In 1923, aviator Eddie Martin leased a patch of The Irvine Ranch to open Orange County’s first airport. He offered $5 joy rides in his World War I-era plane and flight instruction for $15 an hour. Martin, whose first flying license was signed by Orville Wright, flew stunts over the county – including wing-walking – to drum up customers for his fledgling flight school. Renowned aviator Charles Lindbergh is one of many pilots who landed at the airfield, which became one of the most modern in the nation. In 1939, the airport moved about a mile south to its present location and was named Orange County Airport. In 1979, it was renamed John Wayne Airport.
Feb 2, 2023