Ground Control to Major Tom


They say when it ain’t broke… don’t fix it. I had written a blog the other day about travel to Arizona and it was my biggest blog success story thus far. In fact, I received roughly 120 Facebook LIKES and numerous comments, and that’s not bad for a newbie blogger. So, I thought… try it again and see what happens. Do folks really like to read about different places in the world?


Today – I want to take you to visit Roswell, New Mexico where I currently live. The state of New Mexico is beautiful no matter where you go. There are mountains, foothills, plains, desert land, big cities and small towns. The climate varies depending on wherever you are. No matter what… New Mexico is a great place to see, and in my case, I live there.



My husband and I built our home in Roswell in 2004. Hurricane Charlie and three other storms hit us hard that summer. We had visited Roswell at least eight times previously. It was our intention to have a western home and leave the south behind. We accomplished our vision and our new home was almost ready for occupancy when Charlie rolled in off the Gulf of Mexico.

I’d like to blog about that story at another time, but right now, fasten your seat belts because we are about to land in Roswell.


Maybe I don’t live real close to the airport, but on some days, not too close is… too close.

In the summer of 1947, a rancher discovered some unidentifiable debris in his sheep pasture outside Roswell, New Mexico. Although officials from the local Air Force base, asserted that it was a crashed weather balloon, but many people believed it was the remains of an extraterrestrial flying saucer. History reports that a series of secret “dummy drops” happened in New Mexico during the 1950’s that heightened suspicion.

Nearly 50 years after the story of the mysterious debris broke, the U.S. military issued a report linking the incident to a top-secret atomic espionage project called Project Mogul. Still, many people continue to embrace the UFO theory, and hundreds of curiosity seekers visit Roswell and the crash site every year. Some people believed–and still believe–that the crashed vehicle had not come from Earth at all. They argued that the debris must have come from an alien spaceship.



These skeptics grew more numerous during the 1950’s, when the Air Force conducted a series of secret “dummy drops” over air bases, test ranges and unoccupied fields across New Mexico The experiments, meant to test ways for pilots to survive falls from high altitudes.  Featureless dummies with latex “skin” and aluminum ‘bones’,  bandaged dummies that looked an awful lot like space aliens were supposed to fall from the sky onto the ground. Whereupon, military vehicles would descend on the landing site to retrieve the ‘bodies’ as quickly as possible. To people who believed the government was covering up the truth about the Roswell landing, these dummy drops seemed just as suspicious. They were convinced that the dummies were actually extraterrestrial creatures who were being kidnapped and experimented on by government scientists.

Today, I plan to blog about the Roswell, NM International Air Center Airport and its uniqueness. During World War II, the airport was called  the Roswell Army International Airfield.  And during the Cold War, it was known as the Walker Air Force Base . When it closed, it was the largest base of the United States Air Force Strategic Command. Roswell International Air Center was developed after the closure of Walker Air Force Base on June 30, 1967.

Since the base closure in 1967, the City has converted the extensive airfield complex to civil aviation use. The RIAC is home to a fireworks factory, a plastic manufacturer, a builder of buses, a candy manufacturer, aircraft repair and refurbishing companies, and the Roswell Municipal Airport.

All classes of general and commercial aviation activity can presently be accommodated at the RIAC, including training and research operations as well as equipment maintenance and testing programs. The Eastern New Mexico University has a campus there, and aircraft repair and refurbishing companies including AerSale have airliners stored on-site.


The Roswell International Air Center covers an area of 5,029 acres with two paved runways. The industrial sites and buildings are available for lease with the RIAC, no tenant should lack of space.

The site was used for several years to launch stratospheric balloons for Air Force projects. The airfield also serves as a storage facility for a number of retired Air bus A300-600R  wide body jetliners formerly operated by American Airline.

In 2002 a series of charter flights operated by Trans World Airline (TWA) with Boeing 767-300 aircraft were flown into Roswell in order to transport trainees for the Federal Air Marshal service. This training was conducted at the Federal Law Enforcement Center in nearby Artesia, New Mexico.

The Boeing Company uses the airfield for braking performance testing of its aircraft, most recently the testing of BF Goodrich carbon brakes on the Boeing 737-900ER model. Brake testing has also been performed on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner at the airport.

A New Mexico National Guard unit uses several buildings on the airport grounds. Since I’ve lived in Roswell, Sarah Palin, Hank JR., President G.W. Bush, President Obama, among other music groups, celebrities and politicians have flown into RAC. Their planes have flown directly over my house.

Roswell is an aircraft Boneyard. Deserts, such as this one, in the Southwestern United States, are good locations for Boneyards since the dry conditions reduce corrosion and the hard ground does not need to be paved. Boneyards are either kept as storage locales or have their parts removed for reuse or resale and are then scrapped.

In August, 2016, the RAC became the temporary retirement home for 20 American Airline jets. The planes are to be restored in Roswell as the airline determined the future for the planes.  The aircraft were flown in from all parts of the country.

Today, as I wrote this piece, nearly two dozen airliners flew into Roswell. So not to interrupt regular air traffic, these jets were directed to use an alternate course with some landing five minutes or less from the previous one. That’s a lot of air traffic at one time to deal with on the ground below.

By now, I imagine you know what I’m leading up to. These aircraft took wing over my house. David Bowie wrote the lyrics to the song ‘Space Oddity’ and the song goes like this.

“Ground Control to Major Tom…

Take your protein pills and put your helmet on.”

Needless-to-say, this is how I felt for the hour and a half as the American Airline jets tore up the sky.

“This is Ground Control to Major Tom. You’ve really made the grade. Far above the world, Planet Earth is blue, but now it’s time to leave the capsule if you dare” , at the Roswell International Air Center. I look the liberty to paraphrase the lyrics a bit to fit my story. Data from: LyricFind. Lyrics provided for educational purposes.

I do admit that it was a spectacular sight to see the fleet of plane race across the atmosphere.  More of the McDonnall Douglas-80 models are expected in the future to arrive in Roswell.  When this happens, I’ll be prepared with my earplugs, helmet, and binoculars. BRING – IT – ON!

Thank you for sharing some time with the author and reading my blog.

Happy Reading,

K. Lorraine