There were four airfields in the Sacramento area during the period of the Register, 1925-1936. These are documented below. It is not possible to know which of the airfields were cited by Register pilots, whose numbers are listed in the right sidebar. A few military pilots specifically identified Mather Field, while others simply entered "Sacramento." The airfields numbered 1 & 2 are documented below. I have no information on numbers 3 & 4.
SACRAMENTO MUNICIPAL AIRPORT (#1)
Sacramento Municipal Airport was located 5.5 miles south
of the city. It had three oiled runways. It was a rectangular
232 acres. There were neither landing nor flood lighting fees.
Sacramento Municipal Airport (#1), Ca. 1931 (Source: Webmaster)
Sacramento Municipal Airport, Ca. 1933 (Source: Webmaster)
Image, right, from this REFERENCE, page 26, shows the airfield ca. 1933. According to the reference, the airfield's day markings featured the standard circle and "SACRAMENTO"
painted on the hangar roof. Night operations were aided by
boundary and flood lights and a 24" rotating beacon with
Accommodations included a restaurant on the field and modern
hotels and restaurants in Sacramento. Taxi fare to the city
was 50 cents.
Telephone and weather reports were available on the field,
and Boeing Air Transport maintained radio station "KFM".
Fuel, oil and hangars were available, with licensed mechanics
day and night.
Operators at the field included Boeing Air Transport, Bennett
Flying Service, Kimball Flying Service, L&M Flying Service,Summitt
Flying School and Nicholson Repair Shop. Valley Air Lines
and Varney Speed Lines provided chartered passenger service.
Swalley & Duffy staffed the airport lunch room.
Sacramento Municipal, from this REFERFENCE, page 24, is described as below. Two of the runways have been extended a small amount. A radio range station was also added since 1931.
Sacramento Municipal Airport, Ca. 1937 (Source: Webmaster)
MATHER FIELD (#2)
Mather Field as a military base had a mixed past. This brief history from the Web reads as follows. I include text here, because already the original Web page has changed.
| Mather Airport History
"Sacramento Mather Airport is former Air Force base that has prospered despite the initial concerns associated with its decommissioning. Initially, the property was known as Mills Field but the winds of time have shaped it into what is now known as Mather Airport . Interestingly, Mather Airport has been reborn more than once.
"Mather Field was named for Second Lieutenant Carl Mather, and Air Force test pilot who was killed in an air collision at Ellington Field , Texas in January 1918. He earned his pilot's license at the age of 16 and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Army Signal Corps on January 20, 1918 . Five days later, he was killed during one of the first training classes for World War I pilots. The remainder of his class was restationed at Mills Field and requested that the facility be renamed in Mather's honor. On May 2, 1918 , the name was changed to Mather Field, the precursor to Mather Air Force Base and today's Mather Airport .
"During this time, Liberty Iron Works in North Sacramento produced Curtiss JN-4 aircraft that were delivers to Mather Field to help train pilots for the war. On June 11, 1918 a Sacramento-built Curtiss JN-4 piloted by Lieutenant John F. Buffington became the first aircraft to take off from Mather field. Post war Jennies were used for a number of non-military purposes.
"By 1923, most of the remaining personnel at Mather Field were sent to bases in other states and Mather Field was closed due to the decline in population at the field after the armistice agreement that halted World War I halted pilot training at Mather Field.
"In 1930, Mather Field was selected as the site for an all Air Corps tactical exercise. The Globe Wrecking Company of Chicago was hired to dismantle and demolish the buildings at Mather Field over the course of six months in late 1933.
In 1935, the abandoned airstrip was the ideal location for field training. The 70 th Service squadron descended upon the lifeless field to erect tents and shelters to support the arriving 7 th Bombardment Group from Hamilton Field for ten days.
"However, the field would not be lifeless for long. Prior to the United States ' entrance into World War II, Mather Field began to be rebuilt and by 1941, the air base was fully reactivated. During World War II, Mather Field was used for pilot, navigator, observer, and bombardier training. Mather Air Force Base was also used as a stopover location for troops, aircraft, and materials that were on their way to or from combat duty in the Pacific.
The 1950's to 1990's
"In 1958, the Strategic Air Command B-52 wing was assigned to the base. Although the squadron was inactivated in 1989, the aircraft continued to use the airfield for touch-and-go exercises. Mather Air Force base also operated as a center for inter-service and international undergraduate navigator training from the 1970's. Lastly, in the 1990's, Mather Air Force Base provided all formal long-range, over-water Air Force Navigator training.
"The Air Force announced its intention to close the base in 1988, which prompted the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors to examine the potential for converting the base to a public use facility through the appointment of the Sacramento Area Commission on Mather conversion. In 1991, the Board of Supervisors endorsed comprehensive plan to reuse the base for civil aviation purposes. Environmental analyses were performed and the Air Force issued a record of decision in 1993.
"Mather Air Force Base ceased operation in September 1993. The Air Force transferred the base to the County of Sacramento , which opened the Mather Airport for civilian use on May 5, 1995. To learn more about the noise considerations in the environmental analysis converting Mather Air Force Base to civilian use: Mather Air Force Base Conversion EIS Process and Aircraft Noise Impacts
The New Millennium
"The former air force base is now home to the Mather Regional Park , the Mather Commerce Center by McCuen Properties, and Mather Airport . Currently, Trajen FBO Network, and the Sacramento County Sheriff's Air Operations Bureau all call Mather Airport home."
Below, from site visitor Jeff Staines, a U.S. Postal cachet commemorating the dedication of the Sacramento Municipal Airport, April 7, 1930. Note the signatures of Register pilot Art Goebel, and of Register passenger Alan Lockheed who chose to spell his name the original way, "Loughead."
U.S. Postal Cachet, April 7, 1930 (Source: Staines)
Mr. Staines says about his cachet, "This one is a cachet dedicating the Sacramento Municipal Airport on April 7, 1930. It seems to have been quite the event, as I have a few of these cachets signed by various Aviation Legends. The Mather Field Army Air Corps Maneuvers were also represented by this cover, which was signed by the two Aircraft Manufacturers and Early-Birds, Joseph L. Cato and Allan H. Loughead, and is accompanied by the one-and-only Arthur C. Goebel."
THIS PAGE UPLOADED: 06/05 REVISED: 12/22/10, 04/05/11