Wednesday, May 13, 2015

The Northern Virginia Visit and Flyover

After touring Gettysburg Military National Park, it was about three hours (mostly due to the hellish traffic associated with the DC metro area) to the home of a friend of mine.

Lee S and his lovely wife Lynn, were part of the University of Miami, FL Army ROTC program when I studied there.  I met them and another then cadet, Otto B. and we became friends as we went through the program.  I've known them over three decades now.

There was, coincidentally, a big WWII Aircraft Flyover scheduled to commemorate the anniversary of VE Day, Victory in Europe.  56 aircraft of the time were scheduled to fly over the nation's capital and it was a big reason for me to come down to visit Lee, Lynn and family, Otto B and others.

The ride into Washington, D.C. in Lee's car (no moto content in this posting), wasn't too bad according to them but it reminded me as to why I'd left this over-crowded and humid part of the country.

We got there early enough for Lee and I to find ourselves some good spots on the Smithsonian Mall's grassy areas between the US Capitol building and the Washington Memorial.

Lee preps his camera gear, that's the Smithsonian Museum in the background.

Note: the aircraft pictures below were taken with the telephoto lens at max zoom AND with 2X optical zoom piled on top.  Still, they came out usable:

 Spotters and Trainers

 P-40 Warhawks

 B-25 Mitchell Bombers

 PBY Catalina


 P-38 Lightning

 P-51 Mustangs

 C-46 Cargo

 F4U Corsairs

B-29 Bomber

The show lasted about an hour and then it was a hot and humid walk to the restaurant where we got lunch.  It was the Ebbits Restaurant, which apparently has catered to the political elite for some time.  I can tell you it was pretty crowded in their lobby, the place had very nice and luxurious fittings and the food was good.

A cooling beer while we waited for our table
Barry, Lee and Otto...Otto is the one with beer glass in action

 Left to Right: Bryan, Otto, Barry, Stephanie and Lee's daughter Jennifer

Yours truly, Lee and Bryan

Lunch over with, we endeavoured to get back to Lee's car and spend the next few hours retreating out of the DC metro area and back to Lee's house near Orlean, VA.

We were wiped out that night, very tired from the heat and humidity of the day.  Still, it was a great day.

The next day, the same aircraft that overflew us at the nation's capital were scheduled to be at the Udvar-Hazy Aircraft Museum near Centerville, VA.

We rode in two cars this time, and apparently everyone and their brother had the same idea to go view the WWII aircraft up close.  It was overwhelming the amount of cars that showed up and clogged up the entrance ways to the museum.

Still, we eventually got in and parked.  Only to find weather had precluded all but one aircraft from arriving.  The lone aircraft was the C-46 Cargo Plane.  We walked about the museum taking pictures in spite of this disappointment:




We decided to head over to the nearby airport of Warrenton, where Lee S. trained for his pilot's license, and lucked out by showing up in time to watch the B-17 Flying Fortress below take off:


We also lucked out by being in the right spot outside the airport to photograph this P-51 Mustang come in for a landing.



So, two good days of aircraft watching and photographing.  Enjoying the sights in the company of old and new friends, no moto content but still quite enjoyable for me.

3 comments:

Richard M said...

What a great opportunity. I've always liked seeing the P-38 and P-51 flying at air shows. Back in the mid 70s, we were collecting our equipment off of a dry lake on a bombing range (a day after when we were supposed to have our stuff removed), and we were "buzzed" a few times by a P-38 close enough to see the pilots laughing.

Trobairitz said...

How great you were there for the flyover. Those old planes have so much character and the things they've been through......

I always enjoy airplane museums and the like.

Thanks for sharing.

Charlie6 said...

RichardM, yes, it would have been hard to pass up such an event. As to getting buzzed by P-38s....that must have been interesting.

Trobairitz, given the motorcycles I ride, no big surprise I like vintage aircraft as well eh? You're quite welcome.