KDOV, more widely known as Dover Air Force Base is a prominent land mark at the north end of the Eastern Shore. It is home to some very big aircraft. It is also a military base so it’s not found in most general aviation pilots’ log books. That changed for me on Saturday.
The base hosted its first MACA (mid-air collision avoidance) safety seminar and fly-in. The opened the event to 25 airplanes. Thankfully, a fried or a friend emailed me the details and I was certain to get my paperwork in as quick as possible.
The event was organized with military precision. I was issued flight instructions and an arrival window of 07:46 to 08:01 ! I was worried about being late so I made sure to take off with plenty of time. Too much time in fact. Good thing the RV-8 can fly slow … 80kts slow!
Rather than lots of words, here are some highlights of the day in pictures …
06:40 preflight and ready to launch – woohoo!
up, up and away … pretty quiet on the radio.
A quick pass to see the recent wind damage to the barley crop. The wind damage looks like someone clawing at styrofoam.
Turns out I’m not alone – wave hello to Carter who is already at work, spraying.
after an hour of SLOOWWWW flight, I have the airport in sight
waiting … waiting … waiting for the runway to arrive
on the numbers … I hope 12,903′ is enough runway
Once on the ground, we were escorted to the safety seminar. It was packed with lots of good information about the airspace, their flight operations, and and what their controllers need to deal with. It was interesting to visualize that the Washington DC SFRA and the Philadelphia Class B airspace create a funnel of GA traffic aimed right at Dover’s training area.
After the safety session, we had a series of tours including the tower and TRACON facility, a C17 and C5 (inside and out), and Dover’s cargo handling capabilities. These guys and gals MOVE FREIGHT – lots of freight!
On the various tours, there was a lot of hand signals mixed in with the briefs. I don’t recall what this signal means but it was right before the bathrooms.
Time to go up in the tower .. this one has an elevator (the old one didn’t)
The tower has the best view ! On this day, identical twins were supervising.
I didn’t even notice the rubber duckies until I saw Vlad’s post ! .. I have one in my plane but you’ll have to wait to find out why.
A tower view of the flight line.
An a C17 is cleared for takeoff. It didn’t need much runway – wow!
They needed a bigger hanger – this one is movable ? Backing the hangar away from the plane.
I’m a lot older than the guy who usually occupies this seat.
You could build an airplane inside this C17!
You could build an even bigger airplane in this C5!
If you are wondering, we are looking up at all of the control cables that run fore and aft in the C5. But the really interesting bit is what is above those cables – the cockpit, sleeping berths for 12, a galley, head, eating area, and then coach class style seating for 78 !
Inside the cockpit of the C5 – Who said military aircraft are bland? Bright happy colors?
Under the C5 – This guy makes landing gear exciting !
The C5 landing gear is amazing. In normal operations, the main gear retracts, folds, and slides sideways into storage. For loading operations, both front and main gear can be configured to let the airplane “kneel”!
Back at the museum, there are my favorite engines – ROUND … and lots of them.
… a Stearman and a very un-aerodynamic glider.
The day is wrapping up and time to launch. “cleared on course” and right over the flight line !
Less than an hour later and I’m on short final for home.
What a great day – thanks KDOV !
Indeed, the entire staff that organized, hosted, and presented were great. They really were happy to have us visit. I got a lot out of it. They say they want this to be an annual event so watch for the announcement for 2015!