Abandoned & Little-Known Airfields:
California: Western San Bernardino County
© 2002, © 2013 by Paul Freeman. Revised 10/1/13.
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(Original) Apple Valley Airport (revised 2/1/13) - Crafton Hills Airport / Lincoln Airfield (added 9/14/13) - Fontana Airport / Fontana Gilfillan Airport (revised 12/6/12)
Morrow Field (revised 4/21/06) - San Bernardino Airport (1st location) / Shandin Hills Airport / Cooks Airport (added 11/4/06)
San Bernardino Airport (2nd location) (revised 4/18/13) - Tri-City Airport (revised 10/1/13)
Crafton Hills Airport / Lincoln Airfield, Yucaipa, CA
34.03 North / 117.07 West (Northeast of Los Angeles, CA)
Crafton Hills Airport, as seen in a 7/13/52 USGS aerial photo.
This small general aviation airport was evident established at some point between 1938-52,
as it was not yet depicted on a 1938 aerial photo.
The earliest depiction which has been located of Crafton Hills Airport was a 7/13/52 USGS aerial photo.
It depicted the field as having a single northeast/southwest runway, with several T-hangars on the north side.
The 1954 USGS topo map depicted Crafton Hills Airport as having a single northeast/southwest runway,
with a single small building on the north side.
A 1959 aerial photo depicted Crafton Hills Airport in an unchanged fashion.
At some point this airfield may have been renamed Lincoln,
as the March 1961 LA Sectional Chart depicted a private airfield with that name at this location, with a 2,200' unpaved runway.
The 1964 LA Sectional Chart no longer depicted any airfield at this location.
A 1968 aerial photo showed that the eastern portion of Crafton Hills' runway may have been paved with asphalt at some point between 1959-68.
The 1973 USGS topo map still labeled Crafton Hills Airport.
The 1975 USGS topo map still depicted the runway,
but it was labeled merely as “Landing Strip”, perhaps an indication that the airport had closed.
The 1980 USGS topo map no longer depicted the runway or any other airport features.
A 1980 aerial photo showed that the runway area was still clear, but less distinct.
Several T-hangars had been removed at some point between 1968-80, but one T-hangar remained.
A 1982 aerial photo showed that the runway area was still clear, one one T-hangar remained.
According to Jeremy Crooks, "I remember the building & windsock & runway as a child, some 30 years ago”, circa 1980s.
A 1995 aerial photo showed the last T-hangar had been removed at some point between 1982-95,
erasing the last trace of Crafton Hills Airport.
A 6/17/12 aerial photo shows a golf course community occupying the site of Crafton Hills Airport.ell).
The site of Crafton Hills Airport is located northwest of the intersection of Oak Glen Road & Yucaipa Boulevard.
Thanks to Jeremy Crooks for pointing out this airfield.
(Original) Apple Valley Airport, Apple Valley, CA
34.53 North / 117.22 West (Northeast of Los Angeles, CA)
A 1951 aerial view (courtesy of Ray Dedrick via Paul Bern) looking northwest at the original Apple Valley Airport.
This was the original airport for the town of Apple Valley.
According to Dan MacPherson, the airport was part of the Apple Valley Inn,
owned by Roy Rogers & Dale Evans.
The Inn itself was built at a cost of $2 million in 1948 (which was an awful lot of money in 1948!).
The airport's date of construction is unknown,
but it was apparently built between 1948-50.
According to K.O. Eckland, Apple Valley Airport was shown on a 1950 Sectional Chart as having a 4,200' dirt runway.
The earliest depiction which has been located of the original Apple Valley Airport was a 1951 aerial view (courtesy of Ray Dedrick via Paul Bern)
which depicted the field as having a single asphalt east/west runway.
According to Michael McMurtrey, "With regard to the original Apple Valley airport, if you want to see what it looked like,
take a look at any of the 'Sky King' episodes featuring the Cessna 310,
for stock footage of the Songbird landing at that airport was used in many of the episodes.
The house used as Sky's ranchhouse was across the main road to the south,
and the Songbird was routinely taxied across the main highway (California Route 18) to the house for filming!"
A circa 1956-58 photo (courtesy of Paul Bern) of Grant Kirby (Sky King) and Gloria Winters (Penny)
on “Songbird II” - the Cessna 310 used for the “Sky King” TV series.
The original Apple Valley Airport is visible under the wing & in the background.
The 1957 USGS topo map depicted the Apple Valley Airport as having 2 paved runways,
with several buildings on the southwest side.
In 1996, McMurtrey interviewed the pilot who flew the 310 for the Sky King filming, Bill Ferguson.
In Ferguson's words, "There came a series of special location shots, and these were the most interesting ones,
because they could be anything from low flying, buzzing a house, or something like that,
to landing on the desert on a dry lake bed, to flying with one engine shut down over some mountains.
Most of those, we were based at the Apple Valley Air Strip at the Apple Valley Inn, out in the desert.
That strip was right along the highway, and it was right in the front of the Apple Valley Inn, where we stayed.
It was just a real nice little strip."
According to Paul Bern, Sky King “was filmed in Apple Valley & in a LA sound stage from 1951-62.”
Brian Baker recalled, "On the Apple Valley field, I landed there once, about 1963 or 1964,
in my Luscombe, and recall asking the lineboy to prop the engine for me.
