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    Welcome to the Ambassablog! We're the front-line employee bloggers of the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority and participants in the Airport Authority's Goodwill Ambassador Program.

    Here you'll find our continually updated posts about life at historic San Diego International Airport (Lindbergh Field).

    Take a look around, and Email us if there's something you'd like to see added to the Ambassablog or covered in future posts.
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    For questions or information about this blog and other social media tools used by San Diego International Airport, contact:
    Steven Shultz, M.S.
    Deputy Director, Public & Community Relations /
    San Diego County Regional Airport Authority: sshultz@san.org

The airport at 85

85th

Today is the 85th anniversary of the opening of San Diego International Airport.

85 years covers a lot of history – from its humble beginnings as the first federally certified airfield, dedicated in honor of famed aviator Charles A. Lindbergh, to the completion of the innovative and modern Green Build expansion project last week.

What a remarkable transformation. Happy 85th Birthday, SAN!

mary

We got the Wright stuff!

You may have noticed that Ohio state license plates proclaim the Buckeye State to be “the Birthplace of Aviation,” while North Carolina plates say the Tarheel State is “First in Flight.” Their respective state commemorative quarters make the same, seemingly competing claims. So which is right?

They’re both right, because of the Wrights … two brothers named Orville and Wilbur. They are credited with having the first successful flights in a heavier than air, mechanically propelled airplane. They were from Dayton, Ohio, and developed all their concepts for flight in their home state. But when it came to a place to actually demonstrate their airplane in action, they chose what meteorological data told them was the windiest point in the United States: Kitty Hawk, on the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

From the sandy beaches along the Atlantic, the Wright brothers lifted themselves, literally and figuratively, into human flight and one of the greatest achievements of humanity. Aviation as we know it ultimately owes its origins to Orville and Wilbur Wright, and proper tribute is paid to these pioneers at the Wright Brothers Memorial in North Carolina.

I visited the memorial this year, carrying with me from one ocean coast to the other a sense of awe and appreciation for what they achieved.  I certainly got to that location a lot faster by my own air travel! Every year, the date of December 17 is set aside for all Americans to celebrate the Wright brothers’ lift-off from the bonds of earth and gravity on that day in 1903.

San Diego is famous for a lot of aviation achievements in its own right, but we’ve never forgotten where it all began.

Charles Lindbergh may be prominent at airport, which now bears his name, but the legacy of the Wright brothers lives on in a pair of conference rooms at Airport Authority headquarters named for each of them, which can be and often are joined to host large meetings — especially those that welcome the public.

This pair of rooms on the second floor of the Commuter Terminal ensures that we have the Wright stuff, too, adding our own touchstone of respect to a pair of pioneers who did what was once considered impossible. In its own way, San Diego joins Ohio and North Carolina — and we can all be Wright!

Happy Birthday SDIA!

Undated photo showing San Diego International Airport in America's Finest City.

Today marks the San Diego International Airport’s 83rd anniversary.  In honor of the occasion, here are some interesting facts:

  • The airport was dedicated on August 16, 1928, as Lindbergh Field, to honor famed aviator Charles Lindbergh.
  • Another famous aviator, Amelia Earhart, participated in the grand dedication ceremony.
  • San Diego’s then-mayor declared the Dedication Day a public holiday and urged businesses to close midday to witness the celebration.
  • 222 military planes soared over Lindbergh Field as part of the festivities.

Interested in more SDIA history?  Check out this historic timeline on our web page.

Tuskegee Airman honored on historic Inauguration Day

medal

Congressional Gold Medal presented to the Tuskegee Airmen

Yesterday was Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, and today is the inauguration of the 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama. Our nation’s first African-American President is inviting some special folks to attend his inauguration — the country’s first group of black military airmen in the armed forces, known as the Tuskegee Airmen.

Long before Martin Luther King, Jr. and the civil rights movement, the Tuskegee Airmen fought against segregation, even while they battled against Nazis during World War II. They established a distinguished record in the war, flying over 15,000 missions. The success of black aviators in the 1940s helped pave the way for President Truman to eliminate segregation in the armed forces in 1948.

Here in San Diego, we had the honor of having a former Tuskegee Airman serve on the Airport Authority Board. Robert (Bob) Maxwell served on the Board from 2004 to 2006. He graduated from the Tuskegee Airmen Class of 1945 and is the immediate past president of the local chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen.

