Early Aviation in Long Beach


by Gerrie Schipske

By 1920, when Ameila Earhart attended Earl S. Daugherty’s air circus and then took her first airplane ride with Long Beach Poly High School graduate Frank Hawks, Long Beach was already a key part of the golden age of aviation. Balloonists had parachuted onto the city’s beaches in 1905 near the Pine Avenue Pier, and stunt pilots such as Frank Stites took off and landed on its sands in 1908. The Long Beach Chamber of Commerce sponsored the altitude contest won by Arch Hoxsey in the second Los Angeles Air Meet in 1910. Cal Rodgers ended the first transcontinental flight in the water near Linden Avenue on December 10, 1911. A former Army Air Corps flight instructor, Earl Daugherty was known as the “greatest stunt pilot” and owned the area’s first non-beach airfield. This volume offers glimpses of early aviation at one of its core development locales, including photographs never before published of Earhart’s flight instructor, John G. Montijo.

Long Beach city councilwoman and author Gerrie Schipske discovered this fascinating part of aviation history while writing her first Arcadia publication, Rosie the Riveter in Long Beach, about the thousands of women who worked at the Long Beach Douglas Aircraft plant in World War II.

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non-fiction, softcover, 128 pages

“Long Beach played a major role in aviation history” by Gerrie SchipskePress-Telegram opinion piece

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Non-member, HSLB Member