Moderators: richierich, ua900, PanAm_DC10, hOMSaR

 
bhxdtw
Topic Author
Posts: 1154
Joined: Mon Feb 21, 2005 7:28 pm

Question regarding US Navy aircraft type

Tue Mar 03, 2020 5:30 am

Hi guys, I was watching a video on YouTube regarding aircraft movements conning into and out of Munich for the Munich Security Conference 2020. The poster had some great rare government jets captured, however one that caught my eye was a US Navy metroliner reg: 910502. The poster had all movements labeled where possible with the departure/arrival points and the metroliner was coming to Munich from Stuttgart.

Any idea why the US Navy would use a metroliner? It just seems an interesting type.

I'm sure I could find answers on Google but I enjoy the guys on here who have first hand knowledge or personal anecdotes regarding these things.

Thx, Jordan
 
mechatnew
Posts: 114
Joined: Wed May 25, 2005 5:59 am

Re: Question regarding US Navy aircraft type

Tue Mar 03, 2020 3:10 pm

The USAF and US Army bought some Metroliners, which they called C-26s,in the late 1980s-early 1990s. Some are still in use with those services. Some were transferred to other countries and a few were picked up by the US Navy. Most are used for light transport, a small number have been converted to surveillance and range control duties.
 
rfields5421
Posts: 6264
Joined: Thu Jul 19, 2007 12:45 am

Re: Question regarding US Navy aircraft type

Tue Mar 03, 2020 8:30 pm

One of the missions of the USAF and USN aircraft is flight support for US Embassy and Consulate staff.

Sometimes they move people around, especially the USMC guards. Sometimes it is logistics like US mail that comes in one military flights. Sometimes it is something as simple a US food items available in the base commissary that cannot be purchased on the local economy in country X.

The aircraft have a cargo door, and can be configured from full pax to full cargo and any combination in between.

Basically it is a light cheap aircraft capable of fulfilling many requirements where a dedicated military aircraft like a C-130 or C-2 would be overkill.
Not all who wander are lost.
 
User avatar
SheikhDjibouti
Posts: 2116
Joined: Sat Sep 30, 2017 4:59 pm

Re: Question regarding US Navy aircraft type

Tue Mar 03, 2020 10:55 pm

rfields5421 wrote:
One of the missions of the USAF and USN aircraft is flight support for US Embassy and Consulate staff.

Sometimes they move people around, especially the USMC guards. Sometimes it is logistics like US mail that comes in one military flights. Sometimes it is something as simple a US food items available in the base commissary that cannot be purchased on the local economy in country X.

The aircraft have a cargo door, and can be configured from full pax to full cargo and any combination in between.

Which side is the cargo door on? Left ...or right?


And whilst we are at it - where is the US flag, US Navy roundel, or indeed anything showing who the owner/operator is?

I thought this was an international requirement?

"502" could be anybody.... :scratchchin:

This is how it used to be displayed. Better in every respect.


And this is an earlier type that performed the same sort of missions, seen here still sprightly in 1981. :D
Nothing to see here; move along please.
 
commpilot
Posts: 132
Joined: Sat Feb 09, 2008 5:21 pm

Re: Question regarding US Navy aircraft type

Wed Mar 04, 2020 12:01 pm

SheikhDjibouti wrote:
rfields5421 wrote:
One of the missions of the USAF and USN aircraft is flight support for US Embassy and Consulate staff.

Sometimes they move people around, especially the USMC guards. Sometimes it is logistics like US mail that comes in one military flights. Sometimes it is something as simple a US food items available in the base commissary that cannot be purchased on the local economy in country X.

The aircraft have a cargo door, and can be configured from full pax to full cargo and any combination in between.

Which side is the cargo door on? Left ...or right?


And whilst we are at it - where is the US flag, US Navy roundel, or indeed anything showing who the owner/operator is?

I thought this was an international requirement?

"502" could be anybody.... :scratchchin:

This is how it used to be displayed. Better in every respect.


And this is an earlier type that performed the same sort of missions, seen here still sprightly in 1981. :D

The cargo door is clearly on the left side of the plane. You can see it in the picture. The ship number is all you need and their call sign of course, you don't need fancy graphics to be legal.
 
User avatar
SheikhDjibouti
Posts: 2116
Joined: Sat Sep 30, 2017 4:59 pm

Re: Question regarding US Navy aircraft type

Wed Mar 04, 2020 3:50 pm

Which side is the cargo door on? Left ...or right?


commpilot wrote:
The cargo door is clearly on the left side of the plane. You can see it in the picture.

