Airport Prepares to Welcome Thousands to Dulles Day Events on September 20

Published: September 16, 2014

Runway Run Expanded; Traffic Plan Refinements Implemented for Popular
Annual Airport Event Benefiting Special Olympics Virginia



The Saturday, Sept. 20, Dulles Day Plane Pull and Family Festival at Washington Dulles International Airport is expected to attract thousands of visitors for the airport’s annual open house with a daylong schedule of activities, events and family fun.

Last year’s event raised almost $250,000 for Special Olympics Virginia and attracted more than 16,000 visitors to Dulles International Airport. In response to last year’s record support and attendance from the community, the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority has refined plans to reduce traffic delays by maximizing access to special, free parking lots for event patrons, while providing routes for airline passengers to reach the terminal and get to their flights.

The day will begin with an expanded Run on the Runway for registered participants at 7:30 a.m., which will not impact passenger access to Dulles International Airport. Parking for the run has been moved this year to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum’s Udvar-Hazy Center parking lot. Access to the lot is from Route 28 to the Air & Space Museum Parkway exit. About 2,500 runners are expected for the 5K and 10K run that will start behind the museum, then go directly to Dulles Runway 1-Right for a unique and memorable running experience. Media wishing to cover the run should contact the Airports Authority as shown above.

Coming to the Plane Pull? Follow 'Event' Signs and Keep Right

  • At the airport, gates will open to the public for Dulles Day at 10:30 a.m., and admission is free. The fastest way to free event parking will be via the westbound Dulles Airport Access Highway; keep right immediately upon entering airport grounds (see map – click here). A new entrance from the Access Highway to the parking lot will open this year to separate event traffic from airline passenger traffic at the earliest opportunity. Drivers coming to Dulles Day from other approaches are advised toconsider using the Access Highway instead to save time and reduce airport roadway congestion that will be possible where the inbound ramps from Rt. 28 and the Greenway merge together. Dulles Day concludes at 4 p.m.

Going on a Flight? Don’t keep right. Use the Airport Access Highway and Keep Left

  • Airline passengers arriving at Dulles by car during the afternoon of Sept. 20 are also advised to use the westbound Dulles Airport Access Highway as a primary route. Traffic merging together on the inbound airport ramps from Rt. 28 and the Greenway was a source of significant congestion at peak times during last year’s Plane Pull event. To keep traffic moving, airline passengers are advised to keep left upon entering airport grounds (see map – click here) to stay separated from Plane Pull traffic. Do not use plane pull event parking. The free event lot will close in the evening and will not have shuttle service to or from the Terminal. Signs also will direct traffic to Economy parking and rental returns along a route past the Marriott hotel that bypasses the plane pull event lot.

Metrorail’s Silver Line Offers a New Travel Option

  • Now that the Metrorail is closer than ever to Dulles, passengers riding the Silver Line will also have access to Dulles Day by boarding a Silver Line Express bus from the Wiehle-Reston East station. On weekends, buses run every 20 minutes and fares are $5 per person, each way. When the Silver Line Express bus reaches the Airport, passengers can transfer to a free shuttle that will circulate continuously between the airport Silver Line Express stop and the Dulles Day event. The shuttles will operate from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. The Silver Line Express will operate from 7:45 a.m. until 10:45 p.m. Cash and credit are accepted on the Silver Line Express.

The Dulles Day Tradition of Family Fun Continues

The Dulles Day Plane Pull and Family Festival will be open to the public from 10:30 a.m. until 4 p.m., rain or shine. Admission and parking are free.

Click directly on photos for higher-resolution images

 Runners of the first Dulles Day 5K in 2013 Defending Plane Pull Champions from
Chesapeake Sheriff’s Office

Now in its 22nd 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 available throughout the 1.2-million-square-foot area, a space larger than 20 football fields. The highlight of the event each year is the Plane Pull. Begun in 1993 as the first event of its kind in the country, the Plane Pull features 70 teams of 25 people competing to see who can use a rope to pull an 82-ton FedEx cargo jet 12 feet in the shortest time.

“Dulles Day keeps getting better each year,” said Chris Browne, Airports Authority vice president and Dulles Airport manager. “The response to last year’s debut of a 5K runway run was extremely positive last year, so we added a 10K to the event this time around. And we are thrilled the combined Dulles Day events raised a record $248 million for Special Olympics Virginia, setting the bar higher than ever before. We appreciate the overwhelming support of the participants, the volunteers and the community for a great day of fun and fundraising.”

Highlights of Dulles Day 2014 will include:

  • Up to 2500 participants in a 5K and 10K run beginning at 7:30 a.m.
  • 70 teams for the Plane Pull event, including defending champion Chesapeake, Va., Sheriff’s Officecompeting to pull a jet plane 12 feet in the shortest time
  • More than 40 current and vintage aircraft on display
  • Classic car show with about 50 cars and motorcycles anticipated for display
  • Airfield tours aboard the famous Dulles Mobile Lounges for $1 per person donation
  • Kids’ play area with bounce houses, truck pull and dunk-a-cop tank
  • “Trackless Train” running back and forth to carry attendees along the length of the site
  • Equipment displays by Airports Authority Police, Fire and Rescue and Maintenance
  • Take a ride in an Airports Authority fire truck with your $5 donation to Special Olympics
  • Police K-9 demonstrations scheduled for 11:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 1:30 p.m., 2:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.
  • Two food courts with food and beverages available for purchase

Click here to view the Dulles Day event site map

Dulles Day patrons are reminded not to bring backpacks, coolers or pets (except service animals). Admission and parking are free; click here for an event parking map. Follow electronic “Event Parking” signs to free parking lots with shuttle buses. All lots and buses are accessible for the disabled. 

To support Special Olympics Virginia, visit or call 703-359-4301.

For media questions in advance or onsite, contact Holly Claytor at or Rob Yingling at 703-417-8744

Follow us on Twitter: @Dulles_Airport (airport/event information) and @DullesPlanePull (team information)

The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, established in 1987 by the governments of Virginia and the District of Columbia, manages and operates Washington’s Ronald Reagan National and Dulles International airports, which together serve more than 40 million passengers a year. The Airports Authority also operates and maintains the Dulles Airport Access Road and the Dulles Toll Road and manages construction of the Silver Line project, a 23-mile extension of the Washington region’s Metrorail system into Loudoun County, Virginia. No tax dollars are used to operate the toll road, which is funded by toll revenues, or the airports, which are funded through aircraft landing fees, rents and revenues from concessions. The Silver Line construction is funded by a combination of toll-road revenues, airport contributions and federal, state and local government appropriations. The Airports Authority is led by a 17-member board of directors appointed by the governors of Virginia, Maryland, the mayor of Washington, D.C., and the president of the United States.

Special Olympics Virginia is an accredited state program of Special Olympics Incorporated.  Special Olympics is an international organization that unleashes the human spirit through the transformative power and joy of sports every day, around the world. Through work in sports, health, education and community building, Special Olympics is addressing inactivity, injustice, intolerance and social isolation by encouraging and empowering people with intellectual disabilities which leads to a more welcoming and inclusive society. Visit us at Engage with us on Twitter @solympicsvaFacebook; Instagram @specialolympicsva and YouTube.