As I was driving in to work, I noticed a lot of people standing around outside.  Naturally, I thought “What’s going on?”

Then I remembered: we got an email yesterday announcing that one of our aircraft would be flying past the hangar at low altitude early in the morning on the way to someplace else.


The business I work for just won a contract to take over the operation of this thing – it’s a modified DC-10.  Modified in the sense of having a large open port on the left-hand side; a large infrared telescope looks out this window.  The plane is too large to land (or, more importantly, take off) at our airport so it has to live elsewhere and it’s rare for us to see it here but apparently we were “on the way” on its flight today so it paid us a quick visit. Normally it lives at a former air force base in another state.

It was obviously a significant moment: even the guys in the control tower walked outside the tower and onto the railing for a clearer look (presumably the actual air traffic controller stayed inside).  There were a number of others standing around all over the airport – I don’t know how word gets out but I suppose the aircraft pilot files a flight plan with a request for a flyby so the other pilots find out. Possibly, other aircraft owners and businesses have air traffic control radios that they hear this stuff with.

Anyway, it was cool.