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ISSUE 102 - January 2010
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2009 Edwards AFB Open House Part 1

By Bernard Zee, Contributing Editor & Photographer
Fremont, California

Edwards AFB hasn't had an open house event for 3 years, so there was a lot of interest in the 2009 show. Edwards is the main Air Force flight test center for the U.S. with a rich aviation history behind it. One of the more famous exploits there was Chuck Yeager breaking the sound barrier in the X-1. Edwards is also known for being the alternate landing site for the Space Shuttle.

For some reason, I wanted to get there before the gates opened at 7am. In retrospect, it was a darn good thing I did! Even at 6am, there was a line of vehicles waiting to get in. By 7, there was a long line of headlights stretching back on the one lane road from the main entrance. I found out later that as the day wore on, that line would get longer and longer, and it would take some people almost 5 hours before they parked, went through security, got on a bus, and finally make it on base!

Needless to say, getting out was really quite nasty as well. The traffic flow and control did not take into account trying to get 250,000 people out at the same time. However, IF you could get past the traffic situation, you were in for a treat, as there were some fantastic displays and flying to be seen at the Edwards Open House air show. Oh, and it got HOT too. Something about being a desert and all that.
At the entrance to the base was this grand old B-52. This 0008 plane was used
by NASA to launch the X-planes. Lit by the orange rays of the early dawn light.

In the hangar on base, a B-1B bomber - otherwise known as the BONE.

As a treat, Edwards had their recently refurbished SR-71 Blackbird
out on display - an awesome plane with an equally awesome history!

Another interesting and unusual aircraft there was the F-16XL. With a cranked
arrow delta wing, it had twice the wing area of a standard F-16.

NASA has its version of the U-2, looking much more friendly in gloss white.

A Hughes Loach helicopter. Reminded me of the one flown by T.C. in Magnum P.I.

The T-33 Acemaker was also there at Edwards.

Also shiny is the B-25 Pacific Prowler. It's been pointed to me that the Pacific Prowler
is not part of the CAF, but operated by Jim Terry. Jim currently keeps the plane
at the Vintage Flying Museum in Fort Worth, TX.

Looking like a Gooney Bird, this is actually a AC-47 Spooky gunship!

A mean looking B-52 on the ground.

There were quite a few Edward planes on display and in the air. Just look for the 'ED'
on the tail! This F-16 is loaded up and surrounded by various weapons it can carry.

Early in the morning, a pair of F-16s take to the sky. Here in the backseat is General
Chuck Yeager! They overflew the base and broke the sound barrier at exactly 10am.
The double sonic boom reverberated through the open hangar in a loud
and most shocking manner, scaring the crap out of me! Love it!!

An unexpected treat was the use of pyro to simulate bomb drops! WOW!!!

The Warthog makes several attack runs.
Flying inverted through the destroyed.

Next up was a Doolittle raid re-enactment and other WWII aircraft that
joined in the mix. This is the B-17 Sentimental Journey with its bomb bay doors open.

As a finale, the B-17 has a nice banked photo pass.

Nice formation shot of the P-51 'Gunfighter' and the P-38.

A beautiful pass by the F-16. Bit of a challenge with where the sun was all day long!

A C-17 from March AFB also did a demo.

That's followed by the B-2 Stealth bomber. Man I need a telescope!
More amazing photos in the next Barnstormers eFlyer....sign-up here to get your copy!
By Bernard Zee, Contributing Editor & Photographer

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