Clearly? I'll have some of what you're smoking.
And whilst you're at it, can you see next weeks lottery numbers too? :rotfl:

The main door is clearly outlined.
The emergency exit over the wing is clearly outlined.
The cargo door - I know it should be on the left, but even with the "large" image and 200% magnification there is hardly anything to see. I'd prefer to say Fairchild/Swearingen did a really good job putting in that door without spoiling the lines on this a/c. :bigthumbsup:
(see pic 4466561 for a civilian SA-227 where the cargo door is indeed plainly visible, possibly borrowed from another a/c?)

SheikhDjibouti wrote:
Where is the US flag, US Navy roundel, or indeed anything showing who the owner/operator is?

I thought this was an international requirement?
"502" could be anybody.... :scratchchin:

This is how it used to be displayed. Better in every respect.

commpilot wrote:
The ship number is all you need and their call sign of course, you don't need fancy graphics to be legal.
Obviously, otherwise these aircraft wouldn't be flying around like they do. But when were the rules changed? 9/11?
wikipedia wrote:
Previously, low visibility markings were used to increase ambiguity as to whose aircraft it was, and to avoid compromising the camouflage, all while still complying with international norms governing recognition markings.
That's for combat a/c that want to be stealthy. This isn't one of them.

You never know when national ID might come in handy, e.g. when you're off course in the middle of Europe and your radio is u/s. I wouldn't trust the average (non US) fighter jockey to know that the strange thing flying next to them is a Swearingen SA-227 and that it's not drug-running incognito. Don't forget that some nations have shot down airliners with clearer markings than that.

Presumably the guys & gals from 7th SOS are also in the business of keeping a low profile, and yet they still manage a full suite of markings, albeit low-vis style.

BTW - that isn't an air-to-air shot - he's just flying very low. :D
Nothing to see here; move along please.
 
bhill
Posts: 1794
Joined: Thu Sep 13, 2001 8:28 am

Re: Question regarding US Navy aircraft type

Wed Mar 04, 2020 6:47 pm

Air America don' need no stinking BADGES!!
Carpe Pices
 
rfields5421
Posts: 6264
Joined: Thu Jul 19, 2007 12:45 am

Re: Question regarding US Navy aircraft type

Thu Mar 05, 2020 12:42 am

I was reading from the US Navy Fact File sheet on the aircraft. And some personal knowledge of USN and USAF support of embassy missions in the past.

When I save the image and zoom in about 400 percent, the cargo door is clearly visible. But it is apparently not used much.

As far as markings, at times US military aircraft which frequent civilian airports, especially in other countries have minimal to no markings to identify the aircraft as being operated by the US military.

The V-22 - well, there is no way in the world that aircraft doesn't broadcast loud and clear that is it US military, no matter how it is painted.

My first USN squadron flew its EC-121 and EA-3B ELINT aircraft will all dull grey paint for many years in the late 60s. No markings of any type anywhere. Not even the Bureau Number. The squadron also did not use proper identification over non-secure radio like ATC to keep the 'bad' guys unaware of where the aircraft were operating.

One day headed into Don Mueang airport, the RTAF portion, a squadron aircraft 'spoofed' the callsign and Bureau Number/ Registration of a WC-121 aircraft assigned to another squadron. Common practice at the time.

Except the controller in the tower was looking out on at the military ramp where that particular aircraft was parked. It's identification clearly marked.

The aircraft commander and crew had an interesting time discussing squadron ID policy with the RTAF and USAF military police for several hours before the situation was resolved.
Not all who wander are lost.
 
User avatar
SheikhDjibouti
Posts: 2116
Joined: Sat Sep 30, 2017 4:59 pm

Re: Question regarding US Navy aircraft type

Thu Mar 05, 2020 11:18 pm

rfields5421 wrote:
My first USN squadron flew its EC-121 and EA-3B ELINT aircraft will all dull grey paint for many years in the late 60s. No markings of any type anywhere. Not even the Bureau Number.
I can see some logic in that.
I only ever got close to the European EA-3Bs out of Rota (VQ-2), and they played hard at not giving up the Bu.no, but in fact it was usually there, in very very very small print. The Sandeman and US Navy roundel etc were all pretty standard though.

