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Skid Strip

Skid Strip

While many airports have runways or landing strips, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station has a skid strip. It actually is a runway, but the name "skid strip" has remained from the earliest days when Snark winged missiles were returned to the Cape after launch. A simple landing gear with short metal pads (skids) in place of wheels enabled the Snark to be landed on the skid strip by radio control. Not all landings were successful, but a successful landing allowed a more economical study of the flight. The name "skid strip" was coined and remains to this day. The skid strip has hosted landings from a wide variety of aircraft, everything from missile deliveries to Air Force One.

The Skid Strip also served as a takeoff and landing place for test flights of the Navaho X-10 under remote control and automatic flight control. An aircraft carrier type arresting barrier was installed to assist with stopping the X-10 upon landing.

Date Serial # Comment
19 August 1955 GM-19312 Destroyed on landing
24 October 1955 GM 52-4 Destroyed on landing
3 February 1955 GM 52-1  
29 February 1956 GM 52-1  
20 March 1956 GM 52-1  
24 April 1956 GM 52-2 Crashed in ocean
5 June 1956 GM 52-5  
18 July 1956 GM 52-5  
27 August 1956 GM 52-1 Deliberate dive crash test to target
21 September 1956 GM 52-6  
24 October 1956 GM 52-6  

There were also three X-10 flights as drone vehicle for the Bomarc.

Date Serial # Comment
24 September 1958 GM 52-5 Missile burned after running off Skid Strip at end of mission
13 November 1958 GM 19313 Missile burned after running off Skid Strip at end of mission
26 September 1959 GM 52-3 Missile destroyed itself. Crashed 57 miles downrange after power failure

How the Skid Strip Got Its Name
  Snark launch, skid deployment, and landing sequence (no audio)  
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History Center Storyboard
History Center Storyboard - Skid Strip

Photo Gallery
Bomarc arrives at the Skid Strip - 14 May 1959

Related Pages

Snark exhibit

Snark Photographs

Navaho exhibit

Navaho Photographs