A/V: WPAFB Beds Down Displaced Aircraft

Sunday, August 28, 2011
(I'm starting another feature here to highlight the use of self-produced audio-visual products to complement textual content.  I normally don't carry a true camera around with me so cellphone-quality images/sounds will be the norm for unscheduled events.)

Four C-5 Galaxy aircraft from the West Virginia Air National Guard's 167th Airlift Wing take up temporary residence on the base (photo by author)

DAYTON, Ohio -- Several dozen US military aircraft deployed to southwestern Ohio this weekend to escape the anticipated wrath of Hurricane Irene as it churned a path along the country's Eastern seaboard.  Small two-seat Marine Corps A-6B Prowler electronic warfare aircraft commingled with much larger Air Force transports on the tarmacs at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base who played host for personnel and planes from installations as far away as New York, Delaware, West Virginia and North Carolina.

The tails of three deployed C-5 Galaxy aircraft tower over parked vehicles near the Base Operations building on Wright-Patterson Air Force Base on Saturday (photo by author)

These short-term deployments are standard procedure for flying units based in hurricane- and typhoon-prone locations and these temporary moves minimize any storm-related risk to these multimillion dollar defense resources.  With Irene expected to weaken in strength and move away from the US mainland late Sunday afternoon, return flights would be scheduled as soon as their home bases reopen for air operations.

Several deployed E-6B Prowler aircraft from Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point (North Carolina) await the 'all-clear' to return home (photo by author)

While not a totally uncommon sight (the base is home to the Air Force Reserve Command's 445th Airlift Wing which flies C-17 Globemaster and C-5 Galaxy transports), the influx of these deployed aircraft attracted the attention of numerous visitors to the base.  Several, to include this reporter, could be seen driving around the installation's flightline to obtain better views of the planes and collect some photographic mementos of their brief time in Ohio.  However, with more than two months remaining in the Atlantic hurricane season, many of these guests could turn out to be return visitors.


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