NextBurgh, PA          @VannevarB      About      Pittsburgh Murals
May 29, 2009

G-20 and the Pittsburgh Airplane Geek

So: The G-20 are meeting in Pittsburgh in September. (BBC, Xinhua).
People see the world through their own interests. If you stop at a gas station for directions, they'll tell you to go straight ahead, turn left at the Exxon, turn right at the BP, and you're there. Stop at a ginmill for directions, they'll tell you to bear right at the DewDropInn, hang a left at Stan's Jungle Lounge, and you're there.

Hello, my name is Vannevar. I'm an airplane geek. For instance, this is a picture of a B707, B717, B727, B737, B747, B757, B767, and a B777 all lined up at Boeing Field in Seattle. It's a plane geek's fantasy.

Here's a G-20-something story that happened 26 years ago, back when it was only the G-7. (Today is the anniversary of this story.)

On May 29, 1983, President Reagan hosted the G-7 meeting in Williamsburgh, Virginia. All the VIP aircraft were parked at nearby Langley Air Force Base. I lived just outside of Langley's west gate. On the ramp at Langley, there was the US Air Force One, Margaret Thatcher's Vickers VC10, and Francois Mitterand's Concorde. As an airplane geek it was an irresistable opportunity to go see these aircraft lined up.

Along with a few friends, we drove onto the Base (my car had vehicle tags because I was a Navy reservist at the time). We went to the Tower, gave them doughnuts and asked if we could come upstairs; they said "sure" and buzzed us in. We walked up and up, around and around the staircase, and arrived in the control tower to a tremendous view of a lineup of Presidential aircraft. Air Force Security was everywhere.

We had a nice tour of the tower and then took our leave. As we worked our way down the stairs, round and round, we took the wrong doorway at the bottom of the stairs, and we stepped out directly onto the tarmacadam. At that very moment, there was a changing of the security watch at Thatcher's VC10. And what's cool is, at the moment the oncoming watch presents itself, they all simultaneously slide the ammo clips into their M16s. So we tumble out on the ramp where we're not supposed to be, lots of people look up and realize that we've just penetrated their secure area, and then we hear the squad's M16s all go "click" in unison with that very distinctive sound. It was kind of a focused moment.

We all froze, security questioned us, and all of a sudden the fact that we brought doughnuts (Krispy Kremes, even) wasn't as significant as it might once have been. They confirmed our story - a couple of tower visitors that took the wrong turn - and escorted us off the base. But it was a great chance to see those planes. I think I still have a picture of the planes.

When I think about the G20 in Pittsburgh, my mind races to: Think of the airplanes that will be here!

This link provides the following list of aircraft types that recently flew into London for the March 2009 G20 summit. (thanks Nino)
Argentina - Aerolineas Argentinas Airbus
Australia - B737-BBJ
Brazil - A319CJ & a B732 (I expect they'd bring an Embraer)
Canada - CC-150 (Airbus 313)
China - Air China B744 (the C919 won't be ready)
Czech Republic - Airbus 319CJ
Egypt - Airbus 342
France - Airbus 319CJ
Germany - GAF Airbus 313
India - Air India B744
Indonesia - Airbus 333
Italy - Airbus 319CJ
Japan - JASDF B744s
Mexico - B752
Netherlands - Fokker 70 (that's a medium-sized Fokker)
Russia - Il-76, Il-62s, Il-96s & three Tu-154s
South Africa - B737BBJ ZS-RSA to LGW
South Korea - Asiana B744
Spain - Airbus 310
Thailand - B734
Turkey - Airbus 319CJ

If that's any indication, there's going to be some awesome airplane spotting opportunities in Pittsburgh in September. If your camera looks anything like the photo at the right, please stay home.

It would be extremely cool to see the Airbus A380. It would be a chance for the Euro-partners to highlight their flagship, but I'm not sure that's a priority and I don't imagine that Emirates is lending them out.


Orville Wright said...

Funny, my first thought was, "Great, an event that attracts every nut with a cause in the world to da 'Burgh." Second thought, "Can Kim Jong-il reach da Burgh with a nuke."

Truly an Airplane Geek

Post a Comment

Comments and Feedback? Love that stuff. Please leave your thoughts in the box below--