Aviation Museum of Santa Paula:
The Museum consists of what we call the "Chain of Hangars," each hangar exhibiting the owner’s personal collections. Each one is unique! The private displays include antique, classic and experimental aircraft; automobiles including race cars; motorcycles; an enormous antique radio, juke box and phonograph collection; paintings and photographs; model aircraft and a variety of aviation artifacts.
Santa Paula Airport History
The St Francis dam disaster in 1928 is second only to the San Francisco earthquake and fire of 1908. It was this disaster, however, that birthed the Santa Paula airport. After the flood, local ranchers Ralph Dickenson and Dan Emmet decided some of the devastated area adjacent to the river would make a good location for an airport. Both were pilots, and had airstrips on their ranches, and both realized the benefit an airport would bring to the town.
Ralph persuaded 19 local ranchers and businessmen to invest $1,000 each, and they began building Santa Paula Airport with their own hands. It opened in August 1930 with a dedication celebration that included air races, aerobatics and parachuting, a visit from the Goodyear Blimp, and featuring many famous aviators of the time such as Art Goebel, Roscoe Turner, Pancho Barnes, Jimmy Doolittle and Hawley Bowles.
In 1938, with a population of 7,200, Santa Paula had more airplanes per capita than any other community in the nation
Today, despite it's size, the airport is home to over 300 general aviation aircraft, and nearly 100,000 arrivals and departures per year.
Aviation Museum Mission Statement
To educate the public of all ages in aviation and its history, both in general and as it relates to Santa Paula and to inspire, motivate and challenge the younger generation to carry on the dream of our aviation pioneers.
Our primary purpose is to provide facilities and displays for the education of visitors, including children, and to encourage the enjoyment of aviation. Our main focus is aviation history, both in general, and as it pertains to the unique Santa Paula Airport and its rich history of pilots and others associated with it.
The Museum Chain of Hangars, our gift shop and display of aircraft are open for public viewing and the enjoyment on the First Sunday of each month (weather permitting) between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. The airport is active all day long (again, when conditions allow), so flying activities on the ground and overhead add to the day's fun for aviation enthusiasts. Special ground tours are available by appointment.