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Beautiful Things In The Mojave Desert

by John M. White |

Earlier I posted a note about my first encounter with aviation, back when I first saw a V-Tailed Beech Bonanza at a local county fair.  I watched Sky King flying an old T-50 "Bamboo Bomber" which later became unsafe and was retired.  I had the chance to fly one many years ago, and it was an interesting aircraft to fly.

Since then I have been interested in aviation and had the good fortune to fly all kinds of airplanes from Piper J-3 Cubs to jets, and everything in between.  My love of aviation led me to my career in the aviation insurance business, and in 2004 I sold my business but still miss it a lot.

In some ways advances in aviation come by way of an accident.  Take for example the fact that the US Marines decided to pull out of the Mojave airport in 1961 when a man named Dan Sabovich, who loved to fly his V-Tail Bonanza, saw the airport as a civilian flight test center.  In 1972 he finally succeeded in getting the Mojave special airport district, and two years later a young aeronautical engineer from Poly Tech arrived to set up the Rutan Aircraft Factory.  Only problem was he had no money for a hangar - but Dan Sabovich saw something in Rutan and gave him a hangar to use free of charge.

Fast forward to October 4th, 2004 when a Burt Rutan built aircraft reached an altitude of 367,442 and claimed the $ 10M X-Prize.  Spurred on by this remarkable achievment Sir Richard Branson teamed up with Rutan to form Virgin Galactic and promote sub-orbital flight for the masses - the masses that could afford the $200,000 ticket, that is!

Recently they rolled out WhiteKnight Two, a beautiful aircraft that will carry SpaceShip Two and its paying passengers up to sub-orbital flight.  Sir Branson envisions spaceports around the world with high altitude and high speed flights with an aircraft that will be a cross between the Concorde and a space ship. White Knight 2

Until next time keep your wings straight and level Hersch!


For once you have tasted flight
you will walk the earth
with your eyes turned skywards,
for there you have been
and there you will long to return. -- Leonardo da Vinci

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