Remembering aviation history and the golden age of air transportation on Catalina, maintaining the future of aviation at Catalina’s famed
“Airport in the Sky” and helping the Catalina Island Conservancy in their efforts to protect the American Bald Eagle.
The purpose of the Catalina Air Show and the Catalina Island Aviation Foundation is to continue the tradition of an aeronautic themed weekend festival on an annual basis to educate the Avalon youth and the general public about Catalina’s unique aviation history. We aim to spread the passion for flying that helped make Santa Catalina Island a local paradise over one hundred years ago. Funds raised by the Catalina Air Show through donations, sponsorship and local patronage help to protect both natural and manned flight history on the iconic Santa Catalina Island. In our pursuits, we benefit the conservation and protection of bald eagles on the island through the Catalina Island Conservancy and the maintenance and repair of the nearly seventy year old AVX Airport in the Sky.
The Catalina Island Aviation Foundation raises funds to benefit the Catalina Island Conservancy in their efforts to protect the habitats of nesting Bald Eagles. As of May 21, 2014, there are five chicks that are about to fledge. “We’re into a non-intensive monitoring phase of the eagles now,” said Peter Sharpe, Ph.D., wildlife biologist and research ecologist of the Institute for Wildlife Studies (IWS), which has worked with the support of the Catalina Island Conservancy to save the big birds of prey. “Adults need to produce one chick per nest per year to maintain a stable population. Catalina’s population has been producing chicks above that level, so the population should continue to grow.” You can view live cameras of two Bald Eagle’s nests below.
|Two Harbors Eagle Cam||West End Eagle Cam|
Just 13 miles from Avalon, the Airport-in-the-Sky (AVX) opened in 1946. Built by the Marine Core of Engineers, two mountains were leveled with dynamite and the resulting 20,000 tons of extra dirt was used to fill in the valley, creating the 3,250 foot runway we now see today. The original hangar from Hamilton Cove was moved, piece by piece, over 13 miles to the new location where it resides today. United Airlines operated a passenger service utilizing DC-3s beginning in 1953, followed by other airlines. Construction on the airport was completed in 1946. Prior to this time the Island was accessible by air only through the use of amphibious aircraft.
For years, reaching the paradise destination of Santa Catalina Island was only possible by steamship or private vessel. But as early as 1912, Glenn Martin flew the first amphibious airplane 34 miles in 37 minutes into Avalon Bay, and a love of aviation was born on the island. It would take seven more years for the first air-passenger service, operated by Charile Chaplin’s half-brother Syd Chaplin, to be introduced in 1919 to the general public. His Curtiss MF “Seagull” three passenger flying boat took passengers to the island from Wilmington, CA to the air terminal built on Hamilton Cove. The unique beachside airport included a concrete ramp and rotating platform to allow for planes to easily be turned around for a return trip to the mainland. The inaugural flight of the Wilmington-Catalina Airline from Hamilton Cove Seaplane service thrived on Catalina for years, and the sound of aircraft engines roaring across the bay became a distinct memory for many residents, in addition to crossing the channel and landing in the water. Seaplane service would continue until 1941, when the fighting during WWII caused the US Military to secure the island as a strategic operations location.
Catalina has made its mark in aviation history, and is truly in a unique class of its own. Other members of this elite group of aviation pioneers include the U.S. Navy, who celebrated its 100th year of aviation excellence in 2011, and the U.S. Marine Corps which celebrated its centennial along with Catalina Island in 2012.
For more historic Catalina Aviation information, please visit Catalina Goose.
Avalon Harbor and Canyon forms a natural amphitheater making an air show off the breakwater an excellent spectator location from the beaches, hotels and homes. Additional spectator viewing will also be enjoyed aboard private boats, yachts and other watercraft. The Catalina visitor will have the opportunity to enjoy this unique destination which boasts beautiful beaches, a variety of special recreational activities, restaurants and a vibrant nightlife. This is unique as most air shows require spectators to view the event from a tarmac.
Don’t miss the exclusive VIP Experience at Casino Point, including front row air show seating, beer & wine tasting, and a concert featuring the headline performer Robby Krieger of the Doors. Tickets will sell out soon, so book your plans today!