A few years ago, I was in the LA area with my mate Paul. We decided to try our luck with a visit to Palmdale. Home of Air Force Plant 42, Palmdale has a history of interesting aircraft. The Blackbirds were assembled here as were the Space Shuttles. The B-2 bombers were also assembled on site. It is home to some NASA aircraft and continues to support a variety of types. Consequently, you can see some really interesting stuff. Alternatively, you can have a day with nothing going on. It is the luck of the draw.
We decided to try it out anyway and see what we could get. One of the NASA ER-2s had been active so there was hope that it might be up and about. One thing we hadn’t anticipated was that the weather was not going to be great. We had figured it was likely to be clear but actually there was a fair amount of cloud cover all day. Not ideal but it did keep the temperature down.
We did have success with the ER-2. Unfortunately, we did not choose well for our locations. It took off and landed on the runway that we were not close too. Consequently, we got some shots but they were a bit distant. We discussed a rapid change of location but, fearing we would get nothing by being in the car at the wrong time, stuck with it.
Our location was not a total bust though. We did get a sister ship. A USAF U-2S came in and we got some shots of that. It was not alone. A B-2 also made some approaches. We figured it was coming from Edwards and heading back there again. Sadly, shooting black aircraft against a cloudy sky is a bit tricky. Still, we might have done worse. After a while, the local movements of Northrop Grumman shuttles had been enough so we decided to get on the road back to LA.