Originally built by the Army Air Corps as an emergency paved runway for pilots stationed at Nellis Air Force Base in the 1950s, the Searchlight Airport was eventually handed over to civilian authorities for use as a public airport. By the end of the 21st century it was greatly expanded and reoriented, from a single runway aligned along the north-south axis to a fully-fledged airport with two east-to-west runways, a control tower, and permanent hangars and services. As the new airport would span Highway 95, the construction moved the highway into a reinforced tunnel that ran beneath the runways.
The large airport marks the southern boundary of the playable area, with the chain link that surrounds it denying access to the valley beyond. The airport building and the control tower are inaccessible, but contain two trunks which can spawn plenty of caps. The sun-blasted tarmac is a favored place for radscorpions of all kinds, which congregate on the hot surfaces.
The airport is only accessible through the collapsed highway tunnel, making the radscorpions relatively easy to take out even with modest statistics. The four jets still in the airport are derelicts.
- Two metal boxes and an ammunition box: Underneath the jet parked at the western end of the runway.
- Two trunks: By the main building. Contain caps, lots of them if the player has Fortune Finder.
Behind the scenes
- The real Searchlight Airport is far smaller, has only a single runway, and no permanent facilities.
- The player can access the normally unplayable area if they can jump onto the roof of the main building by stacking boxes or dropped ammunition cans. This grants access to the empty landscape beyond, generated using USGS data. The player can walk all the way to the edge and jump off into the endless water. It's also possible to jump onto the white containers east of the main building, then over the fence.
Searchlight Airport appears only in Fallout: New Vegas.
- Appearance of the airport as compared to the real-life airstrip
- Fallout: New Vegas Official Game Guide Collector's Edition p.425: "[6.26] Searchlight Airport
The control tower of this mothballed airport can be seen as far away as Ranger Station Echo, and is just rough of Camp Searchlight and its irradiated trailer park [6.S11]. The perimeter fence is still intact, forcing you to enter and exit via the road tunnel, and collapsed tarmac. The place is teeming with Radscorpions, and the terminal building is firmly sealed, although there's a couple of trunks near the rusting planes to loot for Caps."
(Fallout: New Vegas Official Game Guide Collector's Edition Tour of the Mojave Wasteland)