On March 23, 2020, Captain Chris Dennis, a Delta pilot, stopped Delta Flight 3009 at Victorville Airport, located in the California desert.
At the time, his company and several others began reducing flights as global restrictions and blockades began to try to combat the Covid-19 pandemic. Dennis, little did he know that this moment would be the last time he would see his plane. The 435-day gap began for the aircraft.
In March of last year, Dennis heard about the two-week shutdown, so he decided to leave a note on the plane, according to a Delta post on Facebook.
Note: This was kept on board the aircraft in storage for over a year. Note providing a glimpse into the days before the world closed due to Covid-19.
Hello pilots. It’s March 23rd and we just got back from MSP (Minneapolis St Paul). It is scary to see so many of our fleet here in the desert. If they were here to pick it up, the light must have been at the end of the tunnel,” Dennis wrote. “It’s amazing how quickly it changed. I wish you a safe trip out of storage! “
The airline ended up reducing 70% of its capacity. It grounded at least half of its fleet, which numbered more than 600 aircraft, including the parked Dennis. The measure also forced the airline to speed up the retirement of its oldest aircraft.
The Delta Post reported that a pilot assigned this year to pick up the plane and remove it from storage in California found the note taped to a tray on the plane’s deck.
“Those 57 words, which captured so much uncertainty and excitement we all felt in March 2020, underscore the seriousness of the trip and how optimistic he is about the direction we’re headed,” the post said. “Airplane 3009 is now ready to take to the skies again.”