Historic California Posts, Camps, Stations and Airfields
Naval Auxiliary Air Station, Ventura County
(Mira Loma Flight Academy Contract Flying School)
Mira Loma Flight Academy

History by 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 at Lancaster.

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.

Copied with the permission of the author from United States Naval Air Stations of World War II.

Cantonment Area, Mira Loma Flight Academy
Mira Loma Flight Academy
by Justin Rughe

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 service.
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 campus-like environment.
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 program.
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 District (1999)
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.
Other Online Histories
County of Ventura
Extract, US Army Air Forces Directory of Airfields (January 1945)
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Updated 8 February 2016