an airplane. In Long Beach, it’s a short, quick walk from car to plane. The airport is located on a site known as Daugherty Field, named after famed aviator Earl Daugherty, who launched the city’s first aviation flying school. Today, the airport handles a diverse mix of operations with a long history of aircraft manufacturing and anything from small general aviation airplanes to commercial airlines. The airport accommodates about 3 million passengers per year. But there’s always room for improvement. In recent years, the airport got on board with a $146 million modernization plan to enhance costumer satisfaction and meet the new requirements of today’s security standards. “We’re all very exited about it,” says Jeff Sedlak, the airport’s civil engineer. “It’s already an easy place to fly in and out of, but we want to make it easier and much more pleasant and comfortable than it is today.” A brand new $45 million terminal passenger concourse broke ground late last year that is already 20 percent complete and slated to be finished in May 2013. Designed by airport terminal design firm HOK, Inc., the expanded terminal is expected to give some new age flare to the airport, with a contemporary boarding lounge, improved seating, concessions and restrooms. Spanning a total of 34,750 square feet, the new terminal will include north and south hold rooms. Passengers will be greeted with a serene California-native landscaped garden walkway and atrium, complete with historical aviation references, after passing through a new state-ofthe-art consolidated security-screening checkpoint. Many parts of the modernization are being fashioned with an air toward energy efficiency to become “the greenest airport in the nation.” The new concourse will incorporate: a unique open-air atmosphere
with large windows for natural lighting; low flow toilets and water faucets; and a row of solar panels on the roof, which adds to the airport’s goal of deriving 13 percent of the terminal’s overall energy from solar power. Air carrier ramps are also being resurfaced and all parking pads are being “electrified” with preconditioned air and in-ground energy hookups for commercial jets, reducing diesel emissions. Additionally, a new 1,989-space parking garage opened this summer, under budget and four months ahead of schedule, providing for more on-site parking. The $58.6 million structure was designed to support solar panels. Also, new energy charging stations for all-electric vehicles will soon be installed at the airport. Although the airport proposes to become new-and-improved, the modernization plans also include efforts to refurbish the airport’s historic terminal. The nearly $2 million historic terminal rehabilitation includes: new interior and exterior paint; new furnishings; enhanced lighting; restoring historic exhibits; and modernizing infrastructure, among other improvements. According to airport officials, the modernization plan is expected to be tailored toward “quality rather than quantity,” offering a “boutique” experience, centered on convenience, low fares and a building model that’s simple, airy and environmentally-friendly, while still recognizing the airport’s aviation past. ■
The Long Beach Airport Advisory Commission Members The Long Beach Airport Advisory Commission (AAC) works closely with airport staff, aviation groups, businesses, the community and pilot groups to effectively advise the mayor and city council on policy matters regarding the Long Beach Airport development. Commission members must reside in the city at the time of their appointment, and must maintain residence within the city at all times during their service on the advisory body. They may serve a maximum of four full two-year terms. The commission meets on the third Thursday of the month at 4 p.m. at the Skylinks Municipal Golf Course, 4800 E. Wardlow Rd. The meetings are open to the public. For more information about the airport, visit: www.lgb.org. – Editorial Assistant Katie Musso
Phyllis Ortman, Chair
Roland Scott, Vice Chair
Charles R. Luskin
Long Beach Airport Thrives On Diversity ■ BY SEAN BELK STAFF WRITER
Long Beach Airport – The Low-Cost Airport With an average ticket price of $252, Long Beach Airport (LGB) was recognized this year by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) statistics for having the lowest airfares in the State of California and the fifth lowest in the country during the fourth quarter of 2010. LGB’s airfares had dropped 16 percent since 2000 and remained well below nearby airports, including Los Angeles International (LAX), John Wayne, Bob Hope and LA/Ontario International, according to the report. LAX had the highest average ticketed price at $337. As of May 2011, Long Beach Airport lease rates for hangar space were the lowest of all comparable airports in the region, according to local airport officials. LGB’s rental rates for Fixed Based Operators (FBOs) ranged from 30 cents to 64 cents per square foot, compared to $1.70 to $2.60 per square foot at other airports. Airport staff said this data provided FBOs an edge to remain competitive. The airport’s parking fees were also comparably lower than nearby competitors, according to a recent LGB staff report. Charges for parking were $19 per day and $2 per hour at the airport’s new parking garage, and $17 per day and $2 per hour at the airport’s other parking facilities. Parking fees at LAX were $30 per day while John Wayne charged $20 per day.
