April 23, 2014 - Last Saturday’s annual Mojave Experimental Fly-In at the experimental hotbed Mojave Air and Space Port in California’s high desert welcomed about 250 airplanes and more than 1,000 attendees.
Airport figures showed well more than 500 operations, making it one of the busiest days in airport history. In addition, during the days before the April 19 fly-in, a number of new aviation records were established in speed and time-to-climb categories.
Five aircraft attempted to break nine world aviation records and in the end seven new marks were set. This is more record attempts set by more airplanes at a single event than has ever happened in the history of aviation record setting, event organizers claim. The National Aeronautic Association had representatives on site to witness the record attempts, but they won’t become official until approved by the world sanctioning body Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI).
“This was a true grassroots aviation event,” said Elliot Seguin, of Scaled Composites and main organizer, calling those in attendance “the hard-cores” of the aviation community, always looking to outdo one another and celebrate the innovations.
The new unofficial records include:
- Speed over recognized course - Napa Valley (APC) to Mojave (MHV) – Tanner Yaberg, EAA 676692, RV-7A, 183.9 mph
- Speed over 3-kilometer course – Lee Behel, EAA Lifetime 278620, in the GP-5, 377.6 mph, breaking previous record of 356.1 mph set by Jon Sharp, EAA 239592, in 1998 in the Nemesis NXT
- Speed over 15-kilometer course - Lee Behel, Questair Venture, 378.7 mph of MayCay Beeler, 1989, 358.8 mph
- 3,000 meters time-to-climb - Lee Behel GP-5, 2:00, breaking previous record held by Bruce Bohannon, EAA 169040, Bohannon 1, 2:20, set in 1999
- Speed over a closed circuit of 1,000 kilometers – Mike Patey, Lancair Legacy, 319 mph, breaking previous record held by John Harris, Bellanca, 301.129 mph, set in 1975
- Speed over a closed circuit of 2,000 kilometers – Mike Patey, Lancair Legacy, 319 mph, breaking previous record held by Mike Melvill, EAA Lifetime 53387, Rutan Catbird, 256.9 mph, set in 1994
- Speed over a closed circuit of 5,000 kilometers – Zach Reeder, EAA 777411, Rutan Catbird, 211 mph to establish a record. Reeder was aloft for more than 15 hours, from just after 6 a.m. to about 10 p.m.
Two Class C-1a record attempts by Tom Aberly in a Phantom were not successful (speed over a closed circuit of 3,000 kilometers, and 3,000 meter time-to-climb).
At the Saturday night awards dinner, 150 attendees heard from NASA Flight Director and Kitplanes Editor Paul Dye, who spoke about taking risk during flight testing. The following trophies were presented for the top awards of the year.
Experimenter of the Year - Mike Patey for his 780 Lycoming conversion
Best Test - Zach Reeder, for his Catbird long-range fuel mods
Best Build – 2014: Kevin Eldredge, Titan Engine Development
Best Design - Jeff Lange for his turbo conversion Sonerai
Best Failed Record Attempt - Tom Aberle
Seguin noted that an excellent working relationship with the Van Nuys FSDO made for safe operations, notably in setting up for the first time a low-altitude 3-kilometer test course for practice runs. “This will certainly bode well for future events,” he said.
See more fly-in photos at the Mojave Fly-In website.