kc10boom
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Tiny Tanker Replacement?

Mon May 10, 2004 5:46 am

Why is the Air Force considering replacing the KC-135 with the Boeing 767 variant with little increase in fuel capacity. Now I know my name may give you the impression I am bias to the KC-10A, however lets look at the past. In 1979 12 F-15 Eagles, 115 tons of support equipment, and 209 people deployed to Saudi Arabia. The move required 2 days using 16 KC-135's 3 C-141's, 2 C-5's and two overseas bases- Lajes, in the Azores, and Torrejon, in Spain. It is estimated that had KC10's been available only six would have been needed- no C-141's, no C-5's and no forward bases. The mission would have been completed in half the time with a savings of 600,000 gallons(not pounds) of fuel. Now this example does not consider the fuel efficiency of the new 767, however the fact still remains, that the days of a stand alone tanker are over. Why doesn't the Air Force do what it does for its fighter and cargo procurements? Fund the necessary research into a viable tanker/cargo aircraft with the capabilities demanded by today's world wide operations.

(mission information provided by USAF Air University)
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keesje
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RE: Tiny Tanker Replacement?

Mon May 10, 2004 6:55 am

In various dicussions it was concluded the KC10/11 is no longer an option, B777 are to big & expensive, 7e7 to far away & uncertain.

The selection of the KC767 above the A332 is now subject of a embarrasing investigation.

Fuel/cargo,passenger payload, range, flexibility, cost levels are superior for the A330.

IMO "not invented here" played a major role, so requirements were adjusted to make the KC767 fit in.
"Never mistake motion for action." Ernest Hemingway
 
kc10boom
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RE: Tiny Tanker Replacement?

Mon May 10, 2004 8:39 am

I have read some of the reports pertaining to the Airbus option, however I do not think the U.S. government will go to a foreign government subsidized company for its tanker option. The question I also pose is why doesn't the USAF apply the same research options on a new tanker as it does on almost all of its other aircraft. E.G. C-17, C-5, F-22, even the original KC-135?
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LMP737
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RE: Tiny Tanker Replacement?

Mon May 10, 2004 11:06 am

KC-10:

I take it you are referring to a competitive flyoff. You sort of answered your own question when you mentioned that the US government will not go to a foreign supplier for their tanker. Just as the French Air Force will not buy the C-17, the French Navy the F/A-18, the Royal Navy will not buy US built destroyers, the German Army won't buy US built armored vehicles etc. It's politics, some people don't understand that.

If McDonnell Douglas were still around I have a feeling they would be offering the MD-11 as a competitor to the 767. Since Boeing is the only game in town and Lockheed has their plate full at the moment I don't think you will see one.

IMHO I think Airbus purposely underbid Boeing knowing the chances of them getting the contract was slim. Heck they so much as said that themselves. Sort of a way to put the screws to Boeing. And unfortunately Boeing did no handle the program very well. If Airbus had won I think they would have been hard pressed to develop a boom tanker (which they have never done before) AND build it here in the states for the price they said.

P.S. I like your photo album
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kc10boom
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RE: Tiny Tanker Replacement?

Mon May 10, 2004 11:19 am

I have to agree with LMP377 regarding the competitive issues, however I feel the military is going to get short changed by taking a "off the shelf" tanker that fits Boeings interests over all. I fly daily on a "off the shelf" tanker that works great, but when I compare the capacity of the workhorse KC135 from over 40 years ago to that of a modern replacement I think we need to set our sights a bit higher than what the 767 offers.
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keesje
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RE: Tiny Tanker Replacement?

Mon May 10, 2004 7:16 pm

KC10Boom, we had a extensive discussion on this named "Alternative Solutions Usaf Tanker Requirement".

If A330 remains a political problem, alternatives seem absent. Agree with you regardless of the suplier issues a solution has to be found to meet the changing requirements. (not very many B1/B2/C5/C17's/B52 can be filled with KC767's over the oceans (.. 110K+ ..  Wow!))

Stop gab could be in the form of modifying existing (desert) DC10s/767s into tankers as a solution for the next 10-12 years (replacing oldest kc135s) and look for a 7e7 version after that.

