Weather Diversion Back to Richmond

We saddled up to depart Ft. Dix, N.J. for Yuma, Ariz. on Nov. 9 in two flights of four Black Hawks each.

The departure airfield, Naval Air Engineering Station, Lakehurst, was the scene of the tragic Hindenburg disaster. By the time I arrived, most of our aircraft had been taken out of the station's enormous hangars, built originally to house dirigibles like the Hindenburg. But the ones still inside looked like ants inside the towering hangars.

We were two hours behind schedule getting off the ground for the first leg of our trip and were only guaranteed good enough weather to make it to Dover Air Force Base, a long way from Nashville, Tenn., where we'd intended to spend the night.


9 NOV 05, Able to house airships like the German dirigible Hindenburg, the hangars at Naval Air Engineering Station, Lakehurst are the backdrop for the six A Co 2/224th AVN Black Hawks preparing to leave Ft. Dix, N.J. for Yuma, Ar.Z. (Notice the size of the truck in the bottom right corner.) (Bert Stover -- washingtonpost.com)
View Enlarged Photo

As soon as we crossed the Delaware Bay, the first three aircraft in the formation saw the weather and visibility degrade within a quarter mile. The flight lead made a frantic radio call to Dover AFB to get permission to land.

"Dover Tower the weather is diminishing rapidly as we cross the bay. Can we have clearance for landing the flight in your transient parking?"

As soon as we landed, we began looking to find a way around the weather. Leadership decided we would head for Richmond, Va., our unit's home station. After a two hour stop in Dover, we took off and weather was fine during the hour and a half trip to Richmond.

The bad weather and sudden change in plans presented many families with the opportunity to see their loved ones for the night. We quickly tied up the aircraft, met to discuss maintenance issues and were released until 07:00 the next day. Many of us were presented with a unexpected opportunity to see our loved ones overnight, but the company's leaders had to spend some of that time coming up with a new plan for our trip to Yuma.

By Bert Stover |  November 28, 2005; 5:00 PM ET  | Category:  Enroute to Yuma, AZ , Ft. Dix Mobilization , Preparation for Departure
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It would have been really tricky to moor the Hindenburg in the giant hangar 1 at Lakehurst. The hangar is 808 ft. long, and the Hindenburg was 803.8 ft long. I believe hangars like that were built to house the Navy's blimps which were quite a bit smaller.
Goto: http://www.geocities.com/capecanaveral/1022/lakehurs.html

Posted by: colonels | November 28, 2005 07:20 PM

Hey, Bert's not that far from Atlantic City. He should sneak out and hit the slots at Bally's.

Posted by: E. Etage | November 29, 2005 09:16 AM

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