By kjfitz @ 2005-07-29 01:16:34
Mojave Airport is the civilian and commercial aircraft flight test facility. It is the civilian analog to Edwards AFB, which is just down the road a few miles. Mojave is home to number of cutting edge aircraft companies, including Scaled Composites, which recently flew the first civilian manned space flight. You see all kinds of odd and interesting artifacts when driving around the airport, anything from homebuilts made out of styrofoam to Russian Migs being used to fly against the USAF.
Mojave is in the high desert. It is dry because the mountains near the ocean rob all of the rainfall, leaving central and eastern California with almost no rainfall. The low humidity makes an ideal place to store aircraft, and the hard desert floor is able to support these mammoth beasts without being paved over. The result is that Mojave is a first choice as a storage location for aircraft that you with to use again in the future. At the current time, there are several hundred airliners in storage. This ranges from the puddle jumpers, small jests like the Fokkers, up to the wide bodies and jumbos such as the L-1011 and Boeing-747. The post 9/11 aviation economy is the biggest reason for airliners being sent to Mojave. Entire fleets have been sent here due to airlines going bankrupt. Secondary reasons include older 727 and DC-9 that do not meet new noise guidelines, and older aircraft who will have a second life as cargo transports.