|The International Photographer, June, 1930|
Why Our Film Capital is Air-Minded
Delegates to the I. A. T. S. E. Take Notice) Written for The International Photographer by WILLIAM WAGNER,
Curtis Wright Flying Service
In no section of the country has aviation development been more marked than in Southern California.
So often has this statement been made that it seems unnecessary to repeat it again here, but in spite of the wide publicity given aeronautical progress in this section, the great majority has not yet been fully appraised of the rapid strides made here.
With pride California points to the fact that this state is easily the leader in number of pilots, mechanics and licensed aircraft, but with greater pride does Los Angeles County remind the rest of the world that more than two-thirds of the state's aviation activity is concentrated in this area.
Of the state's 2076 licensed pilots, 1461 licensed mechanics and 1476 licensed aircraft, approximately 70 per cent are in Los Angeles County.
By no means has this section's rapid growth been wholly in the actual opertion of aircraft, for last year a total of $5,500,000 in aeronautical products were produced in the county. At the present time there are 18 airplane and 11 aircraft engine manufacturing companies engaged in business here.
In the transportation of passengers, mail and express by air, Southern California has fully contributed its share in developing this phase of the industry. Every day 19 scheduled commercial runs are made in and out of Los Angeles. The planes used on these airlines are flown 21,000 miles daily, bringing into and taking out of this section a steady stream of rapidly growing air commerce.
Due to climatic conditions principally we have been able to accomplish much which would not be possible to undertake in any other section of the country.
Particularly has this advantage been shown in the development of our splendid airports and in the training of students. In this line have our own organizations -- Curtiss-Wright Flying Service and Grand Central Air Terminal -- been unusually active.
Of the county's 67 airports and landing fields, none is better equipped or more active than Grand Central, which is ideally situated with relation to downtown Los Angeles. Due to a great extent to the operation from this field of T. A. T.-Maddux Air Lines, this airport now handles approximately one-fourth of all scheduled air transport operation in the country.
This modern air terminal, owned by the Curtiss-Wright Airports Corps., is also the headquarters in Southern California of Curtiss-Wright Flying Service, the world's oldest flying organization, which operates 42 bases throughout the country.
During 1929, Los Angeles county's five leading airports spent in excess of $1,500,000 each on new developments. Grand Central during February of this year celebrated the opening of its new $150,000 terminal station on the airport.
At Los Angeles Airport, the municipal field, Curtis-Wright Flying Service conducts its flying school, which holds the government's highest approved rating. This school has just been approved by federal immigration authorities as an institution of learning for alien students, placing it on the same level with leading universities and colleges. This is the first aviation school in the country to receive this sanction.
In Los Angeles County there are now more than 1600 registered aviation students, with every indication pointing to a rapid increase in this number during the summer months. Due to its excellent climatic conditions and geographical location, Southern California bids fair to become an international aviation training ground.
Already a steady flow of aviation students are coming to this section for advanced flight training from Central and South America, Mexico and Canada, as well as from Japan and China across the Pacific.
One of the most novel and successful experiments in stimulating the use of air travel was recently put into effect by Curtiss-Wright Flying Service at Grand Central Air Terminal.
This new idea, credited to the fertile brain of Major C. C. Moseley, vice-president and general manager in the west for Curtiss-Wright, is now the much-talked of "Penny-a-Pound" flights.
Knowing that once people have made an initial flight in an airplane they are almost certain to be won over to this newest and most rapid method of transportation, Curtiss-Wright put into effect new low rates of "penny-a-pound" for men and a flat $1 for women and children for short scenic flights.
During a single month nearly 5000 persons were carried at these novel low rates, without the slightest mishap of any nature, nor a single report of air-sickness.
Due principally to the interest shown by Col. Charles A. Lindbergh during his and Mrs. Lindbergh's recent visit to Southern California, glider flying has shown rapid progress during the past few months. Today the county boasts more than a dozen glider clubs, composed of from 10 to 30 active members in each club.
Not only is this section favored with a semi-tropical climate, which makes flying and student training throughout the year possible, but high winds that prevail in other states are almost unknown. Records of the local weather bureau reveal that the highest wind ever recorded here was 48 miles per hour, and that in January forty-seven years ago.
Aviation in Southern California is now represented in all of its phases by four of the dominant groups in the industry -- Curtiss-Wright, Western Air Express, United Aircraft and Detroit Aircraft. In addition there are a great many smaller concerns who are doing their share to see that this state maintains its impressive leadership of America's Fastest Growing Industry.