ECFlyer
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Who Refuels In Northern New England?

Thu Apr 25, 2013 2:25 am

I was home at midday today (4/24) in the Upper Valley of Vermont, just north of the village of Woodstock. Most air traffic overhead is mainline commercial aircraft at full cruising altitude, or small single engine stuff. Occasionally I will see an F-16 from the VT ANG.

Today I heard something different while working in the driveway, older turbofans making considerable noise. Been hearing this occasionally over the last few weeks, but always on overcast days. Today was bluebird clear, and to my surprise directly overhead was a KC-135 (must be an R these days) feeding what I believe was a C-17. They were at a good height, guessing FL25 or more, so it might have been a C-5. Certainly the noise (which got my attention) seemed more like old CF6s than the CFMs on a 135R or the quieter fans on the C-17.

Anyway, whose tanker would that have been? Bangor? Nothing at Plattsburgh anymore, correct? Does the old Pease have a few tankers still? It was a very cool, unexpected sight in rural central Vermont. To think we once had Plattsburgh, Loring, Dow, Pease, and Bruswick NAS all generating bigtime military traffic.
 
taxpilot
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RE: Who Refuels In Northern New England?

Thu Apr 25, 2013 3:00 am

ANG: 132nd at Bangor and 133rd at Pease
 
rfields5421
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RE: Who Refuels In Northern New England?

Thu Apr 25, 2013 3:06 am

There is

the 101st Wing and 132nd Air Refueling Sqdn of the Maine ANG at Bangor,

the 157th Wing and 133rd Air Refueling Sqdn of the New Hampshire ANG and the 64th Air Refueling Sqdn of the 22nd Wing out of McConnell is also based at Pease,

It could even be the 108th Wing with the 141st Air Refueling Sqdn and the 150th Air Refueling Sqdn of the New Jersey ANG out of the Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst

Three KC-135R squadrons in Maine and New Hampshire and two in New Jersey.

Since you saw it with a C-17 - it might be a joint operation of two units out of McGuire.
 
ECFlyer
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RE: Who Refuels In Northern New England?

Thu Apr 25, 2013 11:03 am

Thank you both for the replies. I knew Bangor had lost their E models, but wasn't sure they had gotten Rs. I had also heard that Pease would probably get the KC-46, but didn't realize they were still active with the 135. And Plattsburgh has nothing apparently, which was also an area of uncertainty for me.

Perhaps weather, etc. has them tracking over me lately; I have been hearing the same engines periodically for a few weeks.
 
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kc135topboom
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RE: Who Refuels In Northern New England?

Thu Apr 25, 2013 8:23 pm

It could be a Volent Boom mission, refueling operational AMC cargo haulers on their way to the EU and beyond. Years ago, in my Pease days we did a lot of these, they were then C-141Bs or C-5A/Bs out of McGuire or Dover. But our refueling then were out off the southern coast of Newfoundland. My guess is if this is a C-17 it is from an ANG unit flying out of the Midwest or southern base.

There are several published air refueling tracks that begin over VT or NH and proceed NE to Northern ME, and one or two that go in the opposite direction beginning in Northern Maine going SW to NH or VT. There are also a few air refueling anchor routes just off the coast of NH and Cape Cod.
 
ECFlyer
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RE: Who Refuels In Northern New England?

Fri Apr 26, 2013 1:42 am

Thanks for the info TopBoom, and very interesting. I had neglected to mention they were headed just about due south. Looking at the planform size difference and given the noise, I think I got lucky and saw a Galaxy. How many miles are covered in an typical fueling of the bigger transports?

I lived in central Maine for five years and got used to seeing the occasional 135E model--but never actively offloading fuel--along with massive commercial traffic transiting to/from Europe. Lots of P-3s hanging over Bath and Brunswick too while taking my kids to the beach.

My grandad was a captain in the army air corp before and during WWII (his eventual wife and my grandmother was his army-appointed secretary). He retired to the Jersey Shore in the late 70s, and I would watch streams of C-141s come and go from their house, parallel to the beach and offshore, on their way to McGuire. The Starlifter has always been a favorite of mine from those days.
 
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Revelation
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RE: Who Refuels In Northern New England?

Fri Apr 26, 2013 2:39 pm

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 4):
There are several published air refueling tracks

I didn't realize this stuff was published, but a quick 'google' gives us:

http://www.milaircomms.com/images/refuel_tracks_large.jpg
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rfields5421
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RE: Who Refuels In Northern New England?

Fri Apr 26, 2013 5:02 pm

It has to be public so that ATC, flight planners and pilots can avoid those areas when they are in use.
 
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kc135topboom
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RE: Who Refuels In Northern New England?

Fri Apr 26, 2013 9:53 pm

Refueling in the published A/R Tracks (or anywhere else, such as "random refueling") are usually done on an ALTRAV or with MARSA. So, there is no conflict with civilian traffic. A/R traffic is called out just like any other traffic is called out.
 
pwm2txlhopper
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RE: Who Refuels In Northern New England?

Sun Apr 28, 2013 6:40 pm

There are also aircraft in the area from the 439th Airlift Wing at Westover ARB, Massachusetts (C-5's) as well as F-15's from 104th Fighter Wing of the MA ANG out of Barnes AGB, Massachusetts.
 
NBGSkyGod
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RE: Who Refuels In Northern New England?

Mon Apr 29, 2013 4:16 pm

ECFlyer, I live int UV as well, the traffic along AR631 is almost daily, sometimes multiple times a day. Often it's 135s out of Pease or Bangor refueling C-5s out of Westover, however they sometimes play with others as well, C17s out of McGuire, as well as KC10s from there as well. Just the other day I saw a 135 fueling a 10.
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ECFlyer
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RE: Who Refuels In Northern New England?

Wed May 01, 2013 3:51 pm

NBSkyGod, thanks for the input (and others as well).

At about 11:10 this a.m. (EDT) I heard the engines again and came out of the garage. Another bluebird day here, 10 out of 10 weather-wise, and RIGHT above the house, no more than FL20 I'd say, was a 135 offloading--southbound on AR631 I guess.

Grabbed the camera off the tractor and could not visually reacquire the birds. I have some big white pines, and between them, the sunlight, and the light grey paint of the planes I could not find the aircraft. In my haste to NOT miss them, I did not get a good look at the trailing plane. It struck me that I believe it only had a single engine under each wing, which would have made it a KC-10.

Is a C-17 in the same noise ballpark as a modern commercial quad? Are 135Rs particularly noisy? I ask because I am detecting these flights mostly by sound signature, and I'd guess it's the sound of older CF6s (TF-39s or F-103s) that is getting my attention. Anyway, glad I posted originally and have something cool coming overhead most days around noon.

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