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USN E-6B Command Post At My Airbase Today...why?  
User currently offlineUSAFHummer From United States of America, joined May 2000, 10685 posts, RR: 53
Posted (11 years 8 months 3 weeks 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 3910 times:

Hello,

This afternoon, around 1:40 PM, I was driving home from school when out of the corner of my eye I saw what appeared to be a KC-135 for about 3/4 of a second before it disappeared from view behind trees. As KC-135's are based at somewhat closeby McGuire AFB and do occasionally come here to NAS/JRB Willow Grove, I thought nothing of it...However, at about 3 PM or so, I was on the road again, and this same plane was up and doing patterns on Runway 15. I was able to get a close look at it as it passed decently close, and observed that it was not a KC-135, but some other military 707. It had no major markings on it, and had a large hump about halfway back as well as several probes and pods on the wings. The second I got home, I whipped out my camera and shot pictures of it as it passed overhead, then tried to find a match for what type of aircraft it was. My search turned up a positive match, with the aircraft being a US Navy E-6B Mercury Airborne Command Post. This aircraft is normally based at Offutt AFB, in Nebraska, and I was simply stunned to see it here. It was an extremely rare sighting, and Im short on reasons why it would pay a visit here. Anyone have any information or suggestions?

Greg

PS If anyone wants to see the picture please IM or email me and I will send it to you, its probably not a.net quality so Im not going to bother to upload it here, but still decently clear.



Chief A.net college football stadium self-pic guru
18 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineDash 80 From United States of America, joined Nov 2001, 309 posts, RR: 2
Reply 1, posted (11 years 8 months 3 weeks 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 3792 times:

Hey Greg,

I live down the street from Offutt and have the pleasure of seeing the E-6 quite often. More commonly referred to as TACAMO (TAke Charge And Move Out), the E-6 fleet were the last model 707s to roll out of Boeing in 1992. While Boeing claims they have operational sites at Tinker Air Force Base, Okla.; Travis Air Force Base, Calif.; Offutt Air Force Base, Neb.; and Patuxent River Naval Air Station, Md, their home is actually with Strategic Communications Wing One at Tinker in Oklahoma. Here are some interesting sites about the E-6:

Navy's TACAMO site
http://www.tacamo.navy.mil/

Navy Fact File on the E-6
http://www.chinfo.navy.mil/navpalib/factfile/aircraft/air-e6a.html

And Boeing's TACAMO site
http://www.boeing.com/defense-space/ic/e6tacamo/flash.html

As to why it might be at Willow Grove, I don't know. I would only imagine it is supporting its mission as an airborne command, control, and communications platform. That doesn't really help, does it?  Smile

Interesting Fact: The E-6 has two antennas onboard that unroll and trail out the back end of the aircraft that are over 4 miles long!

Steve



...where the rubber hits the runway...
User currently offlineHamfist From United States of America, joined Jan 2002, 614 posts, RR: 3
Reply 2, posted (11 years 8 months 3 weeks 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 3785 times:

Just a minor note about the first post...

I don't think there are any KC-135's based at McGuire. Maybe I'm wrong, but I thought McGuire was home to KC-10 & C-141 aircraft.


User currently offlineDash 80 From United States of America, joined Nov 2001, 309 posts, RR: 2
Reply 3, posted (11 years 8 months 3 weeks 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 3775 times:

Sorry, one antenna is nearly 28,000 ft and the other nearly 5,000 ft.


...where the rubber hits the runway...
User currently offlineUSAFHummer From United States of America, joined May 2000, 10685 posts, RR: 53
Reply 4, posted (11 years 8 months 3 weeks 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 3765 times:

It was a rare sighting for here I meant Dash80...Willow Grove is not a base that gets much attention normally, especially from such a high-priority aircraft like that...The weird thing is that it flew the pattern for an hour or so, did about 7 or 8 takeoffs from 1:45 PM to about 3:15 PM...couldnt tell if they were full stop or not...I cant figure it out for the life of me...the base was also very active today in terms of movement, almost nonstop action whether it be a C-130, P-3, C-9, CH-53 or this E-6 that dropped in...ack if there are no -135's at McGuire thats my bad, regardless they still are an occasional visitor here...thought McGuire had a -135 unit still...

Greg



Chief A.net college football stadium self-pic guru
User currently offlineDash 80 From United States of America, joined Nov 2001, 309 posts, RR: 2
Reply 5, posted (11 years 8 months 3 weeks 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 3753 times:

Oh, sorry. That just means you are the chosen one, being lucky enough to see all those aircraft and all at your tiny strip. Sometimes we get alot of transient aircraft that will sit in the pattern for a long time and do a bunch of landings. I don't get it either.

Steve



...where the rubber hits the runway...
User currently offline2912n From United States of America, joined Oct 2001, 2013 posts, RR: 8
Reply 6, posted (11 years 8 months 3 weeks 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 3740 times:

"aircraft that will sit in the pattern for a long time and do a bunch of landings. I don't get it either."

Its called "practice." Flying from point A to point B is easy. Getting the bird in the air, flying the pattern and landing are work, especially at an unfamilr airfield.

 Smile


User currently offlineSWAbubba From United States of America, joined Mar 2002, 154 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (11 years 8 months 3 weeks 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 3736 times:

E-6's travel around quite a bit. The only requirement for them to visit a base is a runway long enough, and some decent lodging for the crew (well, sometimes that was questionable...).  Smile

I took them into about 40 different bases while I was there, not counting the places we dropped in to do T&G's. I was supposed to go to Willow Grove once, but we ended up having a malfunction on that flight and had to go somewhere else to get it fixed.

I did fly T-44's and T-1's into Willow Grove on X-C's several times. There's a Subway within walking distance from Base Ops, it's always nice to have chow close by.


User currently offlineDash 80 From United States of America, joined Nov 2001, 309 posts, RR: 2
Reply 8, posted (11 years 8 months 3 weeks 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 3723 times:

Yes, thank you 2912n for your enlightenment. But what I was emphasizing was the "transient" part you forgot to quote. What would make that E-6 go to Willow Grove and practice? Why does any transient military aircraft pick any airbase or airstation? What is the reasoning?


...where the rubber hits the runway...
User currently offline2912n From United States of America, joined Oct 2001, 2013 posts, RR: 8
Reply 9, posted (11 years 8 months 3 weeks 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 3700 times:

In my holiday spirit of enlightenment....

Flying into a different field gives you different experiences. So you combine a cross country flight with a mission. At an airfield along the way or your destination you shoot practice approaches to gain experience. The conditions at Willow Grove will be different from North Island in Calif. NI will be different from Tinker. Make sense?

 Smile Tony


User currently offlineDash 80 From United States of America, joined Nov 2001, 309 posts, RR: 2
Reply 10, posted (11 years 8 months 3 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 3572 times:

Yeah, that makes sense, but do they just pull Willow Grove out of a hat, or what? Why would they be at that specific NAS or any base for that matter?


...where the rubber hits the runway...
User currently offlineSWAbubba From United States of America, joined Mar 2002, 154 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (11 years 8 months 3 weeks 8 hours ago) and read 3563 times:

Like most things, it all depends...

Generally, you look for something in the neighborhood of where you're going to be anyway, with the weather you're looking for (usually you want good weather, but sometimes it's good to practice instruments at fields with low ceilings), with approaches that you want to practice (Willow Grove has a PAR which can be tough to find in the NE), and without too much traffic so you can get more landings/approaches in. Sometimes you look for someplace you haven't been before just for the experience of it, or maybe if you have a new copilot/weak student you would want to go someplace familiar and comfortable. Or maybe you want to go to your hometown airport.

The bottom line is that as long as you follow the regs and stay within your fuel/time constraints, you can pretty much go anywhere you want.


User currently offlineAlpha From Czech Republic, joined Jul 2005, 0 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (11 years 8 months 3 weeks 1 hour ago) and read 3556 times:

Hello,


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Dean Allchin



Steph


User currently offlineGalaxyTech From United States of America, joined Nov 2002, 3 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (11 years 8 months 2 weeks 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 3538 times:

In reply to USAFHummer, there is a KC-135E unit at McGuire. It's the 108th ARW (Air Refueling Wing), NJ Air National Guard.

User currently offlineUSAFHummer From United States of America, joined May 2000, 10685 posts, RR: 53
Reply 14, posted (11 years 8 months 2 weeks 6 days 19 hours ago) and read 3540 times:

Thats what I thought...I was pretty sure they still had a -135 unit...

Thanks,

Greg



Chief A.net college football stadium self-pic guru
User currently offlineUSAFHummer From United States of America, joined May 2000, 10685 posts, RR: 53
Reply 15, posted (11 years 8 months 2 weeks 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 3487 times:

I don't think the two are related, but the President was in Philadelphia today...could that be a possible reason (he flew into PHL not NXX)?

Greg



Chief A.net college football stadium self-pic guru
User currently offlineUSAFHummer From United States of America, joined May 2000, 10685 posts, RR: 53
Reply 16, posted (11 years 8 months 2 weeks 6 days 12 hours ago) and read 3476 times:

Ive also noticed a very noticeable increase in activity at the base in the past week or so, its almost been non-stop...today there was an F/A-18 here, a rare visitor to NXX for this time of year...since most of the units here (maybe all I think) are ANG or Reserve, you think they are gearing up to ship out somewhere?

Greg



Chief A.net college football stadium self-pic guru
User currently offlineAlpha From Czech Republic, joined Jul 2005, 0 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (11 years 8 months 2 weeks 6 days 11 hours ago) and read 3469 times:

Hello Greg,

With a VC-25 ? (just for my information  Smile/happy/getting dizzy)

Steph


User currently offlineUSAFHummer From United States of America, joined May 2000, 10685 posts, RR: 53
Reply 18, posted (11 years 8 months 2 weeks 6 days 11 hours ago) and read 3487 times:

Alpha,

To be honest Im not entirely sure what the Pres came in on today...as PHL is more than capable of taking a VC-25 I imagine that is what it was though...

Greg



Chief A.net college football stadium self-pic guru
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