Now to the aviation-related part:
It has become somewhat of a tradition in Raleigh for the diehard Hurricanes fans (known better as the Caniacs) to greet the team at the airport in the early morning when they get back from a great road win in the playoffs. This started in 2002 when the Canes took care of the Toronto Maple Leafs in the Eastern Conference finals and then carried on to the final round against the Detroit Red Wings. That tradition sparked up again this year as the Canes have once again gone deep into the playoffs. Tonight, after their decisive win, they arrived back to RDU on a Pace Airlines B732. Unfortunately, the light was too low to get any good pictures, but the reg was N251TR for those interested. (I found a few other pics in the database, even one from the Montreal series earlier this playoff year and another from a few years back when the division rival Atlanta Thrashers were onboard)
It's actually quite a big deal, as around 300 people show up outside the DOT hangar at 1AM. The Hurricanes even mention it on their front page, giving directions and parking instructions, apparently given to them in a letter from the RDU Airport Authority. The local news has even done a story on flightaware.com and how the fans use it to find out when the team is arriving. People show up to cheer as the players get off the plane and drive away in their really nice cars. For example, Justin Williams drives an Aston Martin Vantage...not bad...
What kinds of airplanes do other sports teams own/charter, and does anybody know of any other neat traditions that fans have which take place at the airport?
GO CANES GO!!!
Photo © Mathieu Pouliot
Photo © Kevin Wachter