Santa Monica Airport
|Santa Monica Airport
Santa Monica Municipal Airport
2006 USGS airphoto
|IATA: SMO – ICAO: KSMO – FAA LID: SMO|
|Owner||City of Santa Monica|
|Location||Santa Monica and Mar Vista, Los Angeles, California|
|Elevation AMSL||177 ft / 53.9 m|
Santa Monica Airport (IATA: SMO, ICAO: KSMO, FAA LID: SMO) (Santa Monica Municipal Airport) is a general aviation airport largely in Santa Monica, California. The airport is about 2 miles (3 km) from the Pacific Ocean (Santa Monica Bay) and 6 miles (10 km) north of LAX. The FAA's National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems for 2009–2013 categorized it as a reliever airport.
Originally Clover Field, after World War I aviator 2nd lieutenant Greayer "Grubby" Clover, the airport was the home of the Douglas Aircraft company. The first circumnavigation of the world by air, accomplished by the U.S. Army in a special custom built aircraft named the Douglas World Cruiser, took off from Clover Field on St. Patrick's day, March 17, 1924, and returned there after some 28,000 miles (45,000 km). Cloverfield Boulevard—which confuses the field's naming for a crop of green rather than a fallen soldier—is a remnant of the airport's original name.
World War II
Clover Field was once the site of the Army's 40th Division Aviation, 115th Observation Squadron and became a Distribution Center after World War II. Douglas Aircraft Company was headquartered adjacent to Clover Field. Among other important aircraft built there, Douglas manufactured the entire Douglas Commercial "DC" series of reciprocating-engine-powered airliners, DC-1 (a prototype), DC-2, DC-3, DC-4, DC-5 (only 12 built), DC-6, and DC-7. During World War II, Bolo B-18 and B-18A bombers and thousands of C-47 (military version of the DC-3) and C-54 (later the civilian DC-4) military transports were built at Santa Monica, during which time the airport area was cleverly disguised from the air with the construction of a false "town" (built with the help of Hollywood craftsman) suspended atop it.
Post World War II
In 1958, Donald Douglas asked the city to lengthen the airport's runway so that Douglas Aircraft could produce and test the DC-8 there. The city, bowing to objections of residents, refused to do so, and Douglas closed a plant that had employed 44,000 workers in World War II, moving airliner production to Long Beach Airport.
The airport has a control tower and, on average, handled 296 operations a day (for the 12 months – ended July 2011, as per the FAA's Air Traffic Activity System website). More recently, traffic has been decreasing to 83,381 annual operations in 2014, as per the Faa's Air Traffic Activity System website).\
As the Santa Monica Airport is one of many general aviation airports in the nation that is surrounded on some sides by residential development, the City of Santa Monica aggressively enforces one of the most stringent noise ordinances in the nation. In addition to responding to the community’s noise concerns and enforcing the City’s Aircraft Noise Ordinance, which includes a maximum allowable noise level, curfew hours and certain operational limitations, Airport staff is involved in a variety of supplementary activities intended to reduce the overall impact of aircraft operations on the residential areas surrounding the Airport. The following procedures and limitations are enforced in accordance with the City’s Aircraft Noise Ordinance. Violations may result in the imposition of fines and/or exclusion from Santa Monica Airport:
- Maximum Noise Level – A maximum noise level of 95.0 dBA Single Event Noise Exposure Level, measured at noise monitor sites 1,500 feet from each end of the runway, is enforced 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. There are no additional noise monitoring stations along the flight pattern, which is routed entirely over residential neighborhoods.
- Night Departure Curfew – No takeoffs or engine starts are permitted between 11 pm and 7 am Monday through Friday, or until 8 am on weekends. Exceptions are allowed for bona fide medical or public safety emergencies only.
- Operational Limitations – Touch-and-go, stop-and-go, and low approaches are prohibited on weekends, holidays, and weekdays from one-half hour after sunset until 7 am the following day.
