25th Anniversary Dulles Day Festival and Plane Pull


September 23, 2017


10:30 AM - 4:00 PM EDT


Washington Dulles International Airport
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Come celebrate 25 years of pulling planes to support Special Olympics Virginia. There's lots to see and do, and admission is FREE!

Event Update 9/23: The preliminary fundraising tally for Special Olympics Virginia is $375,000. And Congratulations to the Chesapeake Sheriff's Office for having the fastest plane pull for the 11th straight year! 5.1 seconds to pull the FedEx 757 jet 12 feet.

We look forward to seeing you on Saturday, September 23. Washington Dulles International Airport will host its its annual one-day open house that lets thousands of visitors experience aviation up close. 25 years ago, Dulles organized the original plane pull - the first event of its kind. Since then, the plane pull expanded to include many things for participants and spectators to see and do. Dulles Day admission is free and open to all ages.

The day will begin early with a 5k and 10k runway run. Runners will trot over huge skid marks where aircraft wheels touch down each day on Runway 1R/19L and get unique views that are normally seen for just a few moments by airline passengers. The run will begin and and end at the National Air and Space Museum's Udvar-Hazy Center, which is connected to the airport. All 2500 runner slots are now filled.

Later, at 10:30 a.m, gates at Dulles will open to a huge, free festival on the airfield. All visitors are welcome/no registration is required. The signature event is the Plane Pull, a friendly competition in which teams of 25 people work together to pull a full-size jet aircraft - weighing 82 tons - in the shortest time. Spectators are encouraged to cheer and take photographs. Proceeds from fund-raising activities benefit Special Olympics Virginia.

Plane pull team registrations are being accepted. Looking for another way to make a difference? We are looking for hundreds of volunteers to be a part of a successful event. 

Dulles Day includes:

  • Up to 2500 participants in a 5K and 10K run (7:30 - 9:30 a.m.)
  • Up to 100 teams in the Plane Pull event, including ten-time defending champion Chesapeake, Virginia, Sheriff’s Office
  • TWO planes being pulled - one from FedEx and the other from United Airlines. Gates open at 10:30 a.m., and event kicks off at 11 a.m.
  • An "International Row" immediately inside the entrance gate with exhibits focusing on travel
  • Current and vintage aircraft on display, to include a U.S. Air Force B52 Stratofortress and a privately owned Sea Harrier jet that will arrive and depart by air during the public event.
  • Classic car show with cars and motorcycles on display
  • Appearances by Miss Virginia and Washington Redskins Cheerleaders
  • Airfield tours aboard the famous Dulles Mobile Lounges
  • Kids’ play area with bounce houses (weather/wind permitting)
  • Kids' truck pull and dunk-a-cop tank
  • Equipment displays by Airports Authority Police, Fire and Rescue and Maintenance
  • Take a ride in an Airports Authority fire truck for a donation to Special Olympics
  • Police K-9 demonstrations at 11:30, 12:30, 1:30, 2:30 and 3:30
  • Food and beverages from several vendors

Aircraft Displays:

  • T-28 Trojan
  • DC-3 "Tabitha May"
  • T-6 Texans
  • Stearman Boeing 450
  • Quicksilver homebuilt
  • Piper L-4
  • Emeraude
  • Zero A6M2
  • Grumman Albatross HU-16
  • P-51 "Quicksilver"
  • Kodiak Quest floatplane
  • Sea Harrier jet - Arrival at 11:45 a.m. / Departure at 3:30 p.m.
  • L-39 Albatross
  • L-5 Sentinel
  • TBM Avenger
  • U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster
  • U.S. Coast Guard C-130 Hercules
  • Hughes 500D Helicopter
  • U.S. Air Force B-52 Stratofortress
  • HH-60 Blackhawk helicopter
  • Several other general aviation aircraft

Food Vendors:

  • International Grill Co.
  • Dippin Dots
  • Coldstone Creamery
  • Saleh's Treats
  • The Frenchman
  • Rita's Italian Ice
  • Snowie Shaved Ice
  • Cob's Kettle Corn
  • Punjabi Foods
  • Merone's Catering
  • Bayou Billy Old Fashion Soda

Patrons are encouraged to ride Metrorail's Silver Line to Dulles: A free "Plane Pull" shuttle for Dulles Day patrons will be available on September 23 from the Wiehle/Reston East station's Silver Line Express bus stop. Shuttle hours: 9 a.m. until conclusion of Dulles Day. Make sure to board the Plane Pull bus, not the regularly scheduled bus to the airport terminal.

Here are the latest maps. Dulles Day parking will be free of charge. All lots and buses will be accessible for the disabled.

Dulles Day parking map
2017 Dulles Day parking map

Dulles Day Festival Map
2017 Dulles Day attractions map


Prohibited inside the gates: Backpacks, large bags, coolers, weapons, pets (except service animals). Leave them at home. Enforcement will be strict at the entrance gate. Cameras are allowed and encouraged!