nstead of increased passenger traffic, the essential fuel that drives Long Beach Airport is its diversity of businesses, which includes active commercial, general and corporate aviation segments as well as maintenance, manufacturing, assembly, helicopter, training, law enforcement and other operations.
Due to a restrictive ordinance in place to lessen noise impacts on nearby neighborhoods, homes and schools, airline business has been kept to a minimum. The ordinance, one of the first in the country, was officially enacted after a 1995 settlement was made in federal court between airlines and the City of Long Beach. The constraint allows for up to 41 daily flights for commercial airlines and 25 flights for commuter aircraft. The number of flights cannot increase – and they haven’t since the settlement – unless overall noise is reduced. Public aircraft including emergency, military and law enforcement are exempt from regulation. As a result, the airport has stayed relatively small. Long Beach Airport, which is allowed domestic flights only, currently handles about 3 million commercial passengers annually. However, that figure is dwarfed by nearby Los Angeles International, or LAX, which pulls in more than 60 million commercial passengers per year. Instead of ramping up airline or commuter business such as nearby competitors, Long Beach Airport, on the other hand, has built its reputation on its ability to maintain a wide variety of operations over the years.
– Staff Writer Sean Belk
vate aircraft, helicopters, air taxis, blimps and corporate jets. The balance consists of military aircraft, large airlines and commuter carriers. “This is a unique airport,” said Carolyn Carlton-Lowe, the airport’s operations and facilities bureau manager. “Because of the limitation on the number of commercial aircraft that can come in here and serve, the bulk of our traffic is general aviation.” We are the second busiest general aviation airport in the country.” Despite being restricted, the airport has maintained a more than 80 percent load factor for airline service, attracting about an equal number of tourists and business travelers. Long Beach currently offers four airline choices, with JetBlue Airways being its main airline partner after the low-cost carrier made the airport its West Coast hub. The airport offers a total of 15 destinations, including JetBlue’s seasonal service to Anchorage, Alaska. The airport also has several operators that offer concierge services for executives on corporate jets and private business flights, including AirFlite, a subsidiary of Toyota Motor Sales USA, Inc., Aeroplex Aviation Group, Signature Flight Support and JetFlite International. The west side of the airport includes Boeing’s C-17 plant, where several thousand people work at one of California’s last aircraft manufacturing facilities. Corporations such as Aero Technology, Gulfstream, Hamilton Sundstrand Space Systems and Flight Safety International each have a significant presence at Long Beach Airport.
