Air Force Flight Test Museum at Edwards AFB and other sites

The US Air Force Flight Test Museum has its main site inside the grounds of Edwards AFB, and is nowdays only accessible to people on official business - not even the American public are allowed in, never mind foreigners. They have many fascinating aircraft there, and there appear to be plans to move it somewhere more accessible.

However, some of their aircraft are on public view. Blackbird Air Park has some, others are outside Edwards entrances, and a couple are outside the Lockheed Skunk Works hangars at Palmdale Plant 42.

Good news is that in 2020 work started on a new museum outside Edwards' west gate near Century Circle, to which the existing museum is planned to move in late 2021. It will eventually have two new hangars and be open to all.

Blackbird Air Park

Edwards AFB

Lockheed Martin Skunk Works

Blackbird Air Park, Palmdale

A short path connects this small but significant museum to the Joe Davies Heritage Park next door. We visited on 5th May.

Aircraft Reg'n Thumbs Notes
Lockheed A-12 Blackbird 60-6924  
Lockheed SR-71A Blackbird 61-7973  
Lockheed D-21B 525  
Lockheed U-2D 56-6721 The sole remaining U-2D model - two-seater for IR detection activities.

Edwards Air Force Base

Previously called Muroc Bombing and Gunnery Range. At the Western and Northern entrances to this vast base are several interesting aircraft which are accessible 24/7. Our visit was on 6th May.

The Western entrance has Century Circle with Century-Series fighters surrounding a control cab, along with a stray transport and a small visitor centre with toilets. At the Northern entrance is Balls Eight, one of the most significant experimental aircraft in the world.

Aircraft Reg'n Thumbs Notes
Boeing NB-52B Stratofortress 52-0008 Ex NASA 0008 nicknamed 'Balls 8'. This aircraft sits alone at the Northern entrance to Edwards. Along its side it has the longest mission list I've ever seen, and the range of loads that have been carried on that pylon is amazing. It was retired in 2004.
Century Circle Control cab    
Convair TF-102A Delta Dagger 54-1353 TC-353 USAF
Convair F-106B Delta Dart 59-0158 USAF
Lockheed F-104A Starfighter 56-0790 FG-790 USAF ex NASA 820 N820NA
McDonnell Douglas YC-15A 72-1875 1st prototype, ex N15YC (NX15YC). Competed with the Boeing YC-14 (now at Pima) as a STOL transport - they both lost to the C-130. I saw the 2nd prototype at Farnborough in 1976.
McDonnell F-101B Voodoo 58-0288 05 USAF
North American YF-100A Super Sabre 52-5755 FW-755 USAF
Republic F-105D Thunderchief 61-0146 HI USAF

Lockheed Martin Skunk Works, Plant 42, Palmdale

A couple of gate guards outside the Skunk Works, publicly accessible, but we did check with security. We were told not to photograph any buildings, so the photos are from one side only. Our visit was on 5th May.

Aircraft Reg'n Thumbs Notes
General Dynamics F-16A Fighting Falcon NASA 816 N816NA Ex USAF 82-0976
Lockheed F-104N Starfighter NASA 812 N812NA The second of three built specifically for NASA in 1963.

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