February 10 Presidential Visit to Springfield
I thought the first C-17 support aircraft visited Springfield December 5, but I learned from a friend that I missed the first which came earlier. I was working in AeroKnow Museum’s Intake Room and happened to see this bird rolling out after landing on Runway 4. By the time I had retrieved both cameras from my office and hiked across a healthy expanse of parking lots’ concrete, the aircraft had been parked across the field at the StandardAero ramp. As you can see when you click on the images. this 17 was from Memphis.
Two days later, I was again working in the Intake Room and noticed a large arrangement of military trucks, parked nose-to-tail on the near side of what used to be the aircraft parking ramp of the 183d Fighter Wing, Illinois Air National Guard. There were a few people and other vehicles in motion in that area, so I concluded there must have been another presidential support transport inbound. I walked over to the fence between the terminal and ANG ramp about 11:40. And waited. Activity — vehicles in motion between the two ramps began to increase at a trickle. It convinced me that something was about to happen. I stood where I knew I’d be very visible; didn’t want anyone watching me to think I was sneaking around. About 11:2o I saw the distant silhouette of a C-17,made sure everything on the Canon EOS 20D was ON and set. As he approached, I KNEW the fence would be between 17 and camera, but I was resolved to DEAL with it. It would be as much a part of the event as the airplane.
As it taxied in, the driver of an SUV caught my attention, opened the security gate and motioned me in. It was my friend Tim Franke, and I was deLIGHTED to see him! He invited me to get in, and I did. For the next 30 minutes, Tim helped position me for some PRIME photographs!
As the crews began to unload, we checked with Air Force people to learn what I could photograph. I was told that pictures of the containers on four wheels, which came out first and were lined up behind the main landing gear should NOT be taken. Yes, when the Sikorsky VH-60N came out in maybe 20 minutes I could photograph it as long as there were no boxes and wheeled gear nearby. Okay, excellent. In the meantime, Tim wanted me to take some pictures of City of Springfield fire trucks across the airport. I can’t remember if the pictures I took were “classified,” but I won’t risk it here. He drove over the McClelland Aviation’s ramp, and I took some pictures. As we departed to return to the 17, I saw an incredible view of it and asked Tim if I could get out of his vehicle and take a few pics. He said “yes,” bless him. Here they are . . .
We knew the Sikorsky would be coming out soon, and Tim had to be elsewhere away from the airport. He left me in the care of another member of the airport security team. The VH-60N was a surprise. I had not seen one with everything folded for airborne transport.
While the 17 was made ready for the flight home, I took some more pictures.
His departure was awesome.
Part 2 of this series of three, maybe four, will be posted in a few days. If you like these pictures and the effort by photographer Job Conger to share them with you, please support AeroKnow Museum. For more information, e-mail email@example.com and please comment about what you’ve seen so far.