For those who were unable to attend our Annual Meeting in Mojave, CA. Oct 19-21 2012, you really missed out. Not only did we have a great line up of speakers, and some interesting tours, Mojave Spaceport is truly an innovative, mysterious and fascinating place.
Where else can you find a Convair 880 and F4 Phantom guarding the airport gate? The mothballed airliners are parked everywhere, and the airport staff are willing to provide a tour of the airport for a small fee, for those who land there.
During our weekend meeting there was a retired 747, in old United Airlines colors, sitting right there on the ramp without its engines. The cowls were on but no engines. We saw an old 727 parked on the ramp too, and it left sometime during the weekend.
When you drive around the Mojave airport/spaceport, you see all kinds of aviation projects. We saw old two place jet fighter fuselages stacked in rows, a C-130 fuselage sitting on its wheels but without wings or its tail. And then there were the space projects, which were interesting and to be honest, a bit mind boggling.
Huge military helicopters were operating on Saturday with rotor sounds that were very usual. And the winds were higher at night then during the daytime. One had the feeling of not knowing what was going to happen next.
And then there are the companies (yes more than one) competing to be the first to take private citizens into space. We were provided with fascinating presentations on what each was doing, and the different approaches they were taking. We had no idea just how much competition there was to provide rides into space.
What shown through it all was that these people, and many of the businesses at Mojave, are involved with the next frontier in aviation – Space. Mojave Spaceport has the feel of the old days when everyone was welcomed to look around their airport and ask questions. And, it’s difficult to focus with everything that is happening there.
We want to thank the companies and speakers who provided us with such interesting presentations.
- Rick Searfoss–‐Director of Flight Test Operations and Chief Test Pilot, XCOR Aerospace
- Steven De La Cruz–‐ Program Manager and “Drone Driver,” General Atomics Aeronautical
- William “Idle” Power–‐ Senior Test Pilot, Unmanned Systems, Inc.
- Dr. Allen L. (AL) Peterson–‐ CEO, National Test Pilot School
- George T Whitesides–‐CEO and President, Virgin Galactic
- Jim Payne–‐Chief Pilot, Perlan Project
- Ed Dunlap–‐Orbital Sciences Manager of L1011 Operations–‐Mojave
- Bill Weaver–‐Orbital Sciences Chief L–‐1011 Pilot
- Greg Mungas–‐Owner, Firestar Technologies
- Aleta Jackson–Co–‐founder and manager, XCOR Aerospace
- Dr. Lee Valentine--‐ XCOR Board of Directors
The California Pilots Association would especially like to express our appreciation to Firestar Technologies for their generous provision of hangar space for many of our event activities.
Save the date October 18-19th 2013 –
Next year the California Pilots Association’s Annual Meeting will be held at San Luis Obispo (SBP). This will be a completely different type of a meeting focusing on the fun and joy that general aviation provides us. We’ll have a live band for a Friday night dance, some great general aviation speakers, a great lunch, aircraft rides, fuel discounts and much more. So stay tuned.
The volunteers of the California Pilots Association not only protect our GA airports and flight privileges, we are also doing our part to grow general aviation and get our state’s pilots back in their planes. Next year’s meeting promises to be a lot of fun, and will be easily accessible in its mid-state location. We’ll see you there.