Obama Visit Begins with Air Force One Trouble

It took two attempts for president to land at Bradley.

By Jeff Stoecker, LeAnne Gendreau and Debra Bogstie
|  Wednesday, May 18, 2011  |  Updated 10:44 PM EDT
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President Barack Obama praised the Coast Guard Academy Class of 2011 as they continue on to the next phases of their careers.

President Barack Obama praised the Coast Guard Academy Class of 2011 as they continue on to the next phases of their careers.

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It took two attempts for Air Force One to land at Bradley Airport as President Barack Obama came to Connecticut to address the graduating first class cadets of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy.

Air Force One was supposed to land at 9:50 a.m. but aborted the first landing because of poor visibility.

"Tower, Air Force One executing a missed approach," the pilot said to air traffic controllers as he pulled up and away from the runway.  

"Roger, Air Force One, maintain 3,000," the controller responded.

The encounter took place about 20 minutes into an audio recording of the transmissions between the tower and Air Force One captured by LIVEATC.net.

The president's plane went around and landed safety on the second attempt at 10:05 a.m.

Obama was originally going to fly from the airport to the Coast Guard Academy on Marine One, but White House officials changed their minds because of weather and opted to travel by motorcade.

Weather also moved the graduation indoors to Leamy Hall, which can accomodate only half of the estimated 3,000 people attending the ceremony. The rest of the attendees will watch the ceremony on a big screen in another building.

Security was tight in advance of the much-anticipated speech, which comes less than three weeks after Navy SEALs captured and killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan.

Obama told the graduates they are inspiring leaders of character who are prepared to serve the United States. They will serve with the same sense of purpose and patriotism that defined their days at academy. 

 "Cadets, today is your day but it's also a testament to those who supported you every step of the way," he said.

 

Two hundred twenty nine cadets will be commissioned as ensigns in the Coast Guard and will be sent to various posts around the country.

Patricia Lawry traveled from Lindenhurst, New York to see her grandson graduate

“It is something to have the President of the United States. It’s once in a lifetime that you come to something like that,” she said.  

Kathy Bredariol, of Princeton, New Jersey came to see her son graduate.

“I think that the president is a wonderful speaker, and I expect him to give a very high energy, very patriotic speech to the cadets,” she said.

Every year, presidents traditionally address the graduating class at one of the service academies and they choose the venue on a rotating basis. 

Obama spoke at the U.S. Naval Academy in 2009 and at West Point last year.

It’s not clear if Obama will arrive at the academy by motorcade or by helicopter, but there will be road closures around the academy.

You can learn more about the ceremony here.
 

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