Naval Air Station Point Mugu

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Naval Air Station Point Mugu

Naval Base Ventura County (NBVC)
NTD - FAA airport diagram.gif
Airport typeMilitary
OperatorUnited States Navy
LocationPoint Mugu, Ventura County, near Oxnard, California
Elevation AMSL13 ft / 4 m
Coordinates34°07′13″N 119°07′16″W / 34.12028°N 119.12111°W / 34.12028; -119.12111Coordinates: 34°07′13″N 119°07′16″W / 34.12028°N 119.12111°W / 34.12028; -119.12111
Direction Length Surface
ft m
3/21 11,102 3,384 Asphalt
9/27 5,502 1,677 Asphalt

Naval Air Station Point Mugu is a former United States Navy air station that operated from 1942 to 2000 in California. In 2000, it merged with nearby Naval Construction Battalion Center Port Hueneme to form Naval Base Ventura County (NBVC).

At Point Mugu, NBVC operates two runways and encompasses a 36,000 square mile sea test range, anchored by San Nicolas Island. The range allows the military to test and track weapons systems in restricted air- and sea-space without encroaching on civilian air traffic or shipping lanes. The range can be expanded through interagency coordination between the U.S. Navy and the Federal Aviation Administration. Telemetry data can be tracked and recorded using technology housed at San Nicolas Island, Point Mugu and Laguna Peak, a Tier 1 facility also controlled by NBVC.

Major tenants[edit]


The facility in Point Mugu, California, started as a United States Navy anti-aircraft training center during World War II[1] and was developed in the late 1940s as the Navy's major missile development and test facility. This was where most of the Navy's missiles were developed and tested during the 1950/1960 era, including the AIM-7 Sparrow family and the AIM-54 Phoenix air-to-air, Bullpup air-to-surface, and Regulus surface-to-surface missiles.

Pt. Mugu has dominated the area since the 1940s, and is one of the few places in the area that is not agricultural. The base has been home to many ordnance testing programs, and the test range extends offshore to the Navy-owned San Nicolas Island in the Channel Islands.

In 1963 the U.S. Navy Marine Mammal Program was established on a sand spit between Mugu Lagoon and the ocean. The facility was relocated in 1967 to Point Loma in San Diego, California.

Point Mugu was the airfield used by former President Ronald Reagan during his presidency on visits to his Santa Barbara ranch. The airfield was used during the state funeral in 2004, as the place where the former President's body was flown to Washington, D.C. to lie in state in the Capitol Rotunda. The body was flown to Point Mugu aboard presidential aircraft SAM 28000 two days later. Until the late 1990s, the base hosted Antarctic Development Squadron SIX (VXE-6), the squadron of LC-130s equipped to land on ice in Antarctica, to supply the science stations there. Now, the New York Air National Guard's 109th Airlift Wing has assumed that responsibility. VXE-6 also flew the UH-1N Twin Huey during most of its time at Point Mugu.

In December 1988, the 146th Airlift Wing began moving from its home in Van Nuys to a new facility built on 204 acres of state-owned land adjacent to the Point Mugu facility. Known as Channel Islands Air National Guard Station, the annex was constructed at a cost of more than $70 million and was fully activated in April 1990. The 146th operates from the military airfield along with Navy and other federal aviation activities.

Accidents and incidents[edit]

  • On 16 August 1956, a F6F-5K drone was launched from NAS Point Mugu and quickly went out of control heading toward Los Angeles. US Air Force interceptors failed to shoot it down, leading to the Battle of Palmdale incident.
  • On 4 August 1972, Douglas DC-3 N31538 of Mercer Airlines suffered an in-flight engine fire shortly after take-off on a cargo flight to Hollywood-Burbank Airport. The aircraft departed the runway in the emergency landing and was destroyed by the subsequent fire. All three people on board survived.[2]
  • On 20 April 2002, McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II BuNo 155749 of US Navy crashed at the Point Mugu airshow. The cause of the accident was cited as pilot error.[3][4]
  • On 18 May 2011, a Boeing 707 belonging to Omega Aerial Refueling Services and chartered to the U.S. Navy skidded off the runway and burst into flames shortly after landing. A reported amount of approximately 150,000 pounds of jet fuel was on board when the plane crashed. All three personnel aboard the aircraft survived with non life-threatening injuries.[5][6]
  • On 7 November 2015, a rocket launched from Point Mugu caused a momentary "frenzy" of confusion amongst south Californian locals.[7] Another source says the Trident II (D5) test missile was launched from a submarine.[8]

Popular culture[edit]

NAS Point Mugu was the setting for the 1950 film, The Flying Missile. It tells the story of the first firing of a guided missile from the deck of a submarine.[9] Another film filmed in the early 60s at Pt. Mugu was North to Alaska with John Wayne.


  1. ^ "U.S. Naval Activities World War II by State". Patrick Clancey. Archived from the original on 2011-09-07. Retrieved 2012-03-19.
  2. ^ "N31538 Accident description". Aviation Safety Network. Archived from the original on 25 June 2011. Retrieved 7 September 2010.
  3. ^ "QF-4S+ Crash at Pt Mugu - April 20, 2002". Goleta Air and Space Museum. Archived from the original on 28 August 2008. Retrieved 25 June 2014.
  4. ^ "Report: Pilot error caused crash - Pt. Mugu Air Show 4/20/2002". Ventura County Star. Retrieved 29 June 2014.
  5. ^ "3 Passengers Escape Uninjured After Plane Crashes After Takeoff". 2011-05-18. Archived from the original on 22 May 2011. Retrieved 19 May 2011.
  6. ^ Blankstein, Andrew; Hennigan, W.J. (19 May 2011). "3 hurt as refueling plane bursts into flames at Point Mugu". Los Angeles Times.
  7. ^ MacBride, Melissa (8 November 2015). "Hundreds report mystery light flying through sky". Archived from the original on 9 November 2015. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  8. ^ Repard, Pauline (2015-11-08). "Mystery light over ocean was missile test". Archived from the original on 24 August 2016. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  9. ^ Ford, Peter (2011). Glenn Ford a life. Madison, Wis.: University of Wisconsin Press. p. 111. ISBN 978-0299281533.

External links[edit]