Thursday 26 May 2011

Au Revoir! Obama leaves the UK for France

United States Presidential Jumbo leaving Stansted Airport
on Thursday 26th May 2011

With President Obamas in-bound flight being rescheduled to last Monday night, my hope for being able to capture a decent day-time shot of Air Force 1 had been narrowed down to the departure flight for sometime this morning. Taking a gamble on the actual time, I arrived at the vantage point just as the helicopters dropped him back into Stansted Airport. How was that for judgement? Unlike on Monday, I was not alone at the spot chosen to photograph the Presidential aeroplanes.

Air Force 1 (80001)

Presidential plane for First Lady (20201)

Presdient Obama departed first, in Air Force 1 (C-32A) at 9.15 for France, with the First Lady following him shortly afterwards in a second plane. And you thought Air Force 1 was a Jumbo? Well, yes it can be, but the name Air Force 1 actually refers to the plane which carries the President and not a specific plane. Although it might be a talking point for a while to say I watched as the planes departed, neither of these planes were the one I really wanted to photograph. I decided to wait a little while longer and as anticipated the Jumbo 28000 rose from behind a line of trees.

Finally, a daylight opportunity to photograph this individual aircraft. However, in less than thirty seconds, it had passed by and was sweeping out into the cloudy sky, but unlike on Monday, I managed to get it pretty much right. (Would have been even better if I hadn't decided to leave my tripod in the car)

Reflecting at the end of President Obamas 2011 visit to the UK

My thanks go to the guys standing nearby me during this plane-spotting event, who, being tuned to aircraft frequency on their radio, kindly gave me the thumbs up when the action was due to happen.


  1. Great photos; was really great to be able to photograph in the daylight!


  2. Thank you, daylight is always helpful on these occasions.
    Thank you too for the 'useful information'.

  3. Some great shots :-) It was a good morning all in all, wish we had been a bit further to the easy though :-)

  4. Thanks Paul, it is a bit of a gamble getting in position for events like this, with both timing and location. The ideal position would be less under the belly with planes taking off on this runway, but none the less, it is possible to capture something of interest.
    Hope you managed to bag something too.


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