“That’s the beauty of this airport,” said Fred Peña, facilities manage-
Also on airport property is the Kilroy Airport Center office complex
ment officer for the airport. “We have everything from A to Z – from air-
and the Long Beach Airport Business Park – both of which are attractive
planes to zeppelins. It’s fantastic.” The airport handles a total of 300,000 aviation operations annually, which includes take offs and landings. An overwhelming majority of those operations are general aviation, or GA, which includes small pri-
locations for businesses wishing to be located mid-way between the im-
Long Beach Airport Business Park located near Runway 30 (Photograph by the Business Journal’s Thomas McConville)
mense Los Angeles and Orange County markets. The airport’s newest office complex is Daugherty Skyharbor, located on Spring Street at Temple Avenue on the south side of the airport. ■
Seen is a park and gateway entrance to Douglas Park at the corner of Lakewood Boulevard and Carson Street, where a site is slated for a proposed retail center. The entrance is one of many public art structures throughout the project area, celebrating the visionary qualities of Douglas Park and the spirit of the aviation industry. At right, Donald Wills Douglas, president of Douglas Aircraft Company and honorary chairman of the McDonnell Douglas Corporation, is immortalized in this sculpture at Douglas Park. The sculpture was created by artist De L’Esprie and commissioned by The Boeing Company with assistance from the Douglas Heritage Group and the National Heritage Collectors Society. The sculpture represents Douglas with an 11-foot diameter propeller of a DC-2 and his beloved dog “Bar.” (Photographs by the Business Journal’s Thomas McConville)
Douglas Park: From Aircraft Manufacturing To ‘Dynamic Business Hub’ Former Assembly Plant Slated For Retail, Hotel, Industrial And Office Uses ■ BY SEAN BELK STAFF WRITER
he course of Long Beach aviation dramatically shifted gears in 1941 when Douglas Aircraft Company’s massive new aircraft manufacturing plant began assembling large military airplanes for World War II on property adjacent to Daugherty Field. Today, the site that spans a total of 260 acres is being turned into a master-planned, mixed-use development known as Douglas Park, bounded by Lakewood Boulevard, Carson Street and the airport, advertised as a new “dynamic business hub.” The location, which today is mostly vacant but experiencing increased activity, was once part of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “Arsenal of Defense” strategy. Many of the workers were women who became the inspiration of a cultural icon known as “Rosie the Riveter,” building C-47 Dakotas, A-20 Havocs and B-17 Flying Fortresses. Throughout its 70-year history, the Long Beach facilities produced more than 15,000 aircraft, including DC-3s, DC-10s, MD-80s and 717 passenger planes. After a merger formed the McDonnell Douglas Corporation in 1967, The Boeing Company took over in 1997 and currently operates the C17 Globemaster III assembly line, one of the last remaining major military aircraft manufacturing plants in the country. So far, Boeing officials say the company has sold close to 180 acres of property at the site. Remaining are 80 acres off Lakewood Boulevard and the 80-acre former 717-hanger across the street; they are still up for sale. The site plan includes retail, industrial, hotel and office space uses. About 238 acres of the site are located within the City of Long Beach and the remaining 23 acres are within the City of Lakewood. After a stagnant real estate market in recent years, development has picked up again with several projects in the works and some new ten-
ants already moved in. Plans call for a four-story, 155room Courtyard by Marriott hotel being developed by Orange County-based Nexus Companies on a 4.5-acre site, with two 5,000-square-foot retail pads at 3821 Bayer Ave. A proposed retail center is also in the works on a 26-acre parcel at Lakewood Boulevard and Carson Street. A small park and gateway entrance, including a bronze sculpture of Donald Wills Douglas, president of Douglas Aircraft Company, holding a propeller of a DC-2 and standing next to his dog “Bar,” along with various other public art structures throughout the area, immortalizes what the site was once used for. Some the property is zoned for office and light-industrial uses, including research and development, manufacturing and warehouse/distribution. Two parcels are being constructed to make way for seven new premier industrial buildings on a total of nearly 34 acres being developed by Irvine-based Sares-Regis Group. The industrial complex to be called “Pacific Pointe” includes a north and south location for a total of 677,142 square feet of space for sale or lease. The first phase of the project is to be completed in summer 2012. On a separate project, Rubbercraft, a division of Sanders Industries, has already moved into a 128,000-square-foot building at 3701 Conant Ave. The company designs, develops and manufactures precision-engineered custom elastomeric and rubber parts, components and systems for industries related to aerospace and defense. Next door, construction is near completion of an 110,000-square-foot building for Long Beach-based LD Products, an e-commerce provider of inkjet printer cartridges and products. The building at Cover Street and Heinemann Avenue is proposed for the company’s new headquarters and distribution facilities. Meanwhile, another project called “The Offices at Douglas Park,” boast some of the newest, premiere office buildings in the region, developed by Newcastle Partners. There is currently only one of the Class A, LEED-certified buildings left for sale, while the rest of the properties have either sold or are in escrow. ■
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Published on Dec 6, 2011
In many ways, the first flight across the United States made 100 years ago embodied the enthusiasm, determination and trial-and-error that i...