njxc500
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Air Force One Weather Minimums

Mon Jan 26, 2009 2:41 am

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
 
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cpd
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RE: Air Force One Weather Minimums

Mon Jan 26, 2009 3:24 am

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]
 
mNeo
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RE: Air Force One Weather Minimums

Mon Jan 26, 2009 3:29 am

Could AF1 have some sort of FLIR like the Gulfstream jets have, and the pilots could use that to land
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flypig687
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RE: Air Force One Weather Minimums

Mon Jan 26, 2009 3:36 am

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.
 
njxc500
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RE: Air Force One Weather Minimums

Mon Jan 26, 2009 3:38 am

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
 
OPNLguy
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RE: Air Force One Weather Minimums

Mon Jan 26, 2009 3:44 am

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]
ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
 
Bartonsayswhat
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RE: Air Force One Weather Minimums

Mon Jan 26, 2009 3:56 am

well AF1 can take on fuel in the air as well, so wouldn't their holding time be unlimited (barring lubrication, fluids, food etc)
 
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cpd
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RE: Air Force One Weather Minimums

Mon Jan 26, 2009 4:18 am



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.
 
ryu2
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RE: Air Force One Weather Minimums

Mon Jan 26, 2009 4:57 am

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...
 
pilotpip
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RE: Air Force One Weather Minimums

Mon Jan 26, 2009 8:35 am



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
 
HAL
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RE: Air Force One Weather Minimums

Mon Jan 26, 2009 9:09 am



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.
 
cptspeaking
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RE: Air Force One Weather Minimums

Mon Jan 26, 2009 12:21 pm



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!!
 
DescendVia
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RE: Air Force One Weather Minimums

Mon Jan 26, 2009 1:26 pm



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.
 
corey07850
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RE: Air Force One Weather Minimums

Mon Jan 26, 2009 2:18 pm



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
 
jgarrido
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RE: Air Force One Weather Minimums

Mon Jan 26, 2009 2:30 pm



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
 
arv79
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RE: Air Force One Weather Minimums

Mon Jan 26, 2009 6:10 pm

Question - how did you get a copy of the flight plan?
 
josekmlb
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RE: Air Force One Weather Minimums

Tue Jan 27, 2009 4:24 am



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.
 
Mir
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RE: Air Force One Weather Minimums

Tue Jan 27, 2009 7:22 am



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
 
DescendVia
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RE: Air Force One Weather Minimums

Tue Jan 27, 2009 6:05 pm



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.
 
HAL
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RE: Air Force One Weather Minimums

Wed Jan 28, 2009 4:55 pm



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.
 
DescendVia
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RE: Air Force One Weather Minimums

Wed Jan 28, 2009 11:55 pm



Quoting DescendVia (Reply 18):
revision

Prevision*
 
Woodreau
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RE: Air Force One Weather Minimums

Fri Jan 30, 2009 5:59 pm

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.
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DescendVia
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RE: Air Force One Weather Minimums

Fri Jan 30, 2009 8:39 pm



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.
 
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flylku
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RE: Air Force One Weather Minimums

Fri Jan 30, 2009 11:17 pm

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?
 
dragon6172
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RE: Air Force One Weather Minimums

Sat Jan 31, 2009 2:51 pm

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.
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TVNWZ
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RE: Air Force One Weather Minimums

Tue Feb 03, 2009 12:15 am

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 require a dangerous landing. Or, Col. Tillman was using a little bravado. I do not think they would fly into a dangerous situation, and would divert if it called for it.

Not having a diversion plan would be...well...a poor plan.
 
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Moose135
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RE: Air Force One Weather Minimums

Tue Feb 03, 2009 12:50 am



Quoting Woodreau (Reply 21):
Isn't the Air Force a state aircraft so they are not required to follow any US FAA regulations.

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.
KC-135 - Passing gas and taking names!
 
fxra
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RE: Air Force One Weather Minimums

Tue Feb 03, 2009 1:16 am

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. For instance they use HESH as an alternate for LLBG. There is possibly a US military contingent at that airport, or nearby enough that they can be mobilized swiftly to provide a level of security (I know I've planned AMC charters into HESH in the past).

So in the instance they get to, lets say, EDDF and there's no possible way to land for whatever reason. Well, airport closures don't just happen. If so, I'm thinking they carry a lot of fuel for contingency issues, well more than a civil airliner would. But lets AF1 is getting to point where they can't hold any longer for EDDF, so maybe a diversion to a military base that has a level of required secuirty, such as ETAR. If no suitable airports are within safe fuel range, and knowing that the USAF has a pretty spiffy WX forecasting group and a sudden freakish continent encompassing WX system doesn't develop instantly, I'm betting there's may be a KC-10 nearby with some gas that could be sent over to inflight refuel.

I guess my point is that when I dispatch flights, i have a plan in mind for almost any realistic issue that may arise. However, I think the people who plan an AF! flight have planned for the unrealistic and the statistically impossible and have a plan, and they don't have to consider economic issues of carrying a plane load o fuel everywhere they go.
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airportugal310
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RE: Air Force One Weather Minimums

Tue Feb 03, 2009 2:10 am

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 going to?

One would think thatd be somewhat secure in the interim...
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jhooper
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RE: Air Force One Weather Minimums

Mon Feb 09, 2009 3:35 am



Quoting DescendVia (Reply 18):
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.

The Air Force isn't issued Ops Specs.
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