EAA Seeks Edwards AFB Fly-in Slot Winners
September 8, 2010 — EAA Publications seeks pre- and post-fly-in reports from winners of aircraft slots to Flight Test Nation (October 1), the first-ever general aviation pancake breakfast and fly-in to Edwards Air Force Base. The fly-in is limited to 100 aircraft, leaving thousands of envious pilots wanting to know what it will be like to land where many of aviation’s epic breakthroughs have occurred. While this event is being billed as a safety event to showcase flight testing and educate pilots about the local airspace, it turns out that nearby EAA Chapters 1000 and 723 have been flying into Edwards for events since the 1990s.
EAA Chapter 1000 President Gary Aldrich knows what it’s like to land on Rosamond Dry Lakebed, having flown his own Cessna 180 onto the lakebed many times, often for support missions having to do with research at Edwards.
“Landing on the lakebed is no trivial matter,” said Aldrich, who was a flight test engineer at Edwards until 1996. “The lakebed can cause depth perception problems for pilots. That’s why they [Edwards AFB] are being selective on pilot qualifications, such as a requiring a minimum number of hours to fly-in.”
Aldrich says that in 1994, EAA 1000 (the chapter meets on the base) helped coordinate a fly-in of 150 experimental and production aircraft to participate in the base’s bi-annual open house and air show. “We parked the planes in this huge hangar that can hold four C-5s. The aircraft filled up the hangar - it was impressive,” said Aldrich, who is back at Edwards as a contract flight instructor at the USAF Test Pilot School.
The lucky aircraft will land on the lakebed, which is outside of the Edwards secure area and then participants will be bused to the base for a briefing from the Air Force Flight Test Center commander on the mission and current programs, a detailed explanation of the R-2508 airspace surrounding the base, techniques on navigating the airspace and avoiding traffic conflicts, a presentation on women in the flight test community, and even a visit from Pancho Barnes herself during a catered lunch. Plus they are offering the possibility of a military aerial demonstration.
Organizers received more than 2,500 applications to the fly-in on the historic Rosamond Dry Lakebed in California before registration was cut off. Winners will be selected by lottery on September 10, with notifications to the winners being made by September 16. If you don’t win a spot, there still remains the option to drive-in. Visit Flight Test Nation for more information.
EAA members who win a spot are encouraged to contact EAA Publications prior to flying to the event.