Skid Strip

Name Origin

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.

Other Skid Strip Uses

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.

Related Pages:

More Cape Canaveral Facilities
DateSerial #Comment
19 August 1955GM-19312Destroyed on Landing
24 October 1955GM 52-4Destroyed on Landing
3 February 1955GM 52-1
29 February 1956GM 52-1
20 March 195GM 52-1
24 April 1956GM 52-2Crashed in ocean
5 June 1956GM 52-5
18 July 1956GM 52-5
27 August 1956GM 52-1Deliberate dive crash test to target
21 September 1956GM 52-6
24 October 1956GM 52-6

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

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

How the Skid Strip Got Its Name