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LAX Planespotting

Primed for photo ops on Imperial Hill, one of the world's top planespotting locations.
Primed for photo ops on Imperial Hill, one of the world's top planespotting locations.

Southern California airplane buffs and planespotters flock to Imperial Hill in El Segundo – a picturesque spot overlooking Los Angeles Int'l Airport.

This windy overlook at the corner of E. Imperial Ave. and Sheldon St. offers the aviation fan a panorama of the biggest, most noteworthy aircraft flying today.

Spring break for me meant a road trip up to the Hacienda Hotel in El Segundo. This charming accommodation was jam-packed with travelers, but I chose it for its close proximity to Imperial Hill, located just around the corner.

Once I reached "the Hill," I unloaded my camera equipment and set my gear up on an overhang to film some enormous planes and chew the fat with some of the regulars.

Imperial Hill is also known as "Clutter's Park," named after City Councilman Jim Clutters. There are benches, 25-cent telescopes, small tables and plenty of parking along the street in the residential neighborhood. It can get crowded on weekends, and when President Obama's Air Force One lands at LAX, viewers flock to gawk at the presidential spectacle.

Locals told me to go see the planes landing very close at the park across from the In & Out Burger on the north side of the airport. Westchester Park is a small triangular patch of grass immediately next to the airport. Monster 747s scream overhead as they land literally a few feet away.

College kids may want to let lose at the beach for spring break, but for this plane buff, Imperial Hill equals seasonal airplane nirvana.

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Primed for photo ops on Imperial Hill, one of the world's top planespotting locations.
Primed for photo ops on Imperial Hill, one of the world's top planespotting locations.

Southern California airplane buffs and planespotters flock to Imperial Hill in El Segundo – a picturesque spot overlooking Los Angeles Int'l Airport.

This windy overlook at the corner of E. Imperial Ave. and Sheldon St. offers the aviation fan a panorama of the biggest, most noteworthy aircraft flying today.

Spring break for me meant a road trip up to the Hacienda Hotel in El Segundo. This charming accommodation was jam-packed with travelers, but I chose it for its close proximity to Imperial Hill, located just around the corner.

Once I reached "the Hill," I unloaded my camera equipment and set my gear up on an overhang to film some enormous planes and chew the fat with some of the regulars.

Imperial Hill is also known as "Clutter's Park," named after City Councilman Jim Clutters. There are benches, 25-cent telescopes, small tables and plenty of parking along the street in the residential neighborhood. It can get crowded on weekends, and when President Obama's Air Force One lands at LAX, viewers flock to gawk at the presidential spectacle.

Locals told me to go see the planes landing very close at the park across from the In & Out Burger on the north side of the airport. Westchester Park is a small triangular patch of grass immediately next to the airport. Monster 747s scream overhead as they land literally a few feet away.

College kids may want to let lose at the beach for spring break, but for this plane buff, Imperial Hill equals seasonal airplane nirvana.

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There's also a way cool, little aviation museum directly across the road from this plane-spotting site. The Flight Path Learning Center/Museum is at 6661 West Imperial Highway and adjacent to the LAX runway. Great exhibit and staff - wonderful way to get close-up views. They've airline memorabilia, research materials and the most friendly generous staff of volunteer aviation buffs you'd ever want to meet. Call (424) 646-7284 to check their hours.

May 2, 2012

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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