2013's Annual Dulles Day Plane Pull to benefit Virginia's Special Olympics drew the largest turnout of any event at Dulles, with over 16,000 attendees. This year marks the first year that Dulles Day was kicked off with a 5K on the Runway. 2,000 runners looped around the adjacent taxiways, high-speeds, centerline of R/W 19C, where they passed underneath a Boeing 777 supplied by United Airlines. The full album may be viewed here.
Scroll to the bottom of this post for a few short areal video clips.
As the race concluded, aircraft began arriving for display during the Plane Pull.
Oh, nothin'. Just... backing up my PLANE.
A real treat came in for aircraft aficionados at half past noon; the only privately owned Harrier Jump Jet in the World was flown in for display from its home in Maryland, climaxing in a vertical landing... but not before performing a few fly-bys and hovering maneuvers to showcase its abilities. The treat for myself as I covered the Plane Pull was to be in the air for the Harrier's arrival and departure. Unfortunately due to fuel constraints of the helicopter and the Harrier (which later performed a standard departure), we were unable to go air-to-air with the Harrier as planned... but I still got some great areal photos both of the Harrier, and the crowd that gathered to watch.
I requested we fly by Dulles' Main Terminal for some photos. I've wanted these photos for almost as long as I've been photographing... and I finally have them now...
And then of course was the Pizza Eating Contest compliments of Famous Famiglia Pizza.
Soon the day was drawing to a close, and it was time for 2013's Dulles Day show-stopper, the Harrier, and it's wingman to depart.
Likewise, it was time to gear up and take to the skies again. It's always interesting to me that people wave at helicopters but not planes.
Of course, before the Harrier taxied to the runway, I captured this little Easter Egg... Zoom and ENHANCE!!!
And with that, it was time for the final team to pull FedEx's plane; The Chesapeake Sheriff's Office, who successfully defended their title for the 7th year in a row.
And lastly, there was this guy, who photobombed...
The 2013 Dulles Day Plane Pull and first 5K on the Runway was a massive success, and continues to grow larger every year. Shockingly, this was only my second time at the Plane Pull, and my first year widely covering the event - last year I didn't even see a single team pull. My coverage this year was an amazing experience - thanks to everyone at Dulles who work hard to make Dulles Day such an enjoyable and inviting family event! See you all next year!
Special thanks to Chris Browne and Steve Settle for arranging my areal coverage. Thanks to Steve Bussmann for donating his time to fly each year.
Special Features / Behind the Scenes
As promised, I shot a few videos while flying. I was concentrating on shooting photos rather than video (which I hastily shot on my iPhone 5), so the quality isn't cinematic.
A few more fun things from the event. Steve is a very skilled pilot and I had a blast flying seated in the door with him. This wasn't my first foray into areal photography via helicopter, however it was my first time flying with my feet dangling outside the aircraft. Here is some perspective, along with some steep banks. But first, a photo of myself and photographer Andrew Shippin, before lifting off.
That being said, there's this: "Oh, don't worry; it's just $5,000 of camera in my lap, and a few hundred feet straight down. You know, if you like vertigo. BlackRapid's got my back." You can see the Plane Pull in my glasses' reflection. Yes, I am strapped in, and so are my cameras (note the black harness); we do things safe around here.