In addition, there are numerous recommended noise abatement procedures and limitations that have been incorporated into the Airport’s Fly Neighborly Program and included in the program’s outreach materials.
The aviation aspects of aircraft operations at the Santa Monica Airport and use of the nation’s airspace is regulated by the federal government through the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The City is jurisdictionally preempted by federal law from establishing or enforcing new local laws that would affect aircraft operations or the use of airspace around the Santa Monica Airport.
Typhoon is the only restaurant on the airport property with a runway view and Spitfire Grill is across on Airport Avenue. The former restaurant The Hump was closed in 2010 after its chef and owner were arrested for serving whale meat. The Museum of Flying at the airport houses a collection of historic aircraft. A new facility was built on the South side of the airport and is now open. One of the airport's oldest buildings, next to the restored Douglas DC-3, hosts the U.S. Civil Air Patrol's Clover Field Composite Squadron 51.
On August 1, 2005, the Santa Monica City Council implemented a revised landing fee program (Resolution No. 9855) for all transient aircraft (those not based at the Santa Monica Airport) based on a uniform rate of $2.07 per 1000 pounds of Maximum Certificated Gross Landing Weight. Since the Santa Monica Airport receives no federal, state or local funding to operate, the landing fees fill the gap between other Airport revenue and the cost of operations.
On April 13, 2013 the rates were approved for increase to $5.48 per 1,000 pounds of Maximum Certificated Gross Landing Weight.
Airport Park opened as an 8.3-acre (3.4 ha) public park on non-aviation lands at the southeast corner of the Airport. The park  features a synthetic turf soccer field, open green space and an off-leash dog area.
In 2015, or 2023 the City of Santa Monica's settlement agreement with the FAA concerning the airport expires. The city has since invited the public to offer input regarding the airport's future. The City of Santa Monica sued the federal government seeking to void a 1948 agreement in which the City agreed to keep the land for aviation use in perpetuity in exchange for title to the property. On February 13, 2014, Judge John F. Walter dismissed the lawsuit ruling that the City's "quiet title action" was barred by the statute of limitations and that the other issues would not be ripe for a judicial decision until the City decides definitively whether it will close the airport.
- On Labor Day weekend in 1989, a P-51 Mustang crashed into a home on Wade Street near Brooklake Street in Mar Vista. The pilot and passenger were both injured.
- In 1994, the pilot of a single-engine Piper Saratoga died when a fuel system misconfiguration led to an in-flight engine shutdown. The aircraft stalled in a subsequent 180 degree turn for a forced emergency landing and struck the ground, which resulted in a post-crash fire.
- On March 28, 2001, an inexperienced pilot rented a Cessna 172 at the airport and subsequently lost control of the aircraft over the Pacific Ocean upon encountering dark, instrument meteorological conditions. Three were killed.
- On November 13, 2001, the pilot of a twin-engine Cessna failed to remove the gust locks prior to startup and two were killed when the aircraft overran the runway after an unsuccessful aborted takeoff.
- On March 13, 2006, game-show host Peter Tomarken and his wife Kathleen died when his Beechcraft Bonanza crashed during climb-out from the airport. The aircraft had engine trouble and attempted to turn back before crashing into Santa Monica Bay.
- On January 13, 2008, a home-built aircraft ran off the end of runway 21 after a brake failure, jumped over the hillside, landing on a service road. The three passengers on board were not hurt, although the kit-built aircraft was damaged severely. The runway was closed for 20 minutes.
- On January 28, 2009, a single-engine SIAI-Marchetti SF.260 lost power following takeoff and attempted to return to the airport. The aircraft struck the ground on the north side of runway 21 and caught fire, killing pilot Paulo Emanuele, of Airliners.net, and passenger Martin Schaedel, an Internet entrepreneur. Investigators determined a probable cause was the pilot’s failure to select the proper fuel tank for takeoff, which resulted in a loss of engine power.
- On August 2, 2009, a Rutan Long-EZ experienced engine failure after takeoff. The pilot attempted to turn back to the runway, but crashed on the taxiway in the process of landing. The pilot, flying alone, was severely injured and the airplane was destroyed.
