Historic California Posts, Camps,
Stations and Airfields
Naval Auxiliary Air Station, Ventura
(Mira Loma Flight Academy Contract
Mira Loma Flight
M.L. Shettle Jr.
Oxnard is located approximately 50 miles
northwest of Los Angeles. In 1935, the WPA built a 1,980-ft. runway
on 35 acres one mile west of town. The airport's dedication was
celebrated on July 4, 1935, with an air show. The airport was
later enlarged to 242 acres and the runway extended to 4,517 feet.
In June 1940, Cal-Aero Corporation, with headquarters at Glendale's
Grand Central Airport,
opened the Mira Loma Flight Academy, a primary training Contract
Pilot School for the Army. The barracks and administration buildings
were built in a very unusual circular layout. The Academy closed
on June 28, 1944. The primary cadets present at that time were
transferred to another Cal-Aero facility, the Polaris Flight Academy
The Navy was attracted by the airport's
proximity to the Advanced Base Depot at Port Hueneme, only five
miles away. The Navy requested to take over the base and the Army
obliged. The Army caretakers vacated the airport on July 7, 1944,
and an ACORN Assembly and Training Detachment arrived six days
later. The base was used for training of ACORNS, CASUs, and Seabees.
On August 8, CAG 98 transferred aboard. CAG 98 conducted refresher
training for pilots returning from combat, as well as training
replacement pilots. On December 4, the bulk of CAG 98 departed
for Los Alamitos, but a detachment remained
at Ventura. CASU 47-F was present during December with 19 SB2Cs
and 2 SBDs. During 1945, Ventura hosted VC-5, 10, 41, and 3 in
addition to the detachment of CAG 98. Naval holdings totaled 203-leased
acres with barracks for 554 officers and 2190 enlisted men.
Ventura's activity ended quickly after the
war and the station disestablished on February 1, 1946. In October
1946, the Navy traveled 10 miles to the south and built NAS
Pt. Mugu for a missile test center. Pt. Mugu did not exist
during the war. Today, the Ventura County Airport serves general
aviation in the Oxnard area.
The Mira Loma Flight Academy was a civilian operated Primary
Flying School established at the Oxnard Airport in June 1940.
The Academy was an operating division of Cal-Aero of Glendale
Airport, California and the War Eagle Field Polaris Flight Academy
at Lancaster, California. .
The purpose of the academy was to teach
Flying Cadets, later Aviation Cadets, to fly an aircraft and
demonstrate a flying-proficiency standard needed by the military
The Primary Flying School was the first
step in a three-phase program leading to award of an Officer
Commission and Pilot Rating. The next phase was Basic Flying
School and the final phase was Advanced Flying School. A minimum
total of 200 hours dual and solo flying time was required to
finish the entire program. At the Primary Flying School, 60 hours
of dual and solo time was the minimum standard.
Cadets were paid $75 per month and $205
per month upon graduation. There was an average of 80 cadets
per class. Each cadet had to have at least two years of college
and to have passed the physical examination by the Army Air Corps.
The initial class to attend the Academy
started a ten-week formal training program on July 1, 1940. Subsequently,
many classes of Flying Cadets and Aviation Cadets graduated during
the early 1940s.
The flight academy furnished supervisors
and flight instructor pilots to fly U.S. Army supplied primary
training aircraft. The Boeing Stearman PT- 13 biplane was used
for training at Mira Loma. The ground school run by the Flight
Academy provided classroom instruction in weather, navigation
and other subjects pertinent to military aviation operations.
They also furnished mechanic personnel to service and maintain
the aircraft. As with the many other flight schools in California,
many new buildings were added for use as hangars, barracks, classrooms,
offices and maintenance and recreation facilities forming a college
All of the effort accomplished by the
Mira Loma Flight academy was under a formal continuing contract
from the U.S. Army Air Corps to the Cal-Aero organization owned
by Major C.C. Moseley. The Army stationed a detachment of officer
personnel at Oxnard to supervise the overall operation of the
Primary Flying School. Their duties involved conducting military
training and performing flight examinations of cadets to determine
flying proficiency achievements.
As with the other air academies, a number
of auxiliary fields were developed to support the cadet-training
Thousands of cadets were graduated from
Mira Loma in the four years of the Academy's operation. As with
other academies, the Navy acquired the Academy in the late-1944
to early 1945 period for training their pilots.
The Oxnard Airport was returned to the
County of Ventura at the close of the Navy training period.
Reference: A Brief History
of the Mira Loma Flight Academy, U.S. Army Air Corps Training
Detachment, Oxnard, California, Ventura County Museum of History
and Art, 1991.
US Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles
In 1940, the Defense Plant Corporation
(PLANCOR) or their contractor, Cal-Aero Corporation, leased the
143-acre county airport from Ventura County. Cal-Aero operated
the Mira Loma Flight Academy, a contract flying school that trained
Army Air Corps cadets at Oxnard Airport. The Mira Loma Flight
Academy included two hangars that were built during the operations
of the school, a large open airplane tarmac, and two fueling
stations leased from Shell Oil Company.
There were approximately 10 revetments
(each containing approximately six planes) located around the
Army's training facility. A total of 48 structures were built
to support the activities of the training school. Cal-Aero went
out of commission on 20 January 1942 prior to the lease agreement
with Ventura County dated 30 June 1945. Subsequently, the Mira
Lorna Flight Academy (a division of Cal-Aero) assumed training
responsibilities under contract to the Defense Plant Corporation.
The Mira Lorna Flight Academy trained Army pilots until June
1944. A storeroom and training building were built for the academy.
In August 1944, the Navy established an air station at the airport
that continued operation until the air station at Pt. Mugu was
complete. By November 1945, the Navy had terminated operations
at the airport. The government canceled the lease with the County
of Ventura at an unknown time in 1946.
The property is still owned and operated as a municipal airport
by the County of Ventura. In 1948, the Oxnard Flying School began
operating out of this airport and it successor, Aero Flite, is
still in business.