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Air Force One Weather Minimums  
User currently offlineNjxc500 From United States of America, joined Dec 2007, 240 posts, RR: 0
Posted (5 years 6 months 1 week 3 hours ago) and read 6971 times:

I'm sure plenty of us saw the documentary this evening about air force 1, and one part caught my attention. Colonel Tillman said that diverting for weather was not an option as they are a zero fail operation.

Having said that, I am also aware that many flight departments that carry executives will not even plan flights into weather that may require CATIII approaches, for extra safety. I can't imagine there is any person who needs more care, so why do they do this, or more specifically, how do they do this?

Sorry if this should have been in military, but I think its a very technical aspect.

Nick

29 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineCpd From Australia, joined Jun 2008, 4879 posts, RR: 38
Reply 1, posted (5 years 6 months 1 week 2 hours ago) and read 6950 times:

Quoting Njxc500 (Thread starter):
diverting for weather was not an option

Depending on the context of this statement, it'd have to be wrong - not possible.

They are not going to land President whoever if the weather conditions make it obviously dangerous. What happens if the destination airport (eg, YSSY) is completely shrouded in extremely heavy pea-souper fog, which it often is at certain parts of the year.

I'm sure they'd divert to YSRI or maybe YWLM instead.

[Edited 2009-01-25 19:25:48]

User currently offlineMNeo From Bulgaria, joined Mar 2004, 776 posts, RR: 1
Reply 2, posted (5 years 6 months 1 week 2 hours ago) and read 6946 times:

Could AF1 have some sort of FLIR like the Gulfstream jets have, and the pilots could use that to land


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User currently offlineFlypig687 From United States of America, joined Jul 2007, 56 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (5 years 6 months 1 week 2 hours ago) and read 6939 times:

The problem with diverting AF1 is security.

Tons of effort is taken to secure the airfield that AF1 is going to. Other airports have not been secured by the secret service and therefore not really an option for Air Force One to land.

I am sure that it would take way worse weather to divert air force one than a normal airliner.


User currently offlineNjxc500 From United States of America, joined Dec 2007, 240 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (5 years 6 months 1 week 2 hours ago) and read 6968 times:

He definitely stated they don't divert like the airlines do. This was stated by colonel Tillman in the documentary. What I don't understand is how they achieve this.

Thanks,

Nick


User currently offlineOPNLguy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (5 years 6 months 1 week 2 hours ago) and read 6962 times:

I saw that as well, and methinks the context is the key... Diverting is not an option in the context that going to an alternate would mean that there's been no advance team there, and security would be an issue. Thus, the pressure to make it into the intended destination is greater, but I don't see it as an absolute.

If there's a Level-6 thunderstorm overhead the destination topping FL550, methinks AF1 isn't going to shoot an approach and land, given the obvious risk to their prime passenger. It would seem much more likely that they'll use some of that immense fuel-hauling capability and hold as long as necessary until the weather moves off the airport.

If the issue is low visibility (fog, etc.), it's hard to say about the need to divert, since it's not known what equipment they have on AF1, such as HGS or EVAS. Once again, they've got the ability to haul gas to the point where they can await improvement in the viz..

[Edited 2009-01-25 19:46:48]

User currently offlineBartonsayswhat From Canada, joined Oct 2007, 434 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (5 years 6 months 1 week 2 hours ago) and read 6949 times:

well AF1 can take on fuel in the air as well, so wouldn't their holding time be unlimited (barring lubrication, fluids, food etc)

User currently offlineCpd From Australia, joined Jun 2008, 4879 posts, RR: 38
Reply 7, posted (5 years 6 months 1 week 1 hour ago) and read 6937 times:



Quoting OPNLguy (Reply 5):
it's hard to say about the need to divert, since it's not known what equipment they have on AF1, such as HGS or EVAS. Once again, they've got the ability to haul gas to the point where they can await improvement in the viz..

Assume the ability to refuel doesn't exist because the destination country has just retired its 707 based refuelling planes (and they've been sold to Omega), and its new A330 based planes aren't ready.

I guess what is being suggested is that there is always a time when a diversion will be required, regardless of the security risk.


User currently offlineRyu2 From Taiwan, joined Aug 2002, 490 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (5 years 6 months 1 week 1 hour ago) and read 6909 times:

http://forum.ivao.aero/index.php/topic,32748.795.html

http://i119.photobucket.com/albums/o135/falconone1/AF11.jpg

Someone apparently leaked a real AF1 flight plan  Wow! . From the flight plan, AF1 does indeed file an alternate...


