Watch C-17, A-10 and HC-130J Aircraft Operate From Delamar Dry Lake Bed (the original emergency landing site for the X-15)

Apr 30 2017 - 3 Comments

U.S. Air Force landed and took off from the Delamar Dry Lake Bed, the emergency landing site for the X-15.

C-17 Globemaster III airlifters from 57th Weapons Squadron, A-10 Thunderbolt IIs from the 66th Weapons Squadron, HC-130J from the 34th Weapons Squadron as well as HH-60Gs belonging to the 66th Rescue Squadron took part in USAF Weapons School squadrons composite mission application and combat search and rescue operations at the Delamar dry lake bed on the NTTR (Nevada Test and Training Range).

Referred to as “Texas Lake” dry lake bed because of its resemblance to the state of Texas from the air, Delamar Lake landing strip was established in 1943 and, in the 1960s it was designated emergency landing sites for the North American X-15, a rocket-powered, missile-shaped manned aircraft operated by the U.S. Air Force and NASA capable to reach the edge of space at an altitude between 100,000 and 300,000 feet at speed exceeding 4,500 MPH (+7,270 km/h) .

In fact, the dry lake bed was located underneath the Delamar Dry Lake Drop Zone where the X-15s brought to the launch altitude of 45,000 feet under the wing of a B-52 bomber, were dropped at a speed of Mach 0.8.

The Delamar Lake Landing Strip consists of a 15,000 ft long runway; still, considered the lack of obstacles, aircraft can land in any direction.

Along with making “unprepared landing strip operations” training possible, dry lakes can be particularly useful also in case of emergency: the huge lakebed can minimize the damage to a plane forced to land there. Here is what happened when a B-1 Lancer performed a crash landing on the Rogers Dry Lake at Edwards Air Force Base in 1989. Here you can find a U.S. Air Force C-5 Galaxy airlifter making a successful emergency landing once again at Rogers Dry Lake in 2001.


  • Eugene C. Klapheke III

    It is simply amazing the difference in dust generated between the C-130 and the C-17 landings.

  • MikeFurlan

    And yet, after 16 years there is no victory in sight in the Global War on Terror.

  • Black Eagle

    You call landing on a perfectly straight salt lake versatility of USAF, like it would be something unachievable for other nations and their Air Forces. Oh, don’t be so funny.
    Honestly, with all respect to USAF, there have been done even more difficult and complicated landings on improvised runways. It’s not a secret that most of them were in Russia or in former states of Soviet Union, where aircrafts such as Su-25 (the A-10’s counterpart) or MiG-29 were literally taking off and landing on some grassy rough areas which doesn’t even looked like a runway or from totally wet airfield runways.
    After all, these are the real capabilities every warplane should has because in case of some serious war, there would be no time for building more perfectly straight runways and facilities and therefore the side who can better improvise has also serious advantage.
    The rest of your comment is just you randomly blabbing based on no facts which has nothing in common with the content of the article.