SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, Feb. 26, 2021 (Gephardt Daily) — Northrop Grumman’s B-2 Spirit stealth bombers may be invisible on radar while cruising at fifty thousand feet, but they didn’t escape the eye of Gephardt Daily’s sky-gazing photojournalist Monico Garza on Thursday.
The self-avowed aviation buff was covering news in Provo when he spotted a stream of contrails at an unusually high altitude in Utah’s western sky.
Using a 3000mm Nikon zoom lens, Garza was able to peer between two tall trees and was stunned by what he saw; the distinct form of three bat-winged B-2 Spirit bombers flying in formation against a clear blue sky.
“I was blown away,” Garza said. “These warplanes fly a lot of night missions. That makes a daylight sighting all the more rare. I tried to track them with two different radar apps, one for commercial and another one for military flights, and they were nowhere to be seen. They were seemingly invisible.”
For a man who grew up watching reruns of B-17s in action in Twelve O’Clock High, capturing the stealth bombers in flight was gratifying and a bit emotional. While the warplanes are a billion miles apart in terms of their technologies, the B-2s, like their WWII counterparts, played historic roles in America’s modern day war efforts, as have the crews who have flown them.
“It was definitely awe-inspiring to see something like that in a viewfinder, especially against such a cool background,” Garza said. “These Northrop Grumman aircraft have flown missions in Bosnia, Afghanistan and Iraq. They have a huge payload and pack a tremendous punch. The fact that they seem to come out of nowhere, especially at night, is mind-bending. You don’t want to be on the receiving end of these bad boys.”
Garza watched for several minutes as the 200-ton bombers appeared be gaining altitude and slowly turned to the south and west. Where they came from and where they headed was anyone’s guess.
“Who knows where they were going?” Garza said. “These planes have a range of like seven thousand miles. When they flew against Serbian forces in Kosovo during their first mission some 20 years ago, they flew all the way from Missouri, dropped their payloads, and then flew all the way back. The crews in these planes I saw could have ended up just about anywhere. Absolutely mind-blowing.”
To see more of Monico Garza’s work, including other aviation-based photos, sign up for his Twitter feed at SLCScanner.com