Angelenos flocked to sites all over Southern California to view the spectacular fly by of the Space Shuttle Endeavor coming in for its final landing before heading to the California Science Center as it’s permanent home. We chose Venice Beach to shoot from, hoping that ease of parking and a coastal view would get the best result and we were not disappointed.
The Shuttle came in from the West as opposed to the North and came directly at us where a moderate sized crowd had assembled on the Venice Beach Pier. Coming in at about 1500 feet the Shuttle and its 747 carrier veered inland between the Santa Monica and Venice Piers before heading East toward City Hall, Griffith Park and other Los Angeles landmarks.
Most everyone had made it back to the parking lot and out of view of the 2nd totally unplanned fly by when the Shuttle emerged again from the haze to the South and came around Los Angeles flying back out over the Ocean from the El Segundo bluffs on its way back into the Westside for the Getty Center fly by. Only a few of us remained for the final fly by which was a special treat. The Shuttle flew West over the Pacific and then panned to the North before coming around and heading back inland in the direction of the Getty Center on the West side.
The experience was bitter sweet. It symbolically ends the Shuttle era once and for all in the Country’s greatest aerospace City. One has to wonder if we will ever see a program with the size and ambition of the Shuttle program again in our lifetime given the size of the government’s debt and state of our economy. Today was an extraordinary experience in the City of Angels, sad and glorious at the same time.