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Thread: Washington DC (and Marine 1) Aug 16-17

  1. #1
    Senior Member Gerard's Avatar
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    Washington DC (and Marine 1) Aug 16-17

    Had this trip planned since the Spring and headed out solo to spend a few days in Washington DC. Out early (6:50) Sunday morning and arrived in the DC area around 11AM. Had a few things to do in Md. then took the GW Parkway down to Reagan Airport then
    swung around and did my first stop at Gravelly Point at the north end of Reagan Airport. It was a hot sunny DC day and the jets were
    coming in on the river route landing 1-9. A number of USAF Hueys, the VIP ships were flying around and one landed at Reagan and idled awhile before heading out NW. Despite the sun and heat it was pretty crowded and I hung out for over an hour enjoying the
    show. From there I buzzed over to the Eagles Nest where the USPP have their Aviation Unit. One of their Bell 412s sat in the hot sun
    and I was lucky enough to see it launch before leaving. I was about to leave Anacostia Park and headed into DC when I saw the new
    Washington Nationals stadium on the other side of the river. Wow this wasnt here when I was down here a few years back. What a beautiful stadium and they are actively working to build other facilities. But the problem (I guess) is that you cross South Capitol Street it isnt the nicest neighborhood. Also on the DC side is the old Capitol Street Heliport which is where the MPDC air unit, Condor (AS 350 Astar) is located. Next stop was the Washington Hospital Center. Very quiet with no MedStar ships around and the STAT Medevac Childrens Hospital copter sat on the roof pad of the CH. Well that was that so I made my last stop....the Courtyard Marriott on F Street
    NW. Checked in, grabbed a swim, changed and had a nice dinner at the brew pup in the lobby then took a nice walk to the Mall and the
    Monument. Warm eve but nice and clear.
    Day 2 was very busy and had such a great payoff!!!! Left the hotel and walked down to the Capitol and Supreme Court before going up
    to the Air-Space Museum. Air conditioned and not that crowded (yet) I spent over two hours there. Leaving I decided to go back to the
    hotel for a much needed lunch break. Around 2:45 I headed out on my next leg. Down "F" street to the White House, looped around to the Monument then over to the Jefferson Memorial. That is a cool spot for helo watching as the areas copters use the Tidal Basin as a waypoint from the Potomac and away from Reagan. They then pick up the east shore of the Potomac or head along the Anacostia. I left the Jefferson and walked along the Tidal Basin and over to the Potomac watching the arrivals to Reagan then made my way to the Lincoln Memorial. That was pretty crowded then I transitioned to the Vietnam Memorial then the WW2 Memorial.
    Well I was getting beat and it was time to head back to the hotel and to recharge.
    BUT... walking along the grass by the Monument I hear an approaching copter. It was Eagle 2 and they began sweeping the area. Mmmm I thought. And when I reached the Ellipse the grassy area just south of the White house my suspicions was confirmed Marine One was inbound to the White House!! They kept people at a safe distance but still with good views. And we didnt have to wait long as here come 3 VH-3s looping around the Monument and dropping low as they came towards the White House. But only one was landing, the other two were decoys that broke off. Couldnt see Obama as he departed the copter but it was still pretty cool. After he was at a safe distance the rotors began to turn again and they lifted off heading back home!!! I have to be honest that was something I always wanted to see and basically its just a matter of luck, being in the right place at the right time. Heading back to the hotel I had a little more bounce in my step!!! LOL!! Yes that was QUITE COOL!!!!
    A nice relaxing and fun trip but not even enough time to check out all the museums. I was going to stay another day but my youngest son is heading back to school tomorrow so I came home earlier than I would have liked.
    but I will return!!! :)

  2. #2
    Senior Member Gerard's Avatar
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    Re: Washington DC (and Marine 1) Aug 16-17

    ON the way back I stopped at Martin State Airport which is just NE of Baltimore. I was there some years back and the Maryland ANG have a base there with A-10s and C-130Js. Just before arriving I saw a flight of 5 A-10s buzzing the area. But they landed just as I arrived. Happily two more came in just before I left (spent about an hour there) doing a fly-over before breaking left and landing.
    Baltimore PD and Baltimore County PD both base their helicopters there as does a unit of the Md.State PD. And a few newscopters including SkyTeam 11 who was in and quickly out.
    And BTW, speaking of call signs (wasnt I? :) ) there are a ton of them in DC. I got great Reagan Tower reception in my hotel room and I heard military like Muscle, Nighthawk, Cap and Blackjack and others like Condor (Metro PD), Eagle (USPP), Stat (Medevac) MedSTAR, AirCare, Sky9 and a USCG Dauphin based at Reagan Airport who fly Homeland Security missions and I believe use the call-sign SkyWatch 1 or Skyhawk 1. Maybe someone can confirm?

    BTW I put the Marine 1 pictures on Facebook in the "Just Fans" section.

  3. #3
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    Re: Washington DC (and Marine 1) Aug 16-17

    Man, this reminds of living in DC. I remember seeing Marine One all the time...never got old. The best was when I was a few blocks west of the White House and heard this big whooshing sound come over my head, and looked it to see it pass overhead at rooftop level. I ran over to the south lawn and got as close as I could with my now girlfriend (though not then) and waited for a departure. Sure enough it took off and came at tree top level RIGHT toward me. A great shot, perfectly framed. And just as I went to click the shutter....

    the batteries died.


    Fail.

    My girlfriend still reminds me of that blown one.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Gerard's Avatar
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    Re: Washington DC (and Marine 1) Aug 16-17

    Quote Originally Posted by jerslice
    Man, this reminds of living in DC. I remember seeing Marine One all the time...never got old.
    I agree. The closest I got was a few years ago and I was on the GW Parkway across the river heading back to a friends house
    in Potomac when I heard on the scanner they were inbound. I pulled over into a small parking area and watched them come in then
    leave. That was cool but this..........NICE!!!

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