Santa Paula Airport
|Santa Paula Airport|
|IATA: SZP – ICAO: KSZP – FAA LID: SZP|
|Owner||Santa Paula Airport Association|
|Serves||Santa Paula, California|
|Elevation AMSL||243 ft / 74 m|
Santa Paula Airport (IATA: SZP, ICAO: KSZP, FAA LID: SZP) is a privately owned, public use airport located one nautical mile (2 km) southeast of the central business district of Santa Paula, a city in Ventura County, California, United States. It exclusively serves privately operated general aviation aircraft with no scheduled commercial service.
Santa Paula's first airport was originally established in 1927 when local rancher, Ralph Dickenson, purchased an OX-5 powered International biplane, cut a dirt airstrip on his ranch and built a hangar. Dickenson Airport soon advertised airplane rides and flight lessons available. Less than 5 months later the Santa Clara Valley flooded following the collapse of the St. Francis Dam, taking many lives and destroying acres of property along the Santa Clara River where the ranch was built. Ralph's hangar was found 1/2 mile downstream with his airplane still inside. He moved it back, made repairs and began flying again within a month. In the following year two more hangars were built as more locals began flying and purchasing aircraft. Recognizing the importance of having a community airport in the area, Ralph Dickenson and Dan Emmet obtained $1,000 from 19 local ranchers and purchased land south of the city of Santa Paula, adjacent to the river. In 1930, following months of personal construction and development by these founders, the newly named Santa Paula Airport opened to the public with a lavish celebration of aerobatics, celebrity appearances, and aircraft. This airport was also one of the favorite flying spots of actor Steven McQueen.
2005 flood disaster
On February 21 and 22, 2005, Santa Paula Airport was heavily damaged when the rain swollen Santa Clara River ate into the airport property destroying airplane tiedowns, ramp and approximately 600 feet (180 m) of part of the western one-third of the runway. The airport’s only flight school, CP Aviation, temporarily moved to nearby Oxnard Airport as a result of the damage. Repairs began in March 2005 following the receding of the floodwaters, and as of February 2007, the airport was fully open to the public.
Today Santa Paula Airport is a non-towered facility handling approximately 97,000 arrivals and/or departures a year, and is home to over 309 individual aircraft. CP Aviation currently offers flight school, aircraft rental, and aircraft maintenance activities. Fuel is also sold at the airport. The airport today is smaller than local airports, primarily serving the local community and providing hangar space for pilots of nearby communities. Much of the original 1930s-era facilities still exist and are used today, giving the airport a very authentic representation of the Golden Age of Aviation. As a result of the airport’s history and theme, many vintage aircraft owners have long sought hangar space at the airport’s limited facilities for use and display. Every first Sunday of the month, the airport comes alive with visitors. People put their airplanes on display with info cards on the propeller. CP Aviation sells Santa Paula souvenirs. Also, car clubs come in and there are always nice cars to look at. The Petersen Auto Museum has displayed its Ferrari collection there.
Facilities and aircraft
Santa Paula Airport covers an area of 51 acres (21 ha) at an elevation of 243 feet (74 m) above mean sea level. It has one runway designated 4/22 with an asphalt surface measuring 2,713×60 feet (827×18 m); it also one helipad designated H1 which is 60×60 feet (18×18 m).
For the 12-month period ending December 8, 2011, the airport had 97,000 general aviation aircraft operations, an average of 265 per day. At that time there were 309 aircraft based at this airport: 96% single-engine, 2% multi-engine, 1% helicopter, 1% glider, and 1% ultralight.
The Aviation Museum of Santa Paula is headquartered at the airport.
The former Logsdon's Restaurant closed in early 2013. In its place, Flight 126 Cafe opened in July 2014 serving breakfast and lunch from 6am to 2 pm 7 days a week.
- FAA Airport Master Record for SZP ( PDF). Federal Aviation Administration. Effective May 31, 2012.
- "History of the Airport’s Construction". Santa Paula Airport. Archived from the original on September 27, 2007.
- "Santa Clara River Feb 2005 Flood Disaster Story". Santa Paula Airport. Archived from the original on September 27, 2007.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Santa Paula Airport.|
- Santa Paula Airport
- Aviation Museum of Santa Paula
- Aerial image as of September 1994 from USGS The National Map
- Resources for this airport: