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Mojave Air and Space Port

 

Mojave Air and Space Port

Mojave Air and Space Port
Mojave in 2009
ICAO: KMHV
Summary
Airport type Public
Owner Airport District,
Operator East Kern Airport District, Mojave CA
Location Mojave, CA
Elevation AMSL 2,801 ft / 854 m
Coordinates
Website
Runways
Direction Length Surface
ft m
12/30 12,503 3,811 Asphalt/Concrete
08/26 7,049 2,149 Asphalt
04/22 4,746 1,447 Asphalt
Mojave spaceport
Administration offices, restaurant and old tower
Mojave Airport, storage location for commercial airliners.
SpaceShipOne landing at Mojave after June 21, 2004 space flight
A retired Boeing 767-200 that flew for Ansett Australia being cut open for scrap at Mojave Airport

The Mojave Air and Space Port (ICAO: KMHV), also known as the Civilian Aerospace Test Centre, is located in Mojave, California, at an elevation of 2,791 feet (851 m).[1] It is the first facility to be licensed in the United States for horizontal launches of reusable spacecraft, being certified as a spaceport by the Federal Aviation Administration on 17th June 2004.

Contents

  • History 1
  • Activities 2
    • Air racing 2.1
    • Flight testing 2.2
    • Space industry development 2.3
    • Aircraft heavy maintenance and storage 2.4
  • First flights and significant events 3
  • Civilian Aerospace Test Center test programs 4
  • World records set 5
  • Notable pilots and engineers 6
  • Accidents and incidents 7
  • Movie/television location credits 8
  • See also 9
  • Notes 10
  • External links 11

History

In 1935, Kern County established the Mojave Airport a half mile east of town to serve the gold and silver mining industry in the area. The airport consisted of two dirt runway, one of which was oiled, but it lacked any fueling or servicing facilities. In 1941, the Civil Aeronautics Board began improvements to the airport for national defense purposes that included two 4,500 x 150-ft. asphalt runways and adjacent taxiway. Kern County agreed the airport could be taken over by the military in the event of war.[2]

Following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941, the United States Marine Corps took over the airport and expanded it into Marine Corps Auxiliary Air Station (MCAAS) Mojave. The two existing runways were extended and a third one added. Barracks were constructed to house 2,734 male and 376 female military personnel. Civilian employment at the base would peak at 176. The Marines would eventually spend more than $7 million on the base, which totaled 2,312 acres.[3]

Many of the Corps' World War II aces received their gunnery training at Mojave. During World War II, Mojave hosted 29 aircraft squadrons, four Carrier Aircraft Service Detachments, and three Air Warning Squadrons. At its peak, the air station had 145 training and other aircraft. Mojave also had a 75 x 156 foot swimming pool that was used to train aviators in emergency water egress and for recreation. The base's 900-seat auditorium hosted several USO shows that featured Bob Hope, Frances Langford and Marilyn Maxwell.[4]

With the end of World War II, MCAAS was disestablished on February 7, 1946; a United States Navy Air Station was established the same day. The Navy used the airport for drone operations for less than a year, closing it on January 1, 1947. The base remained closed for four years until the outbreak of the Korean War. Mojave was reactivated as an auxiliary landing field to MCAS El Toro. The airport was recommissioned as a MCAAS on December 31, 1953.[5] Squadrons used Mojave for ordnance training when El Toro had bad weather. Marine Corps reserve units were temporarily deployed to Mojave for two-week periods. MCAAS Mojave personnel peaked at 400 military and 200 civilians during this period.

In 1961, after the Marine Corps transferred operations to MCAS El Centro, Kern County obtained title to the airport. In February 1972, the East Kern Airport District (EKAD) was formed to administer the airport; EKAD maintains the airport to this day. To a great extent EKAD was the brainchild of Kern County rancher and aviator Dan Sabovich, who heavily lobbied the state for the airport district's creation and ran EKAD until 2002.[6]

On November 20, 2012, the EKAD Board of Directors voted to change the name of the district to the Mojave Air and Space Port. Officials said that the spaceport name is well known around the world, but EKAD is not. The change took effect on January 1, 2013.[7]

Activities

Besides being a general-use public airport, Mojave has three main areas of activity: flight testing, space industry development, and aircraft heavy maintenance and storage.

Air racing

The airport has a rich history in Formula-1's, and Biplanes. In 1973 and '74, the program also included jet races. Unlimited winners at Mojave included Lyle Shelton in 1973, Mac McClain in 1974 and 1976, Dr. Cliff Cummins in 1975, and Steve Hinton in 1978 and '79. The races at Mojave were hampered by constant winds, and extreme temperatures. In the 2000s, California HWY 58 was extended to bypass the town of Mojave, which cut directly across the race course—thus precluding any future racing events on the site. In 1983, Frank Taylor set the 15 km closed-course speed record at 517 mph at Mojave in the P-51 Dago Red. Over the years, several notable teams have been based out of Mojave. Wasabi Air Racing is the only pylon racing team currently active on the airport. In 1990 Scaled Composites rolled out the radical Pond Racer - built and tested on-site. During the mid-90's, the Museum of Flying based its two racers Dago Red and Stiletto out of Mojave as well. And since the early '80's, the oft-talked about, but rarely seen Wildfire (a custom built Unlimited based around a T-6 airframe) has slowly been developed in a Mojave hangar. Ralph Wise's many air racing projects including the Sport Class Legal GT400 and his V-8 powered unlimited, the GT500, both were designed and built at Mojave (the GT500 spent its early life at Camarillo). The GT 400 Quicksilver ultralight programme is also based out of Mojave airport.

Flight testing

Flight testing activities have been centred at Mojave since the early 1970s, due to the lack of populated areas surrounding the airport. It is also favored for this purpose due to its proximity to the Edwards Air Force Base, where the airspace is restricted from ground level to an unlimited height, and where there is a supersonic corridor. Mojave is also the home of the National Test Pilot School, Scaled Composites and Virgin Galactic/The Spaceship Company.

Space industry development

Beginning with the Rotary Rocket programme, Mojave became a focus for small companies seeking a place to develop space access technologies. Mojave Spaceport has been a test site for several teams in the Ansari X Prize, most notably the Scaled Composites SpaceShipOne, which conducted the first privately funded human sub-orbital flight on June 21, 2004. Other groups based at the Mojave Spaceport include XCOR Aerospace, Masten Space Systems, The Spaceship Company, Stratolaunch Systems, and Firestar Technologies[9][10] Other companies at Mojave include Orbital Sciences Corporation and Interorbital Systems.

The East Kern Airport District was given spaceport status by the Federal Aviation Administration for the Mojave Air and Spaceport through June 16, 2019.[11][10]

Aircraft heavy maintenance and storage

The Mojave airport is also known as a storage location for commercial airliners, due to the vast area and dry desert conditions.[12] Numerous large Boeing, McDonnell Douglas, Lockheed, and Airbus aircraft owned by major airlines are stored at Mojave. Some aircraft reach the end of their useful lifetime and are scrapped at the Mojave aircraft boneyard, while others are refurbished and returned to active service.

First flights and significant events

  • July 1, 1942 — Construction begins on Marine Corps Auxiliary Air Station at Mojave.[13]
  • July 31, 1944 — USMC Capt. Edward Shaw, a decorated World War II ace, was killed while test-flying an F4U Corsair[14][15]
  • February 7, 1946 — MCAAS disestablished.[13]
  • December 31, 1953 — MCAAS Mojave re-established.[13]
  • May 21, 1975 — First flight of the Rutan VariEze
  • June 30, 1978 — First flight of the Rutan Defiant
  • June 12, 1979 — First flight of the prototype of the Rutan Long-EZ
  • April 3, 1980 — First prototype Bombardier Challenger 600 crashed in the Mojave desert, killing one of the pilots; flight test program was operating from Mojave at the time.
  • September 25, 1981 — National Test Pilot School opens
  • August 23, 1983 — First flight of the Boeing Skyfox
  • August 29, 1983 — First flight of Beech/Scaled Composites Model 115 Starship
  • January 7, 1986 — Voyager homecoming, after round-the-world record flight.[16]
  • July 12, 1988 — First flight of the Scaled Composites Triumph
  • February 19, 1990 — First flight of the Scaled Composites ARES
  • July 26, 1998 — First flight of the Scaled Composites Proteus
  • March 1, 1999 — Rollout of the Rotary Rocket Roton ATV.
  • July 28, 1999 — First flight of the Roton ATV.
  • October 12, 1999 — third, final and longest flight of Roton ATV.
  • October 8, 2000 — First firing of an XCOR Aerospace LOX-powered rocket engine.[17]
  • July 21, 2001 — First flight of the XCOR EZ-Rocket, flown by Dick Rutan (single-engine configuration).[17]
  • October 6, 2001 — First flight of a twin engine rocket plane, again the XCOR EZ-rocket.[17]
  • May 31, 2002 — First flight of the Toyota TAA-1, built by Scaled Composites.[18]
  • July 24, 2002 — First touch-and-go of a rocket-powered aircraft, the XCOR EZ-Rocket (world record).[17]
  • August 1, 2002 — First flight of Scaled Composites White Knight
  • September 18, 2002 — First flight of world's largest jet engine, GE90-115B on GE's Boeing 747 testbed aircraft.[18]
  • May 20, 2003 — First captive flight, unmanned, of SpaceShipOne
  • July 29, 2003 — First manned captive flight of SpaceShipOne
  • August 7, 2003 — First free-flight of SpaceShipOne
  • December 17, 2003 — First powered flight of SpaceShipOne, on 100th anniversary of powered flight by the Wright Brothers.
  • March 5, 2004 — First flight of the Virgin Atlantic GlobalFlyer[19]
  • June 17, 2004 — Mojave designated a Spaceport by the FAA.
  • June 21, 2004 — SpaceShipOne flight 15P, the first spaceflight of SpaceShipOne.
  • September 29, 2004 — First Ansari X Prize flight of SpaceShipOne.
  • October 4, 2004 — X-Prize-winning flight of SpaceShipOne.
  • June 21, 2005 — First captive flight of Boeing X-37 under Scaled Composites White Knight
  • December 3, 2005 — First departure of a rocket-powered aircraft on a point-to-point flight (XCOR EZ-Rocket, departed MHV for California City, flown by Dick Rutan).[20]
  • December 15, 2005 — First arrival of a rocket-powered aircraft on a flight originating at another airport (XCOR EZ-Rocket return flight from California City, piloted by Rick Searfoss).[20]
  • April 7, 2006 — First free flight of Boeing X-37 (take-off from Mojave, landing at Edwards)[21]
  • January 23, 2007 — First flight of the Lockheed CATBird[22]
  • July 26, 2007 — Explosion with at least three fatalities at Scaled Composites facility.[23]
  • January, 2008 — Arrival of Gimli Glider for retirement.[24][25]
  • December 21, 2008 — First flight of Scaled Composites WhiteKnightTwo[26]
  • October 7, 2009 — Lunar Lander Challenge flight by Masten Space Systems wins second place for Level 1 of the NASA competition[27][28]
  • October 30, 2009 — Lunar Lander Challenge flight by Masten Space Systems wins first place for Level 2 of the NASA competition[27][28]
  • January 16, 2010 — AOPA president Craig Fuller came to speak at MHV.
  • May 26, 2010 — Masten Space Systems completes the first ever flight of vertical take-off, vertical landing (VTVL) vehicle with successfully re-light the rocket engine.
  • October 10, 2010 — First flight of Scaled Composites SpaceShipTwo
  • February 9, 2011 — First flight of Scaled Composites Firebird
  • March 30, 2011 — First flight of Scaled Composites BiPod
  • January 20, 2012 — Stratolaunch Systems breaks ground for production facility and hangar.
  • November 5, 2012 — First flight of Wasabi Air Racing Siren
  • April 20, 2013 — Mojave Experimental Fly-in
  • April 29, 2013 — First rocket powered flight of Scaled Composites SpaceShipTwo
  • April 16-20, 2014 — Mojave Experimental Fly-in and Week of Record Setting
  • July 28, 2014 — Mo'Venture Team Flies Non-Stop to EAA Airventure 2014 in Oshkosh Wisconsin
  • October 31, 2014 - The VSS Enterprise, a Scaled Composites experimental test flight vehicle, crashes during a test flight, killing one of the pilots and injuring another.[29]

