Santa Monica Airport (originally called Clover Field) dates back to 1919, however, some think it was used as a landing strip as early as 1917. Our friends at CloverField.org put together some interesting historical documents about the beginning of the Santa Monica Airport.
There once were over 66 airports in Los Angeles and Orange county alone. Learn more about all the landing strips from Paul Freeman on his site Abandoned & Little Known Airfields.
Here is a historical overview document that dates back as far as 1922 for Santa Monica Airport (Clover Field)
Thank you to Robert Trimborn, former Santa Monica Airport Director for compiling that document.
Here are some photos from our friends that outline what the Santa Monica Airport History was during World War II.
Here is a video outlining the 1924 Army airmen that set off to be the first people to circumvent the earth by air (starting at Santa Monica Airport).
Watch as the Douglas XB-19 takes it's first flight in 1941 from Santa Monica Airport as 45,000 people cheer it on.
The Douglas XB-19 was the largest bomber aircraft built for the United States Army Air Corps until 1946. It was originally given the designation XBLR-2 (XBLR- denoting Experimental Bomber, Long Range).
The purpose of the XB-19 project was to test the flight characteristics and design techniques associated with giant bombers. Douglas Aircraft Company strongly wanted to cancel the project, because it was extremely expensive. Despite advances in technology that made the XB-19 obsolete before it was even completed, the Army Air Corps felt that the prototype would be useful for testing. Its construction took so long that competition for the contracts to make the XB-35 and XB-36 occurred two months before its first flight.
The plane finally flew on June 27, 1941, more than three years after the construction contract was awarded. In 1943, the original Wright R-3350 engines were replaced with Allison V-3420-11 V engines. After completion of testing, the XB-19 served as a cargo carrier until it was scrapped in 1949.