Saturday, 28 May 2011

POTUS over Jeziorki

I didn't hold out too much hope of seeing President of the United States and his retinue flying home aboard Air Force One (and/or Air Force Two) - the wind was in the west, and all air traffic inbound to land at Okęcie was coming in over our house and taking off to the north. I was alerted to the possibility that these two planes would be doing things differently by the presence of a Polish police helicopter flying low over Jeziorki. And indeed. Several minutes later, the mighty sound of four giant turbofans sucking in Jeziorki oxygen portended the appearance of Air Force One - a much-converted Boeing 747 - taking off from Runway 15. Quite something.

I grabbed these shots from my bedroom window. Sadly, the sky was heavily overcast - the sun shines from the right angle to illuminate aircraft taking off or landing this way at this time of day.

Below: Air Force Two, a converted Boeing 757. Last time I saw a US Presidential flight taking off over Jeziorki, George W. Bush and his entourage also flew in two planes, though Air Force Two back then was an elderly Boeing 707.

While I was uploading these pics, Eddie came charging in excitedly, telling me to grab my camera and come outside. It was a Lockheed C5A Galaxy - a huge transport plane that was flying in to pick up Obama's bits and pieces (the stuff that two large planes couldn't carry). I rushed out with camera - but sadly the memory card was in the computer so I missed the shot. So here's another photo of the same C5A, over the fence at Okęcie (photo from

However, as I was writing these words I heard yet another unfamiliar sound above our house - and indeed, a C-17 Globemaster III flew by. And then, just minutes later - to cap it all! (what a day for spotters!) the Polish Air Force's remaining Tu-154 followed on (below). A rare sight these days.

The action didn't stop on Saturday - on Sunday morning, shortly after 7 am, I heard yet another loud aircraft approaching - and bingo! yet another C-17 approaching (below).

Supplementary: 'Air Force One' and 'Air Force Two' are often-misused terms; officially, 'Air Force One' is the name used for the aircraft currently flying the president, and Air Force Two for the aircraft currently flying the vice-president. As Joe Biden was not in Poland, the C-32 (military VIP version of the Boeing 757) shown above was not actually call-signed Air Force Two on the day.

This time two years ago:
Some anniversaries missed

This time three years ago:
Hissing of the summer lawns

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nicely captured Michael given the weather conditions today. If I had deboarded the train on Friday evening at Jeziorki instead of Zalesie Górna, I would have seen him land. I actually carried my 20D and 100-400mm lens into work just in case the timing was right.

This afternoon I drove to the Krakowska side of the airport and was able to get close to the airport border fence, but the police presence was clear. It seems to have been a busy afternoon for Okęcie! I also hadn't realised that Air Force Two always trailed the President. Is this purely entourage? I assume Secret Service personnel given the space available on Air Force One for other staff?