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LAX Flight Path Museum -The Crown Jewel of So California Airline History

Best Visitor Attraction at LAX Airport

LAX Flight Path Museum -The Crown Jewel of So California Airline History

Best Visitor Attraction at LAX Airport

The Los Angeles (LAX) Flight Path Museum and Learning Center are conveniently located at the south side of Los Angeles International Airport.

Are you visiting or living in the Los Angeles area? Are you looking for things to do with a few hours to spare between flights while at LAX airport? Or perhaps you are an airline or aviation professional, fan, or an AVgeek?

For adults and kids alike, this crown jewel of Los Angeles and California airline history is a golden nugget of a discovery. Here you can explore what the Golden Era of Flying was all about. You can live the excitement, the glamor, the adventure, and the romance through memorabilia. Plus, so much more!

First, we’ll talk about what the Flight Path Museum is about. We’ll also present you with some of the displays available at Flight Path.

Then we’ll explain the Learning Center-branch of this great non-profit organization.

Flight Path Museum and Learning Center LAX
The entrance at Los Angeles Flight Path Museum and Learning Center.

THE FLIGHT PATH MUSEUM AND LEARNING CENTER IS A SPECTACULAR, LITTLE KNOWN HISTORIC BULLSEYE. THE ATTRACTION IS JUST ITCHING TO BE DISCOVERED BY VISITORS GUARANTEED TO BE FASCINATED.

LAX Flight Path Museum and Learning Center: What you will discover here

Everything aviation

Well inside the Imperial Terminal you will find an impressive collection of airline and airport history, uniforms, photographs, airplane models, inflight memorabilia, and a space-gallery.

Space gallery

The Space Exploration Gallery pays tribute to the history and development of space flight. Here you can even see the flight suit of astronaut Gen. Kevin P. Chilton. He was a commander of the Endeavor and Atlantis space shuttles.

TWA DC-3

Parked outside the museum is a real DC-3 aircraft available for supervised touring. The Spirit of Seventy Six DC-3 was actually in use by TWA executives in the 1930s. Inside you will find an orange couch, a card table, and ashtrays, of course in full compliance with the norm and style of the era.

Different aviation eras

The museum offers a brilliant presentation of Southern California and other aviation histories. The walls are cleverly decorated and arranged to display information and pictures about different eras of aviation. You will see presentations from 1910 until today and into the future.

A journey into aviation and time

Flight Path welcomes you on board their exciting journey through aviation and aerospace for more than a hundred years.

Touring the Flight Path Museum

The walls are educationally designed with pictures and aviation history from different eras, starting in 1910 to the present day. Here displaying the aviation era from 1946 to 1950, during the post World War 2 time of prosperity in the aviation world. Here we also see what the LAX Airport looked like in those days.
Walls decorated with historic aviation pictures dating back to 1910
lAX Flight Path Museum PSA display case
The great and reliable workhorse Boeing 727 with its smile painted on the nose was a well-known staple of PSA.

Pacific Southwest Airlines (PSA)

PSA was a beloved former San Diego, California based airline from 1949 to 1986. The airline merged with USAir in 1986. USAir, in turn, merged with American Airlines in 2013.
PSA stewardess uniform 1973-1978
PSA stewardess uniform 1973-1978.

Air California (AirCal)

AirCal display and flight attendant uniform. AirCal was headquartered in Newport Beach, California, flying out of Orange County Airport (John Wayne Airport). Operating since 1967 the airline was merged into American Airlines in 1987.
Air Cal display and flight attendant uniform.
The Air Cal display case of memorabilia.
Pan Am Stewardess
Pan Am Stewardess.

Pan American World Airways (Pan Am)

Who can ever forget the world-famous Pan Am?

It was the largest international airline and a symbol of the United States around the world. It all began in 1927 and it lasted until its liquidation on December 4, 1991.

Pan Am display case memorabilia
Pan Am display case memorabilia.

Space Gallery

The beautiful Space Gallery houses a lot of different space history memorabilia, well worth spending time exploring.

Click on the gallery-pictures to the left to view them in larger sizes.

