South Bend, IN Lear Jet

I received a call about two weeks ago from a new client who wanted me to travel to South Bend, IN to photograph a Lear Jet 31A for them and I made the necessary steps to book this trip for Tuesday, May 12, 2014 and then I would photograph the jet on the morning of May 13, and then fly back home to the DFW area that afternoon.

Funny how travel plans can change your day with one snap of the finger.

As I was on my United Express E-170 jet from DFW to Chicago O’Hare (ORD) airport, a strange thing happened. It seems there was some smoke in the Chicago Air Traffic Control Center and they had to evacuate the building. Before doing that, all the air traffic had to be re-routed and/or diverted to other airports within the area, since ORD could no longer handle as much traffic as it normally does on a daily basis.

During my flight, I was listening to music on my iPad and didn’t hear any of the announcements about our flight being diverted to another airport. As we were coming in for a landing, I knew things didn’t look right because when you normally land at Chicago O’Hare (ORD), there are a TON of houses, building, population, etc. that you see as you are starting to land at ORD. The air traffic controllers decided that our jet needed to divert to Cedar Rapids, IA (CID) !! Imagine my surprise as we were coming in for a landing at ORD and instead I was greeted by LOTS of flat, green fields, with corn and wheat near the CID airport. When we landed, I asked my seat mate what the heck was going on, as I had not heard ANY of the announcements on the situation, since I had my head phones on, listening to music. What a surprise! When we taxied to the gate, our pilot briefed us on what was going on and she (yes, a female captain !!) told us we could get off the airplane as we were going to be there for a while. We were also told we could go PAST the security check-point as long as we held onto our original boarding passes and they (TSA) let us back thru security to get back on the jet. Still, I wanted to make sure this was true and before I left the secured area, I reconfirmed with the TSA (Transportation Security Administration) officers that this indeed was true, and it was. I then went to grab me some lunch, as it was lunch time whether I was in ORD or CID, I was hungry!

After eating a nice lunch, I happened to notice our captain and her first officer eating lunch at the same place, so I felt quite good about being able to get back thru security and back onto our jet, whenever we were allowed to fly the rest of our journey into ORD.

Wouldn’t you know it, when I went to go back thru security, the officer did not know what to do to let me back thru security screening since my boarding pass showed I was boarding at DFW !! Still, I did not panic as I knew the captain and her co-pilot were still in the restaurant eating lunch and I was going to make sure that I got thru security, before they did (SARCASM!!). The TSA then called for a supervisor and it took about three minutes to get me back thru security and back onto the jet, for our continuing journey to ORD. We then took off about an hour later from CID to ORD. There were about six jets that were diverted to CID that morning, and I don’t think that airport has seen that much traffic in one day, the entire time that airport has been opened! I’m sure the two restaurants I saw in the airport were VERY happy to have all that business.

I’ll finish this blog in an update tomorrow or Monday. Here are some photos I took with my iPad, as we were landing in CID along with the sights of the CID airport during this delay.

photo 1 CID

photo 2 CID

photo 5 CID

photo 4

photo 3 CID