Huge Response Leads Edwards to Close Fly-In Lottery Early
August 25, 2010 — Because of a tremendous response from the pilot community, applications to participate in the first-ever general aviation fly-in at Edwards Air Force Base’s historic Rosamond Dry Lakebed in California will end on Thursday, August 26, at 5 p.m. local time (PDT), according to the base community relations department. In just over a week’s time, more than 2,000 private pilots applied to be among the 100 lucky ones allowed to fly into the secure area and land where many of aviation’s epic breakthroughs have occurred.
“The response has been overwhelming,” said Edwards’ Deputy Chief of Community Relations Meredith Mingledorff on Wednesday, August 25. “We’re going to turn off (applications) tomorrow.” Pilots will be notified by September 16 if they’re among those selected to fly in.
People who wish to drive into Edwards can still register to do so at the Flight Test Nation website.
EAA received several calls from members asking why single-engine, fixed wing light-sport airplanes were specifically excluded from this first fly-in at Edwards. (Also specifically excluded were jets, gliders, and helicopters.) In our discussions with the Edwards AFB Flight Safety office it became clear that the only reason for the exclusion was safety:
“We are concerned with any lightweight aircraft, since we will not have tiedowns and the winds usually get to 25-30 knots in the late afternoon during the departures,” said Bill Koukourikos of the Edwards AFB Flight Safety office. “It’s more of a risk reduction and safety decision. Additionally, there is no provision to keep aircraft overnight on the lakebed and wait until the morning for the winds to die down.”
When asked about modifying the restriction for future fly-in’s, Koukourikos added, “This is the first time we are doing this. If successful, and the military leadership sees the merit of this event, we may continue to do it during the off years when Edwards does not have an air show and will revisit the LSA and lightweight aircraft issue again.”