It was an old 65 with Armstrong starter.
I called 'contact' as the engine was still warm & always started right up,
and the guy got out in front & proceeded to start turning the prop BACKWARDS.
I got rid of him & did it myself. Only time that ever happened to me."
The 1964 LA Sectional chart (courtesy of John Voss) depicted Apple Valley Airport as having one runway (oriented east/west),
but the Aerodromes table on the reverse side of the chart
described the field as having 2 asphalt runways (with the longest being 4,125'),
along with the remark "North end of north/south runway broken."
The original Apple Valley Airport, as depicted on the 1964 LA Sectional Chart (courtesy of Scott O'Donnell).
An undated postcard of Roy Rogers' Apple Valley Inn (courtesy of Dan MacPherson).
A 1964 photo from a 1964 LA Times supplement entitled "The Apple Valley Story" (courtesy of Richard Thompson, via Paul Bern)
of a Fokker F-27A "Silver Dart", pictured at the original Apple Valley Airport.
The photo's caption was "Bonanza Airlines serves Apple Valley with 4 flights daily - between Los Angeles & Las Vegas."
The earliest photo which has been located of the entire Apple Valley Airport was a 1968 aerial view.
It depicted the field as having a paved east/west runway & a dirt crosswind runway.
Several dozen light aircraft were parked on the southwest side of the field.
As depicted on the 1969 USGS topo map,
the airfield at Apple Valley consisted of a single 4,100' east/west runway.
The original Apple Valley Airport was depicted as an abandoned airfield
on the 1972 World Aeronautical Chart (courtesy of Scott O'Donnell).
As the town of Apple Valley expanded around the original airport,
a new site was chosen farther out of town, which would also provide for a longer runway.
The newly Apple Valley County Airport (3 miles northeast)
was built in 1970, at which point the original airport presumably closed.
By 1972, the original airport was depicted as an abandoned airfield on aeronautical charts.
The airfield was not depicted at all on later USGS topo maps (only the former airport entrance road).
As can been seen in the 1994 USGS aerial photo,
a majority of the abandoned airport still remains.
A shopping center has been built over the western end of the former east/west runway,
but a 3,800' length of the runway still exists in a somewhat deteriorated fashion,
along with the ramp south of the runway midpoint.
The former crosswind runway (which is oriented northeast/southwest & intersects the primary runway near its eastern end)
is much more deteriorated than the primary runway,
and a shopping center has also been built over its southern end.
According to Shelley Presswood (who was born in Apple Valley),
the row of buildings along the north side of the runway (along Thunderbird Road)
"are apartments, built from around 1978-82 or slightly later."
The airport entrance road still exists,
although the circa 2001 aerial photo shows that the southern portion of the airport entrance road
has now been covered by a newly-constructed road which runs to the northeast over the former airport property.
Roy Rogers' Apple Valley Inn was advertised for sale in an Internet auction in 2003.
The property was described as having been used most recently as a long term care & medical facility,
and some portions of the property were described as being "in need of rehab".
Dan MacPherson visited the site of Apple Valley in 2003 & walked the runway.
He reported, "Little has changed since 2001.
I also looked at the Apple Valley Inn, across the street, and saw the 'Hilltop House' overlooking the works.
There was a structure connected with the airport across the new road, I did not stop to see it.
The Inn is in poor shape & the airport is destined to be a mall (sigh).
Such historical property, and very beautiful-rolling hills & such.
It obviously should be preserved but that won't happen.
It just tears my heart out to see that stuff being demolished.
Also the population surge out here -
none of the things California is known for will survive."
Dan added later in 2003, "I went back this weekend.
The Apple Valley Inn across the street is intact.
Most rooms are abandoned but a few people still live there.
The Inn has little cottages such as 'The Bob Hope Cottage' which I photographed.
Now is the time to see this stuff. It will be gone soon."
Paul Bern reported in 2006, “The Apple Valley Inn was sold in 2005 approximately
and the new owners have spend a lot of money refurbishing the place.
From what I have been told, the new owners are looking to preserve as much of the original look as possible.
It appears that they are renting out some of the rooms to small businesses like real estate offices & the like.
So for now the Inn in some of its glory will still be with us.”
Paul continued, “I personally found the house that was used in the Sky King series.
It still exists! It is located on Rancherias Road, south of Highway 18
about a quarter of a mile on the left, just past the golf course.
It has been completely refurbished on the outside & the only way to recognize it is by the stone fireplace.
It is the only thing that they did not change.
It is great seeing it as I was a kid with dreams of flying like Sky King.”
A circa 2000-2005 aerial view looking north at the remains of the Apple Valley Airport ramp & runway.
Charles Irvin reported, “Apple Valley Airport: I passed through there last November ,
and there was construction going on there.
I was told by a friend that lives there that they built a Home Depot on the location.
Sad, but at least I can say that I walked the entire location before it vanished.”
Louis Delrio reported in 2011, “There is a little restaurant in Apple Valley located on the northeast corner of Bear Valley Road & Apple Valley Road called 'Johnny D's'.
It contains many Apple Valley Inn items including part of the original sign
and a photo that was taken circa 1964 that clearly shows the original airstrip with numerous general aviation aircraft.”
A 2013 photo by Anne Collier looking northeast along the remains of the Apple Valley pavement.
Anne reported, “I went looking for the remnants of the Apple Valley Airport runway and found it located north of the abandoned Lowe's building.
It's really deteriorated & chunked up in places from when construction crews built the building.”
The site of the original Apple Valley Airport is located
north of the intersection of Happy Trails Highway & Apple Valley Inn Road.
Fontana Airport / Fontana Gilfillan Airport, Fontana, CA
34.13 North / 117.47 West (West of San Bernardino, CA)
What was then known as "Fontana" Airport, as depicted on the 1941 LA Sectional Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).
The date of construction of Fontana Airport has not been determined.
The earliest reference to the airfield which has been located
was on the 1932 LA Sectional Chart (courtesy of Scott O'Donnell).
It depicted an airfield at the site, labeled simply "LF" (Landing Field).
By the time of the 1934 San Diego Sectional Chart (courtesy of Scott O'Donnell),
it was labeled Fontana Airport.
The Airport Directory Company's 1937 Airports Directory (courtesy of Bob Rambo)
listed a Department of Commerce Intermediate Field at Fontana, "Site 5, LA-Amarillo airway".
It was described as having a triangular sand & gravel landing area, measuring 2,640' x 2,227'.
A 1938 aerial view did not depict anything recognizable as an airfield - simply an open dirt field.
The airfield may have gone through a period of disuse,
as it did not appear at all on the 1939 LA Sectional Chart or 1945 San Diego Sectional Chart.
Fontana Airport was depicted as an active airfield on the 1941 LA Sectional Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).
Lane Leonard recalled, “Fontana Gilfilan... During WWII this airport was used as a night training field for the Cal Aero Cadets.
The runways were lined with a small smudge pot type of device.
Aircraft were BT & Stearman.
I learned this through my Father who instructed there at Cal Aero at the start of WWII.”
Fontana Airport was not listed among active airfields in the 1945 AAF Airfield Directory (courtesy of Scott Murdock).
The earliest photo which has been located of Fontana Airport was a 1948 aerial view.
It depicted the field as having 2 very wide but short, parallel, paved runways,
along with what appeared to be a former unpaved crosswind runway.
Several small buildings were located on the north side of the field,
near which was visible a total of 5 single-engine aircraft.
Fontana Airport was depicted as an active airfield on the 1950 LA Sectional Chart (according to Bob Cannon).
According to drag racing historian Bret Kepner, Fontana was used as a dragstrip in 1950-52,
so it must have been barely active as an airfield at that time.
In the 1950s, Fontana Airport became the site of radar testing flight operations for the Gilfillan Brothers,
pioneers in the development of GCA radar.
According to Donald Chantry (Gilfillan Brothers & ITT Gilfillan employee from 1954-91),
"This Airport did not become a significant part of the Gilfillan Brothers activity
until just a few years before my joining them in 1954."
The 1954 USGS topo map depicted Gilfillan Airport as having 2 wide but short paved parallel east/west runways,
with a single small building on the north side.
According to Donald Chantry, Gilfillan Electric was chosen to further develop & produce
the MPN-1 Ground Controlled Approach (GCA) radar (which had been initially developed by MIT during WW2).
Fontana Airport was used to test the enormous number of CPN-4 & MPN-11 radar systems eventually produced by Gilfillan.
An antenna test site was constructed at the southeast corner of the field,
and thousands of test flights were conducted to support radar testing.
Donald Chantry recalled, "During the height of the operations at Fontana,
many different aircraft were used to test the capability of our radar equipment.
On one series of tests on the Quad Radar,
the 4-engine C-124 GlobeMaster II had to make simulated approaches on Runway 9.
It had to make a touch & go, and get airborne by the time it crossed the east boundary of the field
and clear the houses on the other side of the fence.
One day as the airplane had just roared over the end of the field,
the telephone could be heard ringing & a very irate voice could be heard over the intercom to say,
'I works for de Kaiser & I needs my sleep'.
I can imagine the window rattling roar those engines must have caused."
Donald continued, "I do remember that the requirement was for the aircraft to make a GCA approach
under control of the GCA final controller to the point where the aircraft was at or about touchdown,
to check accuracy, controllability, etc.
And then to have the aircraft recover from the decent & gain full flying speed & altitude
and climb away from the end of that short runway.
And you can just imagine the racket those big R-4360 engines made
as they passed over the field."
Ernie Gesner recalled from 1959, "I remember practicing engine out landings at Fontana Gilfillan Field in a Cessna 150
and that runway was in bad shape as the instructor made me do go-arounds & not land due to the runway conditions."
A 1959 aerial view depicted the northern east/west runway marked prominently with large Xs & “Closed” on each runway end.
There were no aircraft visible on the field.
Fontana Airport was listed among active airfields once again in the 1962 AOPA Airport Directory.
It was described as having 2 runways: a 3,100' oiled Runway 4/22 & a 2,150' roadmix Runway 9/27,
and the operator was listed as Gilfillan Brothers Inc.
Don Perry recalled, “I was hired by Gilfillan Brothers at their main plant on Venice Boulevard in LA in 1963 for field service work.
