Celebrate Aviation History in Los Angeles

Photo by Leroy Hamilton, courtesy of California Science Center

On December 17, 1903, Orville and Wilbur Wright made the first successful flight of a self-propelled, heavier-than-air aircraft. The flight only lasted 12 seconds and a distance of 120 feet, but it was enough to change the course of history. Los Angeles has a historic and important role in aviation and aerospace, which visitors can explore at various cultural attractions throughout the city.

Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) is ranked seventh in the world for number of passengers and tonnage of air cargo handled. LAX is the first and last L.A. landmark for tens of millions of travelers every year, from across the country and around the world, in particular our friends from the Pacific Rim. LAX assures its status as a world-class airport by making vital improvements such as the New Tom Bradley International Terminal.

Located in the San Fernando Valley, Van Nuys Airport (VNY) is the world's busiest general aviation airport, handling more than 1,200 operations every day with just two parallel runways. Because of its convenience and privacy, VNY is frequently used by celebrities, politicians, and executives. Many local TV news helicopters fly out of Van Nuys Airport, as well as the LA Fire Department’s Air Operations Unit. VNY also offers convenient FlyAway Bus service to LAX. Generations of movie fans recognize Van Nuys Airport from the closing scene in Casablanca. The 2009 documentary, One Six Right traces the history of VNY.

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