As always an excellent fly-in at Mojave, and a really broad collection of airplanes from the worlds of research & development, Reno Air Racing, warbirds, and home-built one-of-a-kind airplanes. Even some rocket power! Here’s a few of my favourites:
The SAAB Draken. The first time I saw this jet was on my first flight in a single place sailplane sharing the pattern with it at Inyokern. SAAB was shooting a car commercial having this jet make high speed low passes. Nothing make you feel quite like it does when you and a fighter jet are circling each other! It’s flown by the National Test Pilot School in Mojave, to my knowledge, the world’s only civilian test pilot school.
Military guys are not the only ones getting to have fun burning jet fuel. Bob Carlton’s Super Salto Jet Sailplane wows crowds at air shows regularly. The PBS TJ-100 jet engine on top produces about 250 pounds of thrust and is becoming a well recognized engine in the experimental and homebuilt aircraft world.
Of course the home built aircraft were out in force. One of my favourites is a new design by Andy Chiavetta, the Aerochia LT-1. It’s a single seat carbon fibre aircraft with a 60 horsepower engine (but may get a 130 horsepower engine soon!) for economical fun. Andy is just starting, is looking to go into production, and has all the molds to start making airplanes. We need more fun affordable single seat pleasure aircraft and I think Andy has a well conceived answer in the LT-1.
Of course the Symmetry is a real beauty. A one-off two tandem seater personal aircraft of striking beauty in my opinion. I’ve never seen an airplane with such a smooth and finely honed surface rivalled only by the best sailplanes.
Now for throwing yourself around the sky it’s hard to beat a Christen Eagle! But there’s even more here… This is the MGL Avionics test airplane and trust me it’s loaded with all kinds of neat things they are working on. The front and back seat have full glass panel avionics.
Now this is the XCOR rocket racer. Designed from a heavily modified Rutan Long-EZ for a notional rocket air racing league it’s one of several famous rocket powered machines either flying or in development here at Mojave. Check out the pipes on this thing! I wonder what it costs to fuel it up with liquid oxygen for a rocket ride?