My first task was working evening shift on post-production testing of GCA radar systems at the Gilfillan/Fontana Airport.
In 1963 the area around the Gilfillan/Fontana airport had not changed significantly from the photograph [below] of the 2 B-25s flying overhead
except for growth of scrub brush & small trees outside the airport perimeter.
There were still the scattered, small houses to the east with people living there.”
Don continued, “The twin Beach mentioned was based at a more established facility & had a contract to fly patterns toward LA for us.
The pilot would contact us by UHF radio at about 7pm & flew ascending patterns until the 'low altitude' portion was completed well after dark.
At that point we would break to eat.
The twin Beach was normally aspirated & required the better part of an hour to reach 10,000' where the last pattern was flown.
He would sometimes complain about having to carry the military ARC-27 radio, a weight penalty, for our communication link.
One time, when asked to make a turn, he said he did not want to bank because he would lose altitude.
The pilot was usually alone but would occasionally have someone with him.
A second pilot may have been someone along to build time.”
With the spelling of "Fontana Gilfillian", it depicted as an active private airfield
on the August 1964 LA Local Aeronautical Chart (courtesy of Donald Felton)
and the 1965 LA Local Area aeronautical chart (courtesy of John Voss).
Lane Leonard recalled, “There was a B-25 that sat on the airport well into the 1960s.
I remember as a High School kid being impressed by the B-25.”
Another Gilfillan GCA radar which was tested at Fontana was the AN/FPN-36 "Quad Radar",
a unique, compact, transportable radar unit that could be used as a GCA, ASR (terminal area radar),
ASDE, and height finder (ASR approach was considered part of the GCA capability).
Thousands of approaches to Fontana Airport were conducted by a Beech 18 aircraft
to test & validate the equipment.
John Hazlet recalled that "In the late 1960s, I shot hundreds of GCA (now called PAR) approaches
in DC-3s at Navy San Nicolas Island (NSI), using the prototype FPN-36."
Former Gilfillan Brothers employee William Parrott recalled,
"The Fontana site was set up when the previous site at Ontario Airport became too busy.
Among other things, the airport was used as a test site for missile electronics,
which were flown in a contracted Beechcraft.
[I have] a lot of memories, such as the Beechcraft getting lost in a sudden fog,
and a group of us hand-rotating a large Corporal missile antenna out in the rain
to give the pilot a vector back to the airport.
There was a 3-story range test tower on the southeast corner of the airport.
Radar needs to be tested on a large, open area.
The airport was taken out of CAA/FAA service because of the high winds.
Some employees would actually drive out there on 'windy' days to allow the sand to blast the car's paint,
resulting in a new paint job.
Insurance companies didn't like us."
Donald Chantry recalled, "And yes the wind could & did blow.
One day an Army light observation plane was attempting to make a landing at the airport
but the wind was too strong out of the north so the pilot simply landed crossways on the north east/west runway."
Donald Chantry recalled, "In the years after ITT purchased the company [in 1964],
Fontana was used as a test site for various other electronic equipment."
Several buildings on the ramp on the north side of the airfield
"were used as school rooms for training company & military personnel
and as final assembly & repair areas."
Donald Chantry recalled, "The population was moving too close to the perimeter of the field to allow safe operations,
and the heyday of GCA was over.
After Gilfillan removed their sign the field was used by model airplane flyers
and for some type of produce drying on the north east/west runway.
In later years (after Gilfillan) the runways were in sad repair due to holes along the edges.
So it is a little strange that it was not decommissioned & taken off of the charts."
A fantastic shot of Eisenhower's former B-25 Mitchell (flown by the Chino Planes of Fame Air Museum)
overflying Gilifillan Airport (lower left corner).
The photo is by Dan MacPherson, taken in from the Planes of Fame B-25 "Photo Fanny".
According to Dan, "After this flight I drove to the field, which was on the south side of Highland.
The wide runways appeared too short to land on.
I was told the runways were used for radio controlled drones.
You could land on the long cross runway if you wanted to.
I spoke to someone who attended a drag race there."
Don Perry recalled, “In 1967 I was, again at the Gilfillan Airport attending classes on another, newer piece of GCA equipment.
Nothing had changed. Various prototype, production and overhaul projects were tested & proved there.
At one point I was told that Gilfillan leased the airport form the city of Fontana for $1/year.
I imagine that was above & beyond up-keep & taxes.”
The airfield was labeled "Fontana Gilfillan" Airport on the 1969 USGS topo map.
Fontana Airport, as depicted on the September 1971 USAF Tactical Pilotage Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).
A undated (circa 1970s?) aerial view of looking northeast at Fontana Airport showed the field to have 3 paved runways, each of which were painted with closed “X” symbols.
There were no aircraft visible on the field.
A 1980 aerial view of Fontana Airport showed that the crosswind runway had been paved at some point between 1948-80.
But all 3 runways were painted with closed “X” symbols, and there were no aircraft visible on the field.
According to David Nimmo, “I believe that it was shut down [for reasons unknown] in 1988 or 1989.
In 1990 it was depicted on the LA Sectional & Terminal Charts as closed
but was still identifiable & used for navigation purposes.”
The configuration of this airport was quite unusual.
