In the Antelope Valley on the western side of the Mojave Desert, Palmdale is a small city surrounded by a vast arid landscape that evokes the golden age of western movies. One of the city’s claims to fame is its US Air Force testing centre, where aircraft like the legendary Lockheed Blackbird took their first flights. For day trip inspiration set off into the Antelope Valley for stark and beautiful desert scenery, or ascend the San Gabriel Mountains, which receive plenty of snowfall in winter. Los Angeles is also within range, with Hollywood around an hour away by car.
1. Joe Davies Heritage Airpark
On the north-eastern edge of Palmdale is the United States Air Force Plant 42, where many of the US Air Force’s aircraft have been manufactured and tested since the 30s. You don’t need to be an aviation enthusiast to enjoy the Joe Davies Airpark, which showcases Plant 42’s remarkable heritage. Free to the public, the display comprises 21 planes that have come through Plant 42. Craft here include a Convair B-58A Hustler, a Lockheed F-104A Starfighter and Northrop X-4, all from the early years of jet aviation after the Second World War. A newer addition is the state-of-the-art F-22 Raptor, introduced in 2005.