BTW how old are the youngest KC135's, how much live have they left ?
BTW2 man you have a enviable position for a photograher  Smile/happy/getting dizzy you actually direct them in the right position & keep them hanging on !

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Just as the French Air Force will not buy the C-17, the French Navy the F/A-18, the Royal Navy will not buy US built destroyers, the German Army won't buy US built armored vehicles etc. It's politics, some people don't understand that.
The major Airbus countries (UK, Spain, germany, France) spent and are spending zillions $$ on US defense equipment..

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LMP737
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RE: Tiny Tanker Replacement?

Tue May 11, 2004 4:47 am

How much exactly is a zillion?

Guess this begs the question why these countries have spent "zillions" on US equipment. Obviously after WW2 the industrial infrastructure of western europe (except Spain) was wrecked. So if a country had a need for equipment pretty much the only game in town was the USA. Even after the countries of western europe got back on their feet they did not develop certain systems. Why spend the money when you can buy from the USA.

For example, if you wanted a four engined turbo-prop transport what did you buy, the C-130. In need of a two seat long range interceptor, the F-4. Even when a european company offered a competing product they sometimes lost out. The F-16 is a good case in point. Holland, Belgium, Norway and Denmark had the choice between the F-16 and the Mirage 5. Since the F-16 could fly circles around the Mirage 5 and thy were not under pressure to buy from a domestic supplier they choose the F-16.

With this all said it is quite obvious that politics play a role on both sides of the Atlantic. I can also point out the various sytems that the DOD has bought from Europe.
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keesje
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RE: Tiny Tanker Replacement?

Tue May 11, 2004 5:26 am

Zillions is what you get when you ad up the prices of all F4s, F5s, F16s, F18s, C130s, Apaches, Chinooks, UH1´s, KC135s, Awacs, P3´s, SAM´s, AAM, other munitions, avionics, etc, etc..

Probably in a lot of cases they were selected because they were better then locally produced systems, like the F16 you mentioned and now also the hundreds of JSF´s ordered by west European countries.

- Why spend the money when you can buy from the USA...

- government will not go to a foreign supplier for their tanker...


I smell a double standard here ...

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LMP737
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RE: Tiny Tanker Replacement?

Tue May 11, 2004 8:14 am

KEESJE:

The double standard exists on both sides of the Atlantic as I have pointed out before.

By the way please attribute the first quote to me and the second one to KC-10boom as to avoid any confusion on who said what.
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LMP737
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RE: Tiny Tanker Replacement?

Tue May 11, 2004 8:38 am

According to the JSF website the only official european customer of the JSF is England.
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pacificjourney
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RE: Tiny Tanker Replacement?

Tue May 11, 2004 1:08 pm

I would love to see this huge list of systems that the pentagon has bought outside of the US, first there is the Harrier and then the .... ...... ......

The politics of military procurement is NOT the same on both sides of the Atlantic !
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jwenting
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RE: Tiny Tanker Replacement?

Tue May 11, 2004 2:11 pm

Fokker 27
Shorts Sherpa
Roland (SAM)
Rapier (SAM)
quite a lot of assorted vehicles and (smaller) ships
radios
avionics
etc. etc.

Most are smaller systems that you won't find on the lists of active fighting systems but they are there.

Politics of procurement ARE the same on either side of the ocean. If anything Europe is far more strict in buying only local stuff (especially France and Germany) these days.
In the past they were less so because their defense industry was less mature and there was often no choice but buy either US or Soviet or do without (or the US systems were so much better there was no practical choice even if there was one in theory).

Examples:
When France purchased KC-135 tankers the French industry could not produce a tanker aircraft to compete.
When France purchased E-3s the French industry didn't have a competing aircraft (they still don't).
When Germany purchased F-4s there was nothing similar in Europe. The Mirage III has less range, performance and payload. The Lightning ditto. That was the competition.
When NATO decided on the F-16 there was no European aircraft to compete. Tornado is far larger and expensive, Rafale was only a pipe dream, and Mirage 5 an older generation and a lot less capable. Viggen was part of the competition but was not chosen because of environmental concerns (the noise levels were so much higher it would not do to operate them close to cities which is where most of our airbases are located).
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greaser
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RE: Tiny Tanker Replacement?

