Daily Archives: December 23, 2019

Ski Whitetail in the R-44

For once weather and my schedule cooperated! I’ve had to cancel a ton of flights lately. This one popped up, and as I’m heading to the airport, I asked myself – where am I going to head? A few texts later my buddy Tom agreed to be my passenger and we were heading for some sightseeing. First we flew over his house south of Frederick in Urbana, MD. Then we flew north over Ski Liberty.


Next we headed west for an approach at Hagerstown, and then over Ski Whitetail.



After passing White tail we noticed a concrete tower high in the terrain. Doing a closer inspection revealed the tower appears to be abandoned. It looks pretty sturdy – I’m quite sure you could do a pinnacle landing on that baby in the helicopter! (No I did not!)



After that we pass this facility also at a high elevation and very remote. Clearly associated with AT&T.


When I got home I had to do some google research of these two facilities. The tower turns out to be an abandoned Presidential Emergency Facilities Microwave Relay Station called “Cannonball”. More can be found on the site here. The tower was abandoned in 1977 and is currently privately owned.

The AT& T facility is still active, having been built in the 1960s, and hardened against nuclear attack. The exact purpose of the facility is clearly classified – so one can assume secure government communications. More info can be found here. 

There is a broken PDF link in the first link about the tower. However I was able to find the PDF which contains far more information. I pulled it down so that it doesn’t disappear from the inter webs. Presidential_Emergency_Facility_Cannonball