History of the
Lomita Flight Strip

  Home       Aircraft Displays & Exhibits       Upcoming Events       Membership       Donate       Museum News  


History of the Lomita Flight Strip


The Pearl Harbor attack of December 7, 1941 panicked the west coast and all flying within 200 miles of the coast was immediately terminated. Existing airfields were commandeered and new ones quickly developed. Of 64 such fields in California, one airfield location was selected in the weather-protected shade of the Palos Verdes peninsula. 480 acres of lima bean and alfalfa farmland was purchased from the Weston Development Company and Project FS-5 was awarded to the Bureau of Public Roads with funding from the Defense Highway Act of 1941

The first task was to bring all 480 acres of low ground up by 4 to 5 feet to match the surrounding grade. Trucks began this project around the clock, quarrying soil from the Palos Verdes peninsula.

Once the grade had been filled, compacted and levelled, a hard-surfaced runway of 5000 x 150 feet with aprons was completed probably by late 1942. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers then took over until March 1943 to complete the taxiways, hardstands and 39 wooden buildings to house four squadrons of P-38 fighters from June 1943 through April 1944. Thereafter, the 6th Ferrying Group based in Long Beach used the field until Wars end in September 1945. The following month, Roger Keeney opened Acme Aircraft in the old P-38 maintenance hangar.

Although the field was built on Torrance land, the populated City of Torrance was clustered around the old downtown, several miles away with only oil wells and storage tanks near the field. Residential housing in Lomita was only a few blocks away, so the Corps of Engineers named the field the Lomita Flight Strip. The name stuck until 1946, well after the war had ended, when the City of Torrance was deeded the property by the War Assets Administration. The City renamed it Zamperini Field in honor of local hero Louis S. Zamperini.




Non-Profit Web Hosting provided by myhosting.com

Privacy Policy
  © 2010 Western Museum of Flight