Flight on a Piper Warrior over San Diego from Montgomery field to Brown field and back by Sergey Egorov



Montgomery Field (MYF) is centrally located in the Kearny Mesa area of the City. The airport is home base to approximately 600 aircraft and offers a 3400' lighted runway served by an Instrument Landing System (ILS), with 4,577 feet available for takeoff, a 3,400' parallel runway, a 3,400' crosswind runway, a control tower operating 6:00 am - 9:00 pm daily, and a full range of aviation support facilities.
On May 20, 1950 the City of San Diego named Montgomery Field in honor of John J. Montgomery who is credited with making the first controlled flight in a fixed wing aircraft. Montgomery's first glider flight took place in the Otay Mesa area of San Diego in 1883.

The City of San Diego purchased the airport from Willliam (Bill) Gibbs in 1947. The airport, originally known as Gibbs Field, opened in 1937 with a single runway. In 1940 Bill Gibbs leased the airport to Ryan School of Aeronautics to train Army Air Corps cadets to fly.


John Joseph Montgomery (February 15, 1858 October 31, 1911) was an aviation pioneer, inventor, professor at Santa Clara College.

On August 28, 1883 he made the first manned, controlled, heavier-than-air flights of the United States, in the Otay Mesa area of San Diego, California (after European pioneers such as George Cayley's coachman in 1853, or Jean-Marie Le Bris in 1856). Later, in 1905, Montgomery's pilot Daniel Maloney made a series of remarkable flights in the vicinity of Aptos and Santa Clara using tandem wing Montgomery gliders launched from balloons. These flights demonstrated the controllability of the Montgomery design and were the highest flights achieved by man to date. John Montgomery was issued U.S. Patent #831,173 on September 18, 1906 for his invention of an aeroplane. He was a member of the Aero Club of Illinois (1910) and member of the research committee of the Technical Board of the New York Aeronautical Society (1911).

Montgomery died in the crash of his glider "The Evergreen" on October 31, 1911 and was buried at Holy Cross Cemetery in Colma, California on November 3, 1911.

In 1946, John J. Montgomery's life was portrayed in the movie Gallant Journey starring Glenn Ford and Janet Blair, and directed by William Wellman.

Located north of the U.S. - Mexico border, Brown Field (SDM) is a port-of-entry into the United States for private air craft coming from Mexico into California. Brown Field is also heavily used by military and law enforcement agencies.

This area is rapidly developing from an isolated and empty mesa to a thriving commercial and residential community.

The airport's most notable feature is the 8,000 foot long, and 150 foot wide runway which can accommodate most aircraft. It is a legacy of Brown Field's long military history.

The airport originally named East Field, opened in 1918 as an aerial gunnery and aerobatics school. Later it was used for U.S. Navy drone experiments. The name was changed to NAAS Otay Mesa in 1943, and later that same year it was changed again to NAAS Brown Field. Except for the period 1947 -1951, the airport was used for military purposes until 1962. Since then, Brown Field has served as a general aviation airport, and port-of-entry for private air craft coming into the United States through Mexico.


Brown Field Municipal Airport (IATA: SDM, ICAO: KSDM, FAA LID: SDM) is located 13 miles (21 kilometers) southeast of San Diego, California and named in honor of United States Navy Commander Melville S. Brown, who was killed in an airplane crash in 1936. Its FAA/IATA airport code of SDM probably comes from "San Diego Municipal". Formerly a Naval Auxiliary Air Station (NAAS), it is now a port of entry from Mexico. It is sometimes staffed by the U.S. Customs Service, but only upon the request of incoming pilots to the FAA.

It first opened in 1918 as East Field, later becoming NAAS Otay Mesa and then NAAS Brown Field, both in 1943. It was last used by the U.S. Navy in 1962, before becoming converted for general aviation use. Its primary runway is 7,972 feet (2,430 m) long.

Flight Piper Warrior San Diego Montgomery Brown field pilot runway aviation airport