Friday, April 24, 2009

Into the Light

For the first few years, whenever the B-2 was displayed at Edwards AFB, it was always positioned inside a hangar. This made getting "nice" photos (e.g. sun-side portrait shots) of the airplane challenging. In 1993 Air Vehicle 4 (AV-4, 82-1069 for those into serial numbers) was parked in 1600, which is the big hangar just across from the Edwards tower. It had east-facing doors which were left open throughout the day so people arriving from the lake bed and east ramp parking areas would be encouraged to come and look at the aircraft and displays inside before exiting out the open south-facing doors to the main show area. The only time the sun would reach this part of the hangar was in the early morning. It made for some very dramatic lighting and enlivened what would have been a very dull shot.

The stripes on the leading edge of the wings were for icing tests. The aircraft was also used as the weapons evaluation test bird. Once it's duties in the Combined Test Force (CTF) were complete the airplane was christened "Spirit of Indiana" and sent to the 509th Bomb Wing at Whiteman AFB, Missouri. Interestingly, AV-4 had two other names while at CTF: Fatal Attraction and Christine - after the haunted car in Stephen King's novel of the same name. Apparently it had a mind of its own.

1 comment:

  1. The light and composition in this photo are amazing! nice story too.