User currently offlinePilotpip From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 3148 posts, RR: 11
Reply 9, posted (5 years 6 months 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 6817 times:



Quoting Cpd (Reply 7):
Assume the ability to refuel doesn't exist because the destination country has just retired its 707 based refuelling planes (and they've been sold to Omega), and its new A330 based planes aren't ready.

I'm sure the originating country's refuellers based on the Dash 80 and DC-10 will be able to handle it. They have a very well oiled machine that probably takes logistical issues like that into account.



DMI
User currently offlineHAL From United States of America, joined Jan 2002, 2558 posts, RR: 53
Reply 10, posted (5 years 6 months 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 6804 times:



Quoting Njxc500 (Thread starter):
I am also aware that many flight departments that carry executives will not even plan flights into weather that may require CATIII approaches, for extra safety.

Really? Why would a corporate flight department go to the time and expense of having its crews and aircraft certified for CATIII approaches and then not use them? Either you are certified for them, or you're not. If you are, you go, and file for an alternate with enough fuel to get you to both places. Not filing for a destination because it's low weather seems to defeat the entire purpose of having your own aircraft in the first place.

HAL



One smooth landing is skill. Two in a row is luck. Three in a row and someone is lying.
User currently offlineCptspeaking From United States of America, joined Apr 2006, 639 posts, RR: 1
Reply 11, posted (5 years 6 months 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 6746 times:



Quoting Ryu2 (Reply 8):
From the flight plan, AF1 does indeed file an alternate...

Where exactly do you see that on the plan? I see departing ADW up through Canadia, across the North Atlantic Y to Europe then destination Israel, but can't quite figure out where the alternate is.

That said, rules require filing alternates in certain weather conditions, and regardless of whether you actually plan on using it, you at least have to file it. It's not a bad idea to file one all the time anyway, but in this case, whether they file an alternate or not is useless info, no?

My guess about Tillman's statement is that they do fantastic flight planning, and if there is a good chance they can't make it into the destination airport, they won't go at the scheduled time. I'd rather land in one piece late than several pieces right on time...

Also, that documentary (the full version anyway...not sure what was shown that night..) mentions having a few extra teams sent to potential diversion points. They do plan for these things. Divert airports aren't secured near as much, but there is a US presence there just in case...no matter the reason; weather, security issues at the destination, illness, mechanical, political, etc.

I'm sure they have some fun stuff up front that helps in bad weather situations. Now THAT is a type rating I wouldn't mind having...although any type rating is nice  Smile



...and don't call me Shirley!!
User currently offlineDescendVia From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 12, posted (5 years 6 months 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 6722 times:



Quoting Ryu2 (Reply 8):

That is so cool......... I wonder why they stay at F330 for the entire flight if they are trying to have all the extra fuel possible to hold as long as possible.


User currently offlineCorey07850 From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 2525 posts, RR: 5
Reply 13, posted (5 years 6 months 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 6695 times:



Quoting Cptspeaking (Reply 11):
Where exactly do you see that on the plan? I see departing ADW up through Canadia, across the North Atlantic Y to Europe then destination Israel, but can't quite figure out where the alternate is.

Destination is LLBG with an alternate of HESH


User currently offlineJgarrido From Guam, joined Mar 2007, 339 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (5 years 6 months 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 6688 times:



Quoting Cptspeaking (Reply 11):

Where exactly do you see that on the plan? I see departing ADW up through Canadia, across the North Atlantic Y to Europe then destination Israel, but can't quite figure out where the alternate is.

http://dl.getdropbox.com/u/152429/AF11.jpg


User currently offlineArv79 From Canada, joined Aug 1999, 31 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (5 years 6 months 6 days 12 hours ago) and read 6575 times:

Question - how did you get a copy of the flight plan?

User currently offlineJoseKMLB From United States of America, joined May 2008, 493 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (5 years 6 months 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 6390 times:



Quoting Cpd (Reply 1):
I'm sure they'd divert to YSRI or maybe YWLM instead

Well if they did land somewhere else I think they would have to wait for security to arrive at the airport and make sure it is 100% safe before they landed.


User currently offlineMir From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 21529 posts, RR: 55
Reply 17, posted (5 years 6 months 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 6328 times:



Quoting Cptspeaking (Reply 11):
I'm sure they have some fun stuff up front that helps in bad weather situations.

The purpose of a landing system is simple - deliver the airplane to a specific point. Not unlike the purpose of a guidance system on a missile, and very precise versions of those have been out for a while. I'm sure there's some very advanced GPS/INS equipment on the AF1 birds that lets them shoot approaches down to very low minimums, even CatIII.