(Note; absolutely no pictures on this database of any VQ-1 machines)


When it comes to the EC-121s, I guess this site is right up your street then.
"I flew on them as a radar tech at Otis from Jan 1963 through Aug. 1969 and at McClellan 1969 through Apr. 1976. Dean Boys"
http://www.dean-boys.com/ec-121.htm
Nothing to see here; move along please.
 
rfields5421
Posts: 6264
Joined: Thu Jul 19, 2007 12:45 am

Re: Question regarding US Navy aircraft type

Fri Mar 06, 2020 3:41 pm



Not as many photographers at Westpac bases as in Europe. And this was long after the squadron started to proudly display its World Watchers name. This aircraft appears to be the TA-3B 142672 assigned to VQ-1. The plane was lost on a flight from Atsugi to Guam in Jan 85, all nine aboard were lost, including the VQ-1 CO. The aircraft reported to Guam approach on VHF, having just reached range for comms on that radio. And was never heard from again. Extensive search. No trace ever found.

This was the paint scheme the squadron was using in the early 70s when I was stationed there https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/b9/EA-3B_VQ-1_in_flight_near_NAF_Atsugi.jpeg

This photo of a EC-121 VQ-1 bird I easily found https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/b0/Lockheed_EC-121M_with_F-4B.jpg and is from the late 1960s when the "Dark Skies" paint scheme was used. Supposed to make the birds harder to see from the ground during night takeoffs and landings at Danang. That may have been old sailor BS to a seaman duce nervous about flying out of Danang and seeing tracers coming up for the first time. Since the invention of the internet after I retired, I've found many older photos of Navy aircraft in that color scheme throughout the 60s.

The Metroliner which started this thread was a readily available for a readily cheap price airframe which was easily adapted to suit a mission need. The military was getting smarter about not developing a whole procurement chain for a new aircraft

The C-121/Super Connie, the A-3 Skywarrior and with the current EP-3E Orion were all airframes which came into the Navy inventory with other missions. The airframes did have a relatively open fuselage that could accommodate the Elint equipment. Just before I arrive at VQ-1, the last of the tube based recon gear had been removed. It was still analog and generated a tremendous amount of heat.

PS - the non Airliners photos I linkd are on the Wikipedia page for VQ-1. I think they are public domain, but I could be wrong. I know the EC-121 photo was orginally a US Navy photo that was cleared for public release. It was in the VQ-1 press kit in the early 70s.
Last edited by rfields5421 on Fri Mar 06, 2020 3:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Not all who wander are lost.
 
User avatar
SheikhDjibouti
Posts: 2116
Joined: Sat Sep 30, 2017 4:59 pm

Re: Question regarding US Navy aircraft type

Sat Mar 07, 2020 1:29 am

I wrote:
(Note; absolutely no pictures on this database of any VQ-1 machines)

rfields5421 wrote:
Doh! Good catch! I missed that.
This aircraft appears to be the TA-3B 142672 assigned to VQ-1. The plane was lost on a flight from Atsugi to Guam in Jan 85,..
Although allocated to VQ-1 it wasn't a regular EA-3B, but rather a VA-3B VIP transport, originally based at Andrews AFB. Here it is less than six weeks before the crash, seen here on the USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70). The crash is attributed "probably due to a dual air turbine motor malfunction."
Image


This photo of a EC-121 VQ-1 bird I easily found https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/b0/Lockheed_EC-121M_with_F-4B.jpg and is from the late 1960s when the "Dark Skies" paint scheme was used. Supposed to make the birds harder to see from the ground during night takeoffs and landings at Danang. That may have been old sailor BS to a seaman duce nervous about flying out of Danang and seeing tracers coming up for the first time. Since the invention of the internet after I retired, I've found many older photos of Navy aircraft in that color scheme throughout the 60s.

PS - the non Airliners photos I linkd are on the Wikipedia page for VQ-1...
All good. Photos of "PR" coded VQ-1 machines are indeed scarce. When it comes to EC-121s it is much easier to find VW-1 machines coded "TE" As a parting gift before we both get flak for straying off-topic; I take it you are also aware of Wikipedia's "back-catalogue" - the photos that don't make it onto the front page?
e.g. VW-1 TE-9 at Da Nang 1968, also in "Dark skies" scheme.
Image
(thx as ever to Wikipedia)

Failing that, do you recognise any of these guys in front of a VQ-1 EA-3B?
https://www.flickr.com/photos/johnvphip ... 096055730/
Nothing to see here; move along please.
 
rfields5421
Posts: 6264
Joined: Thu Jul 19, 2007 12:45 am

Re: Question regarding US Navy aircraft type

Sun Mar 08, 2020 2:36 am

When VW-1, VAP-61 and VQ-1 merged, the TE birds were renumbered with a 2, so TE-9 probably became PR-29.