Tue May 11, 2004 2:24 pm

PacificJourney, why turn to foreigners when u can get something in your own country??
The U.S is naturally going to buy more of our products than that of foreign governments. OUR STABILITY means THE STABILITY of the world, we cannot afford major silp ups. Maybe your're also forgetting that Americans buy tons of Japanese products and the U.S Coast Guard use Aerospatiale Aircraft....or maybe the fact that Beretta (weapon manufacturer) supply a great percent of U.S Firearms, including law enforcement.
U.S Airlines use Airbus a/c, most of the toys are made in China.
But if u notice, our fundamental purchases are in the U.S. It's proven itself to be a reliable method in times of war & in peace
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kc10boom
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RE: Tiny Tanker Replacement?

Tue May 11, 2004 5:09 pm

Does the Airbus tanker option have a significantly better payload capacity than that of the 767 variant??? I never did look. I imagine the new A380 would be a great tanker / cargo platform.

And yes Keesje I have a awesome job for pictures, but when the weather turns bad and there is a 500,000+ Lb aircraft 30ft away and they want 150,000 lbs' of fuel my day (or night) goes downhill very fast.

As for the oldest KC-135 I only have tail numbers and I haven't seen a tail older than 1957.... Saw a 1957-converted R model Thursday as to the date of manufacture I haven't a clue.

Robert
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LMP737
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RE: Tiny Tanker Replacement?

Tue May 11, 2004 11:12 pm

Pacificjouney:

As I have explained before, over the years the US has developed systems that various european countries have not.

Here are some more systems the DOD has bought from europe, T-45, Dolphin helicopters, M249, M240, M9, various small arms form H&K, C-295, Carl Gustav, 40mm Bofors just to name a few.
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LMP737
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RE: Tiny Tanker Replacement?

Tue May 11, 2004 11:25 pm

In regards to the A380 the biggest obstacle would be a political one. Then you would have figure out if it were operationally suitable as a tanker. You know this better than me but the turbulence behind the A380 might be a bit to much for air-to-air refueling. Then of course you have to factor things such as cost, ramp space, etc.

Maybe the reason the USAF did not select the 747 as a tanker were the reasons such as cost, size or suitability as a tanker.
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PPGMD
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RE: Tiny Tanker Replacement?

Tue May 11, 2004 11:55 pm

LMP737,

Add the T-6A to the list, it's a licensed version of the Pilatus PC-9. Oh I have been hearing rumors that H&K will be making many of the new M-4's.

KC10Boom,
Are the KC-10's that old? I would think that they would have quite a few years left in them before they need to be replaced. By that time there may be other aircraft to fill the role, maybe even an entry from Lockheed.

But then again when almost half of the cost of R&D and aircraft procurement goes to paperwork and auditors, it's not hard to see why aircraft cost so much.
At worst, you screw up and die.
 
kc10boom
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RE: Tiny Tanker Replacement?

Wed May 12, 2004 3:56 am

LMP737,
No, the KC-10's have plenty of life left in them. The airframe will not go through any hours problems in the future, it will be a cycles issue, due to the daily touch and goes that the aircraft do at their home stations. It is amazing that the major airlines, do only 2 types of approaches, Missed or ILS full stop. On a daily basis I get to sit through at least 2 ILS , a GPS or two, and a few VFR touch and goes before a full stop. I am not complaining, because I enjoy flying but I have to wonder what that does to the airframe and its lifespan.
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Spacepope
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RE: Tiny Tanker Replacement?

Wed May 12, 2004 2:53 pm

Also don't forget:

The 120mm cannon on the M-1 Abrams tank is German.

The army retired the M-60, so now the standard 7.62mm LMG for the M-2/3, M-1 (2 on them) and many humvees are the Belgian M-240 (FN design).

And we surely can't forget the Dassault Falcons and the Dauphins for the USCG. The USAF even used G.222s... erm I mean C-27 Spartans.

Did I forget about those 9mm sidearms?

The military also has a habit of using Mi-8s in some areas, like when the special forces went into the Ivory Coast last year.

And be fair with the C-130. The G.222 and the C-160 were no match for its capabilities
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keesje
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RE: Tiny Tanker Replacement?

Wed May 12, 2004 8:42 pm

Does the Airbus tanker option have a significantly better payload capacity than that of the 767 variant???

