I’ve mentioned it on occasion before, but my workplace is across from a moderately sized airport. Sometimes cool planes show up on the tarmac near the passenger terminal. And then there’s this white 737.
I saw this white jet a few months ago, October or November. It’s extremely rare for anything larger than a Gulfstream to show up at the passenger terminal (which hasn’t had regularly scheduled commercial flights since Skybus folded), but it wasn’t the plane itself that immediately caught my eye. What made the flight stand out was the entrance road to the terminal being blocked off by a car, and a security guard in a high viz vest standing next to the car with a clipboard, only allowing access to the terminal if you were on the list (I even saw a package delivery truck get turned away). I wasn’t able to get close enough to see the tail number, but the plane was memorable enough on its own. White, no obvious branding or markings, large American flag on the fuselage. Between the lack of identification and the security detail I almost wondered if it might be something like a Janet flight, but it didn’t have the now-famous red stripe.
I mentioned this in the comments of one of ttyymmnn’s posts last week, asking if he’d ever seen/heard of such a plane. Tuesday morning the plane was back.
This time when I saw it the plane was just sitting by the fence, not boarding, so there was no security and I was able to drive into the lot, getting the tail number in the process. N314XA. Apparently it belongs to charter airline company Xtra Airways. But virtually all of their planes seem to be branded as such.
Why isn’t this mysterious jet branded as well? And what’s with the oversized flag?
Well now, isn’t this interesting. Apparently this plane was Clinton’s campaign jet (or one of them at least. There was also apparently this one, which is also owned by Xtra). Neat.
When I went to work Wednesday morning the plane was boarding. The security guard was back in the terminal entry road and the terminal was shut down to anyone not on that flight again. There were about 20-25 cars in the parking lot (usually there’s less than five, so safe bet almost all the cars were for the flight). I heard the plane take off around 10:30 and tried punching it into flightradar24. The plane flew to Syracuse, just 200 miles away. Since then the plane has flown to Atlantic City, Jacksonville, Orlando, and Norfolk. No idea if the subsequent flights are part of the same charter or other charters, but I do know the cars are still in the airport parking lot.
So now I’m left pondering. What kind of charter flight takes 25-60 people 200 miles away for two days (and counting), and requires a security detail and effectively shutting down an airport for the boarding process? Also, does anyone else hear approaching helicopters?