Continental Airlines (CAL)

Continental Airlines began operating in 1934, initially under the name Varney Speed Lines. The name was changed to Continental Airlines in 1937.

In 2010 Continental Airlines was merged with United Airlines via a stock swap. The name Continental was eventually discontinued to operate the merged airlines under the United Airlines name only.

Click on the gallery-pictures below to view them in larger sizes.

Bob Six DC-10
Continental Airlines boss Robert Forman “Bob” Six was known as one of the finest airline CEOs ever. He was married to actress Audrey Meadows (Alice in the HoneyMooners TV sitcom), who chose the Continental trademark red and gold color scheme along with the globe logo. The picture shows the welcome ceremony of the delivery of his first DC-10. When Bob Six passed away in 1986 he had chosen to be buried close to his beloved LAX airport, to eternally watch his airplanes from his burial site at Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver CIty. Audry Meadows is also buried there.

By the way, did you know that Continental was the first airline to air commercials on TV? Have a look:

Since Continental CEO Bob Six only wanted professional actors for the taping of the commercials none of the people you see here are real airline crew.

Credit: Calmemories.

Play Video

Air Micronesia (Air Mike)

Air Micronesia B727 seats, Flight Path LAX
Flight Path’s display of Continental Airlines' Air Mike Division Boeing 727 passenger seats. The formation of Air Mike came as a result of Continental's experiences serving the U.S. with military (MAC) charters during the Vietnam War.
Les “Jetson” as a young B727 pilot in Truk, Micronesia, in 1988, flying the “Island Hopper” between Guam and Honolulu. Credit: Captain Jetson private collection.
"Captain Jetson", the article's author, as a young B727 pilot in Truk, Micronesia, in 1988. Flying the "Island Hopper" between Guam and Honolulu. Credit: Captain Jetson private collection.
Air Mike first Air Hostesses graduating class May 1968
Air Mike's first Air Hostess graduating Class May 1968. Image Credit: Calmemories.
Air Mike Air Hostess ditching training in Guam
Air Mike Air Hostess ditching training in Guam in the late 1960's. Image Credit: Calmemories.

Air Micronesia History

Want to know more about Air Micronesia? Click here for your complimentary 25-page PDF copy of Air Mike’s 20th Anniversary Booklet issued in 1988. This is a large file, so please wait while the booklet downloads.

Scandinavian Airlines (SAS)

SAS air hostess hat 1948-1957
SAS air hostess hat 1948-1957.
SAS
Seen on the left side of the picture: The display for Scandinavian Airlines (SAS). Middle: The Continental display. To the right: An assortment of the greatest air hostess and stewardess uniforms at the time they were in use.

Model airplanes

Beautiful model airplanes are placed all over the museum, to the great delight of visitors.
DC-8 Flying Tigers
Flying Tiger Line DC-8-63 model.
Air France Concorde
An Air France Concorde model displayed in front of a tribute to the military and aviation war-history in the background.

Some of the Flight Path Staff

Except who you see in the pictures presented here, several Flight Path staff members were hard at work in the back offices when we were there. The back-office staff members that we met (not pictured here) include Lori Keir, V.P. and Steve Soukup, a member of the Board of Directors and Curator of the Space Gallery.

Click on the two gallery-pictures below to view them in larger sizes.

Flight Path Large airplane model
Flight Path staff on the museum floor. Left: Leigh Hatayama, volunteer, and former LAX Airport Manager. Middle: Kevin Burciaga, Museum Manager. Right: Joan Sewald, volunteer coordinator.

Ethel Lund Pattison

United Air Hostess & Airline Historian

Ethel is celebrated like a celebrity movie star at Flight Path.

She was a United Air Hostess from the Golden Era of Flying, born in 1925! Ethel is now an active Airport Historian volunteer at the Flight Path Museum, still in great health and sharp as a tack.

With her happy smile, wits, and very likable personality of gold, you cannot help instantly fall in love with her.

First being introduced to her I put a foot in my big mouth. I let her know how honored I was to meet a FLIGHT ATTENDANT from the era that had long ended by the time I first got hired as a major airline pilot in 1987.

