With 344 transient aircraft and 16 local operations logged by the tower, plus what might have been 100 airplanes on the ramp at any one time, the 2018 Mojave Experimental Fly-In April 21, 2018 certainly looked and felt like the most-attended MEFI in the event's six-year history. It's true that many of the aircraft arriving at Mojave were certified transportation, but they were carrying experimenters and there were still plenty of experimentals to eyeball on Mojave's ample ramp.
As always, the Experimental Fly-In followed its proven meet-and-great format. There are no airport closures, no aerobatic acts and no county fair hucksterism, just planes and their owners ready to share their stories and ideas. At mid-day Saturday Bill Norton outlined 1940's flight testing in a talk in the Mojave terminal's conference room; The featured speaker during the awards banquet Saturday night was record holder and Scaled Composites flight tester Zack Reeder. But for the majority of attendees, the main event from 10 am to 2 pm was out on the ramp, seeing the planes and the people behind them.
Also seeming like a MEFI birthright was the weather. April in the high desert can mean sporty winds, but just like last year the weather was postcard perfect all day.
Thanks to unavoidable conflicts we weren't able to attend all the MEFI events, so we had to skip the flour bombing and indoor model airplane flying on Friday, plus the always interesting awards banquet Saturday night. But we did get to trot across the Mojave ramp and grab a few snaps of the main event on Saturday. We'll better plan our time when we return next year.
Because the Mojave Experimental Fly-In favors experimentation and effort over showmanship, the awards center around achievement in experimental aircraft and flying.
Photos by Tom Wilson and courtesy Cathy Hansen
2018 Mojave Experimental Fly-In Winners
Best Overall--Mike Patey, Lancair Legacy Turbine Turbulence
Best Design--Mike Patey, Lancair Legacy Turbine Turbulence
Best Build--Bruce Hill, Van's RV-9A
Best Effort--Scott Liefeld, Pietenpol Air Camper
Best Test--Andrew Angelotti, Articulating Air Data Boom
Tom Wilson is a professional magazine writer and nurtures an ongoing affair with all things internal combustion. His writing is most often found in automotive magazines, but aviation is his first love. Working as a line boy, he learned to fly while in high school, but still hasn't mastered the art of keeping a paper chart in an open cockpit.