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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Fasten Your Seat Belts

Fasten Your Seat Belts

Greg Herbert remembers piling into the station wagon and the family heading down to LAX. They would make it an outing just to see the planes land. You used to get pretty close to the runaways before they built the big fences. Photo taken 1950's by Mary Herbert.

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Thank you, Mike-76NYSV for correcting my miscalculations. I knew the runways were straight and they haven't changed the compass since I last used one. It must be my brain that's the problem!

Those runway numbers

Those runway numbers are correct.

It's not that the two number add up to 360, but that there's 180 degrees between the two headings. So, for runway 6-24, subtract 60 from 240 and you get 180. The same for runway 7-25: 250-70=180.

Crazy Californians

Boy you folks out there sure do things differently from the rest of us. I did a lot of flying in the Army and afterwards and thought I knew about airports. Runways are generally numbered according to the compass heading on approach, meaning they have reciprocal numbers at each end adding up to 36 (360 degrees). Not LAX!

According to the airport map, the two runway pairs are 6-24(R,L) and 7-25(R,L), neither of which adds up correctly.

Anyone know the answer?

The airplane is an

American Airlines Douglas DC-7, possibly a freighter converted from a passenger version. This is the "two-five" complex, or south complex where the two runways are 25 Left and Right. The scene in the 1969 movie "Easy Rider" where Fonda makes the deal with Phil Spector (in his Rolls) was filmed right about here, behind the jet-blast deflectors that are still there. The north complex (runways 24L and R) was constructed in the very early 1960s.

I remember watching the planes land, too

It was in Birmingham, Alabama, though, not LAX. There used to be a road that cut across the flight path between the end of the runway and a line of light installations to guide the planes at night. On occasional Sunday afternoons we would go down there, pull off the side of that road and watch a few planes fly overhead. That was in the early- or mid-1960s. They closed that road to the public well before 1969 when we moved away.

SHORPY HISTORICAL PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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