In 2007, the Tuskegee Airmen were honored with the Congressional Gold Medal, shown above. When Mr. Maxwell returned to San Diego with his medal, the Airport Authority Board commended him at its April 2007 meeting.

Tuskegee Airman and past Airport Authority Board Member Bob Maxwell, center, and current Airport Authotity Board Members Bob Watkins and Charlene Zettel at the rededication of the Airport Authority's Tuskegee Airmen Conference Room

Tuskegee Airman and past Airport Authority Board Member Bob Maxwell, center, and current Airport Authority Board Members Bob Watkins and Charlene Zettel at the rededication of the Airport Authority's Tuskegee Airmen Conference Room

I had the privilege of congratulating Mr. Maxwell that day. I will never forget holding his medal and reflecting on the overwhelming respect I have for people like him who serve our country so bravely.

One of our largest conference rooms at the Airport Authority is called the Tuskegee Airmen Conference Room. In the summer of 2007, the surviving local Tuskegee Airmen were invited to a rededication of the room, shown here, following their receipt of the Congressional Gold Medal.mary

As we celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (yesterday), Inauguration Day today and African American History Month just around the corner in February, it’s fitting that we think about the accomplishments of these heros who helped shape our great nation and the freedoms we enjoy.

With my small voice, I offer a big THANK YOU.

Video Post: A Piece of the Sky – San Diego and its Airport

Produced for the 80th anniversary of San Diego International Airport in 2008, this 15-minute documentary explores the important and pervasive role that aviation and SDIA have played in the civic life of the San Diego region.

Home Treat Alert! The multimedia feature above may not be accessible at work. But you can log on at home and check it out there!

National Treasure

p1010681

Pop Quiz: Do you know where the original Spirit of St. Louis airplane is located?

  1. Paris, France
  2. National Air and Space Museum
  3. San Diego International Airport
  4. San Diego Air & Space Museum

If you guessed B, you are correct! Charles Lindbergh himself presented the aircraft to the museum in 1928.p1010684

I had the pleasure of visiting the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air & Space Museum earlier this year. Check out the photos I took! Located in Washington, DC, the museum houses an incredible collection of aviation and space artifacts, such as the Apollo 11 Command Module that took Neil Armstrong to the moon in 1969 and SpaceShipOne, the first privately developed, piloted vehicle to reach space in 2004.

The Spirit of St. Louis hangs in the grand entry hall as a part of the Milestones of Flight display, reserved for some of the most notable pieces of the museum’s collection due to their epic achievements in flight. It hangs in this place of honor thanks to Lindbergh’s notable first nonstop solo transatlantic flight in the machine on May 21, 1927.

As most Goodwill Ambassadors will recall, the airplane was built in San Diego by the Ryan Airlines Corporation. Lindbergh picked up and tested the aircraft here before starting his journey to St. Louis, then on to New York and ultimately across the Atlantic Ocean to Paris to make history. Of course, these ties to San Diego then led to our airport being called Lindbergh Field.

To read more about the history of the Spirit of St. Louis, visit the Museum’s collections database.

maryDid anyone guess C or D? Well, there is a full scale reproduction of the Spirit of St. Louis right here at San Diego International Airport, poised above the Terminal 2 baggage claim area. Another, created by volunteer artisans right here in San Diego, is located at the San Diego Aerospace Museum.


Pop Quiz answer: U.S. Airways

usair

A little while ago, Ambassablogger Ryan conducted a Pop Quiz of Ambassablog readers, based on Ambassablogger Ed’s Of hubs and spokes post. Ryan offered a “Just Plane Thanks” employee appreciation ticket to the first Airport Authority employee who could answers this question correctly: What airline has hubs in PHX, PHL, CLT and LAS?

usairways_logoToday Ryan announced that we have a winner! A big congratulations to Christy in Audit who correctly answered the pop quiz. The answer is U.S. Airways, which has hubs in Phoenix, Philadelphia, Charlotte and Las Vegas.

U.S. Airways is an important airline at Lindbergh Field. In 2005, it merged with America West Airlines, but way back in 1988 it took over San Diego’s popular hometown airline, PSA, or Pacific Southwest Airlines. psa-heritage

Back in 2006, U.S. Airways honored that legacy by dedicating a special “throwback” plane at San Diego International Airport painted with the famous PSA colors and smile (pictured). Airport Authority staff were joined by many former PSA employees (a few people fell into both categories) to mark the special occasion, which is documented on the PSA History Page.

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