So POTUS (President of the United States) was back in KL for the weekend. This time to attend the ASEAN summit along with other nation leaders from ASEAN countries and its partners Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, Russia and South Korea.
With POTUS in town, it brought a lot of excitement (and also frustrations to those who got stuck in traffic) to Malaysians. Politics and economy aside, being a fan of planes, I was really looking forward to catch a glimpse of the Air Force One once again.
Unfortunately Friday was a working day and I missed the arrival of POTUS into Subang Airport. The only option was to try on Sunday afternoon when Obama leaves Malaysia. Took me a while to convince my other half and fortunately she agreed with the crazy idea of spending 1-2 hours of valuable Sunday afternoon observing planes at the airport.
Information about the departure of Air Force One was not easily available online for obvious reasons. However we were able to roughly zoom in on the expected time range of departure based on POTUS’ schedule of meetings and the live coverage of his meetings in KL.
By the time we got to the other side of the airport that gives a good view of the runway, a few hardcore spotters were already at their position to take photos of this rare visitor to Malaysia. It was nice to bump into a familiar face and otai in spotting that gave good tips on aircraft photography as I am as good as a newbie when it comes to taking photos of fast-moving planes.
While waiting for the Air Force One, we got the opportunity to warm up with a few of regulars of Subang Airport.
TUDM’s Airbus A400M. Pretty bird.
Things started to get more interesting as the rain starts.
TNI Angkatan Udara’s A-7306 Boeing 737. A 22 years old transporter.
And the rain continued to pour.
And finally around 5pm, the airspace was closed for regular traffic and a police helicopter started to fly around the airport, a sign that Air Force One will be departing soon.
The rain finally stopped. Just in time for the plane that all have been waiting for.
A quick runway check.
Not long after that, a familiar sound of roaring engine that could only mean one thing. A jet plane that is set for take off.
True enough seconds later, the first sight of Air Force One.
Taking off from RWY15, it doesn’t take long for the 4 powerful engines to lift the VC-25, the military version of Boeing 747 into the sky.
Selamat Jalan Obama!
A few minutes later, the Boeing C-32A (90015) which I think carried the Presidential Staff left Subang. As Boeing 757 is rather rare in Malaysia so it was a pleasant surprise.
Alhamdulillah, it was a worthwhile 75 minutes of waiting and I can finally check that little box in my “aviation bucket list” for the item “witness Air Force One takes off”.
Note: All of the photos are mine. Please let me know if you want to use it. Thank you.