The rumors are true: President Obama is coming to visit Seward on September 1st! The grapevine is buzzing with even more rumors, but the details have yet to be revealed.
As if to confirm the astonishing news, four impressive Osprey Tiltrotor Aircraft thundered over the Seward Airport today. They had flown from Anchorage with their twin prop-rotors in front like an airplane but on approach, the prop-rotors tilted vertically like a helicopter to allow them to hover. The gnarly winds did not faze them and they landed with ease and precision.
According to various websites, the Osprey can cruise at 290 mph and travel more than 1000 miles. Once airborne, it can rotate the prop-rotors horizontally in as little as 12 seconds. The prop-rotors are 38 feet in diameter.
Joined by somber Blackhawks and gleaming green Whitehawk helicopters, the taxiway rumbled and roared with restrained power. Men in Black watched as did many lucky Sewardites. Cars swerved over to the side of the highway at the unexpected sight and cameras clicked. Then, one by one, they taxied a short ways and effortlessly lifted off, up, up and away into the blue sky. What a sight!
The unusual Ospreys stole the show, but the two presidential helicopters also tested the approaches and landings at the Seward Airport in the brutal, gusty wind.
The green and white Sikorsky VH-60 helicopter becomes Marine One when the president is on board. If only the vice president or other high-ranking members are on board, it is known as Marine Two. When Marine One is in service, there are usually several other decoy helicopters flying with it to protect the president. This fleet is air-transported with the president anywhere in the world.
The VH-60N White Hawk is 64.83' long, 53.67' wide, and 16.83' high. It can travel 183 mph with a maximum range of 1379 miles, and climb 700' per minute. It looks very impressive!
Happy Birding, even if this flock of unusual birds lack feathers!