February 10 Presidential Visit to Springfield – Part 2

About lunchtime February 9, another C-17 from McGuire arrived and shut down across the field at Standard Aero. Barricades barring vehicles from parking between terminal and ANG fence had been erected, but I walked around them to take photographs directly behind the fence that separated the parking lot from the rest of the airport. I hoped that if the airport security officer — which  I saw watching me from an airport safety vehicle — wanted to discourage my presence on foot, he would call my attention to my intrusion. He did not. It was snowing, the Globemaster III was parked a half an airport away from me, we knew each other from previous encounters, and I was present there less than  10 minutes, so everything seemed okay. THANK YOU AIRPORT SAFETY OFFICERS.

On the morning of February 10, the Eurocopter UH-72 Lakota, based with the Army National Guard in Decatur, Illinois arrived a few hours before the scheduled appearance of the Boeing VC-25A bearing radio call sign Air Force One when the president of the United States is aboard. I made no connection of the Lakota with the auspicious event, but later it became clear. First picture shows the Horizon people pushing a visiting Cirrus into a hangar. The only flying machine on the ramp was the distant helicopter.


An advisory distributed that morning instructed everyone to remain inside the Horizon Aviation building during a “window” of time reserved to maximize security.  During that window, no one from Horizon, no one in the Horizon building including me, would be permitted outside. Pilots nation-wide knew the details. It was just SOP. Though I had covered the president’s 2009 visit for Springfield Business Journal, my effort to obtain media credentials for this visit was unsuccessful for reasons not shared with me by those “in the know” — or in my case, “in the NO.” I was given permission to photograph through the lobby window.

The motorcade swiftly motored the chief executive to his speaking engagements in beautiful downtown Springfield.
During the events in the city, the Lakota crew visited the WELCOME Room of AeroKnow Museum, and I was given permission to photograph the helicopter’s takeoff from the better side of the fence when it was time to return to the air. The following pictures were taken at that time.

Part 3 of this series will include pictures of President Obama’s return to the VC-25A and his takeoff. Stay tuned.

And if you appreciate the effort it took to take and process these pictures and to share them with you, please support AeroKnow Museum. Contact photographer/museum director Job Conger to learn how — akm@eosinc.com


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