As it existed in the 1994 USGS aerial photo,
the airfield consisted 3 paved runways: 2 very wide 2,200' x 300' parallel east/west runways,
along with a longer but more narrow 3,300' runway oriented northeast/southwest.
Two paved ramps were adjacent to the north side of the airfield,
on which sat a few buildings (previously used by ITT as classrooms & assembly buildings).
The 3 runways of the airfield were still depicted on the 1998 USGS topo map, labeled Gilfillan Airport.
Unfortunately, this curious little airfield is no more,
as seen a circa 2000 aerial photo.
Bret Kepner visited the Fontana Airport site in 2001, only to be "sickened…
to find it had been completely wiped out by a subdivision the previous month.
The last memory is the entry street's name - Gilfillan Drive."
The airport site is located southeast of the intersection of South Highland Avenue & Beech Avenue.
San Bernardino Airport (1st location) / Shandin Hills Airport / Cooks Airport,
San Bernardino, CA
34.14 North / 117.31 West (Northwest of San Bernardino International Airport, CA)
The original location of the San Bernardino Airport,
as depicted on the 1929 "Rand McNally Standard Map of CA With Air Trails" (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).
The date of construction of the original location of San Bernardino Airport has not been determined.
The earliest depiction of the field which has been located
was on the 1929 "Rand McNally Standard Map of CA With Air Trails" (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).
It described the San Bernardino Airport as being operated by L.S. Miles,
having a 2,200' runway, and being located 2 miles west of the city of San Bernardino.
The San Bernardino Airport evidently closed at some point between 1929-32,
as it was no longer depicted on the June 1932 LA Sectional Chart (according to Chris Kennedy),
and no airport in San Bernardino was listed in The Airport Directory Company's 1933 Airport Directory (according to Chris Kennedy).
At some point between 1933-34, another airport opened in very close proximity to, if not the same location
as the previous airport, called Shandlin Hills Airport.
The 1934 Department of Commerce Airport Directory (according to Chris Kennedy)
described the Shandlin Hills Airport as being located 1.5 miles northwest of the city of San Bernardino.
At some point between 1934-38 the airfield was renamed Cooks Airport,
as that is how it was listed in The Airport Directory Company's 1938 Airport Directory (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).
An undated aerial view looking west at Cooks Airport from the 1938 directory depicted the field
as consisting of a square unpaved area, with a row of planes along the southern edge.
The directory described Cooks as a commercial field
consisting of a 70 acre irregularly-shaped sod field.
Hangars in the southeast corner were said to be marked with “Cooks Airport”.
The earliest aeronautical chart depiction which has been located of Cooks Airport
was on the June 1940 LA Sectional Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).
At some point between 1938-41 the airfield was renamed back to Shandin Hills,
as that is how it was listed in The Airport Directory Company's 1941 Airport Directory (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).
An undated aerial view looking east at Shandin Hills from the 1941 directory depicted the field
as having several distinct unpaved runways.
The directory described Shandin Hills as a commercial field
consisting of a 70 acre irregularly-shaped sod field.
The field was said to have 3 runways (with the longest being the 2,200' northwest/southeast strip),
and to have hangars in the southeast corner.
The last aeronautical chart depiction which has been located of Shandin Hills Airport
was on the October 1941 LA Sectional Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).
The Shandin Hills Airport evidently closed (for reasons unknown) at some point between 1941-42,
as it was no longer depicted on the June 1942 11M Regional Aeronautical Chart (according to Chris Kennedy).
The last depiction which has been located of the Shandin Hills Airport
was on a 1943 street map (courtesy of Dan MacPherson), which depicted both Shandin Hills Airport (to the south)
as well as the San Bernardino airport (to the north).
However, the Shandin Hills Airport was already closed by this point.
Shandin Hills Airport was not listed among active airfields in the 1945 AAF Airfield Directory (courtesy of Scott Murdock).
A 1959 aerial view depicted the remains of the Shandin Hills runways,
but several roads had been built across them.
Remains of the runways were still recognizable in a 1968 aerial view, but less intact.
A 1980 aerial view showed that the site of the former Shandin Hills Airport
had been redeveloped with housing & roads,
and not a trace of the airport appeared to remain.
As seen in a 2006 aerial photo, the site of the former Shandin Hills Airport
has been redeveloped with housing & roads,
and not a trace of the airport appears to remain.
The site of the Shandin Hills Airport is located
north of the intersection of Cajon Boulevard & West Highland Avenue.
San Bernardino Airport (2nd location), San Bernardino, CA
34.17 North / 117.32 West (Northwest of San Bernardino International Airport, CA)
The 2nd location of the San Bernardino Airport,
as depicted on a 1943 street map (courtesy of Dan MacPherson).
At some point between 1942-43, a second location of the San Bernardino Airport was evidently established,
approximately a mile north of its original location.
The earliest depiction depiction which has been located of the 2nd location of the San Bernardino Airport
was on a 1943 street map (courtesy of Dan MacPherson).
However, the San Bernardino Airport was not depicted at all on the 1944 LA Sectional Chart (courtesy of John Voss),
nor listed in the 1945 AAF Airfield Directory (courtesy of Scott Murdock),
which may indicate that it was temporarily closed during WW2.
The earliest aeronautical depiction depiction which has been located of the 2nd location of the San Bernardino Airport
was on the August 1945 LA Sectional Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).