Yes.

For fuel, cargo and passengers alike, with far more range at lower cost.
Even Boeing doesn't deny this.

The A330-200 is the reason Boeing decided to replace the 767 production line with the new 7E7.

I think that without the big industrial and political issues that play a role selection would have been a quick & easy.
"Never mistake motion for action." Ernest Hemingway
 
kc10boom
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RE: Tiny Tanker Replacement?

Thu May 13, 2004 3:47 pm

I wonder if Boeing could make a variant of the MD-11 being they have all of the MDC people at their disposal, as well as the engineering rights from the purchase. That would be a perfect fit.
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ha763
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RE: Tiny Tanker Replacement?

Thu May 13, 2004 5:09 pm

To answer the orginal question, the USAF is looking for a KC-135 sized replacement. The KC-767 is only slightly bigger than the KC-135, roughly 10ft longer and 20ft wider wingspan compared to the A330 being roughly 50ft longer and almost a 70ft wider wingspan. Of course the A330 would have better payload capacity than the KC-767, it is bigger. This being said, it would be more suited as a KC-10 replacement.
 
garnetpalmetto
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RE: Tiny Tanker Replacement?

Thu May 13, 2004 11:22 pm

And in that long list of foreign equipment the US has bought let's add some more stuff. Let's add the AGM-119 Penguin (brought to us by our friends in Norway), the AGM-142 Raptor (thanks Israel), the M93 Fox (danke, Deutschland). Let's also not forget that rather than operating the M1 Abrams, the US Army could have been taking Leopards into battle, had some members of Congress gotten their way  Smile/happy/getting dizzy
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LMP737
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RE: Tiny Tanker Replacement?

Thu May 13, 2004 11:26 pm

KC-10Boom:

As much as I would like to see a KC-11 (the MD-11 was the first widebody I ever worked on) it will never happen. Boeing nor the DOD is going to pay for the reopening of the MD-11 production line. I'm not sure they even have all the tooling available anymore.
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Spacepope
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RE: Tiny Tanker Replacement?

Fri May 14, 2004 1:38 am

Boeing reportedly destroyed most of the MD-11 tooling soon after the last one rolled off the line. An MD-11 conversion may be feasable if you could pry any of the 195 left out of their operators hands. There are still quite a few DC-10-30s out there in the 60,000 hour range, they would be better candidates for conversion if tanker capacity is urgently needed.

Perhaps another option would be having a private contractor, like Evergreen, get some used 762s, have the USAF fund the conversion, then contract their services. There is at least one private 707 tanker out there making money now.
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Alessandro
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RE: Tiny Tanker Replacement?

Fri May 14, 2004 1:57 am

I suggest that they replace them with V22s, on a more serious note, Italy and Japan are the only one else that bought B767 tanker recently, UK went with Airbus.
So I think it´s about time that Boeing would update their their product with
a B7E7 tanker so, I still think Israel, Japan and Italy could be buyer of this
aircraft, perhaps also Canada?
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startknob
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RE: Tiny Tanker Replacement?

Fri May 14, 2004 6:16 am

It´s really interesting to see some posts here obviously searching for "can't we have ANY Boeing - even a revival of the MD11 aircraft for the tanker"? Perhaps old non-scrapped 707s are a solution? LOL  Wink/being sarcastic

If the new tanker a/c are to be converted, there are a lot of options: parked and stored DC-10s -> KC-10 or L1011s. The MD-11 is a too good freighter to be available in larger numbers for tanker conversion. And, of course, there are a lot of 767s out currently in use due to be traded in for 7E7s or 332s in the next years.

Due to Boeing denounces the 7E7 as a tanker because its too much optimized for being a civil airliner in case the tankers have to be new a/c there are only two options:

A: A 332 MRT with much younger nevertheless proven airframe, longer range, more payload and the ability to be dual-used in two roles: as an airliner and as a tanker changing role in almost no time. So unused tankers can earn money in commercial service and when used, are ready on very short notice. Already sold to the RAF and the RAAF the A 332 MRT is probably they way all Air Forces in Europe seeking aerial refueling capacity will go for. Could be built in the USA as already offered by Airbus (for the jobs) and being a long lasting common platform for the NATO.

