I flew down to Los Angeles last weekend to be with my dad and my brother as part of our first annual guys weekend. My brother picked me up at LAX on Friday night and we drove to Mojave to meet my dad who drove down from Mammoth. Saturday morning we got up and had a leisurely breakfast and then drove 17 miles to the north entrance of Edwards Air Force Base for the 2006 Open House (I was a plane nerd when I was a kid). Unfortunately, I didn’t have a camera with me (Flickr has some great pictures if you’re interested) but I learned all kinds of interesting things on this visit:
- Edwards Air Force Base is the home of NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center, which is the birthplace of a number of fascinating aeronautical research projects. Dryden houses the 747 that the Space Shuttle hitches a ride on back to Florida if it lands at Edwards. Said 747 was on display at the show.
- The speed of sound at sea level is approximately 760 MPH.
- Edwards AFB is most likely the place that originated “Murphy’s Law“.
- Because we talked about it while at the show, I poked around Google Maps to see how high the resolution was on the satelliate imagery around Edwards. It’s actually really good. Edwards AFB appears to be the home of three B-1B’s and a couple B-52’s from this satellite image provided by Google. You can see the squadron of F-22’s at Tyndall AFB in Florida, the hangars for the fourteen B-2’s at Whitehall AFB in Missouri, and the hangars for the F-117 squadron at Holloman AFB in New Mexico.
- A B-1 streaking across the sky at 600mph with full afterburner is really amazing to watch. Pictures don’t do it justice.
- Finally, if you ever get a chance to watch the Thunderbirds perform, know that a certain point during the show, you’ll be intently watching a couple F-16’s fly by wondering where the that ‘other’ one went. He (and there’s now even a she!) is right behind you. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.