Civilian Aerospace Test Center test programs

World records set

  • FAI Class C-1, unlimited weight
    • Group 1, internal combustion engine
      • Speed over a straight 15/25 km course: P-51 Mustang N5410V piloted by Frank Taylor, 832.12 km/h, July 30, 1983.[35]
    • Group 3, turbojet
    • Group 4, rocket engine
      • Altitude Gain, Airplane Launched from a Carrier Aircraft: 85,743 meters, SpaceShipOne piloted by Mike Melvill, June 21, 2004.[35]
      • Distance: 16 km, XCOR EZRocket piloted by Dick Rutan, December 3, 2005[35]
  • FAI Class C-1a, Landplanes: take off weight 300 to 500 kg
    • Group 1, internal combustion engine
      • Distance, Rutan VariEze piloted by Frank Hertzler, Mojave to Martinsburg, West Virginia, 3,563.02 km, July 15, 1984.
      • Speed over 3 km course with restricted altitude: DR90 Nemesis piloted by Jon Sharp, 466.83 km/h, November 15, 1998 (aircraft now on display at the National Air and Space Museum)[35]
      • Speed over straight 15/25 km course: DR90 Nemesis piloted by Jon Sharp, 454.77 km/h, October 31, 1998.[35]
  • FAI Class C-1b, Landplanes: take off weight 500 to 1000 kg
    • Group 1, internal combustion engine
      • Distance over a closed course: Rutan Long-EZ N79RA piloted by Dick Rutan, 7,725.3 km, December 15, 1979.[35]
      • Speed over a closed circuit of 2,000 km without payload. Rutan Catbird N187RA piloted by Dick Rutan, 401.46 km/h, January 29, 1994.[35]
      • Speed over straight 3 km course: GP-5 Sweet Dreams piloted by Lee Behel, 377.6 m/h, April 12, 2014.[35]
      • Speed over straight 15/25 km course: GP-5 Sweet Dreams piloted by Lee Behel, 378.7 m/h, April 12, 2014.[35]
      • Time To Climb 3 km: GP-5 Sweet Dreams piloted by Lee Behel, 2:00 min, April 12, 2014.[35]
    • Group 4, Rocket engine
      • Distance: 16 km, XCOR EZRocket piloted by Dick Rutan, December 3, 2005[35]
  • FAI Class C-1c, Landplanes: take off weight 1000 to 1750 kg
    • Group 1, internal combustion engine
      • Speed over a closed circuit of 2,000 km without payload. Rutan Catbird N187RA piloted by Mike Melvill, 413.78 km/h, March 2, 1994.[35]
      • Speed over a closed circuit of 1,000 km without payload. Lancair Legacy piloted by Mike Patey, 319 m/h, April 18, 2014.[35]
      • Speed over a closed circuit of 2,000 km without payload. Lancair Legacy piloted by Mike Patey, 319 m/h, April 18, 2014.[35]
  • FAI Class C-1d, Landplanes: take off weight 1750 to 3000 kg
    • Group 1, internal combustion engine
      • Distance over a closed course, Voyager N269VA, piloted by Dick Rutan and Jeana Yeager, Vandenberg, California to Mojave, 18,658.16 km, July 15, 1986.[35]
      • Distance over a closed course, Rutan Catbird N187RA, piloted by Zach Reeder, 211 m/h, April 18, 2014.[35]
    • Group 4, rocket engine
      • Altitude Gain, Airplane Launched from a Carrier Aircraft: 85,743 meters, SpaceShipOne piloted by Mike Melvill, June 21, 2004.[35]
  • FAI Class C-1e, Landplanes: take off weight 3,000 to 6,000 kg
    • Group 2, turbojet
      • Altitude: Scaled Composites Proteus N281PR, piloted by Mike Melvill and Robert Waldmiller, 19,277 m, October 25, 2000.[35]
      • Altitude in horizontal flight: Scaled Composites Proteus N281PR, piloted by Mike Melvill and Robert Waldmiller, 19,015 m, October 25, 2000.[35]
      • Altitude with 1,000 kg payload: Scaled Composites Proteus N281PR, piloted by Mike Melvill and Robert Waldmiller, 17,067 m, October 27, 2000.[35]