- On July 1, 2010, a Cessna 152, crashed into the Penmar Golf Course shortly after take-off. The pilot was killed.
- On August 29, 2011, a student pilot operating a small plane crashed into a home at 21st Street and Navy Street after take-off.
- On September 29, 2013, a twin-engine Cessna Citation business jet that had just landed veered off the runway and crashed into a hangar, causing the hangar to collapse and setting fire to several other hangars. The pilot and his adult son were both killed.
- On March 5, 2015, actor Harrison Ford's 1942 (the same year Ford was born) Ryan PT-22 Recruit began having engine trouble at 2:25 pm right after take-off from Santa Monica Airport and attempted a 180 degree turn to return to field. The aircraft did not have sufficient airspeed and altitude to complete the emergency maneuver and was forced to make an emergency landing on the Penmar Golf Course a few hundred meters from the runway. Ford was attended at the crash scene by a spine surgeon who was practicing at the golf course and assisted extracting Ford from the aircraft in case it caught fire.
- California World War II Army Airfields
- J.C. Barthel, who planned to establish "an aerial passenger service," 1922
- National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems (NPIAS): 2009–2013. Federal Aviation Administration. Retrieved March 30, 2010.
- Richard E. Osbourne. "Clover Field". The California State Military Museum. California State Military Department. Retrieved 20 August 2012.
- Cecilia Rasmussen (29 May 2005). "Windows Shed Light on High School's Sacrifice". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 20 August 2012.
Along with his name inscribed in the window, Lt. Greayer "Grubby" Clover, a World War I pilot, is also the namesake of Santa Monica Airport's Clover Field.
- Parker, Dana T. Building Victory: Aircraft Manufacturing in the Los Angeles Area in World War II, p. 15, Cypress, CA, 2013. ISBN 978-0-9897906- 0-4.
- Parker, Dana T. Building Victory: Aircraft Manufacturing in the Los Angeles Area in World War II, pp. 13-24, Cypress, CA, 2013. ISBN 978-0-9897906- 0-4.
- Garvey, William, Battled field, Aviation Week and Space Technology, February 24, 2014, p.18
- http://pen.ci.santa-monica.ca.us/airport/PDF%20Files/LF%20Brochure.pdf SMO Landing Fee Program
- Airport Park – Community & Cultural Services (CCS) – City of Santa Monica
- Dan Weikel (January 10, 2014). "Federal government seeks to dismiss Santa Monica Airport lawsuit". Los Angeles Times.
- "Judge Dismisses the City of Santa Monica’s Action Regarding the Santa Monica Municipal Airport". Aviation and Airport Development News. February 13, 2014. Retrieved February 18, 2014.
- Blankstein, Andrew (March 14, 2006). "TV Game Show Host, Wife Killed; Peter Tomarken of `Press Your Luck' was piloting a small plane that crashed into Santa Monica Bay.". LA Times Archives. Retrieved January 28, 2009.
- "N16JR flight track". FlightAware. Retrieved May 18, 2008.
- "WPR09FA102". Retrieved February 4, 2009.
- Lozano, Alicia (January 28, 2009). "2 men killed in crash at Santa Monica Airport are identified". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 28, 2009.
- Bloomekatz, Ari (August 2, 2009). "Pilot injured in small plane crash". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 2, 2009.
- "L.A. Now". Los Angeles Times.
- David Simpson (September 30, 2013). "No survivors after plane hits hangar at Santa Monica Airport". CNN. Retrieved September 30, 2013.
- "Morley Builders Names Veteran Charles Muttillo as President To Succeed Mark Benjamin". Engineering News-Record (McGraw Hill Financial). 2013-10-01. Retrieved 2014-09-14.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Santa Monica Airport.|
- Official website
- Museum of Flying
- (PDF), effective April 30, 2015
- Resources for this airport:
- 1950s aerial view looking west