It was depicted as a commercial/municipal airport.
The San Bernardino Airport was depicted as an auxiliary airfield
on the 1946 LA Sectional Chart (courtesy of Dan MacPherson).
The earliest photo depiction of the 2nd location of the San Bernardino Airport which has been located was a 6/29/48 USGS aerial view.
It depicted the field as having a single east-northeast/west-southwest runway,
along with several diagonal runways or taxiways on the south side of the primary runway.
The configuration of the old San Bernardino Airport was changed considerably at some point between 1949-54,
as the 1954 USGS topo map (courtesy of Scott O'Donnell)
showed that a much longer (3,700') northwest/southeast runway had been added.
Former San Bernardino resident Al Billings recalled, "I remember it from childhood, circa 1955.
I remember the old hangar & a wind sock.
It was located north of Kendall Drive, above 48th Street, on the south edge of the present college campus.
Later on, the California Division of Forestry used it to base a spotter plane, an old Avenger.
I can still hear the rumble of its engine as it flew overhead."
A 1959 aerial view depicted 4 light single-engine aircraft parked on the ramp
at the southeast corner of San Bernardino Airport.
In a 1961 aerial view of the old San Bernardino Airport (courtesy of Bob Anderson)
it was not apparent if the field was still operational at that point.
The last aeronautical depiction depiction which has been located of the 2nd location of the San Bernardino Airport
was on the March 1961 LA Sectional Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).
It depicted San Bernardino as having a 4,000' unpaved runway.
The 2nd location of the San Bernardino Airport was apparently closed at some point between 1961-63,
as it was no longer depicted at all on the March 1963 LA Local Aeronautical Chart (according to Chris Kennedy).
Several roads had been cut through the site of the former airport in a 1968 aerial view,
but 2 hangars still remained standing on the east side of the site.
A 1980 aerial view still showed small traces of some former runways,
and 2 hangars still remained standing on the east side of the site.
According to Dan MacPherson, "a friend went to a hardware store (long gone) that was a hangar from the airport."
No remains of the former airport were still perceptible in a circa 2001 aerial photo.
The former hangars had been built-over with housing at some point between 1980-2001.
In the words of Al Billings, "I still go out there every year, and I miss seeing the old airport.
I hate to see all that old, beautiful infrastructure destroyed.
All southern California can think to do is grind it flat & put tract houses on it.
It was a time when flight was on a very humble & human scale,
and the runways, planes, and buildings were pleasing to the eye."
The site of the old San Bernardino Airport is located
north of the intersection of Kendall Drive & West 48th Street.
Tri-City Airport (SBT), San Bernardino, CA
34.07 North / 117.28 West (East of Los Angeles, CA)
Tri-City Airport, as depicted on the 1929 "Rand McNally Standard Map of CA With Air Trails" (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).
According to the book "Images of San Bernardino California" (via Beverly Phillips),
Tri-City Airport was opened in 1927 by W.H. Lines.
Beverly's father was a student at San Bernardino High School in 1927 when
100 of them were recruited to go to Tri-City Airport
and pose shoulder to shoulder atop an airplane for a commercial photo,
to be used for an advertisement for a company that wanted to build airplanes in San Bernardino.
The Standard Oil Company's 1929 "Airplane Landing Fields of the Pacific West" (courtesy of Chris Kennedy)
described Tri-City Airport as being operated by W. H. Lines.
The airfield configuration was said to 2 runways, in an "L" shape,
with the longest being a 3,600' east/west strip.
Two large hangars were said to be on the south side of the field,
along with 5 smaller hangars in the southeast corner.
An undated (but very early) aerial view looking west at Tri-City Airport (courtesy of Beverly Phillips).
The earliest depiction of Tri-City Airport which has been located
is the 1932 Los Angeles Airway Chart (courtesy of Scott O'Donnell).
The following information about Tri-City came from Reinhard Jarschke (courtesy of Peter Tracy):
"Tri City was owned in the 1930s by Joe Brier,
who at the time was an Army Air Corps officer stationed at March Field.
I was told he lived at Tri-City & flew a Piper Cub to work.
He married Pinky (her last name was something like Pinkherton).
He later developed heart trouble & was grounded,
so he did the maintenance on their planes & the airport while she ran the flight operations.
They also had a restaurant, the CAVU that was removed to build the freeway on the south side of the airport."
A postmark commemorated the 12/10/39 Rededication of Tri-City Airport.
Tri-City Airport was depicted as a civil airfield on the 1944 LA Sectional Aeronautical Chart (courtesy of John Voss).
An undated (circa WW2?) photo of Tri-City Airport owner/operator Pinky Brier in front of a Tri-City hangar.
The only ground-level photo which has been located of an aircraft at Tri-City Airport
was a 1947 photo of August Santini polishing his Fairchild PT-19.
Bob Cannon recalled, "I used to fly a lot at night with the CA National Guard,
mainly because I was still a student in school.
The only woman's voice one would hear would be that of 'Pinky' who ran Tri-City Airport.
I would always say hello to her over the radio."
Tri-City Airport was located only 2 miles southeast
of what was Norton AFB (now San Bernardino International Airport).
Reinhard Jarschke recalled of Tri-City, "I based there for awhile.
