MOJAVE — Today, the Mojave Air and Space Port holds an international reputation as home to cutting-edge aviation and space development. But Kern County has played a part in aviation development from its earliest days.
The county established the nation’s first county airport in 1928, the work of a group of civic leaders with the foresight to understand the benefits aviation could bring to the county. These leaders later fought to encourage a military presence, resulting in military air fields from Taft to Inyokern, including Mojave.
What is now the Mojave Air and Space Port began in 1935 to serve the local gold and silver mining industry. In 1942, the U.S. Marine Corps took over and expanded the facility, which served as a training airfield through the end of the war, when it was turned over to the Navy and later once again to the Marine Corps.
Kern County gained title to the facility in 1961.
Author Barbara Schultz has written a book detailing the history of aviation in Kern County up through World War II. She will share the stories of “Pioneering Aviation in Kern County: 1910-1945” on Saturday at the Mojave Air and Space Port.
The presentation begins at 11 a.m. in the board room, in the Administration Building at the end of Airport Boulevard.
Seating is limited. Visitors are asked to RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Schultz’s book offers the narrative of the pilots, civic and military leaders and airports that grew in Kern County along with the development of aviation. After Bakersfield’s Kern County Airport No.1 began operations, additional airports or landing fields came under the jurisdiction of the county’s innovative system of airports, another first in the nation.
With this infrastructure in place, aviation grew rapidly as airline and airmail routes were established and former barnstormers began flight schools, charter services and repair shops.
Among those featured in Schultz’s book are Hap Arnold, Cecil Meadows, Ross Peacock, Achsa Donnells, Dutch Holloway and Roy Pemberton.
Schultz has previously written about Pancho Barnes and Amelia Earhart, among other notable aviation pioneers.
Schultz’s presentation is part of Plane Crazy Saturday, a monthly gathering of aviation enthusiasts presented by the Mojave Transportation Museum Foundation.
The free, family-friendly educational event features a flight line filled with aircraft of varied types and vintages, available for visitors to see up-close.
The event will run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Admission to the flight line with its displays is through the Voyager restaurant, in the Administration building. The restaurant opens for breakfast at 8 a.m.
Dogs and other animals, other than service animals, are not permitted on the flight line.
Aviation and space art, hats, shirts, books and collectibles will be available for sale.