Cyclists look skyward as the world’s largest passenger plane, an Airbus A380 (Air France, bound for Paris) departs runway 24L at Los Angeles International Airport. The massive aircraft’s shadow is captured while briefly visible on the sand, moving west at 170 knots. This elevated vantage point offers a rare opportunity to capture this phenomenon only at the right time of year.
Visible in the image is a protected area intended to safeguard the nests of a tiny shorebird, the western snowy plover. These birds were last seen in the area in 1949, and were thought to have been driven from the area by the expanding city, endless noise, and non-native species, but have made an unlikely comeback under the flight paths of departing planes at LAX here in 2017.
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