Returning to Earth after spending the day in San Jose on business, I find myself flying home aboard the Southwest Airlines cattle car, my camera screwed to my eye, studiously ignoring the stewardess’ admonishments that turning on electrical devices during landing will result in hideous, flaming plane crashes all over the field (okay, she actually didn’t mention that specifically …) because I’m in love.

I love L.A., from the air.

I love the Ventura County approach to a landing at Burbank (Bob Hope) Airport.

I love how the serrated Santa Monica mountains and Simi Valley plaid give way to the rock-strewn battlefield of Rocketdyne’s Santa Susana Field Laboratory and then the chockablock suburbs of the northeast valley as our flight plows its way through the dense brown shag carpet we call fresh air …

I love the random patterns of development left by Red Car LInes – diagonal scars across the perfect grid.

I love the trees and the sudden splashes of asymmetrical water and the slow descent over industrial glidepath neighborhoods where it’s too noisy for decent folk to sleep.

I love the chirp of the tires (another flight survived!) and the “home”-ness of the long walk across baking asphalt to longterm parking through the heat and the smog of home, knowing that everything else – the brawling culture, the wild food and the balmy evening in the city await.

I love L.A. from the ground.

7 thoughts on “Returning to Earth”

  1. I’ve got to say, I hate flying in to LA. All I see from the air is the thick coating of brown hazy shit that swallows this place. I find it depressing as all hell.

  2. AP: The Militant doesn’t see any brown coating in the pictures above, and this is the VALLEY we’re talking about! Get some sense in you and learn to fly in on a better day! LOL…

  3. Mack – Glad to know the Militant isn’t the only birds-eye photo geek out there. He enjoys snapping pics of his compound from the LAX landing path. In fact the Militant chooses his window seat at the departing city based on that view (and the Downtown Los Angeles skyline, if possible).

    That and cameras do not emit any detectable radio frequencies.

  4. Nice pic. My favorite approach is on those rare Santa Ana days where you fly over the ridge above Sherman Oaks with the quick turn north at Hollywood Way and take the short north/south runway.

  5. I know it’s really perverse but I love flying over the freeway into LAX, especially when I’ve been somewhere like Small City, Michigan for work. I look down at that absurd amount of traffic and I think “Ah…home!” Really.

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