Dulles Day 5K / 10K On the Runway
Since 2013, the Plane Pull's 20th Anniversary, Dulles Day has begun with a 5K and 10K "Run on the Runway." 2015 continued this new tradition, with runners arriving at the Udvar-Hazy Air and Space Museum to run along Dulles' R/W 1R / 19L, and adjacent taxiway. Similarly to last year, United towed the stationary aircraft runners passed on their run to its position in the fog at sunrise.
If you're looking for the video footage, scroll to the bottom of this blog post.
The 5K / 10K sold out with 2,500 people running on one of the most notably flattest surfaces one could find outside of a competitive track. Some familiar faces took part in the run, including some highschool and college classmates of mine with whom I ran track, as well as Dulles' Airport Manager, who has competed with his daughter in the run every year now.
Dulles Day Plane Pull
The Dulles Day Plane Pull is an annual fundraising event, taking place every year since 1993, which benefits Special Olympics. Held the third Saturday of every September, this competition for charity draws 10,000 - 15,000 people each year, featuring dozens of display aircraft, games, prizes, concessions, and live entertainment, all in addition to the main event running all day, the Plane Pull itself.
Every year I photograph the car show first, since it is located right next to where I park my car on the apron as I cover this awesome event. A few of these are regulars to the Dulles Day Car Show, as well as regulars to other car shows I frequent.
Dulles Day is kicked off during the Opening Ceremony, where the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Police Department Honor Guard present our Nation's colors, the National Anthem is sung, and MWAA PD Chaplain Grant delivers an invocation prayer. Sponsors then formally present Special Olympics with funds raised, and the festivities kick off!
The first team to pull is always the Special Olympics Team.
Kids are also able to pull non-competitively; the 1-2-3 Junk Truck is on hand for kids to get a feel for what it's like pulling an aircraft, on a smaller scale.
Dunk-A-Cop is one of Dulles Day's most popular attractions with the kids. Dulles Day would be impossible without the cooperation of countless police, fire, and rescue agencies which donate their time and energy to help organize the event and run attractions such as the K9 Demonstration. In this safe demonstration, officers and their K9 partners search for real explosive material hidden in a suitcase - dogs sit to signal "alarm" indicating which bag the dog detects the smell emanating from.
For the last several years, I have been privileged to fly in the helicopter that covers the "airport's open house" from the air. Thanks to Steve Settle, a very funny guy I worked with in Engineering, who is also very integral to the planning of Dulles Day each year, for snapping this photo of me before our flight this year.
I do love my job with all my heart. That's the Main Terminal in the background.
Each year I do this, I not only cover the event, but I make sure to request a flyby of the Main Terminal to grab aerial photos of it.
I also have a bit of video footage from the flight, but video is not my focus. Scroll to the bottom of this blog post to see the video.
Eero Saarinen's historic Main Terminal Building at Washington Dulles International Airport, from the back and front. This year, construction of the new Dulles Metrorail Station can be seen in front of Daily Garage 1.
In case you were wondering, this is the view if you look down from ~400AGL. Depending on the tightness of the turn, you may look straight outward and this will be your view.
Some people think this is scary; I think it's fun. And don't worry; everyone and every thing is strapped in, including cameras.
If you see just one pull, make it the Chesapeake Sheriff's Office, which are now the 9x defending champions. This year they pulled a monstrous, record-setting time of 4.753s, once again beating out the Fairfax County Sheriff's time of4.946s.
Chesapeake gets fired up; everything they do is big. Their heaviest teammate weighs in at over 500lbs. Because they are the reigning champs, and hands-down the Plane Pull's biggest spectacle, they are always the day's last pull.
Just Plane Mamas is another notable team, defending champs for Most Enthusiastic. They also won this year's Slowest Pull - yes, the Plane Pull awards everything! It's about family fun!
After the awards were presented, the airport must return to full operation. The public departs, and most of the display aircraft "go home." This year, the President's Osprey was on display, and was quite a sight to see depart - this was my first time seeing an Osprey flight in person.
There is video of some of these aircraft departing at the end of this blog post.
As always, the 2015 Dulles Day 5K / 10K on the Runway and Plane Pull were huge successes, with impeccable weather. If you missed it this year, you really missed it; but make sure to mark your calendar for September, and I'll see you all there again next year!
Photos are of course my primary focus, however I do usually shoot a bit of video because it is so unique and interesting. Here is a reel of all my footage from this year's Plane Pull.