The 2002 Edwards AFB Open House & Air Show
October 26, 2002
This page may take a very long time to load (2.2MB): please be patient.
I took these photos at the 2002 Edwards AFB Open House & Airshow. This was a really good show, with an excellent presentation of really unique aircraft, at one of the most importart airfield complexes there is. Probably every modern commercial or military aircraft has been test-flown here. Among other things, Edwards is the backup landing site for the Space Shuttle, which really piqued my interest in attending: what Shuttle paraphernalia would I get to see?
My excitement about being at Edwards was quickly dashed. They did such a poor job of directing traffic that it took me TWO HOURS AND TWENTY MINUTES to get from the Highway 14 exit to the flightline, a distance of perhaps 20 miles. I ended up missing a large portion of the air show. My advice for 2003 is to come EARLY, because arriving at 9am when the flying starts is a big mistake. The prospect of more horrible traffic after the air show caused me to leave two hours before the show was over, so in the end I only got three hours on the flightline because of the traffic!
The parking lot was on the lakebed. A mirage creates the illusion of water.
Correction: we parked on a RUNWAY on the lakebed!
A view of the flightline. Attendance was about 65,000 while we were there.
Heritage Flight with the F/A-18 Hornet and F8-F Bearcat.
B-52H Stratofortress bomber.
The US Army Golden Knights Parachute Team. The same team performed last week at the Miramar Air Show.
Eight different Knights, eight different landing techniques.
B-1B Lancer bomber, also known as "The Bone".
Afterburners! Bomb bay doors! They simulated an attack, complete with explosions. After this flyby, they climbed up to high altitude and went supersonic. We actually got to hear sonic booms twice: at 10:00am Chuck Yeager and Joe Engle broke the sound barrier in an F-15 and F-16 respectively, and then close to 2pm we heard the booms from the B-1B.
AT-6 Texan climbs into a loop.
F-15 Eagle, going slow.
Aerial refueling demo with an F-16 Fighting Falcon and KC-135 Stratotanker.
NASA's DC-8, and the F-18 used for Active Aeroelastic Wing (AAW) research.
The B-52 used by NASA to drop various test vehicles.
A listing of the drops are painted on the side of the B-52.
NASA's X-43, Hyper-X.
NASA's ER-2 research aircraft (essentially a U-2 spy plane).
CV-22 Osprey, which takes off and lands like a helicopter, but flies like an airplane.
Tail art on the X-35B Joint Strike Fighter. STOVL stands for Short Takeoff/Vertical Landing.
X-35B Joint Strike Fighter on the left, F/A-22 Raptor on the right.
I was absolutely amazed: they let us walk up and touch a B-1B Lancer bomber.
An SR-71A Blackbird, awaiting disassembly for transport to Barksdale AFB to become a museum piece. We actually got to touch it! We saw a total of FOUR Blackbirds. Two as on-base displays (1) (2), the one above, and another that maybe we weren't supposed to see (it was waaaaay off in the distance).
F-117 Stealth Fighter.
GBU-12 B/B 500lb Laser Guided Bomb, one of the F-117's weapons.
NASA Space Shuttle Paraphernalia
Edwards is the backup landing site for the Space Shuttle, and so they need to have a lot of equipment to support this.
NASA's Space Shuttle Carrier Aircraft, a modified Boeing 747. It is used to ferry the Shuttle between California and Florida. The joke going around was that we couldn't see the shuttle on top because NASA was testing the Shuttle's cloaking device.
INSIDE the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft. Yes, we actually got to go inside it! The spider at the end was part of a Halloween joke.
Where's Waldo, NASA style: hiding in this picture is the Crew Transport Vehicle (click for NASA photo), which receives the astronauts after they disembark the Shuttle.
These trucks drive up to the shuttle after it lands.
The Mate-Demate Device, the crane that lifts the Shuttle onto the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft.
Tracking antennas, presumably used for the Space Shuttle.
A NASA gas station!
Also located at Edwards are a number of rocket engine test stands, where the engines are test fired.
On the way home we passed through the town of Mojave, where aircraft are stored. Click here for a larger version.
For more photos of the Edwards show, see the Goleta Air and Space Museum website.
These pictures were taken with a Canon D60 digital SLR camera, mounted to a Canon 100-400mm F4.5-5.6L IS zoom lens for the airborne shots, and Canon 28-135mm F/3.5-5.6 IS zoom and Peleng 8mm F/3.5 circular fisheye lenses for the static displays.