Whatever your partisan affiliation, there’s no harm in loving the president’s aircraft. That led me to Los Angeles International Airport on Friday evening.
President Trump was in town on Friday and flew into LAX. I don’t follow that sort of news very closely and wasn’t aware of it (or else I would have gone earlier on Friday to watch it land). But my business partner and I had an evening meeting in Redondo Beach, which is a little seaside city near the airport. While checking traffic, I noticed road closure reports due to the president’s visit.
My mind started racing. I think Air Force One, the Boeing 747-200 (VC-25) which has carried U.S. presidents since 1990, is one of the most beautiful aircraft in the skies. Not only is the Queen always a welcome sight, but I love the simple blue and white livery with “United States of America” on the sign in that simple typeface.
Although I worked in the White House and saw Marine One depart and land several times, I had never seen Air Force One in person. Would today be the day?
So off we went to the airport. I wasn’t sure where it was parked, but by based on news reports of the president’s arrival, it appeared Air Force One would be parked in either the southwest or northwest corner of the airport.
As we entered the airport via Sepulveda Boulevard off of I-105, the plane was not parked where the usual VIP aircraft are parked.
First stop: In-N-Out. Not for dinner, but to go upstairs to the roof the Parking Spot (parking garage) to see if we could see anything from there.
So we started driving down Westchester Parkway. Suddenly, we sighted the plane through the fence. We pulled over and darted out.
Against my better judgment, I trampled across the planter to get a closer shot, hoping not to be met with a black van and helicopters.
Back in the car, we drove around the corner and down Pershing Drive, which runs along the west side of the airport.
We noticed the tail of the plane next to a gate with Airport Police and Secret Service officers. Was it worth approaching them?
Sure, why not.
We parked and approached them, asking them if we could get a closer look at the plane. We knew the answer would be no, but that was a negotiating tactic. Our true goal was for them to take my phone and get some close-up pictures. The guys were polite, but they refused that request too.
As we drove toward our meeting, Marine One suddenly appeared directly over our heads. The President had been in Beverly Hills for a fundraiser and was on his way to Trump National Golf Course in Ranchos Palos Verdes via Santa Monica Airport.
I don’t know about you, but I love the thrill of the chase…even if we only ended up with a low-quality cell phone photo of Air Force One. It was a fun way to spend part of my Friday evening.
I’m bummed I missed this, though: