Montag, 29. Mai 2017

Planespotting Tripreport: California, Nevada and Arizona 2016

Dear all,

this is my first post in my blog so please feel free to help me to improove this blog. My first post will be about my trip to several airports in California, Arizona and Nevada for some planespotting with my buddy Marcus from Leipzig.

Here we go...

08th Nov.2016

The day started early in the morning. My flight departed at 06.00lt from Hannover (HAJ/EDDV) via LHR to LAX.

HAJ-LHR by British Airways
Flying time 1:15
Aircraft: A319
Registration: G-EUPG

The flight was more than 1 hour delayed due to heavy snowfall in HAJ but also smooth and I enjoyed the short sightseing flight over London during our holding pattern.
The tranfer at Terminal 5 was very easy and I relaxed the last 2 hours before my flight to LAX.
Aprox 45 Minutes before departure the gate was announced and G-BYGB stands at the gate to be cleaned up.

At check-in I choosed seat 41K which was very comfortable and the entertainment system was very good.

LHR-LAX by British Airways
Flying time: 10:10
Aircraft: B747-400
Registration: G-BYGB

After departure we heading in northern direction. As the captain said later on this day the route was quite northerly due to weather so we saw the beautifull landscape of Iceland an Greenland which was amazing!

After 10 hours which were very comfortable we arrived in LAX. Immigration and waiting for the luggage only took 30 minutes! Marcus just waited for me because he landed aprox 1 hour earlier.

For the first two days in LAX area we choosed a Ford Focus as a rental car and drove directly to the Imperial Hill in order to use the last 2 hours of sunlight for planspotting.

09. Nov 2016 VNY, SMO, LAX
Due to jetlag we woke up quite early and decided to go to Van Nuys Airport first in order to avoid the heavy traffic jam in the morning. As we arrived at the airport we looked at every small corner for some interesting aircrafts. In one of these corners we found one Errickson Sky Crane Helicopter which is often used for firefighting mission also in Europe during summer months. As we photgraphed it Bryan came across and we started a small chat. At the end he invited us to go with him on to the ramp to photographe "his" baby from the other side of the fence as well as some other aircrafts.

After this very nice "welcome" we looked further around the airport and find some more interesting stuff.

After VNY we headed for Santa Monica Airport. We didn't get much but the DC-3 in front of the museum was worth it in my eyes ;-)

After SMO we headed back to LAX for some spotting at Imperial Hill. This journey took more than one hour so we decided to stay at Imperial until the afternoon when our flight to PHX departed.

Some impressions from Imperial Hill: 

LAX - PHX by Sothwest Airlines
Flying Time: 0:58
Registration: N957WN
Aircraft: B737-700

we booked this flight months in advance for apox 40,- USD per Person in order to try Southwest Airlines for the first time and we experienced a well organised Airline with on time performance and a very friendly crew. Well done Southwest !!

We landed in the evening, grab our rental car and drove to our hotel.

10. NOV. 2016 MZJ,TUS, Pima Air and Space Museum, PHX
As you can see for this day we had a lot to do. First of all we drove to Marana Pinal Airpark.There you can visit a small part of the apron of this large storage and scrapping facility but you have to arrange an appointment in advance. We got in touch with Jim from the airport authority a few weeks in advance and got an appointment for this day. With german on time performance we arrived at MZJ 20 Minutes ahead and were welcomed by Jim. He told us a lot about the airfields history but after aprox 30 minutes we headed to his SUV and drove across the airfield to a small part of the apron were it was allowed for vistors to take pictures. All in all it was an awesome expierience which I never expected as I start planning for this trip.

(If someone needs assistance in order to get in touch with Jim just contact me)

After Marana we headed towards Tucson. Prior this trip we checked the web and found out that there are some really interesting aircrafts stored and it was well worth it !

one of my personal Highlight on this trip: RR B742 we just heared it a few seconds before we saw it. Right time, right place !

this beauty is getting ready to be airborne once again in 2017

We spend in TUS aprox 2 hours by getting around at the airport and looked in every corner and got more than we expected.

After TUS we headed towards the famous PIMA Air and Space Museum. This museum is HUGE and you need a lot of time to take a look at every item.

After this long days we headed back to Phoenix. After a small dinner at Subway we drove to PHX to check if some nightshots were possible and indeed it was possible to take some nightpictures from the top of the parking garage.

After some shots we both get tired and so we decided to get back to the hotel for some rest.

11th NOV 2016 GYR, IGM, LAS
After breakfast we headed to GYR. Original plan was to be there on 10th in the afternoon in order to get some better pictures of the stored aircraft when the sun is shining from western directions but we spent too much time in TUS and the Pima Air and space Museum
so we did it in the morning hours. Neverless even in the morning hours a visit is well worth it. Due to a NASCAR race in the area a few private jets of the drivers were also in GYR. Once again: right time, righte place.

We spend at GYR aprox 1,5 hours before we went further to Kingman (IGM). Travel time to IGM was about 3 hours. As we arrived at IGM we saw several DHL tails and used the first spot to park our car at the fence.

Kingman is a quite interesting Airport for those who are interested in stored Airliners. You can go by the fence and get a lot of pictures even throught the fence. It is well worth it to look at every corner or Hangar for more stored Aircrafts. After a small break we went further for Las Vegas with a short stop at the Hoover Dam

We arrived at LAS aprox 30 minutes before sunset so we we tried to get some nice sunset shots before we went to the Hotel.

12th NOV 2016 Nellis Air Show "Aviation Nation"
To be honest as we planned our trip we didn't know that this Airshow was in place to the right time but as we heared it is was a "must go" from my side. I enjoyed some airshows in Europe over the years and I love them really so my expectations were quite high. We arrived at Nellis around noon but for the first time on this trip the weather wasn't on our side, it was cloudy but we did our best to get some nice shots. The highlight was the DC-10 waterbomber but they performed their show as we were sitting in the bus to the apron :-(. Wrong time, wrong place this time :-(.

13th Nov. 2016 VCV + PMD
After a short but tatsy breakfast we headed in south western direction to Victorville were the  Southern California Logistics Airport is located. This airport is famous for their large scrapyard. It was a Sunday so it was quiet and we used the chance to look into every corner and got several very intersting aircrafts.

From Victorville we drove further to Palmdale but arrived in the evening shortly before sunset. We only managed to get one shot of the F-14 which is located at the Blackbird Airpark Museum (a.k.a. "Joe Davies Heritage Museum"

14th NOV.2016 MHV + PMD + SBD + Perris Valley Airport
We woke up quiet early and drove to Mojave Air and Space Port were we got the following pictures

We saw that there were a few people busy at the L-1011 so we hoped to see the take-off of the L-1011 but after more than one hour of waiting we went back to PMD in order to get some nice pictures of the museum. As we arrives we saw that a C-130 and two F-15s did some touch and go's.

After that we took a look at the NASA afcilitie to check if the B747SP is still there and yes she was

there are also two gateguards which are worth a visit I think

We went further to the Blackbird Airpark Museum again

Next stop on our Tour was San Bernadino (SBD/KSBD). SBD has a Terminal which is not used in November 2016 with  parking lots but they were empty so we drove by further to two hangars were some aircrafts were visible for us. The airport has a nice scrapping yard but it was not easy to reach it and to get some decent pictures of it so we spent aprox 1 hour at the airport.


Last stop on this day was at the maybe not so well known Airport Perris Valley Airport. Probably it is well known for the skydiving guys because there is the worlds one and only DC-9 which is certificated for skydiving ops. Sadly it is out of service since a few months. When we arrived in the afternoon there were some DHC-6 activities. We saw the DC-9 at another corner of the field and several other aircrafts incl. a beautiful DC-3. We headed to the administration office in order to check if it is possible to get a short ramp access and indeed it was confirmed! We only had to wait a few minutes in order to get a guide who would bring us to the DC-9 corner. As we arrived we saw that 2 engineers were working at the DC-9 and started a small chat were we where invited to enter the mighty "Diesel 9er" ! They told us that they try to get the airv´craft back in service but it will take some time. After chatting we walked around the other aircrafts as well.

Perris Valley

For the last night of our trip we choose a small hotel in Chino, located near the small airfield. We arrived after sun set.

15th NOV 2016 CNO + LAX
We woke up early to use the beautifull sunrise but we only got a few pictures of some planes. Two stored B727 were only in fare distance and the heathaze was a problem. Neverless a nice Oldtimer and 2 Businessjets were photographed.

We drove further to LAX but due to heavy traffic we needed more than 2,5 hours for only 60 miles. Marcus returnflight departed in the early afternoon so we only spent an hour and the Imperial Hill for some last pictures of this great trip.


After these pictures we headed back to the terminal. Marcus flew with LH via FRA and myself via SFO and LHR on BA. From the returnflight I didn't took any pictures, I took a rest and to be honest I was happy to get back to home. It was a wonderfull trip but I was really tired and slept nearly the whole flight.

If you have any questions don't hesitate to contact me.


  1. very nice report! I was there the time as you did, still have to sort out my pics and make a report too.

    I think wee meet a long ago when we were younger at Schiphol?

  2. Nice pictures! And I'm glad to see that some of the elderly ladies will get back into the air again.

  3. Hallo! Ich hatte versucht, dich bezüglich Pinal Air Park über das HAJ-Forum zu kontaktieren. Es wäre toll, wenn du dich entweder darüber oder hier als Antwort mal melden könntest. ;-)
    Viele Grüße