The shadow of Air Force One


Yesterday’s visit by President Barack Obama was certainly a pain in the neck for anyone flying in and out of Minneapolis St. Paul International Airport.

Here’s a graphical portrayal of what a half-hour of air-traffic-control chatter is like in the half hour before Air Force One arrived.


And here’s what it looked like in the half hour after Air Force One entered the airspace.


Why? Because the airport shut down for more than a half hour. Landing planes were told to turn off onto a taxiway and turn off their engines. And there they sat until the president was out of the area, and on his way to the University of Minnesota.

This segment of ‘chatter’ between 3 and 3:30 pretty well indicates when things got back to normal, aside from the sorting out of backed-up flights arriving and departing.


Here’s what it sounded like between Air Force One’s pilot and controllers (I’ve “telescoped” the audio to eliminate dead air). At one point, the giant plane was blocked by one of the commercial jets that was “frozen” on the airport property.

(h/t: Live ATC)

(Photo: President Obama returns to Andrews Air Force base after flying from Minneapolis on Saturday night.)