Friday, February 26, 2010

It May Be One of the Country's Worst Airports, But At Least LAX Has a Song

You may remember our November 2009 post on the Flight Path Learning Center and Museum -- located right on the LAX flight path. (Check out their official website here.)

It's still one of the best-kept secrets about LAX -- a completely free museum complete with tons of memorabilia from the jet age and before. We first discovered the museum during the L.A. Conservancy's "It's a Mod, Mod, Mod World" tour of the South Bay's 1960s-era architecture, and vowed to come back.

Because my parents were in town this week, it was time to once again visit the museum. (My dad, after all, has spent his entire career around the world of aviation and flight.)

We were pretty much the only people in the museum when we visited on Tuesday -- and as a result, the staff lavished plenty of attention on us. They sat us down to watch a propaganda video about how great LAX is (slightly outdated, however, as it also touted Palmdale as an airport of the future). What also stood out, however, was the revelation that LAX is the only airport to have a hit song named after it.

I had never heard the song before, but apparently Country singer Susan Raye scored a minor hit in the 1970s with "Los Angeles International Airport."

A protege of Buck Owens, Raye appeared for several years on "Hee Haw." Wikipedia has more:

Her biggest year as a solo artist came in 1971, when she issued three consecutive Top Ten hits — "L.A. International Airport," "Pitty, Pitty, Patter," and "(I've Got A) Happy Heart." The title track of 1972's My Heart Has a Mind of Its Own also reached the Top Ten. Although not her biggest hit, "L.A. International Airport" became Raye's signature song, peaking at #9 on the Billboard Country Chart and a minor hit on the Billboard Pop Top 100, peaking at #54.

Raye dropped out of the business in the 1980s.

As for the museum, I summed it up a few months ago:

Everything from 1960s-era flight attendant outfits, to old airline seats, to an actual old DC-3 plane are a part of the museum. I was especially intrigued by all of the items saved from long-lost airlines like Pan Am, Western, Air California and many more.

The museum building originally served as an operation facility for Northrop Aircraft Corporation from 1951 to 1965; it then became a terminal for charter flights and foreign carriers that didn't have regularly scheduled service. MGM Grand Air took the building over in 1987, until it went out of business. The building was empty until the museum -- a joint venture between the Los Angeles World Airports and the Flight Path Learning Center of Southern California -- was founded.

And you gotta love free. The Flight Path Learning Center is located in the LAX Imperial Terminal, located at 6661 W. Imperial Highway, Los Angeles on the south side of the airport. It's open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

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