Monday, April 27, 2009

Ode to Gravelly Point Park

On this past three day trip I had we were blessed with some very nice spring time weather, flying to PWM (Portland, ME), and multiple times to BTV (Burlington, VT), CAE (Columbia, SC), and of course DCA (Washington, DC) and PHL (Philadelphia, PA). Everything is green, the trees have bloomed, the grass is fresh, and the ground and air are warming up. We had the good timing to not be interrupted by a spring Thunderstorm session as well, so everything ran like clockwork. Another bonus was that I was on a good landing streak.

If you love airplanes, even if you only like airplanes, you've probably spend a least a little time in your life watching them fly overhead on takeoff or landing. At DC, everyone was out enjoying the nice weather this weekend at Gravelly Point Park, playing and watching planes. It's a park literally just North of Ronald Reagan National Airport in Arlington, and directly south of the Washington and Jefferson Memorials which are across the Potomac River. The Mount Vernon jogging and bicycle trail runs through it as well.

A south breeze meant my good FO and I enjoyed four 'River Visual Runway 19' approaches. I'll admit, I flew three of the legs as flying pilot, just because that's the way our schedule turned out, as I fly two legs at a time with my FO's and swap out at the 'outstations'. I offered the last one to him but he wouldn't take it.

We either take off or land over Gravelly Point Park. When we land there it's the culmination of a picturesque, curving approach following the contour of the Potomac River. Passengers (and us too I freely agree) enjoy close up views of the National Memorials and Mall, the US Capitol Building, The White House, and the Pentagon and Arlington National Cemetery. Passing over the park on very short final we are only about 100 feet above the ground. If you ever get a chance to visit Gravelly Point Park, don't miss it, you won't regret it.

After the sight of the park last evening while jumpseating home, I cranked out this poem. Keep in mind, I've never been accused of NOT being cheesy. Enjoy.

Ode to Gravelly Point Park

There is still a place where bare feet can run through green grass
While chasing the sight, sound, and smell of a jetliner flying past

Ripping the air directly overhead to land
On an airport operated by Uncle Sam

On the Potomac River, with the monuments in sight
The public gathers to watch in delight

It attracts all nationalities, all races, and all creeds
People who come there can do as they please

Play soccer, run, bike, or fish
Gaze at the airplanes and make a wish

A park in freedom’s capital where one can dream
and be enraptured by the aviation scene

The horrible September attacks lead to fear
That closing the point would soon be near

I wouldn’t do some things that the TSA would
But keeping the point open is something that’s good

The folks this evening were hanging on the fence
Sitting on the rocks with relished intent

‘If only that could be me, just for a taste
If I had a chance, I’d do it in haste’

I’ve been blessed; my dreams are no longer in tow
While flying over the point I mentally wave below

Visit Washington’s Gravelly Point Park and do spend some time
It’s the best plane watching anywhere without spending a dime.

1 comment:

Shannon said...

You are just a bit of a cheeseball. But your MY cheeseball. I remember doing this in Tulsa and watching the vortices hit the trees there. Maybe we will have to go check out Gravelly Point Park someday.