Space Shuttle Discovery flies in to Dulles tomorrow – Join me watch it fly in!

As I had blogged last week, the Space Shuttle Discovery will be piggy-back flown in on a 747 to be placed in the Udvar-Hazy Air and Space Museum outside Washington Dulles (IAD) airport on Tuesday, April 17th. The flight from Florida is expected to arrive at IAD mid-morning (ETA – between 10 and 11AM). The exact time and flight plan is being kept under covers due to security reasons. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to see the Space Shuttle mounted on the back of it’s 747 carrier. I definitely plan to be there to view and take pictures. This will also be by first attempt at live-blogging. So, visit my blog tomorrow morning to get real-time updates. I will post as often as I can.

I plan to be in my car with my Sony NEX3 camera. I recently acquired a 200mm zoom lens, so I promise good pictures. The reason I am in my car is that the exact approach direction of the shuttle is unknown. Which runway? Which direction on the runway? I plan to monitor different sites and be ready to get to the right location in time to take pictures. Wish me luck that I get a good view and pictures.

For those who want to remain put, the Udvar Hazy museum is hosting a shuttle viewing get together in their parking lot, which has a great view of the south end of all four runways at IAD. There is a $15 fee to park. They will be opening the McDonalds early too. If anyone of my readers is going to be there, do let me know. I would love to say Hi.UPDATE: Follow my Live Blog here.

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  1. Unroadwarrior,

    Thanks for the info you’ve posted. I’m excited to see the SCA/shuttle tomorrow.

    Looking at the wind forecast on for tomorrow, the winds are forecast from the NW at 13mph. If the winds stay like that, is there a pretty good chance runway 1R will be used, approaching from the south?
    I’m thinking about the Lonestar steakhouse or Lowes parking lot at 50/28 so my back is to the sun and I can get some really good pictures. Does that sound logical to you or do you think the Udvar-Hazy parking lot would be better?

    Thanks!!! Brian

  2. If your wind direction analysis is good, then the Lowe’s parking lot (or the shopping complex with the Wendy’s next to it) would be the ideal spot. Please post a comment if you see any change in wind direction predictions. If you want to see the actual touchdown, then 1R begins bye the air and space museum, so the museum parking will be a great spot for that.

  3. Watching the air traffic on the way into work this morning, looks like planes are taking off and landing to the north. I saw a pretty big plane come in on 1R about 6:45 this morning. Flightaware confirms.

    Wind looks steady at about NNW 10.

  4. Just listed to the Dulles ATIS broadcast at 7:40 AM… confirmed approaches on Runways 1R/1C/1L (forecast winds indicate there will be no change in runways). My concern is that if the landing is on 1R, the approach is directly over Udvar-Hazy. Looking straight up at the SCA/Discovery is not the best perspective to see the shuttle.

  5. I am thinking the Daily lot #1. That is what the IAD sire recommends. Top deck of the parking, of course.

  6. I’m really torn between Daily lot 1 and somewhere at 50/28.

    Wouldn’t you have a better, closer shot at seeing it in the air and getting better pictures from 50/28?


    if it uses 1C or 1L the parking deck might be better.

    What do you think?

    When are you going?

  7. My best guess is for a landing on 1C. Dulles NOTAMs and ATIS state that taxiways and the apron between the south ends of runways 1C and 1L are closed. The Dulles web site states that the best view of the demating operation will be from the top of daily garage 2. So, it seems as if that apron is the area with the SCA/Discover will be parked. 1L is too short for the combined SCA/Discovery, so 1C is the nearest runway to the apron for parking.

    IF 1C is the runway, Udvar-Hazy will be a good vantage point. A good alternative will be various parking areas near Rts 50 and 28 (e.g., Lowes, Costco, etc.)

    Good luck, all!

  8. If all the people who came out to see Discovery’s arrival actually SUPPORTED the space program, maybe we’d still be able to send people into space… Got stuck in huge traffic snarls around the Dulles area.

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