March 3, 2024 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

A Look At The History Of Flight Schools At Santa Monica Airport:

In the lead-up to Monday’s Flight School Workshop, Santa Monica Airport Director Bob Trimborn has compiled the following information to be part of the discussion that looks back at flight schools and their history at Santa Monica Airport.

Flight training has probably been occurring at Santa Monica Airport since its founding in 1917.

During the early years, flight training was given in biplanes and did not have the same regulatory structure that currently exists in the industry today.

Prior to WWII, the US Army Air Corps operated a flight training facility at the Airport. Flight training virtually came to a halt during WWII when the Airport was used primarily by the Douglas Aircraft Company to build aircraft for the war effort.

Flight training grew exponentially following the war and peaked in the mid-to-late 1960’s when several major flight schools (with over 30 aircraft each) operated on the south-side of the Airport.

Overall aircraft operations at the airport also peaked during this period reaching over 356,000 takeoffs and landings/year (three times the current operational level) – with many of these being flight school related operations.

Staff interviewed several pilots who flew at SMO during this time period.

They said that it was not uncommon to have 20 plus aircraft conducting take-offs and landings during peak hours.

Flight training activity began to diminish during the 1980’s (with the exception of the dot-com era in the late 1990’s) to its present level.

Currently there are six flight schools of varying sizes at Santa Monica Airport. The following is a brief synopsis of their operation:

Justice Aviation

Justice Aviation is a specialty or limited Fixed Base Operation (FBO) that leases space directly from the City of Santa Monica.

The business is at located at 3011 Airport Avenue.

The lease term is 2008-2015.

The lease requires the operation of a flight school.

Justice Aviation also provides flight simulator training and rental aircraft.

o number of instructors 15

o number of students 150

o number of aircraft 16

o type of aircraft utilized Cessna 172, Cessna 182, Piper PA-28, Piper Seneca, Beechcraft Duchess, Cirrus SR-20 and SR-22 3

American Flyers

American Flyers leases space directly from the City of Santa Monica for the operation of a full service FBO. The property is located at 2501 Airport Avenue. The lease term is 2006 – 2015. The lease requires the operation of a flight school.

Operational synopsis:

o number of instructors: 15

o number of students 80

o number of aircraft 6

o type of aircraft utilized: Primarily single engine Cessna 172 and 172RG

Santa Monica Aviation

Santa Monica Aviation is a specialty or limited FBO that leases space directly from the City of Santa Monica. The business is located at 3150 Donald Douglas Loop South in the “General Aviation Building”. The term is 2008 – 2015. The lease requires the operation of a flight school.

o number of instructors 1

o number of students 3

o number of aircraft 2

o type of aircraft utilized single engine Cessna 172 and 152

Santa Monica Flyers

Santa Monica Flyers is a specialty FBO that leases space directly from the City of Santa Monica. The business is located at 3163 Donald Douglas Loop in the “General Aviation Building”.

The term of the lease is a month-to-month lease agreement that does not extend past 2015. The use is specified as an administrative office of a flight school.

Santa Monica Flyers rents a single aircraft tiedown space from Berlin Avionics for its light sport aircraft.

o number of instructors 2

o number of students (unknown at this time)

o number of aircraft 1

o type of aircraft utilized single engine Sportcruiser light sport aircraft

Proteus Air Services

Proteus Air Services is a flight school/subtenant of Santa Monica Air Center (SMAC) – SMAC is a limited FBO located at 3021 Airport Avenue. SMAC subleases approximately 456 square feet to Proteus, which operates a flight school and also offers rental aircraft.

o number of instructors 2 Full time / 1 Part time

o number of students 10

o number of aircraft 4

o type of aircraft utilized Single engine Piper Cherokee

Skyward Aviation

Skyward Aviation is a flight school/subtenant of Bill’s Airplane Repair located at 3147 Donald Douglas Loop South in the “General Aviation Building”. Bill’s Airplane Repair subleases space to Skyward Aviation which operates a flight school that also offers rental aircraft.

o number of instructors 3

o number of students 8

o number of aircraft 3

o type of aircraft utilized 2 Piper Warriors & a Beechcraft Duchess

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