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Research Facilities | Research Airport | Launch Range | Control Center | Machine Shop
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Research Airport

Research Airport

Pilots using the Wallops research airport fly through a virtual "keyhole to the sky." Our control zone rises vertically 2,500 feet in a 5-statue-mile radius of the airport with designated arrival and departure corridors. Because air traffic is minimal, commercial and government clients find it easy to carry out their research and test activities.

Airport resources and personnel are available to support approved aeronautical research, development, test and evaluation activities. The resources of the research airport include:

  • Surveillance radar
  • Wallops Integrated Control Center
  • Control Tower
  • Three runways of varying lengths
  • Aircraft parking ramps
  • Aircraft service and ground equipment
  • Meteorological services
  • Emergency equipment and personnel
  • Fuel and oil dispensing
  • Office space
  • Workshops and hangars

Primary Research Runway

Plane Landing

At our research airport, we customize situations to meet each client`s test needs.

Experimental facilities at the airport supply research data on runway weather conditions, wind parameters and radar/computer-determined velocity and trajectory information.

The primary research runway has several sections made up of different surface materials and includes grooved and ungrooved areas. These sections can be flooded with water and the depth controlled to within 1/10 inch. This runway also has a Microwave Landing System (MLS) installed. The MLS has been a joint research and development effort by the Federal Aviation Administration, the Department of Defense and NASA. The MLS is used by research projects developing systems technology and flight procedures for aircraft that will use the MLS to make automatic all-weather landings. The runway also is equipped with a high-speed turnoff. Researchers use the turnoff to study techniques that will provide guidance information to aircraft, permitting them to exit automatically from runways at high speed.

Scientific Aircraft

Wallops scientific aircraft can be used for surveillance of operational areas, instrumentation recovery, relay of radio signals, search and rescue mission functions and Airborne Science platforms for data acquisition. Our fleet of scientific aircraft includes two-engine, four-engine, turbo-propeller and turbo-jet fixed-wing aircraft possessing differing flight performance capabilities and instrumentation package capacities.


The research airport is located on the Wallops Main Base five miles west of the town of Chincoteague on Virginia's Eastern Shore.

Geographical coordinates:

37 degrees 57 minutes north latitude 75 degrees 28 minutes west longitude

Field elevation:

41 feet above sea level

Control tower hours of operation:

0700 to 1730 Monday through Friday; other times to support specific missions


04/22 - 8750 feet by 150 feet (primary research runway) Configured with FAA-approved circling and straight-in approaches Parallel taxiway virtually same length as runway Ramp to aeronautical research projects hangar.

  • 10/28 - 8000 feet by 200 feet
  • Configured with FAA-approved circling and straight-in approaches
  • Parallel taxiway virtually same length as runway
  • Ramp to aircraft hangar
  • Access to hazardous cargo loading area
  • 17/35 - 4820 feet by 150 feet Ramp to crash, fire and rescue service building.


The airfield uses FAA-approved instrument approaches to the airport through the Very High Frequency Omnidirectional Range (VOR) approach using Snow Hill, Maryland's VORTAC station and a VOR/Direction Measuring Equipment (DME) approach using Salisbury, Maryland's VOR/DME station. A Microwave Landing System (MLS) provides information to aircraft display equipment or as automatic input to the aircraft's flight control system for runway 04/22.

Our research airport features Precision Approach Path Indicators (PAPI) installed on all runways and remotely controlled cameras that display in real-time in the WICC.

Tracking Radar

  • RIR-716C C-band radar (radar 18) provides aircraft with Instrument Landing System (ILS) reference data to any WGS84 point within 50 nm of the research airport
  • AN/FPQ-6 fixed radar system on Wallops Mainland
  • RIR-716C and AN/MPS-19 fixed radar system on Wallops Island.

Surveillance Radar

  • AN/ASR-7 at the research airport
  • Marine Pathfinder radar system on Wallops Island
  • AN/APS-128E airborne surveillance radar system can be installed on Wallops aircraft.

Support and Services

Hangar, office and shop space are available for approved aircraft projects. By prior arrangement, the following services and facilities can be made available:

  • Hangar space
  • Minor and temporary repairs
  • Fuel services for JP-5 and JPTS
  • Ground power units
  • Aircraft towing
  • Entrance stairs
  • Oxygen service - liquid and gaseous
  • Local and national meteorological information
  • Flight planning support
  • First aid and emergency treatment
  • Hazardous cargo handling
  • Hydrazine fuel handling
  • Night operations support
  • Support aircraft carrying combat ordnance.

Fuel services are available for U.S. government program aircraft during normal working hours and at other times by prior arrangement. Fuel is dispensed from trucks equipped with single-point refueling fittings.

Visiting aviators on official U.S. government business are required to obtain a "Prior Permission Required" (PPR) number from the Wallops Airport Manager prior to flying into Wallops. The PPR should be obtained at least 24 hours before the scheduled arrival. The visiting aviator must give the assigned PPR to the Control Tower before permission is given to land.