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Barksdale Air Force Base – Spotting Guide
Barksdale Air Force Base (BAD/KBAD) 16km east of Shreveport (Lousiana) is one of only two B52 air bases in the world apart from Minot AFB in North Dakota. The air base was opened in 1932 and is home to B52 training and thus roughly 10.000 personnel. It is worth coming here only for the sound, without a camera already! It seems like anything that takes off in the morning is sure to come back a few hours later, in the afternoon. You may also spot some other US military aircraft making curcuits here or similar. Interesting fact: after 9/11 attacks in NYC, the AF1 flew from Sarasota (where POTUS was on visit that day) to Barksdale here.
Here you will also find the Barksdale Global Power museum: It is actually on the base, just inside the gate but you will have to go past the guard shack where they either review or take your ID. The inside of the museum is not that impressive but it does have the small wooden podium George W. Bush stood behind on 9/11 when he delivered his first address to the nation after landing with AF1 at Barksdale. Outside there are quite a lot of static airplane displays which gives something to do in the area: http://www.barksdaleglobalpowermuseum.com/
Written by Severin Hackenberger in cooperation with Craig Sieminski and Garrett Heller. Last Update: 2020
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|15/33||3583m x 90m|
|Ladder||Not needed and not recommended!|
|Car/Public Transport||A car is definitely needed to move around here.|
|Drinks/Food||There are some shops/restaurants in the northwest.|
|Hotels||No spotter hotels around.|
|Season||Traffic is the same all year roughly. But summer is hot and hazy, autmun till spring is best.|
|Security||Be aware that this is one of only two B52s bases in the US. So keep a low profile! Do not show off your equipment all the time, always stay friendly and explain what you are doing once you should be asked. But normally there shouldn’t be any problem.|
|General Info||There is no preferred/real direction, it can vary – also regarding the direction of destination/favour.|
|Spot #1 – Mike Woods park – 33 Arrivals|
|WHERE||This spot is located inside the Mike Woods park, at the end of Dennis St, where you can easily park in a big lot. This park is an extremely pleasant place to spend some time. Spotting is possible at a grove of trees along a small barbed wire fence line, on the other side of which is private property with cows (directly beneath the approach).|
|WHAT||Perfect for 33 arrivals.|
|TIME||Noon till sunset.|
|MISC.||There are plenty of trees spending shadow. Otherwise nothing around here.|
B52 side = 175mm
|Spot #2 – US Army Corps Parking/Interstate I20 – 33 departures and 15 arrivals|
This spot can be found inside the US Army Corps of Engineers parking lot, but you can also move a bit back towards the Industrial Dr Ext parallel to the Interstate I20 for a better angle. There is a company where you can park at.
|WHAT||You can see 33 departures, but some may quite high. It is simply very hard to get close enough in to the base on publicly accessible land where 33 departures will look good and not already be too high. 15 arrivals also work.|
|TIME||Sunrise till early noon only.|
|MISC.||If you stand along Industrial Dr Ext, some guys may come out of the nearby buildings to ask what you are doing. Just exaplain that you are only there to try to photograph the B-52s leaving, and ask if you should leave – normally they don’t mind us staying, just want to see why we park/are there. Nothing around, some restaurants down the roads to the west close to spot #3.|
P8 = 350mm
|Spot #3 – Mary Kay St – 15 Arrivals|
|WHERE||This spot is no exact spot, rather just the roadside where Mary Kay St bumps into E Texas St/Texas Ave. You can stand here wherever you want in the area, just try to get rid off your car. You can park at Sam’s Tavern and then walk up towards approach path as much as you want.|
|WHAT||15 Arrivals are good here.|
|TIME||Late noon till sunset.|
|MISC.||There are restaurants and a bar “Sam’s Tavern” nearby. Keep a low profile! You are by the roadside and may be seen as distraction to the traffic!
We recommend to stand on the southern edge at the parking to avoid struggling that much with the power lines here.
|FOCAL LENGTH||Should be 100-400mm|