Santa Paula Airport’s 75th anniversary Air Fair

December 10, 2004
Santa Paula News
On August 6 and 7, 2005, the City of Santa Paula, the Aviation Museum of Santa Paula and the Santa Paula Airport Association will be hosting Santa Paula Airport’s 75th anniversary celebration. The planned Air Fair will include exhibits, antique and experimental aircraft displays, military, warbird and antique flybys, hangar displays, vendor booths, a dinner-dance, and other community activities. This is the opportunity for our community to celebrate its famous airport. Local rancher Ralph Dickenson and a group of air-minded citizens founded Santa Paula Airport in August 1930. It is a public use airport owned solely by the hangar owners on the airport property.Santa Paula Airport is home to over 300 aircraft and 170 hangars. An active airport, it averages over 125 movements each day. The airport has six repair facilities, a restaurant, a world-renowned flight school, an aviation museum, and numerous small shops. It is responsible for the employment of over 100 people and has estimated yearly gross sales of $6 million. Totally self-sustaining, the airport receives no public funds.Active in local affairs, the airport was closed and used as a fire-fighting base for helicopters during the devastating 2003 wildfires. The airport then donated $7,000 to the victims of the fires and their families. Previously, approximately $50,000 was donated to the Santa Paula Memorial Hospital.Other activities include a monthly open house known as “First Sunday,” which has become the model for airport open houses nationwide. On Father’s Day weekend in June, the airport hosts the National Bucker Fly-In that attracts vintage biplanes from around the country and visitors from around the world.
Home to a large collection of antique aircraft, the airport was featured in the March 2004 issue of the Smithsonian Institute’s Air & Space magazine as the lead airport in a series about America’s small airports. It is generally regarded as the best small town airport in the United States and, indeed, the world.

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