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A winter classic : AirlineReporter

A Lufthansa Boeing 47-800 passes downtown LA on final for LAX
A Lufthansa Boeing 747-8i passes downtown LA on final for LAX

A sunny break from the Pacific Northwest’s typically gloomy winter weather is always a pleasant opportunity. Last month I ventured south from Seattle for a couple days seeking some sun and planespotting.

Winter sunsets come early, but it also presents some great nighttime spotting opportunities.
Winter sunsets come early, but it also presents some great nighttime spotting opportunities

My wife and I stayed at our favorite LA hotel, the H Hotel Los Angeles. It’s walking distance from the airport and to the famed spotting viewpoint park at the end of runway 24R/06L, a.k.a. the In-N-Out park, so named for its proximity to the famous burger restaurant. It’s actually just across the city line in Westchester for those who like to be exacting about locations.

LA sunsets are really all they're claimed to be.
LA sunsets are really all they’re claimed to be

This trip, 24R/06R was closed, and had been for months, for a big refurbishment project. This meant the spotting at the park was poor, as the planes have been landing on 24L/06R on the north side of the airport, and the two southside runways are seeing additional traffic.

Large sections of the runway appear to have been dug up and the pavement refreshed.
Large sections of the runway appear to have been dug up and the pavement refreshed

Not having a rental car to go visit the Imperial Hill viewpoint on the airport’s south side, the best option turned out to be the most comfortable one – the H Hotel’s magnificent roof deck. I did walk over for a burger, and some spotting along Sepulveda Bouldvard, but the best light and angles for the situation were definitely from the hotel.

I did manage some classic belly photos from the sidewalk along Sepulveda Bouledvard.
I did manage some classic belly photos from the sidewalk along Sepulveda Bouledvard

Even for repeat visitors, LAX never gets old. The photo options are great, and there’s a seemingly neverending assortment of airlines and planes.

The views south from the hotel are often backlit, but the queen of the skies still demands a photo.
The views south from the hotel are often backlit, but the queen of the skies still demands a photo

Japan Air Lines has retired all of its Boeing 777-200s, and its very last one stopped overnight at LAX before being flown over to the Victorville boneyard.

While I was there, Japan Air Lines last 777-200 stopped at LAX on its way to the boneyard at Victorville, Calif.
While I was there, Japan Air Lines last 777-200 stopped at LAX on its way to the boneyard at Victorville, Calif.

Southern California gets winter inversion layers with fog, but sometimes it’s clear as a bell. The weather on this visit was slightly foggy in the morning, and the haze never quite lifted, but there were views of the downtown core and Hollywood sign from the rooftop.

The roof deck at the H Hotel is very popular with planespotters
The roof deck at the H Hotel is very popular with planespotters

On one Saturday every September, the area plays host to Dorkfest, a fantastic gathering of avgeeks – here’s a collection of the stories we’ve done about it over the years.

A Starlux Airbus A350 on short final in the nighttime haze
A Starlux Airbus A350 on short final in the nighttime haze

I especially liked the evening/nighttime spotting this trip – the weather was pleasant and the sky was reasonably clear.

I'll leave you with one last Southern California sunset photo
I’ll leave you with one last Southern California sunset photo

EDITOR’S NOTE: This trip was self-funded. Our opinions remain our own.

EDITOR-AT-LARGE / DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY – SEATTLE, WA Francis Zera is a Seattle-based architectural, aerial, aviation, and commercial photographer, a freelance photojournalist, and a confirmed AvGeek.

https://www.zeraphoto.com

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