Historic California Posts, Camps Stations and Airfields:
Banning Landing Strip
(Banning Auxiliary Field)
Banning airport was established in 1927 on 68 acres of land purchased from the Southern Pacific Railroad Company by members of the Banning Kiwanis Club and the Banning Post of the American Legion. The airport comprised a hangar and 2;240 feet dirt landing strip. In the mid 1930s the airport was annexed by the City of Banning, which subsequently improved the site and enlarged it to 127.15 acres. The airport remains in operation and is principally used by the general public. Recently North American Jet Charter started operation of flights to Europe and South America from the airport.
Military use of the airport is well known. While it was under control it was known as Banning Landing Strip. In 1943 the U.S. Army conducted a training program for Army engineers in airport construction at the airport. The program, known as Project X: How to Build an Air Field in Italy, resulted in improvement of the landing strip and extension of the strip to 5,000 feet. No other improvements were made to the airport by the military. The landing strip continues to be beneficially used. Listing of the airport in various military publications supports its use by the U.S. Army Ground and Air Forces during World War II. There is anecdotal evidence that General Patton used the airport during WWII to travel between his headquarters in Banning and his field headquarters in the California Arizona Maneuver Area. No evidence was found of ordnance use or storage at the airport. Records also indicate that the airfield served as an auxiliary field for the Contract Flying School operated by the Ryan School of Aeronautics at Ryan Field.
Source US Army Corps of Engineers, Los Angeles District
Extract of January 1945 US Army and Navy Directory of Air Fields
Posted 13 May 2014