Originally Palmdale Regional Airport / Air Force Plant 42 (AFP42) is a combined airfield with both civil and military usage. In the late 90s, the local government had big plans for Palmdale Regional Airport to relief the pressure of flights at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). Around 2001, they decided to use other existing airports for that task. Since then, civil flights are very rare here. The military usage of this airfield made this airfield well known in aviation history. During the 1980s, it was the mayor support facility for both the U-2 and the SR-71 Blackbird fleet. Later on, Northrop-Grumman facilitated its B-2 assembly line here, followed by the current production line of the RQ-4 Global Hawk and other UAVs. Beside Northrop-Grumman, you can find here two other mayor aviation companies; Lockheed-Martin and Boeing.
Around the massive area of the airfield, the large hangars of the several aviation companies can be found. In the the west, the complex of Lockheed-Martin Skunk Works can be found with its entrance at Blackbird Ln. In the north companies like Boeing and Nortrop-Grumman can be found. In the center of the airfield, just south of the runways, Palmdale Regional Airport can be found. The entrance, towards the aiport, is located next to the Blackbird Air Park at spot 1. Without any regular flights, this side of the airfield is nearly deserted.
Palmdale Regional Airport / Air Force Plant 42 is located between Lancaster and Palmdale and it is easily reachable while driving on the Antelope Valley Free Way (14), which runs from Interstate 5 at Santa Clarita, in the south, to Mojave, in the north. Take exit 37, which brings you at W Avenue P. When driving in western direction you will pass the Blackbird Air Park (Spot 1) on you left hand side.
1Blackbird Airpark and Heritage museum
At this spot you will find the Blackbird Airpark and the Joe Davies Heritage Airpark located next to eachother. The Blackbird Airpark just consist out of three aircraft; an U-2, an A-12 and a SR-71. The Joe Davies Heritage Air Park is a quite larger airpark and is still expanding. Its current collection contains 15 different restored aircraft.
2Sierra Hwy - Ave N
This spot is the best and most common location for photos. Most of the aircraft tend to bank here for landing or after take off. You can position yourself just north of Avenue N, near the Flag Pole.
3Ave M - 50th St
This spot is very suitable when aircraft landing at runway 22 or are in the pattern for runway 25. You can position yourself along the 50th Street, near the intersection with Avenue M.
4Palmdale Regional Airport
Overhere you will find the small passenger terminal of the Palmdale Regional Airport. From the side of the terminal, you will have a view onto the small civil apron. Due to the lack of civil flights, you should not expect a lot of action here.
5Lockheed-Martin Skunk Works gate
The gate of Lockheed-Martin Skunk Works is marked by a preserved F-104 and a preserved F-16. Both were previously owned by NASA. They are displayed outside the fence but asking permission for making photos is advisable.
F-16 preserved at Lockheed Martin gate, spot 5 (Coert van Breda)
|121.900 / 348.600
|123.700 / 317.600
|F-16A (at Lockheed-Martin gate)
|F-104N (at Lockheed-Martin gate)
|Palmdale Regional Airport
|Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) website
|El Centro NAF
|Fresno Yosemite Intl
|Hemet - Ryan Field
|Imperial Beach NOLF
|Lemoore NAS - Reeves Field
|Moffett Federal Airfield
|North Island NAS
|Palmdale Regional - Air Force Plant 42
|Point Mugu NAS
|Sacramento - Mather
|San Francisco - Intl
|Santa Monica - Municipal