Over the weekend, we read about an interesting fund-raising event at Washington Dulles International Airport.
Now in its 21st year, Dulles Day is an annual community festival celebrating the airport and including live music, airplane displays, tours of the active runways, kids play areas with bounce houses and a dunk tank, and plenty of food and refreshments.
But the highlight of the event is the Plane Pull, which pits teams of 25 people to see who can use a rope to pull an 82-ton FedEx cargo jet 12 feet in the shortest period of time.
“With the plane weighing 82 tons, and 25 people pulling, that’s over 3 tons per person,” said Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Police Officer Ian Lauderdale, who competed in the Plane Pull as part of the Sgt. Sullivan Memorial Plane Pull Team. “It’s definitely not easy. But when that plane finally starts rolling and you get it across the finish line, it’s an incredible feeling.”
This year’s defending champs, the Chesapeake Sheriff's Office, again took the top prize with a pull of 5.553 seconds.
Similar Plane Pulls are held throughout the year in Colorado, Maryland, Hawaii, Tennessee and Texas, but the original was started at Dulles in 1992 by Joe Hurtuk, a retired deputy chief with the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Police Department. Eleven teams took part in the initial event and raised $15,000 for Special Olympics Virginia. Since then, the Dulles Plane Pull has raised more than $1.6 million for athletes with intellectual disabilities throughout the state.