Notable pilots and engineers

Accidents and incidents

On February 4, 2009, Douglas DC-3-65/AR N834TP of the National Test Pilot School was substantially damaged in a take-off accident. Both sets of undercarriage and the port engine were ripped off. The aircraft was on a local training flight. The accident was caused by an incorrectly set rudder trim.[38][39]

On Oct. 31, 2014, the SpaceShipTwo spacecraft VSS Enterprise broke up during a test flight after being dropped from the WhiteKnightTwo VMS Eve carrier aircraft. Scaled Composites co-pilot Michael Alsbury was killed. Scaled Composites pilot Peter Siebold parachuted to safety. SpaceShipTwo was being developed by Scaled Composites for Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic company. The accident occurred about 20 miles north of the Mojave Air & Space Port, where the test flight originated.[40]

Movie/television location credits

Due to the Mojave Spaceport's unique location and facilities, a number of movies, TV shows and commercials have been filmed on location here. The Airport Administration actively promotes the facility as a set. The airport has facilities dedicated for filming, a large supply of aircraft to use as props and two large film pads that can be flooded for water scenes. Action movies and car commercials make up the bulk of the filming at the airport.

Movie credits include:

TV credits include:

Other credits:

See also

Notes

  1. ^ "Mojave Airport".  
  2. ^ "Historic California Posts: Marine Corps Auxiliary Air Station, Mojave". California State Military Department. Retrieved July 3, 2015. 
  3. ^ "Historic California Posts: Marine Corps Auxiliary Air Station, Mojave". California State Military Department. Retrieved July 3, 2015. 
  4. ^ "Historic California Posts: Marine Corps Auxiliary Air Station, Mojave". California State Military Department. Retrieved July 3, 2015. 
  5. ^ "About Mojave Air & Space Port". Mojave Air and Space Port. Retrieved July 3, 2015. 
  6. ^ "About Mojave Air & Space Port". Mojave Air and Space Port. Retrieved July 3, 2015. 
  7. ^ "Mojave Spaceport Governing District Changes Its Name". Douglas Messier. Retrieved July 3, 2015. 
  8. ^ "Air Racing News". Sport Aviation. January 1971. 
  9. ^ Joiner, Stephen (2011-05-01). "The Mojave Launch Lab". Air & Space Smithsonian. Retrieved 2011-03-18 (online precedes the print edition date). 
  10. ^ a b "KGET Special Report: Mojave Air and SpacePort". Kern Golden Empire. 1 February 2015. Retrieved 18 February 2015. Mojave Air and Spaceport is the epicentre of privately-funded commercial space flight research and development. 
  11. ^ "Active Commercial Space Licenses". FAA. February 18, 2009. Retrieved January 1, 2010. 
  12. ^ [2] Mojave Air and Space Port - Aircraft Storage
  13. ^ a b c Hansen, Cathy; Settle, Glen A. (1996). Mojave: A Rich History of Rails, Flight, Mining. Kern-Antelope Historical Society. 
  14. ^ "Edward Shaw - VMF-213". Retrieved 2006-11-16. 
  15. ^ "AIRCRAFT WRECKS IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA". Retrieved 2006-11-16. 
  16. ^ "Mojave Airport: Voyager". Mojave Virtual Museum. Retrieved 2006-11-16. 
  17. ^ a b c d "First Flights - XCOR Aerospace". Mojave Virtual Museum. Retrieved 2006-11-13. 
  18. ^ a b "Mojave First Flights". Mojave Virtual Museum. Retrieved 2006-11-13. 
  19. ^ "Virgin's GlobalFlyer Makes Successful First Flight!". Mojave Airport Weblog. Retrieved 2006-11-16. 
  20. ^ a b Deaver, Bill (2005-12-22). "XCOR EZ-Rocket makes more history at CalCity". Mojave Desert News. 
  21. ^ David, Leonard, "X-37 Flies At Mojave But Encounters Landing Problems", Space.com April 7, 2006