The runways were dirt, which was the biggest disadvantage to basing there.
Pinky told me they would pave the runways but the taxes were already killing them & paving would raise them further.
There was an instrument approach off the Colton (now Pettis) beacon,
or one could use the Norton ILS & break off to land at Tri City."
Richard continued, "It was in the control zone of Norton Air Force Base
and that fact, coupled with the snotty attitude of the air force & Pinky's aggressive & abrasive personality
generated a lot of friction between the two.
An acquaintance I once had landed an Air Force P-51 there by mistake & by the time he stopped rolling,
Pinky was on the wing cussing at him.
When she got off the wing, he wheeled around & took off."
The 1954 USGS topo map depicted Tri-City as having 3 runways,
and a row of hangars along the southwest side of the field.
The 1960 Jeppesen Airway Manual (courtesy of Chris Kennedy)
depicted Tri-City as having 3 unpaved runways (with the longest being the 3,200 Runway 8/26),
along with a row of hangars along the south side of the field.
A 1961 aerial view of Tri-City Airport (courtesy of Bob Anderson)
depicted the field as having 3 runways, taxiways, and a ramp on the south side.
Tri-City was listed among active airports in the 1962 AOPA Airport Directory,
with 2 unpaved runways (18/36: 3,000' & 13/31: 2,900'),
and the operators listed as Evelyn & Joseph Brier.
It was among airports served by Cable Commuter Airlines,
which operated De Havilland Twin Otters on routes from Los Angeles
to several small airports in the area (including Morrow Field & Brackett Field).
Esther Miller recalled, "For 3 years from 1969-72, I lived on Tippecanoe Avenue in San Bernardino,
about 3 houses south of the east end of Pinky's east-west runway at Tri-City.
I knew nothing about aviation until I began dating my husband (a private pilot) in early 1971,
but I'd already learned enough to really whet my appetite for more."
"I listened to an FM broadcast station near the middle of the FM dial, and just off from its frequency,
I would often hear what I soon realized was Pinky returning to Tri-City.
Often I'd hear her call whatever controller was handling her flight:
'This is Pinky I (or else Pinky II) on approach for Norton, breaking it off for home.'
Sometimes I'd hear the controller before I'd hear her.
One night an older man's voice did a lovely imitation of W. C. Fields:
'Hello my little Chickadee' and soon she was close enough for me to hear both sides of the conversation.
Once I knew more about aviation & radio protocol,
I realized what a special place Pinky held in the aviation community of Southern California."
"I watched what to me was a miraculous take-off one day of a plane I came to respect.
The field was muddy & the Twin Otter reared up into the air in just a few feet from the start of the runway,
then slowly gained speed, a few feet above the muck.
Only later did I hear about soft field takeoffs."
Phil Du Bois recalled, "I landed several time at the Tri-Cities Airport in 1971-72.
'Pinky' was a bigger-than-life character then also.
Unbeknown to me, and apparently several of my pilot friends, the Tri-City airport had a landing fee.
Ignorance is bliss as we did touch & goes, one after another (no radios used much in those days).
I thought that the nice lady standing alongside the airport was encouraging us on as we practiced our landing.
Until she started throwing rocks at us. Never went back. That was in 1971, 72, maybe 73."
The runway configuration at Tri-City had drastically changed at some point between 1960-77,
as the 1977 Pilot's Guide to CA Airports (courtesy of Chris Kennedy)
depicted the field as having 2 dirt runways: a 3,350' Runway 7/27 (with an 1,800' dirt overrun)
and a 3,525' Runway 16/34.
A parallel taxiway ran along the north side of Runway 7/25,
and a ramp northwest of the runway intersection had 3 hangars.
The operator was listed as Tri-City Airport,
and Paul Webb offered flight instruction.
The north/south runway was apparently abandoned within the next year,
as the 1978 USGS topo map only depicted the east/west runway.
This was presumably due to the construction of the 10 Freeway,
which was built along the southern end of the north/south runway.
The 1980 USGS topo map depicted the total length of the east/west runway as 3,800',
and also indicated that a 4th hangar had been added.
The last photo which has been located of the Tri-City Airport was a 1980 aerial view.
It appeared as if the airport had already closed at this point,
as there was not a single aircraft visible on the field.
Tri-City Airport was reportedly closed in 1983.
According to Reinhard Jarschke, "The airport was originally sold to some electronics company
who paved & upgraded the field, but never [re]opened it.
After being unused for a few years it was subdivided for businesses."
As seen in a circa 2000 aerial photo,
the Tri-City Airport property has been extensively redeveloped as the Tri-City Corporate Center.
According her niece, Victoria Pinckert Rafa, the former owner of Tri-City Airport,
Evelyn (Pinky) Brier, still lives in a house on the site of the former airport,
built after the airport property was sold to developers.
"The building is large enough to house many of the things from the airport,
including a plane & Jeep used to transport people to & from their airplanes."
The airport site is located northeast of the intersection of Interstate 10 & South Western Avenue.
Morrow Field (RTO), Rialto, CA
34.08 North / 117.36 West (East of Los Angeles, CA)
An undated vintage photo of Howard Morrow Sr. & Bill Morrow in front of the prototype Morrow Trainer.
