On this day in 1917 The Love Field in Dallas was opened.
Dallas Love Field is a city-owned public airport 6 miles (10 km) northwest of downtown Dallas, Texas. It was Dallas’ main airport until 1974 when Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) opened.
Southwest Airlines’ corporate headquarters is at Love Field, and Dallas is a focus city for them. Seven full service fixed base operators (FBOs) provide general aviation service: fuel, maintenance, hangar rentals, and charters. Some also provide meeting rooms, car rentals, limousine service and restaurants.
Dallas Love Field has its origins beginning in 1917 when the Army announced its intention of establishing a series of camps to train prospective pilots after the United States entry into World War I. The airfield was one of thirty-two new Air Service fields.
It was constructed just southeast of Bachman Lake, and it covered over 700 acres and could accommodate up to 1,000 personnel. Dozens of wooden buildings served as headquarters, maintenance, and officers’ quarters. Enlisted men had to bivouac in tents.
Love Field served as a base for flight training for the United States Army Air Service. In 1917, flight training occurred in two phases: primary and advanced. Primary training took eight weeks and consisted of pilots learning basic flight skills under dual and solo instruction. After completion of their primary training at Love Field, flight cadets were then transferred to another base for advanced training.
After officially opening on October 19, 1917, the first unit stationed at Love Field was the 136th Aero Squadron, which was transferred from Kelly Field, south of San Antonio, Texas. Only a few U.S. Army Air Service aircraft arrived with the 136th Aero Squadron, and most of the Curtiss JN-4 Jennys to be used for flight training were shipped in wooden crates by railcar.