Today, was an amazing day! I left work on my early lunch break, after being picked up by my mom and dad, to search for a good vantage point for watching the space shuttle do it's flyovers. My dad and I in the front seat, and my mom in the back, struggled to figure out where to go. A couple of idiots saying... turn here. Go down that street. What about here? Then... we'd inch closer to Universal Studios and try some more vantage points. Then we went down this street, then down an alley, and found a small park, with 1 lone gentleman sitting on the grass... waiting. We thought... ok... we either have the best seat in the valley, or we will have an uneventful day at the park. Either way - we waited.
Wouldn't you know, we had that amazing seat. By the time the shuttle flew over, another 50 or so people joined us in this small park, to watch it. At first, when we saw it flyover, we thought that was it, and people started to disperse after it disappeared. NOT US! We waited, and as people were already starting their car engines, I saw the sun flicker on the T-38 chase planes... and all of a sudden, we saw it. It was heading straight for us doing a loop, and coming back for an AMAZING flyover. I yelled, "It's coming back..." and you see the horde of onlookers return.
The attached picture, is NOT my picture. But it shows our vantage point. The only difference, is the shuttle was EXACTLY overhead. To the point where you couldn't see the shuttle itself, just the wingtips when it was over directly above our heads - which in itself - is an amazing sight.
But the most amazing thing. My dad... my dad spent his entire career working on that shuttle... and little did I know that one day, he and I would watch (with my mom) the last time the shuttle would ever fly. It was exciting... emotional... and in a way sad.
I hope you all know how important the space shuttle was, and how important the space program is - and that comes from someone who grew up with his dad being instrumental in it.
John Greenewald, Jr.
The Black Vault Website Owner / Operator
August 27, 2012
April 9, 2009
Yes, we had a amazing morning seeing it right overhead. Really a sight to see, that will never ever occur again. It was not until this morning the final flight plan was shown, with a circle being flown around Universal Studios. I looked on the map for the best vantage spots and found a few parks near, figuring this one would be mobbed. We drove down Lankersham, turned on a side street to find the empty park, looking directly up at Universal Studios. We had perfect front row seats with no obstuctions. Our first thought, drive to the top of the US parking structure, but figured it would be full, plus figured out, every building top would be secured. The first flybye we tought that was it, but sure enough, it made the loop turn around at JPL, and came back in its turn right over our heads, and circled US heading to Griffith Park Obsevatory, and on to Disneyland, the USS Iowa, and Queen Mary. We looked right up at the belly of the 747 as it passed, and turned left.
If didn't take too long to pass, and come back, but well worth seeing history, that was so much a part of my life, and Mrs. G2's, and our kids growing up with Rocketdyne a daily part of life. I can proudly say, I was a major part of the welding of every flight engine of every launch.
I've only gotten to see the actual orbiter 3 times, and never got sent down to see a launch, which was a disappointment. Today we saw history on so many levels. First the last ever flight of any shuttle ever. Secondly, the new home of the science center in Los Angeles for Endevour. Third, the last flight and mission for the 747 that can carry the shuttle. It was a site to see. The other times I have seen the shuttle was with John and his sister, where I was a class chaparone for his school to go see the "Return to flight" landing after Challenger. 500,000 people were on the dry lake, we all spend the night camping out, and the pilot was the Astronaut who gave me my "Silver Snoopy NASA award". We were 3 miles away but could see it very well, and hear it loud and clear as its sonic boom rocked the desert. You could see it make its spiral decent from very high up, circle and come in to land. The other time John and I were target shooting at our favorite place, and stayed after dark to view the flyby of the MIR Space station, followed by the Atlantis space shuttle. I had read the time it would pass by and found a perfect place, and it was right on target. It was really awsome, and appeared so bright and large, you could almost decern shape. One light appeared, and not far behind it was the shuttle.
My only letdown of the day was of all the landmarks they flew over, Rocketdyne should have been one of them, and would have been an easy extra turn from the Getty Musuem, and also circled the San Fernando Valley. They even flew over the Boeing seal beach divisions, which are the remains of Rockwells Aviation divisions. Rocketdyne was sold to UTC's Pratt Whitney division, and was just resold again to the company that used to be Areojet.
I was a great morning, one I know John will always remember with me and his Mother.