B: KC767 in what configuration ever.

From operational and geopolitical points of view the American built A 332 MRT seemingly is the better, more capable and perhaps even cheaper common solution for the USAF and the West.

What do you think?

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Spacepope
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RE: Tiny Tanker Replacement?

Fri May 14, 2004 10:06 am



What people keep on ignoring is the fact that there is a certain size aircraft needed so that it can fit in the same hangars and on the same aprons as the KC-135. Sure the A332MRT can carry more farther, but if we're using that logic, the 744 beats even that, and there is already a 747 flying boom conversion designed. You may get 30% more payload out of an A-332 as compare to a 767, however when you can only fit half of the aircraft at a base compared to before, you don't really gain anything.

And the L-1011 is not an option for a boom equipped refueller. it was a competitior against the KC-10, but lost, mainly due to the lower position of the #2 engine. Even the RAF has had problems with making working pods for the wingtip stations.
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keesje
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RE: Tiny Tanker Replacement?

Fri May 14, 2004 6:59 pm

Certain size aircraft needed so that it can fit in the same hangars and on the same aprons as the KC-135.

you can only fit half of the aircraft at a base compared to before, you don't really gain anything.


IMO those theoretical arguments were dragged into the discussion by Boeing to create some selling points

In reality most hangers/aprons that the KC135 now uses are specified to be able to handle bigger aircraft in the USAF fleet (C5/C17/C141/Cxx, B1/2/52).

Same goes for the 1000ft shorter runway performance of the KC767.
In reality not a problem, the KC135 needs even more concrete..

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Spacepope
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RE: Tiny Tanker Replacement?

Sat May 15, 2004 12:56 am

The first 767 tanker for Italy is currently in Wichita getting its tanker conversion (boom, cargo door, wingpods, all that stuff) and is expected to fly fairly soon. How far away is Airbus from feilding a fully converted A332 taknker for flyoff purposes? By the time all this wrangling finishes, we may be able to feasably do this. The one advantage that Boeing has here is that the 762 has a cargo door conversion already certified, something that the USAF would require, and that the A330/340 has yet to have installed (even if it has been previously designed).
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LMP737
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RE: Tiny Tanker Replacement?

Sat May 15, 2004 5:09 am

"In reality most hangers/aprons that the KC135 now uses are specified to be able to handle bigger aircraft in the USAF fleet (C5/C17/C141/Cxx, B1/2/52)."

Actually the military is not in the habit of building one size fits all hangers. Much to expensive and don't forget that some of these hangers were built before aircraft such as the C-5 came into existence.
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kc10boom
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RE: Tiny Tanker Replacement?

Mon May 17, 2004 1:33 pm

All of you have great points!
As for the apron and hangar sizes I do see the statements relevance. However as you can see in my photos I go on the missions and get to see the operational use of these aircraft. On one of my recent trips and photos,
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Photo © Robert M Rossman

I brought these F-15E's back from a pacific location to the US, not only did I bring the fighters, I brought the maintainers, the equipment(ext. tanks, loaders, tool boxes, etc.) and other support equipment. If a 767 had tried that it would have taken 3 of them or more if it was a 135 mission. It just does not seem to make sense. We are getting rid of the C-5' s and the 141's for a smaller C-17. Why carry more with less is my question.?.!

Robert
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PPGMD
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RE: Tiny Tanker Replacement?

Mon May 17, 2004 11:24 pm

KC-10Boom,

It just does not seem to make sense. We are getting rid of the C-5' s and the 141's for a smaller C-17. Why carry more with less is my question.?.!


The Air Force seems to be doing alot of that lately. It seems the procurement folks and congress don't seem to get doing the mission is all that matter in the end. Look at the F-22, they are buying 200 aircraft to replace 400 aircraft. And the F-22 can't even carry as much ordnance as the F-15E even with the canceled external stores racks.

I am sure the F-35 will end up being the same way too, right now they are ordering just enough to do an air frame for air frame replacement of the F-16. I have not seem the numbers so I am not sure of the air frames capabilities in comparison to the F-16. But that number will most likely be cut down.

The F-22 and F-35 remind me of the F-104, fantastic air frames that will do well in their main role, but the tech is in too early of an stage to truly become multi-role.
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