Airport Historian Ethel Pattison gives a historical tour of the Flight Path Museum in 2010 at TEDx Manhattan Beach.
Flight Path Learning Center of Southern California was founded in 1995 as a nonprofit, community-based organization to honor aviation pioneers, recognize the economic importance of aviation and aerospace to Southern California, and encourage youth to pursue education and careers in aviation-related fields. The kickoff project was a series of sidewalk plaques in the LAX business district saluting aviation pioneers, organizations and locations. This “Flight Path” is the aviation equivalent of the famed Hollywood Walk of Fame. Flight Path hosts an annual gala fundraising dinner when additional pioneers are honored and youth scholarships presented.
In November 2002 the Los Angeles Board of Airport Commissioners officially authorized Flight Path to operate an educational facility and museum in the LAX Imperial Terminal. During the next year, Flight Path refurbished the terminal with major support from Los Angeles World Airports, the City agency which operates LAX. The initial focus of the facility is to celebrate the 75th anniversary of LAX and the 100th anniversary of the first powered flight by the Wright Brothers.
Flight Path has reached thousands of residents and visitors to Los Angeles with historical exhibits, educational tours and programs, research facilities and community events.
Unique among the fine aviation museums in Southern California is the Flight Path Museum’s location, the only aviation museum and research center situated at a major airport and the only facility with a primary emphasis on contributions of civil aviation to the history and development of Southern California.
In 2019 the Board of Directors renamed The Flight Path Learning Center of Southern California to Flight Path Museum LAX. While the former name still is the legal registration entity, the new name will be used on all public facing documents to emphasize our most known function as well as our location at the hub of Southern California Aviation.
The Flight Path Museum gallery of exhibits, filled with memories of aviation’s golden years, is located adjacent to the LAX airfield, where today’s aircraft and travelers arrive and depart the world’s busiest origin and destination airport. No other museum offers such a perspective on contemporary aircraft and aviation.