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Stu Witt’s Annual New Year’s Message

By Doug Messier
Parabolic Arc
January 15, 2015
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Mojave Air and Space Port CEO Stu Witt (Credit: Bill Deaver)

Mojave Air and Space Port CEO Stu Witt (Credit: Bill Deaver)

New Year’s Greeting 2015
January 12, 2015

Happy New Year! Once again, it is my pleasure to provide an update on our 2014 goal achievement and lay out our vision for 2015. This past year has been extremely busy at Mojave Air & Space Port. While we witnessed many successes we also came to grips with losing three members of our flight test family. In retrospect, regardless of how we view any success in 2014 the reality of the events of 24 and 31 October will live with us forever. As we move into 2015, we must constantly realize that the work we perform is essential for the continued mobility of the traveling world but the cost associated with our achievement is often high and deeply personal.

In February 2014, the AVBoT held their annual outlook conference in Mojave. This was a first and noteworthy event for us. The event was highlighted by a charged and emotional speech by Captain Mark Kelly USN/ NASA Astronaut. We hosted nearly 1200 guests to our event center and took full advantage to show off our economic growth and achievement.

As I stated in 2014, “Bolting together infrastructure to support tomorrow’s industry needs has proven to be our strongest asset in Mojave.” For 12 years we have planned and developed building sites for aircraft and space related projects and all have proven wise. We have facilitated construction of major facilities and are seeing outside vendors invest millions of dollars in renovation of existing facilities since our internal investment program began in 2002. In 2015 we expect to expand our rail yard for offloading and loading product from our region along with continuing to support the wind energy industry and on-site aerospace industry. Our investment in moving water, power and fiber to the north side of the airport has proven very sound as connections continue to be installed by SoCal Edison and our tenants in the rocket testing industry and aircraft demolition industry. Right here in Mojave, at nearly the same location, we see old outdated craft being recycled and new craft being developed to meet the emerging needs of our ambitions in aero and space. It is truly amazing.

On the airport side of our operation we have seen significant growth in military aircraft activity. Everyone at the airport enjoys seeing military aircraft in our pattern and operating from our ramp. We get to see these young aviators, first hand, operating their magnificent flying machines.

Mojave Air & Space Port’s participation in the future continues to build on our 2014 accomplishments. Masten Space Systems continued to demonstrate extraordinary precision flying their tethered and free powered flights. XCOR continued to demonstrate engine advances along with construction of their Lynx Sub-Orbital vehicle. Inter-Orbital conducted a free flight from the amateur testing site near Kohen Lake and we expect expanding ground and flight testing from each firm in 2015. Scaled Composites demonstrated numerous glide and two powered flights of SS2 and numerous tests of WhiteKnightTwo before losing the SS2 on 31 Oct. ASB Avionics continues to surprise and motivate us with their achievements especially with the B747SP on their ramp with a new glass cockpit all designed and installed in Mojave. DARPA’s new Experimental Spaceplane (XS-1) initiative awarded three contracts, which include a number of Mojave companies, to create a new model for affordable space operations:

  • Masten Space Systems (working with XCOR Aerospace)
  • Northrop Grumman Corporation (working with Virgin Galactic)
  • The Boeing Company (working with Blue Origin, LLC)

In addition, NASA has also recognized the capabilities of Masten Space Systems and Virgin Galactic by awarding contracts to integrate and fly technology payloads on commercial suborbital reusable platforms.

Some highlights of 2014 that may have missed your RADAR screen:

  • National Test Pilot School hosted their second Flight Test Camp for regional high school students.
  • Commercial Aircraft Services expanded their operations with new equipment required to enhance recycling commercial aircraft.
  • Incotec installed a new water system to facilitate facility growth in 2015.
  • MASP completed and closed out three FAA grant projects enhancing taxiways and runways.
  • MASP completed construction of a new water storage and delivery management system.
  • MASP completed remodeling and painting of six airport facilities.
  • MASP initiated and is completing a multi-year financial audit.

In early 2015 we will develop a District strategic plan identifying many short and long term objectives. A road improvement plan will be developed and we will continue to aggressively upgrade and maintain our runways, taxiways, navigation, communication and lighting systems.

Very Respectfully,

Stuart O. Witt
CEO & General Manager
M0jave Air and Space Port

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