Drove down to Ellington after work with the anticipation of seeing 12 A/V-8Bs come in from VMFA-223, Bulldogs. Initially, they had a 1400 ETA, but it was pushed back to 1900. Soon 1900 came and went and about an hour later we found out they diverted to some base in Oklahoma. To say I was bummed out about it would be an understatement. Of course I know there is always a chance we will see nothing when we spot, so I know (and understand) how this all works. I guess I’m just guilty of setting myself up for disappoint with all the anticipation I had built up inside me. Hey, we win some…….we lose some. That said, I’m thankful I had good company, Justin Mills, to hang out and chat with. It had been a while since I’ve seen him so that was nice. He showed me a couple of pics he took of Air force 2 departing Ellington earlier in the day so that was pretty cool.
Even with the Harrier bust it was a good day to spot. I was able to see a NASA DC-8 on the ramp (my first time), as well as their WB-57 come in and a T-38 perform touch-and-goes. The only downside was I dealt with back lighting during their landings. Another nice catch was the T-39 from NAS Pensacola. Been a while since I’ve seen one of those. I later learned that besides the DC-8 being there, there is also a NASA U2. Unfortunately I could not see that. Must have been in a hangar. Drat! From what I’ve heard the DC-8 and U2 will be staying at Ellington flying three missions a week until Oct 1. For their mission they’ll both be in the sky at the same time (departing and landing just a few minutes apart), flying at different altitudes. The name of their mission is SEAC4RS…Studies of Emissions & Atmospheric Composition, Clouds & Climate Coupling by Regional Surveys. Whew…..what a mouthful. Having never seen their U2 I plan to make a trip back over to not only catch it in the air, but the DC-8 as well.