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B is for Blackbird Airpark: A Free to See #AtoZChallenge Post

A blue sign reads: Welcome to Blackbird Airpark US Air Force Plant 42 An annex of the Air Force Flight Test Museum Edwards Air Force Base

I'm living in southern California this year, and decided to use my exploration of the area as my focus for the #AtoZChallenge. I'm concentrating on free to see places, though I will include locations that require a parking fee. This is the second post in the series. 

If you have a military aircraft aficionado in your family and find yourself in Palmdale, California, you'll want to visit Blackbird Airpark (2503 W Ave P, Palmdale CA), as well as the Joe Davies Heritage Airpark which is right next door. Both are free to visit and park, and are open on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Palmdale is hot in the summer and windy year-round, so plan accordingly. 

I am not the airplane expert in my family, but I know that the SR-71 is the plane to see at Blackbird Airpark. Only 32 of them were ever built, and they are known as the fastest jet-propelled planes. 

A SR-71 on the ground under cloudy skies

The other planes at the park were also produced by Lockheed Martin at the Skunkworks location. I enjoy the whimsical skunk logo that is found on the backside of the planes.

A black and white skunk is painted in a red circle on the engine nozzle

Walking next door to Joe Davies Airpark, the plane furthest to the west, and the one that I am most familiar with, is the 747 that carried the Space Shuttle. 

The NASA logo is painted on the tail of the 747 that carried the Space Shuttle

Years ago, when the Space Shuttle Endeavor was taking its final flight on its way to the California Science Center, I was able to see this plane in action:

The Space Shuttle Endeavor rides on the back of NASA's 747 while a smaller fighter jet flies nearby

The signs that accompany the planes at the airparks are detailed and provide lots of background information about the various aircraft.

These signs tell about Pete Knight and the F-100 Super Sabre

While Blackbird and Joe Davies Airparks are not huge, they do contain some impressive planes, and capture a major industry in Palmdale. The stepping stone with this poem on it sums up the sentiment of locals:

Guardians Brave
Let Palmdale Play
For here fly the stars of the USA
Visionary, Pilot, Artist, Engineer
Keeping us safe so nothing to fear
Yeager, Barnes, Walker, Rutan
People with guts who said "I can"
Flying Fortresses Super and Strato
Spirit Liberator birds flying alto
Blackbird, Falcon, Eagle, Hawk yield
White stripes on heaven's blue field
Signaling us our Freedom this day
To act the lyrical Antelope. Play!
--Louis Denning, Palmdale

Stepping stone with above poem inscribed on it


  1. My aviation buffs would have a blast there.

    1. Yes, it's a great place for airplane afficianados!

  2. My dad would sure enjoy seeing that! His dad was a commercial pilot and also flew a C-46 "over the hump" in WWII.
    How cool that you got to see a space shuttle riding piggy back on a 747!
    I like the skunk, too!

    1. Your grandpa's service is appreciated.
      It was super cool to see the space shuttle's final flight.

  3. Have visited Southern California several times - I'm keen to follow your posts as we may venture back one day. This site would be on my list.

    1. There are certainly many places to visit in Southern California!

  4. My son would love this, will share the link with him. Do check out my blog here:

    1. Thank you! I will visit your blog as well.


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