Neighbors catch sight of Air Force One

Dozens of motorists stopped along roads near the Springfield-Beckley Municipal Airport on Friday to glimpse President Barack Obama leaving in Air Force One.

Obama left the base at 2:52 p.m. Friday after speaking at Springfield High School, 701 E. Home Road. The visit was Obama’s first ever campaign stop in Clark County and marked the sixth time a sitting president has visited the area, according to the Heritage Center.

Brad Cunningham, 40, stood outside his home near the airport and watched Air Force One arrive about 10 a.m. and depart Friday afternoon.

“It is exciting,” Cunningham said. “It’s not everyday you get to see Air Force One.”

Cunningham and neighbors said they have seen other government and military aircraft fly in and out of the airport, but seeing Air Force One is special. The airport is also home to the Springfield Air National Guard Base.

Tracy Dingledine, 47, arrived home just as the president’s plane took off. She said it marked the second time she has seen Air Force One in Clark County.

“I think it’s really cool,” Dingledine said, adding that the first time she saw the jet was after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Dingledine said about 25 motorists were stopped along Ohio 794 and about a half dozen got out of their cars to take photos.

Darrell Dinnen, 55, who lives near the airport, said he had to take an alternate route to get home because cruisers blocked off roads in the area.

Dinnen said about 40 to 45 cars were lined up along roads around the base at about 2:30 p.m.

He said he happened to arrive home in time to watch the plane as it left the runway. The sight was no big deal for Dinnen, who has lived around the airport most of his life.

“I’ve seen two presidents: Gerald Ford and George W. Bush. Most people never get that opportunity,” Dinnen said.

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