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The first scheduled jet flights at Lindbergh Field were in 1960: American Airlines Boeing 720s to Phoenix and United Airlines 720s to San Francisco.
The original terminal was on the north side of the airport and was used until the 1960s; the current Terminal 1 opened on the south side of the airport on March 5, 1967. These terminals were designed by Paderewski Dean & Associates.
The ADP identifies improvements that will enable the airport to meet demand through 2035, which is approximately when projected passenger activity levels will reach capacity for the airport’s single runway. In a broad sense, the ADP envisions the replacement of Terminal 1 and other related improvements.
As a first step in the ADP, several potential concepts were developed.
The airport was also a testing facility for several early U. sailplane designs, notably those by William Hawley Bowlus (superintendent of construction on the Spirit of St.
Louis) who also operated the Bowlus Glider School at Lindbergh Field from 1929–1930.
As downtown San Diego developed, the airport's 3600-ft second runway was closed as its short length provided no operational benefits other than to support the smallest of aircraft.
The Army Air Corps took over the field in 1942, improving it to handle the heavy bombers being manufactured in the region.
Two camps were established at the airport during World War II and were named Camp Consair and Camp Sahara.
The May 1952 C&GS chart shows 8700-ft runway -ft runway 13.
Pacific Southwest Airlines (PSA) established its headquarters in San Diego and started service at Lindbergh Field in 1949.
The April 1957 Official Airline Guide shows 42 departures per day: 14 American, 13 United, 6 Western, 6 Bonanza, and 3 PSA (5 PSA on Friday and Sunday).
Due to the airport's short usable-runway, close proximity to the skyscrapers of Downtown San Diego, and steep landing approach as a result of the nearby Peninsular Ranges, SAN has been called "the busiest, most difficult single runway in the world." The airport is near the site of the Ryan Airlines factory, but it is not the same as Dutch Flats, the Ryan airstrip where Charles Lindbergh flight tested the Spirit of St.