National Aeromodeling Historic Site 2003 -

Torrey Pines Gliderport, La Jolla, CA


On April 26, 2003 the AMA Executive Council recognized the Torrey Pines Gliderport as a National Aeromodeling Historic Landmark. Later that year, AMA Executive Director Joyce Hager was on hand for the unveiling of the plaque.

The Torrey Pines Gliderport has been used for full-scale gliders since the 1930s. In 1939, according to the Torrey Pines Gliderport History Society, it was leased by members of the Associated Glider Clubs of Southern California from San Diego and “was dedicated by then San Diego Mayor P.J. Benbough “to the youth of California.”

The U.S. Army took over much of the area during WWII, naming the encampment Camp Callan. It was used for anti-aircraft artillery training. After the war, the area was released to the Gliding group.

It took 20-plus years for the earliest model sailplanes to be launched off the cliffs, occurring in the 1950s and 1960s. As modelers’ use of the site increased, Radio Control pilots saw a need for more organization, and thus the Torrey Pines Gulls Radio Control Soaring Society, Inc. (“TPG”) formed. Members from this Society have been able to use the site to prepare for national and regional competitions and have set gliding records using the warm, rising thermals the area is known for.

The site has been dedicated several times over the years for its historical significance, including becoming a National Soaring Landmark of the National Soaring Museum (Elmira, New York), a San Diego City Historical Site, and placed on both the California Register of Historic Places and the National Register of Historic Places. On April 26, 2003, the AMA Executive Council recognized the Torrey Pines Gliderport as a Model Aviation Historical Landmark.

Click here to listed to Gary Fogel speak with Chad Budreau about Torrey Pines. Video description: "A lot of modelers know about the beauty of the famous Torrey Pines Gliderport in San Diego, but may not necessarily know the illustrious history of the site. Recently, AMA Fellow and aviation historian Dr. Gary Fogel stopped by AMA Headquarters and talked with our very own Chad Budreau about one of the world’s most famous flying sites."