Photo is courtesy of Howard Morrow Jr., via Dan MacPherson.
Entrepreneur Howard Morrow opened Morrow Aircraft in Van Nuys in 1940.
He designed the Morrow Trainer, an all-wood monoplane trainer intended for military use,
and produced a single prototype in 1941.
Morrow Field was reportedly built in 1942,
after the military purchased Morrow's original airfield facilities (later to become Norton AAF).
The Morrow company was unsuccessful in obtaining any military orders for their aircraft,
but did produce drop tanks & other aircraft components during WW2.
The sole prototype of the Morrow Trainer went into storage.
Morrow Field may have gone through a period of inactivity after WW2,
as it does not appear on the 1945 San Diego Sectional Aeronautical Chart (courtesy of John Voss)
nor listed in the 1945 AAF Airfield Directory (courtesy of Scott Murdock).
The earliest depiction of Morrow Field which has been located
was a November 1946 aerial view (courtesy of Bob Anderson).
It depicted the field as having a single northeast/southwest runway,
with a ramp & a single hangar on the south side of the field.
The 1954 USGS topo map (courtesy of Scott O'Donnell)
depicted Morrow Field as having a single 3,200' northeast/southwest runway,
and a taxiway leading to a single hangar along the south side of the field.
The 1955 San Diego Sectional Chart (courtesy of John Voss)
described Morrow as having a 3,200' paved runway.
Bob Cannon recalled, "My uncle lived adjacent to Morrow Field,
in fact some of the land may have been originally his. I used to fly in to visit them."
The runway at Morrow Field was also used for drag racing.
According to Paul Baechler, "Colton Raceway at Morrow Field (the dragstrip) was active in the 1950s & 60s,
according to racing websites.
Apparently the airport was closed during races & the runway used."
A 1961 aerial view of Morrow Field (courtesy of Bob Anderson)
showed the field in largely the same configuration as it had appeared in the 1946 photo.
Morrow Field was listed among active airports in the 1962 AOPA Airport Directory,
with a single asphalt 3,360' Runway 9/27,
and the operator listed as Howard Morrow.
According to John Suchil, “Morrow Airport... San Bernardino Valley College maintained classes there in the 1960s.
They had an Airframe & Hydraulics class there.
SBVC had a Beech 18 (war surplus) that we completely stripped down to the metal.
Art Scholl was the head of the Aeronautics department at the time & supervised the operation.
The Beech was also used for the Navigation Flight Lab class that Art taught.
The day of my first class at Morrow Field Art was giving rides to class members that had helped him restore a Stearman.
I remember seeing & being told that the damaged Beech 18 cowlings there came from the plane used for the movie Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, World.
We once attended an inter-colligente air meet in Hollister, CA.
The night before the trip I had to work at night & didn't want to miss the early flight the next morning.
Art let me sleep in the Beech that night at Morrow Field.
I used a sleeping bag but it was uncomfortable due to the tilt of the flight deck.
I can't remember if he left the plane unlocked or gave me a key for entry.”
According to the San Bernardino County Sun, at an unknown date Howard Morrow Sr. built a golf course adjacent to the airfield,
a social club with a swimming pool, and even a short-lived shallow lake on which water skiers were pulled with a cable.
Morrow sold the airport in 1968.
Morrow Field, as depicted in the 1968 Flight Guide (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).
A De Havilland DHC-6 Twin Otter, operated by Cable Commuter Airlines. Undated.
Cable Commuter Airlines began operations in 1968,
and operated passenger airline service into Morrow Field.
They eventually operated twelve De Havilland Twin Otters on routes from Los Angeles
to a number of small airports in the area (including Tri-City Airport & Brackett Field).
Sometime later the airline was bought out by a larger company, which soon went out of business.
Morrow Airport, as depicted on the September 1971 USAF Tactical Pilotage Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).
Phil Du Bois recalled, "I visited the 'Colton' Airport in 1971 several times,
as my instructor took me there for landing practice because it was a 'tight' airport.
That is there were telephone poles at either end.
It was obvious then that the airport was on it's way out.
I do not remember the airport existing after 1972."
However, "Colton Airpark: Morrow Field" was listed in the 1977 Pilot's Guide to CA Airports (according to Chris Kennedy),
and was described as having a single 2,985' paved Runway 5/23.
Morrow Field evidently was closed at some point between 1977-80,
as it was labeled as "Municipal Airport (Abandoned)" on the 1980 USGS topo map.
It depicted the airfield as having a ramp extending south from the midpoint of the runway,
with several small buildings (hangars?) on either side of the ramp.
A 1980 aerial view showed the Price Club which had been built on the southeast corner of the airport site.
The runway still remained intact, but the hangar had been removed.
The Price Club was closed in the mid-1990s.
According to the San Bernardino County Sun,
the former Price Club building is being used by a food processing company.
Aerial photo of the site of the former airport, circa 2000.
Wildrose Avenue has been built through the middle of the former airport.
The golf course built by airport founder Howard Morrow Sr. still exists on the southeast portion of the former airport property,
now known as Sam Snead Golf Course.
The diagonal orientation of the former runway is still apparent in the above 2000 aerial photo of the airfield site.
The airport site is located northeast of the intersection of South Riverside Avenue & West Valley Boulevard.
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