-Mir



7 billion, one nation, imagination...it's a beautiful day
User currently offlineDescendVia From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 18, posted (5 years 6 months 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 6194 times:



Quoting Mir (Reply 17):

I'm sure it probably has WAAS, LAAS, SAAAR RNP approach, and any other next gen approach capability. Plus I wouldn't be at all shocked if their OP SPECs had the a revision of 0/0 in there somewhere.......

I though it was crazy how they had a navigator still with 3 GPS equipped FMS units.


User currently offlineHAL From United States of America, joined Jan 2002, 2558 posts, RR: 53
Reply 19, posted (5 years 6 months 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 5958 times:



Quoting DescendVia (Reply 12):
I wonder why they stay at F330 for the entire flight if they are trying to have all the extra fuel possible to hold as long as possible.

Filed altitudes are based on a balance between speed, fuel efficiency, and turbulence avoidance. It was probably very bumpy above FL330, which is why they filed down lower. Also, if they were carrying a lot of extra fuel, 330 may have been the optimum altitude for their initial cruise because of their weight. AF1 isn't immune to the laws of physics any more than the rest of us.

HAL



One smooth landing is skill. Two in a row is luck. Three in a row and someone is lying.
User currently offlineDescendVia From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 20, posted (5 years 6 months 4 days 6 hours ago) and read 5849 times:



Quoting DescendVia (Reply 18):
revision

Prevision*


User currently offlineWoodreau From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 1024 posts, RR: 6
Reply 21, posted (5 years 6 months 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 5584 times:

Isn't the Air Force a state aircraft so they are not required to follow any US FAA regulations. - ie. their pilots don't have FAA pilot certificates unless they get one on their own time using military equivalency. It appears from the flight plan, that the VC-25s are not 8.33khz compliant, which is required in Europe for all commercial aircraft.

The only thing that does matter are Air Force regs or for Navy and Marine Corps aircraft NATOPs.



Bonus animus sit, ab experientia. Quod salvatum fuerit de malis usu venit judicium.
User currently offlineDescendVia From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 22, posted (5 years 6 months 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 5530 times:



Quoting Woodreau (Reply 21):

I still think the must meet the requirement of the different things the plan to fly. IE if they want to do an RNAV SID/STAR they have to comply with AC 90-100. Or they need to have GPS or RNP0.3 to shoot a RNAV(GPS) approach...... they can't be DME/DME RNP0.3 and still shot it b/c they have the President on board.


User currently offlineFlyLKU From United States of America, joined Apr 2006, 800 posts, RR: 0
Reply 23, posted (5 years 6 months 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 5497 times:

Air Force One could always land in day VFR if they wanted to. Two words:

Aerial Refueling

I'm kidding of course but they do have that capability and I suspect that when AF1 flies there is always a tanker available along the route of flight.

A colleague was the Flight Engineer in AF1. He said that they departed Paris (CDG?) with the President on board (Bush 41) and hit bird(s) on the climb out. They shut down #3 and continue to their destination which was London. He never explained why but I'm guessing that security is an important consideration.



...are we there yet?
User currently offlineDragon6172 From United States of America, joined Jul 2007, 1202 posts, RR: 0
Reply 24, posted (5 years 6 months 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 5324 times:

If you are planning on throwing anything more than a shoe at the President it would probably take quite a bit of planning. Relying on the weather to force a divert to the airfield you you have your attack planned at is ridiculous, so extreme amounts of security to land at a divert are not really needed. Now, loading the big cheese into a limo caravan and having the route planned from the divert, thats another issue, and the Secret Service would probably not be very big on it.

Quoting FlyLKU (Reply 23):
A colleague was the Flight Engineer in AF1. He said that they departed Paris (CDG?) with the President on board (Bush 41) and hit bird(s) on the climb out. They shut down #3 and continue to their destination which was London. He never explained why but I'm guessing that security is an important consideration.

There are a lot of 747's that fly to the UK on three engines.



Phrogs Phorever
25 TVNWZ : I saw the quote. I assumed he was talking about the whole procedure and crew. The navigator would not allow AF-1 to enter a situation that would requi
26 Moose135 : It is, however they do have to follow USAF regulations, and many of those are similar (and in some cases more restrictive) than the FARs.
27 Fxra : I thought the diverting is not an option statement was a bit over done. Surely, some possible need for divert could be envisioned, and planned for. Fo
28 AirPortugal310 : Im not a champ here on military operations of any kind but in the case of diversion, couldnt they go to an air force base of the same country they are
29 Jhooper : The Air Force isn't issued Ops Specs.
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