Saturday, October 18, 2008

Victorville Visit and Herd Count

I had the opportunity last week to fly over to Victorville, and spend some time there in the pattern. Victorville, the former George Air Force Base, is also in the Mojave Desert (a desert that's a lot bigger than some people realize), and so when unknowing news media refer to airliners parked in the Mojave Desert, they can be refering to Mojave or Victorville.

Because of some agressive marketing on the part of VCV's management, who have styled the place as the "Southern California Logistics Airport" (and has embraced airliner storage, whereas Mojave has somewhat discouraged it), VCV has superceded Mojave in numbers of planes stored, so it's always interesting to see what's currently "in captivity". Two companies perform airliner services, Victorville Aerospace and Southern California Aviation.

Like Mojave, Victorville is also a place where old airliners are cut up, and there they're done by Aircraft Recycling Corp on an innovative concrete pad (right) built by the airport so that the process doesn't contaminate the underlying soils.

Victorville is also the home of 10 Tanker Air Carrier, the company responsible for developing Tanker 910, the first DC-10 fire fighting airtanker. It has been so successful that the State of California granted 10 Tanker an exclusive use contract for the plane. One air drop of retardant from the DC-10 is equivalent to twelve drops from an S2T tracker. 10 Tanker has been working on a second aircraft, Tanker 911, which was also present at Victorville the day I was there. On one pattern, we had to extend downwind because Tanker 910 was departing to make a run on the fire burning over in the Porter Ranch/Simi Valley area.

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