Historic California Posts, Camps, Stations and Airfields
Chino Airport
(Cal-Aero Academy Contract Pilot School, Marine Corps Outling Field, Chino)
Chino Airport, 26 December 1946. Not the large amount of stored surplus aircraft on the installation.
Cal Aero Academy was an independent flying school at Chino Airport when World War II started. The Army Air Forces contracted with the school to provide primary flight training for Army Air Cadets. The name Cal Aero is preserved at the Chino Airport and can be seen on several buildings. Although physically located in Chino, Cal-Aero Flight Academy is often listed as being in nearby Ontario
Source: World War II Sites in the United States: A Tour Guide and Directory by Richard E. Osbourne
Corps of Engineers History
In March 1942, the Defense Plant Corporation leased the Cal-Aero Academy from the County of San Bernardino. The War Department purchased approximately 294.41 acres of land adjacent to the Academy to expand its facilities. From 1942 to 1946, the civilian-operated Academy provided ten weeks of primary and ten weeks of basic pilot training for the Western Flying Command of the Army Air Forces.

The two training periods consisted of flight instruction and ground school. To support this training, barracks and facilities were provided by the civilian-owned Academy to accommodate up to 500 men. After training at Cal-Aero, cadets were sent to Kelly Field and Stockton Field for their advanced training. Not all cadets trained at the Academy for the entire twenty week period. Records show that some cadets went to the Victorville Army Flying School for their basic training.

Two parallel east-west landing strips were located on the CalAero Academy. The government extended these runways 2520 feet onto the property that War Department acquired by fee. A new, 4625 foot northeast-southwest runway was also constructed. Approximately two thirds of runway construction took place on government owned land, the remainder took place on the Cal-Aero Academy property. Taxiways, a storm drainage system, and fencing were constructed by the government on the entire site. A total of 13 concrete airplane protective dispersal revetments were constructed: eight were located on government-owned land, and five were located on the Academy. Three underground storage tanks were installed on the Cal-Aero Academy in 1942. Two were 10,000 gallon tanks, one was a 1,000 gallon tank. All three tanks stored gasoline. A sewage treatment plant was constructed on government-owned land.
n October 1944, the school closed. The facility was then taken over by the Defense Plant Corporation for the storage and disposal of surplus Army aircraft. In December 1944, the Marines were given permission to use Chino for landing practice. One officer and 20 men were housed here to provide air traffic control and refueling. Chino was far from an ideal site. The field was crowded with surplus Army aircraft whose numbers reached 1,500. In addition, the Marines were not allowed to install a catapult and arresting gear system necessary for carrier training, so in April 1945, the Marines moved to Hemet. .

On 1 July 1945, the Defense Plant Corporation was dissolved and its functions transferred to it parent corporation, the Reconstruction Finance Corporation. Thus, the RFC assumed the DPC lease with the County of San Bernardino. The War Department retained control of its purchased property. The entire 656.4 acre site was declared surplus on 22 April 1946. Pilot training operations on the site were concluded in 1946. Subsequent to training operations, the entire site was utilized by the Reconstruction Finance Corporation Sales and Storage Depot No. 8 to store surplus aircraft. During this period, the Pacific Aeromotive Company operated on the Cal-Aero Academy site, presumably under contract with the RFC, to melt down the aluminum components of these surplus aircraft for use in the manufacture of new civilian aircraft.

Before the components could be melted, however, all of the grease, oil, and fuel residue had to be removed. Therefore, the engines were reportedly immersed in open railroad cars filled with solvents in an area of the leased property shown on the attached site map. Reports suggest that solvents were drained from the railroad cars and onto the pavement, draining into a series of nearby retention ponds. Photographs and other evidence indicate that the smelting operations occurred on the property purchased by the War Department, in an area to the north of the northeast end of the NE-SW runway.

In 1949, the Reconstruction Finance Corporation terminated its lease with the County of San Bernardino for the leased Cal-Aero Academy property and the War Department transferred the land it had acquired by fee to the County of San Bernadino by quitclaim deed. Pacific Aeromotive Company reportedly continued its operations on the site until 1960. In 1968, American Electric, Inc., under contract with the u.S. Air Force, leased approximately 14.58 acres of the former Cal-Aero Academy property from the County of San Bernadino to produce napalm during the Vietnam War. This activity began sometime during 1968 and ended in the early 1970's. Following onsite activities, the napalm production facilities were abandoned, reportedly this included four underground storage tanks used for napalm storage. The entire site is now known as the Chino Airport, and it has continuously remained in the ownership of the County of San Bernardino.
Defense Plant Corporation (DPC or PLANCOR)

