News / USA

    Pilots Grab Rare Chance to Land at US Air Force Base

    One hundred join fly-in at historic Edwards AFB in California desert

    Civilian pilots came from across the United States to take part in the fly-in event at Edwards Air Force Base in California.
    Civilian pilots came from across the United States to take part in the fly-in event at Edwards Air Force Base in California.

    Multimedia

    One hundred private pilots got a rare chance to land on the dry lakebed of Edwards Air Force Base, where aviation pioneers have set many speed and altitude records, and where the space shuttle sometimes lands.

    The civilian flyers came from across the United States to take part in the first-of-its kind event. They arrived at the desert air base northeast of Los Angeles in refurbished military aircraft from World War II and other small private planes. Graham Mancur says he was excited.

    "Gosh, it's not every day you get to land on space shuttle-like lake beds at Air Force bases," said Graham Mancur, who is from Orange County, California. "It's really cool, and to see the test pilot zone where they tested everything in the 1960s, and I guess the '70s."

    The lucky pilots were chosen from more than 2,000 who applied. The former base commander, Maj. Gen. David Eichhorn, says the exercise gives private pilots a better understanding of the base and surrounding air space.

    "It's actually shared use air space for a lot of it, so we want the civilians to know what we do here, so we can all share the air space safely," he says.

    And that's an honor for these civilian pilots, operating cargo and non combat planes retired and sold by the military.

    There was even time to socialize and pick up souvenirs at the event. And the warm and sunny California desert weather was ideal for flying.

    "The air is great," says pilot Greg Scates. "The dust is non-existent. It's perfect right now."

    Charlie Tipton spent 10 days flying from eastern Pennsylvania to California in a small surveillance plane built for the US Air Force in the 1940s.

    "We talk about fly low, fly slow in these kinds of airplanes," says Tipton. "But in addition to being able to do that, because I have a radio and a transponder, I can actually go places, and I do - to wit, I'm here."

    Flyers shared their experiences and got a look at other airplanes, including classic wartime aircraft known as war-birds. Carl Scholl made the landing in a restored World War II B-25.

    "This particular airplane never saw service in World War II, but it was in the training command," he says. "After the war, it was a firefighter. It was used in a bunch of movies - "Catch-22" and "Pearl Harbor" and a few things like that."

    An Air Force spokesman says there are no current plans to repeat the civilian fly-in. For the pilots who got the chance to land their private planes at the historic air base, it's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

    You May Like

    US-Russia Tensions Complicate Syria War

    With a shared enemy and opposing allies, Russia and the US are working to avoid confrontation

    Video Re-opening Old Wounds in Beirut's Bullet-riddled Yellow House

    Built in neo-Ottoman style in 1920s, it is set to be re-opened in Sept. as ‘memory museum’ - bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity

    Cambodian-Americans Lobby for Human Rights Resolution

    Resolution condemns all forms of political violence in Cambodia, urges Cambodian government to end human rights violations, calls for respect of press freedom

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora