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The Shuttle Flyover That Wasn't

Long Beach was graced with a front row seat along its coast for the Space Shuttle Endeavour's final journey across the sky. But feelings were mixed as the flight skips the Valley.

While many in Long Beach and throughout the Southland were thrilled Friday by the sight of the Space Shuttle Endeavour piggybacking it's way down the coast attached to a jumbo jet, the people of the San Fernando Valley were left out of the fun, for the most part.

As two gardeners munched a solitary lunch, Patch took up a solo position high above Chatsworth at the Church at Rocky Peak, affording a clear view of the sky and the Valley below. And through the haze, that's what we saw, only the sky and the Valley.

The Endeavour bypassed an opportunity to dip a wing and salute local engineers and workers, the aerospace factories in Canoga Park, and the smaller firms in Chatsworth, that played such a major role in the shuttle program.

Meanwhile, at the Top of Topanga lookout, which oversees the Warner Center and much of the West Valley, a group of about 40 people gathered, hoping to catch a glimpse of the shuttle as it made it's way from the Malibu/Santa Monica area to the Getty Center. Because only certain landmarks and not the actual flight plan were made widely available, viewing hopefuls hedged their bets and headed away from crowds at the beaches and to the high spot atop the Santa Monica mountains. Unfortunately, the shuttle followed the coast down and turned inward further south than the lookout and the crowd missed seeing the shuttle's last flight.

"It's disappointing, but there are worse ways to spend your day than being outside on a gorgeous day, getting a gorgeous view of the Valley and sharing it with a lot of nice people," said Raitha Halmud of Topanga. "When I tweet about it, though, it will be #ShuttleFail."

Some of the crowd had been standing in the sun for about two hours. Others came, overfilling the small parking lot, as the shuttle neared Southern California. Onlookers shared tweets to let one another know the shuttle's progress while others sat in their cars listening to radio news reports. And the question everyone seemed to ask when they first arrived was "will it or won't it?"

"The anticipation was kind of fun," said Jim Haille of Woodland Hills, "but gosh, what a disappointment. I thought it would pass overhead for sure."

Others in the Valley seemed to think we were short changed.

Bob Peppermuller, who commented on a Patch article about the shuttle, wrote, "What a bummer. Valley excluded even tho engines made here. Circled around Hollywood but not Valley . . ."

Johnny Utah September 23, 2012 at 09:36 PM
same thing on HB pier :-(
PH Pace September 24, 2012 at 05:27 PM
Here in Seal Beach it flew almost directly over my house -- awesome sight!!

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