Much of American industrial expansion during World War II was financed by the RFC through the Defense Plant Corporation. The War and Navy Departments, the Office of Production Management, the War Production Board and the Maritime Commission would request what they needed and in turn, the DPC would ensure that the plants were constructed, equipped and operated. Jones negotiated the contracts for the construction and operation of the plants and managed the corporation along with Emil Schram and Sam Husbands, both of whom were presidents of the organization during the war. Contract flying schools were also set up under the Defense Plat Corporation and overseen by the the Army Air Corps and later the Army Air Forces.
From its inception in August 1940 through 1945, the Defense Plant Corporation disbursed over nine billion dollars on 2,300 projects in 46 states and overseas. Most of this money was used to build and equip new factories and mills. In general, the plants were leased to private companies to operate. In spending these billions, the government acquired a dominant position in several industries, such as aircraft manufacture, nonferrous metals, machine tools, synthetic rubber and shipping.
The materials and supplies produced during the war ranged from tiny jewel bearings to giant guns, tanks, ships and airplanes. In fact, about half of outlays were used directly or indirectly for aviation. Next to the Geneva, Utah steel mill, the most expensive single Defense Plant Corporation project was the $176,000,000 Dodge-Chicago plant, which manufactured aircraft engines for the B-29 and B-32 airplanes. The plant's nineteen one-story buildings stretched over 6,300,000 square feet -- about 145 acres -- of floor space. It was so large that it had its own steel forge and aluminum foundry and could take in raw material at one end and turn out finished engines at the other.
History (2005 ) by Justin Ruhge
In the summer of 1939 Army Air Corps General Henry (Hap) Arnold, Chief of the Army Air Corps, developed a plan to enlist private flight schools to train new air cadets in primary flying. Initially 9 schools were established, however, as the need continued to grow during the World War II, 62 schools countrywide were authorized. The first of these schools was the Cal-Aero Flight School. General Arnold's brother-in-law was Major Corliss Champion (C.C.) Moseley, a World War I fighter ace. He was then President-Owner of the Cal-Aero Flight School and the Curtiss-Wright Technical and Aircraft Industries Corporations and general manager and lessee of Grand Central Air Terminal, all located in Glendale, California. The first contract school was begun at the Glendale location in July 1939. However, it soon became obvious that the Grand Central Field was too small and surrounded by residential areas. Early in 1940 Major Moseley began to look for several new locations where training facilities could be located. He found suitable sites at Chino, Oxnard and Lancaster. The facilities at Chino were constructed in 1940 at a cost of $250,000. The other locations are discussed in other sections of this book. Primary training began at Chino August 3, 1940.
The Chino facility is often referred to as located at Ontario, which is nearby. There was also an Army Air Field at Ontario.
The first military commander at the Chino facility was 2nd Lieutenant Robert L.Scott, Jr.
The Cal-Aero facility was the model for the 62 other flight schools in the country.
Over 12,000 cadets were enrolled in the Cal-Aero Flight Schools. Both Stearmans and Ryans were used for primary training. Basic training used the BT- 13 and then the BT-15. Graduation of cadet classes occurred every six weeks. The cadets who took primary and later, basic and advanced pilot training had two years of college training. As the war progressed, high school students were accepted for pilot training.
The Cal-Aero bi-weekly magazines were called the "Slipstream." The motto of the magazine was "Defense Through Proper Preparation."
A military contingent of approximately twenty men was assigned to each of the schools as a supplement to the civilian personnel. Instructors were not under Army control but were part of the Western Training Command at Santa Ana. A quarter of the instructors had some military background and many of them later were inducted into the service. The Army's main pilot training school was located at Randolph Field, Texas.
On October 16, 1944 the Cal-Aero school at Chino was closed and its personnel transferred to Oxnard and Lancaster. At the surrender of Japan the schools were closed.
Chino Airport has since remained active as a General Aviation facility and has steadily grown to one of the finest airports in San Bernardino County.
References: The History of Cal-Aero Flight Academy by Geary Lyle Tracy, August 1982, Model Colony History Room, Ontario City Library, City of Ontario, California.
Army Units Assigned to Chino Airport

 Data Source


   7 Dec 41 Air Corps Training Detachment
 Army of the United States Station List  1 June 43
2nd Army Air Forces Flying Detachment
Air Depot Detachment (Cal-Aero)(Contract Flying Activities, Primary)
 Air Service Command Station List
 1 Dec 43
Air Depot Detachment (Cal-Aero)(Contract Flying Activities, Primary)
Air Depot Detachment (Cal-Aero)(Contract Overhaul Activities)
Extract of January 1945 Directory of Airfields
Updated 28 November 2015