Lisa Matthews

Last weekend the Santa Monica Airport (SMO) held a special open day event to celebrate the 99th anniversary of the first ever flight around the world. That monumental achievement was achieved by four aviators from the Army Air Service — the precursor of the US Air Force — flying aircraft manufactured by the Douglas Aircraft Company, which was based at Clover Field, which of course is now the site of the airport.

Santa Monica Airport positively drips with history and it was, at one time, the busiest single-runway airport in the world. In fact, the city of Santa Monica is what it is today, largely because of the pivotal role it has played in the evolution of the aviation industry, in particular during World War II.

Hosted by the Santa Monica Airport Association in partnership with the City, there were activities for everyone, including vintage aircraft, aircraft seemingly from the future, helicopters, fire engines, plus food trucks, live music and a flypast from the Goodyear blimp. There were also bus tours around the site and across the other side of the runway, the amazing Museum of Flying. You don’t have to be a propellerhead or a history buff, but if you live in Santa Monica, this opportunity for enlightenment is a must.

The Museum of Flying is located on the grounds of SMO at 3100 Airport Avenue and is open from Thursday-Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Scott fell in love with Santa Monica when he was much younger and now, after living and working in five different countries, he has returned. He's written for the likes of the FT, NBC, the BBC and CNN.