President Obama: Wheels Down At LAX

President Barack Obama disembarks Air Force One at LAX, 27 May 2009. Photo by Burns!
President Barack Obama disembarks Air Force One at LAX, 27 May 2009. Photo by Burns!

Air Force One touched down at LAX this afternoon at 12:55pm, bringing President Obama to southern California for an evening fund raiser in Beverly Hills for the Democratic National Committee. Although the President will spend the night in Los Angeles, he will make no public appearances and will depart early tomorrow morning.

I was somewhat disappointed that the President turned immediately toward the helicopter when he reached the bottom of the stairs. I had hoped that he would approach the press pool, even if only for a few questions. Sadly, not even a nod in our direction.

What it’s like to stand in the shadow of Air Force One and more (better) photos after the jump. All pics, including the one above, gain both size and awesomeness when you click them. Go!

We’ve all seen 747s, and they’re big no matter how you look at them. I can tell you, though, that as you stand on the tarmac and Air Force One towers above you, you truly get a sense of how big that plane is. Not just for its sheer mass, but for its primary passenger.

Huge planes land at and take off from LAX all day long, but none has quite the same activity around it. As one man walks down the forward stairs, about 50-60 spill out the back. Staff, military, traveling press; all have parts in what appears to be a seamlessly choreographed exercise.

In addition to Air Force One, other aircraft in use include Marine One (President’s helicopter) and its identical twin that takes off immediately after its predecessor; I’d imagine as a decoy. Those two are followed by three enormous Marine transport helicopters, which I believe contain the presidential limo and other support vehicles.

Quite a lot of organization goes into transporting one guy around the country. It is quite a spectacle to witness.

Although you won’t be able to get all that close, if you’d like to sit at the end of the runway and watch Air Force One depart tomorrow (Thursday) morning, wheels are up at 7:30am.

Air Force One taxis off the runway. Photo by Burns!
Air Force One taxis off the runway. Photo by Burns!
Photo by the fabulous Angela Daves-Haley.
Arrival. Photo by the fabulous Angela Daves-Haley.
Photo by the spectacular Angela Daves-Haley.
Saluting the airmen. Photo by the spectacular Angela Daves-Haley.
Straight onto Marine One for a quick getaway. Photo by Burns!
Straight onto Marine One for a quick getaway. Photo by Burns!

11 thoughts on “President Obama: Wheels Down At LAX”

  1. He will avoid addressing the Prop 8 decision for as long as possible. That’s why he didn’t take any questions.

  2. I think you’re probably right, Chal. I was prepared, though. Had he stopped for any questions at all, that was the subject of the question I was going to shout at him.

  3. Which way did they land? I’m guessing they landed backwards (coming in from the ocean), so as not to fly directly over Sepulveda or Aviation blvd at low altitude. Either that or they closed them on final approach..

  4. Thanks Julia & Verdell.

    @benh57: In fact, they landed from the east, like everybody else. We were at the far west end of the runway, so I don’t know if they closed Sepulveda or any other streets. I can tell you security was pretty tight all around the airport this morning when I drove in. And, I understand that no private pilots are allowed to fly into or out of LAX or other local airports (including Santa Monica, Hawthorn and Burbank) from 8:00am this morning until noon tomorrow.

  5. Very cool Burns! At about 1 p.m. from my Westchester office window a formation of four military copters rumbled over our building and dropped down at LAX. I kept one eye on the skies hoping to get a glimpse of AF1 coming in but I guess the whirlies arrived after AF1 touched down.

  6. Thanks, Jodi & Will. It was pretty darn cool.

    Although I didn’t see any military helicopters coming in, it was about 1:00pm (or a few minutes after) that Marine One and and its entourage of four other helicopters departed and headed north up the beach. AF1 was actually scheduled to arrive at 1:35pm, but we got word at about 12:40 that it would be arriving early. Why doesn’t that ever happen when I’m flying Southwest?

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