Aviation was introduced to the American public at the 1910 Los Hills, just 15 miles from The Proud Bird. This was only 7 years after the Wright Brothers took to the air.
"America’s First Air Meet" exhibit presents historical photographs and a look back to the circus-like phenomenon of air shows. The 1910 Dominguez Field Air Meet was one of the earliest air shows in the world. The Dominguez Hills hilltop site, a former battle area from the Mexican War, was selected for the views it allowed. Trainloads of lumber were trucked in to build 26,000 seats for fans.
The first air show held in the U.S. took place just a few miles from here, in Carson. Programmed to show off the latest in aviation technology as well as the daring of the men and (one) woman who flew the planes, the Dominguez Air Meet took place January 10–20, 1910.
Los Angeles’s ideal climate and open space attracted aviators. The Air Meet drew the fastest planes, the most innovative inventors, and hundreds of thousands of curious spectators. Records set include a long-distance flight of 110 miles and a speed record of a blazing 55 mph.
Los Angeles was a natural place for developing and building airplanes: clear skies meant easy flying, and there were many creative engineers to design and manufacture planes. Flat land and ocean breezes made perfect runways. More than 100 years ago, airplane factories sprang up wherever there was plenty of cheap, open land: Santa Monica, Hawthorne, Burbank, Glendale, Long Beach, Van Nuys, and right here at LAX. At its height, the industry employed nearly a quarter of a million people and stimulated the region’s growth.
One of WW II’s Most Famous Fighters. Featuring a stunning signature tiger shark nose art designed by Walt Disney.
This restored P-40 with stunning signature tiger shark-faced nose art, flew in every combat theater of operation of World War II as the Warhawk Kittyhawk, and Tomahawk. The Curtiss P-40 Warhawk is best known as the tiger shark-nosed plane that carried the Flying Tigers. It had one engine and one seat and its American and British pilots fought against Nazi warplanes in World War II and also played important roles in North Africa, the Pacific and China. IT was sturdy and relatively inexpensive to manufacture. More than 13,000 were built and used by a dozen countries during and after World War II.
After Japan invaded China in 1937, China asked the U.S. for aid, America recruited Army and Navy pilots and sent them to Kunming to shoot down Japanese bombers. One of the planes sent to China was the Curtiss P-40, a replica of which you can see suspended from the ceiling in the Proud Bird lobby. Because the nose looked like a tiger shark, the American Volunteer Group had shark teeth painted on their planes and adopted the name Flying Tigers.
Robert “Bob” Prescott was an American aviator and entrepreneur who flew as part of the Flying Tigers AVG (American Volunteer Group) to fight the Japanese in China during the early part of World War II , In 1945, he formed and led the Flying Tiger Line, Inc. the first commercial air cargo carrier in the US.
The P-40 was used in 1938-1958 and its top speed was 360 mph.