Tag Archives: president

Air Force One

AU0E6592.jpgI have had a pretty poor run of luck when it comes to Air Force One. I have seen it overflying in the distance, I have seen the VC-25 on the ramp at Davis Monthan but was thirty seconds from being parked when it took off and I had a failed effort to get it at SFO which I mentioned in this previous post. It was back in San Francisco recently and I decided I was going to have another go.

AU0E6494.jpgI tracked the TFR online and, this time, it didn’t change. I, therefore, got to SFO with plenty of time before the departure. The weather was not fantastic but there was generally a clear spot over the airport so I was a little optimistic. As the intended time for departure approached, the cloud rolled in. Of course it did! Nothing I could do about that. Meanwhile, departures off 01 had stopped (I am not sure whether that was related to the Fleet Week air show or not) and a bunch of planes were lined up to depart from 28. Then they all stopped.

AU0E6513.jpgI assume the President had come by road as there was no helicopter activity other than a police chopper over the highway. The beacons were on as I heard the sound of a jet going around. It briefly appeared through a gap in the clouds and was a United 737. I guess they had just timed it wrong. I have no idea whether they held or diverted. Suddenly the VC-25 was rolling. It taxied rapidly along the northern taxiway by 28R with a couple of Secret Service vehicles following close behind. Without a pause it turned onto 28R past the waiting airliners and powered away. The Secret Service chased it for a while down the runway but it was airborne pretty swiftly. I guess it was lightly loaded. A few minutes later everything started moving again. Another ten minutes and the sun was out. Typical!

AU0E6525.jpg

Marine One

With the President being a Chicago resident, it is not uncommon for him to be in the city from time to time and a presidential movement means some unusual aircraft.  Given all of this, it might be surprising that I have not got any pictures of Air Force One or Marine One since he has been president.  Usually I am not aware of his movements until after the event and I can’t always drop everything to go out even if I did know.

Recently, he came home for the weekend.  A few friends had mentioned the arrival and departure schedule for Air Force One so I did consider whether to head out.  The arrival wasn’t practical but the departure was on a Sunday evening which I could manage.  As it happened, I had been out earlier in the day and coming back into the city I saw how bad the traffic was heading out of town and decided that going to O’Hare was going to be no fun at all.  Besides, you are always wondering what runway will be sued and might find yourself totally out of position anyway.

Instead, I decided to try and get some pictures of Marine One.  It picks him up on the lake-shore south of the city to transfer to O’Hare so might provide an alternative opportunity.  I headed down to a location I thought might be good.  As I drove Through Grant Park, the two CH-46E Sea Knights that accompany him flew over shortly followed by the VH-3D.  I was a bit miffed that I wasn’t a few minutes earlier so I could have got them arriving but never mind.

I found a parking place – no mean feat on a sunny Sunday by the lake – and wandered to the water to find a spot to wait.  Then I waited – quite a long time.  A temporary flight restriction (TFR) is issued when the President moves.  I knew the times it was active but he can go any time in that range.  This time it was later in the range.  I watched the boats on the lake, the police helicopter checking us all out and the police boats stopping people getting where they weren’t supposed to be.

Finally, I saw the first of the two VH-3Ds take off.  Followed by the second and then the Sea Knights, they took off to the south, away from me!  This wasn’t promising.  At least they might turn left and come back up the lake.  No, they turned right and went inland.  I was feeling a touch annoyed by this development.  Then things got better.  They continued their turn and headed right for me.  They passed over the lake giving me a great view with the sun behind me.  They are a bit shiny which is tricky with the sun but in the end I got the shot.  It was worth the wait.