Dulles Day 5K / 10K On the Runway
In 1993 Dulles International Airport held the World's very first Plane Pull, a charity event in partnership with Special Olympics, that began a phenomenon of other plane pull charity events worldwide. In 2013, Dulles added a 5K (and in 2014 a 10K) to Dulles Day. While technically the 5K / 10K is a separate event from the Plane Pull, it is always held on the morning of as the newest annual part of Dulles Day. Each year 2,500 participants are able to run on R/W 1R and return to the Start / Finish via T/W K. It is one of Potomac River Running's most popular runs, both because it offers the unique opportunity to be a pedestrian on an airfield (and run under the wing of a United 777), and there is no other run of that distance which offers a perfectly flat venue other than a track.
In previous years I've been on the ground for photos (thank you to Airport Operations for always providing me with speedy transport anywhere I need to go), but this year I was in the helicopter circling the event to capture new angles and promo photos I haven't gotten for this event before. In contrast to the other photographers at the event who are tasked with capturing each runner's photo, my assignment for the Plane Pull each year is to document the entire day and capture marketing photographs in a photojournalistic manner.
Thanks to an unexpected, last-minute delay of the race start, I was able to capture some great photos and video footage of the Smithsonian's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center before the run got underway.
Also visible is Washington Dulles International Airport's Concourses and Terminal, ATCT, VMF, and R/W 12/30.
Huge thanks to Bussman Aviation and all the fine folks in Dulles Airport Operations who make aerial photography and the entire day possible!
If you're looking for the video footage, scroll to the bottom of this blog post.
Dulles Day Plane Pull
The Dulles Day Plane Pull is a Summer festival suitable for all ages, and is great for families and aviation enthusiasts alike. There are food vendors, games, giveaways, booths and displays, demonstrations, a classic car show, ARFF and Mobile Lounge rides / tours, live music, and ~50 private, vintage, and military aircraft on display, but the main attraction is the Plane Pull itself; ~100 teams compete in pulling a FedEx 757 or a United A320.
The first pull to kick off the day every year is always the Special Olympics team. This year they had a little help from Superman!
Another notable team is the Fairfax County Police Department. Dulles's property crosses over between Fairfax and Loudoun Counties, and many of the teams that compete are police and sheriffs offices in the surrounding communities. The police community is already a tightly knit brotherhood, and that family is brought together every year with this friendly competition amongst neighboring jurisdictions.
Something of my own tradition I've begun since I began documenting the Plane Pull in 2013, every year I capture an aerial portrait of Eero Saarinen's famous Dulles Main Terminal Building. This year’s Plane Pull was overcast - excellent for pictures of people and scenes, but not the most flattering light for glamour shots of buildings. The iconic Main Terminal Building is seen here with ongoing construction for the Dulles Metrorail Project entering the bottom of the frame, including excavation and two cranes.
For 10 straight years now eyes have been on the Chesapeake Sheriff's Office; the team with an outright dominant reign as the Dulles Plane Pull's fastest. They successfully defended their title for the 10th year in a row, with a time of 4.872s; 2016's fastest pull, however just short of setting a new Plane Pull record - a record of 4.753 they set in 2015.
The Dulles Day Plane Pull is also a planespotter's / AVGeek's dream; ATC does their best to route as much international, heavy, and otherwise interesting traffic to the nearby center runway. Guests are encouraged to bring their cameras, and it's common for folks to come just to grab a lobster roll and planespot alongside the taxilane the entire afternoon in anticipation of spotting a jumbo like Lufthansa's 747-8i or Air France's A380. This is completely in addition to the static private, vintage, and military aircraft on display.
Once again, I have to thank Bussman Aviation and all the fine folks in Dulles Airport Operations who make aerial photography and the entire day possible! I rely on these fantastic folks to get me from A to B in speedy fashion, and what I do wouldn't be possible without them!
Here is a collection of the video footage I captured at this year's annual 2016 Dulles Plane Pull benefitting Special Olympics Virginia. Still photographs are my main focus, so this is content I captured between the still photos I captured to document the day.