Cal-Aero Academy was an independent flying school at Chino Airport when World War II started. The U.S. Army Air Forces contracted with the school to provide primary flight training for Army Air Cadets. During the war, Cal-Aero operated the training base with Stearmans and BT-13s. The name "Cal-Aero" is preserved at the airport and it can be seen on several buildings.
After the war, hundreds of combat aircraft were flown into Chino for disposal. This agricultural area was employed as a vast parking lot for warplanes. Soon, the entire area was filled with everything from T-6s to B-24 Liberators. Most planes met an undignified end in portable smelters which were brought there to melt down the warplanes into aluminum ingots.
Chino Airport is the home of two aircraft museums, the Planes of Fame and the Yanks Air Museum, and the airport is one of the centers of aircraft restoration and preservation with several different companies that do this work at the airport.
On 13 June 2013, a private jet crashed into an empty office building near a hangar. Maintenance workers were testing the jet engines when the plane jumped over the chocks and the workers lost control. Since the building was empty, nobody was seriously hurt, but the jet was destroyed.
In the year ending March 27, 2006 the airport had 168,393 aircraft operations, average 461 per day: 99.9% general aviation and <1% military. 947 aircraft are based at the airport: 77 percent single-engine, 18 percent multi-engine, four percent jet, and one percent helicopter.