PROUD AS A PEACOCK FROM THE GOLDEN ERA OF FLYING ETHEL QUICKLY CORRECTED ME TO EXPLAIN THAT SHE WAS AN AIR HOSTESS, NOT A FLIGHT ATTENDANT!

In today’s world, and at least in the U.S.A., the word “air hostess”, “air host”, “stewardess”, or “steward” is banned as a description of the cabin crews. The only politically correct word to use in today’s U.S. airline world is “flight attendant“.

Ethel in front of the actual United Airlines air hostess uniform she wore in the 1950s
Ethel in front of her very own United Airlines air hostess uniform she wore in the 1950's.

By the way

Is Ethel the world’s oldest (and in best shape) retired air hostess, now close to 100 years of age? One thing for sure is, she is a walking encyclopedia of airline history. She was a part of that history and she lived that history!

She’s the envy of a crew lifestyle that most of us who got into the airline industry during modern times will never get to experience.

Click on the two gallery-pictures below to view them in larger sizes. 

Kevin Burciaga, Museum Manager
Kevin Burciaga, Flight Path Museum Manager in front of the historic 1949 LAX sign placing event picture, performed by airline crew members.

Flight Path Learning Center

The objective of the learning center is to encourage kids and students to enter the field of aviation, aerospace, and aeronautics.
However, the variety of educational programs offer great opportunities for kids, students, and adults alike.

Programs offered:

Call (424) 646-7284 for more information.

1. Field trips for 2nd grade up

Please coordinate a time for your school’s field trip with Flight Path well ahead of time.

2. Guided tours

Conducted on Thursdays, lasting approximately 90 minutes.

3. Flight Simulators

Flight Path’s flight simulators are taught by professional pilots. The simulators are computer-based and taught over five weeks. This program is open to students 12 years old and up. Students learn aerodynamics, operations, and flying techniques.

4. Lectured Programs

Exciting aviation-presentations held by notable speakers.

5. Scholarships for students.

The annual scholarship awards are named after aviation legends Pete Conrad, Clay Lacy, Morrey Plotkin, Howard Drollinger, and Anton Acherman.

6. The William A. Schonenberger Research Library

A gold-mine of information. The library was designed for researchers for on-site use. Resources contain books about aviation and aerospace, technical manuals, the history of LAX Airport, and related materials.

That's not all folks. There is still more to experience at Flight Path!

The Westchester business district is located right outside of the airport, to the north. Here you can find the Flight Path Museum Walk of Fame, established in 1995. It is located at Sepulveda Boulevard and Howard B. Drollinger Way.

Westchester presents Aviation’s Walk of Fame in a fashion similar to Hollywood’s presentation of its Hollywood Walk of Fame, dedicated to people in the movie and entertainment industry.

Flight Path and its history

1995

1995 was the year the Flight Path Museum and Learning Center was established. It was founded as a non-profit community-based organization.
Its mission was to honor pioneers of aviation and to acknowledge the importance that aviation and aerospace played in Southern California. The organization’s mission also included the encouragement of youth to pursue an education to take on careers in aviation-related fields.

2002

The Los Angeles Board of Airport Commissioners authorized Flight Path to operate an educational facility and museum in today’s location at the LAX Imperial Terminal.

2003

Refurbishing the Imperial Terminal was next. Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) stepped in to help with that. LAWA is the City agency which operates LAX airport.

Flight Path volunteering & membership

Interested in volunteering for the organization? You can fill out an application here.

To become a member you can find a membership application here.

How to get to the LAX Flight Path Museum and Learning Center

Located just a few minutes away from all of the LAX terminals you can easily catch an Uber to experience Los Angeles Flight Path Museum and Learning Center.The Flight Path Museum and Learning Center’s location is at the Imperial Terminal, 6661 W. Imperial Highway, Los Angeles, CA 90045. This is on the south side of the airport property. Their phone number is (424) 646-7284.

Open times at the Flight Path

Flight Path is open on Tuesday thru Saturday from 10 am to 3 pm, excluding holidays and special events. Admission and parking are free. A small $5 donation would always be appreciated from non-members.
Free Parking Flight Path Museum LAX
Parking at the Flight Path Museum is free, with plenty of available parking spaces. I had this row of parking spots all to myself.

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