In 1940, Howard Hughes decided that his burgeoning aircraft production business required its own airfield. Hughes Field was built on less than desirable land purchased cheaply from the local authorities - the high water table necessitated the diversion of a river and the placement of concrete pilings in order to stabilize the ground - but it became the centre of Hughes's aviation empire during and immediately after the Second World War.
Aircraft developed at Hughes Field include among others the Spruce Goose, the beautiful if unreliable XF-11 reconnaissance plane, and the well-known Hughes Model 300 helicopter. The last aircraft developed at Culver City was the prototype of the Apache attack helicopter, which has seen service in virtually every war since Vietnam.
After Hughes's death in 1978, the estate sold the field to McDonnell Douglas. Its successor corporation, Boeing, is reported to still own the property despite numerous offers. The remaining buildings, including the Spruce Goose hangar in the centre-left of this image, are on the National Historic Register and cannot be torn down or moved. This and the poor drainage conditions at the site make redevelopment unlikely.
Categories: Air Ports