Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Report from Behind the Scenes Tour of Charlottesville-Albemarle Airport

Some local bloggers and members of the media were invited on a guided, behind-the-scenes tour of CHO on August 21, 2009 - and I was one of the invited bloggers. The tour was led by Barbara Hutchinson, CHO executive director, and key commission members, and included up-close and rarely seen looks at the Runway extension site, Emergency services, Private planes and helicopters, Aircraft taking off and landing area, Luggage loading area and more. This was a fun tour that was a great glimpse into how our local airport - CHO - operates. About 12 people zoomed around the airport in a tour bus for about 90 minutes to see the airport up-close and personal. The tour group was encourage to ask question, take photographs and share what we learned with others on our blogs. So, here are some of the photos I took on the tour. I also recommend you keep checking on the Charlottesville Tomorrow weblog for lots of photos. Sean Tubbs of Charlottesville Tomorrow said he shot about 350 photos (50 for each one I shot) and will be posting a slide show and audio from the tour. So, you will be able to experience much of what I saw and heard through the miracle of electronic media. I will be checking there too.

My seven photographs are below. My thanks to Barbara Hutchinson and her staff for a great tour.

Here is Marc Tenia of TV-19 capturing video for the evening news. We are just in front of the Corporate Jet hangar. The runway is to the left just beyond the grass.

Here is one of the mammoth snow plows in the garage waiting for the first snow of the season. I believe this plow is 22 feet wide. There are three plows that work together to plow the runway and there is also a huge snow blower to help out when there is sufficient snow to get it out of the garage.

This is an up-close view of one of the smaller corporate jet aircraft. I was hoping for a ride in one of these as part of the tour, but it was not to be.

Although my Kodak pocket camera (no optical zoom) couldn't get a better shot than this, I am standing not terribly far from the runway as a jet takes off.

Here the group is getting lots of detail about the airport operations while the tour group is poking around the hangar. There were only a few aircraft on the ground while we were on tour. But, apparently this general aviation area of the airport will be packed full on upcoming UVA football game weekends.

Here is a photo of Sean Tubbs of Charlottesville Tomorrow snapping one of his 350 shots. We are in the baggage area where bags have already cleared security and are waiting for airline staff to pick them up and put them on soon to be departing flights.

Here is one of the two fire/rescue vehicles housed near the runway ready to use foam or whatever to protect against fire, or to respond to any emergency on the airport property. I got to try on one of the heat reflecting jackets. On a 90-degree F. day, having one of those jackets on had me sweating in about one minute. I am sure it is a great protection jacket when one is out fighting a fire and the air is hundreds of degrees.

No comments: