Friday, June 17, 2016

It's a Plane! It's a Bird! It's a Helicopter! It's more Planes!

ArlNow reported that at noon today the Coast Guard would do a flyover, celebrating 100 years of aviation. According to the public route, The flyby would pass directly over the Air Force memorial, which is right near our house. Way too close to pass up the photo op. I figured I'd duck out at 11:50am and catch the action.

As I walked out my door, this guy flew by:

I figured, that's it, I'd missed the show. Still, I made my way to the memorial. When I arrived, there were a gaggle of folks, cameras still poised for action. The good news: I hadn't missed the airplanes. The bad news: the flyby had been pushed back to 1pm.

You might think that waiting around for an hour was annoying. Not so in the least.

For one thing, I noticed an unusual airliner take off in the distance. It was clearly a passenger plane, but it was not from DCA. Check it out:

I do believe that's Air Force One! How cool is that?

Of course, you don't need a fancy flyover to see interesting aircraft over DC. This sort of sight is actually quite common:

Even Mother Nature got in on the action, with what appeared to be a Bald Eagle and some sort of hawk flying overhead. Their speed and agility almost mocks our attempts at flight:

I even had time to shoot a few hyperlapses. Check it out:

In the last few seconds of the third timelapse you can actually see the fly over occur.

The most interesting part of waiting was chatting it up with some old timers, one of which is an active member of the Civil Air Patrol. I explained that in my head, I always associated the Civil Air Patrol is a 1950's, much like Ham Radio and fallout shelters. He set me straight, explaining that they play an active role today, particularly in the emergency services department. I had no idea.

We got on the topic of the (to me) mystery Orange Helicopter's that we're always seeing flying around DC. He explained to me that's Blackjack, a Coast Guard helicopter that enforces the no-fly zone around DC. Apparently the local Civil Air Patrol helps with training by acting as simulated airspace violators, testing Blackjack's response time. It's all explained in this news clip from 2011. Amazing stuff, actually.

Finally, the fly over did actually occur. See:

Fun times! Definitely an hour well spent!

Update: Check out this video from the Manassas Airport, where the planes departed from. Impressive stuff!

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