  22. ^ "CATBird transitions to Lockheed for final systems installation", Aerotech News and Review, 2007-03-09
  23. ^ "Third person dies in Mojave Airport explosion, names released".  
  24. ^ "Storied 'Gimli Glider' on final approach", The Globe and Mail
  25. ^ "The Gimli Glider retires to the desert" Air Canada: The Daily (internal employee newsletter), 22 January 2008
  26. ^ "WhiteKnightTwo Makes First Flight Aviation Week". Retrieved 2008-12-23. 
  27. ^ a b "NASA and X Prize Announce Winners of Lunar Lander Challenge" (Press release).  
  28. ^ a b "X PRIZE Foundation and NASA Cap Amazing Lunar Lander Competition and Award $2 Million in Prizes" (Press release).  
  29. ^ Petersen, Melody; Hennigan, W.J.; Mai-Duc, Christine; Li, Shan (2014-10-31). Tough day' for space travel as Virgin Galactic's spaceship crashes"'". Los Angeles Times (Los Angeles). Retrieved 2014-10-31. 
  30. ^ MD-90-30 flight test at The Mojave Virtual Museum Photo Library, Mojave Airport, Flight Test and Development
  31. ^ "Orenda Recip Engines performs final air tractor tests", Aerotech News and Review, 2001-01-26
  32. ^ "SinoSwearingen Tests SJ30-2 at Mojave". Retrieved 2006-11-21. 
  33. ^ Scott, William B, "Morphing Wings", Aviation Week & Space Technology, 2006-11-27
  34. ^ Scott, William B, "White Knight Back in Action", Aviation Week & Space Technology, 2006-11-27
  35. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u FAI World Aviation Records Database, accessed June 26, 2011
  36. ^ Belfiore, Michael (2012-01-23). "Burt Rutan on Designing the World’s Largest Aircraft". Popular Mechanics. Retrieved 2012-01-20. In 1991, to address a requirement to launch a booster heavier than 500,000 pounds, [Rutan] did the Model 205 and 206 preliminary designs. ... "About 10 years ago, to encourage innovation and design responsibility among the young engineers at Scaled, I took on the status of design advisor, while the title of Principal Configuration Designer went to a very talented team of designers, including Jim Tighe, Cory Bird, Bob Morgan and others. Except for the Bipod roadable aircraft, all the airplanes designed at Scaled after SpaceShipOne were not Burt Rutan designs." 
  37. ^ Messier, Doug (2014-09-12). "Jim Tighe to Depart Scaled Composites". Parabolic Arc. Retrieved 2014-09-13. 
  38. ^ "N834TP Accident description". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 21 June 2010. 
  39. ^ "WPR09LA108". National Transportation Safety Board. Retrieved 22 June 2010. 
  40. ^ Petersen, Melody; Hennigan, W.J.; Mai-Duc, Christine; Li, Shan (2014-10-31). Tough day' for space travel as Virgin Galactic's spaceship crashes"'". Los Angeles Times (Los Angeles). Retrieved 2014-10-31. 

External links

  • Official site.
  • Encyclopedia Astronautica entry.
  • Mojave Transportation Museum's Virtual Museum web site
  • MojaveAirport discussion list on Yahoo Groups
  • Listing of aircraft wrecks in the Mojave area, including many from World War II
  • Airliners.net Mojave airport photos
  • Mojave Air & Space Port video on YouTube, August 2008
  • cover storyPopular Mechanics, 2009
  • KMHV page at ClearanceWiki - airport notes for instrument-rated pilots
  • FAA Airport Master Record for MHV (Form 5010 PDF)
  • FAA Airport Diagram (PDF), effective May 26, 2016
  • Resources for this airport:
    • FAA airport information for MHV
    • AirNav airport information for KMHV
    • ASN accident history for MHV
    • FlightAware airport information and live flight tracker
    • NOAA/NWS latest weather observations
    • SkyVector aeronautical chart, Terminal Procedures
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