PR-29 was active in the squadron while I was there, and I flew on it once, but unlike the A-3 database, I can't verify what the Connies were by BuNo. Skywarrior site has a almost complete database of every A-3 by BuNo.

I've seen the A-3 photo before. It was taken in Danang, about 1969 if my memory of the photo caption was right. The ground guy with the mickey mouse ears looks familiar, but I could be wrong.
Not all who wander are lost.
 
User avatar
LyleLanley
Posts: 161
Joined: Wed Dec 18, 2019 9:33 pm

Re: Question regarding US Navy aircraft type

Sun Mar 08, 2020 4:29 am

Thanks for all the great info on this thread, gents. It's been good reading and a fascinating history lesson!

Just wanted to add a minor point, but the C-26 style of relatively ambiguous paint schemes was also "sort of" used by many USAF airlifters/tankers in the 70s and 80s as the "white top" paint scheme. Not tactical in the slightest bit, but quite a few countries were fine with helping the US out, just as long as it wasn't too obvious they were helping the US out. Some sad folks just didn't like camouflage aircraft landing at international airports...

"I've sold monorails to Brockway, Ogdenville, and North Haverbrook, and, by gum, it put them on the map!"
 
rfields5421
Posts: 6264
Joined: Thu Jul 19, 2007 12:45 am

Re: Question regarding US Navy aircraft type

Sun Mar 08, 2020 1:53 pm

SheikhDjibouti wrote:
Although allocated to VQ-1 it wasn't a regular EA-3B, but rather a VA-3B VIP transport, originally based at Andrews AFB.


One thing which always separated out the TA-3B aircraft (and the VA) was windows on the right side of the fuselage. The equipment racks were never installed or removed from the TA/VA birds.

The VA interior had likely been removed when the bird went to VQ-1. We had one TA while I was there. Normal EA-config was a pilot left seat, nav right seat in the cockpit. (It was always a single pilot aircraft).

A crew chief or senior eval officer back to back with the pilot and four operator stations in the belly. The TA in the early 70's had three extra pax seats in the belly. It could carry a total of ten people. There were nine aboard the plane when it was lost.

This is the history of the Airframe from the A-3 Skywarrior Association web site.

It was the 200th A-3 procured, entering Navy service in Oct 1959.

Converted by Douglas as VA-3B for use by CNO. In storage at MASDC from 1974 until retrieved by VAQ-33 team in Sept. '80. Overhauled by NARF Alameda and assigned to VQ-1. Lost at sea 125 miles NNW of Guam on Jan. 23, '85 while operated by VQ-1.
Not all who wander are lost.
 
User avatar
SheikhDjibouti
Posts: 2116
Joined: Sat Sep 30, 2017 4:59 pm

Re: Question regarding US Navy aircraft type

Sun Mar 08, 2020 3:09 pm

LyleLanley wrote:
Thanks for all the great info on this thread, gents. It's been good reading and a fascinating history lesson!

Just wanted to add a minor point, but the C-26 style of relatively ambiguous paint schemes was also "sort of" used by many USAF airlifters/tankers in the 70s and 80s as the "white top" paint scheme. Not tactical in the slightest bit, but quite a few countries were fine with helping the US out, just as long as it wasn't too obvious they were helping the US out. Some sad folks just didn't like camouflage aircraft landing at international airports...
Sort of? Actually, I'm going to turn that around and point out that the non-tactical transports were 100% ALL in the white top pseudo civilian scheme, right back to when C-141s were the main transport to 'Nam. And prior to that it was all silver for these MAC birds.
I cannot agree with you that these schemes were being used specifically to appease "sad folks" at international airports, although these days that is indeed a possibility.
Also I don't recall any KC-135s other than standard gray, but EC-135s were a different matter. Meanwhile Navy/Marines KC-130's were all white top too.

IIRC camouflage came after various dust-ups in the 80's probably involving Iran or Libya, although that may have just been a coincidence. (Around this time P-3s & other types suddenly went to low-vis scheme too)

C-141A Silver (1960's), White top (ca 1970 thru' 1983), and then as the 'B conversions appeared in the 80's many of them went straight to Euro green or "lizard" camo


Meanwhile C-5 Galaxy went straight to white-top (1969), then green camo (1983) but by 2001 all you could have was a sea of grey. :roll:

White top P-3A with full squadron insignia (1973), whilst the non-descript gray blob is from 1995
Nothing to see here; move along please.
 
User avatar
LyleLanley
Posts: 161
Joined: Wed Dec 18, 2019 9:33 pm

Re: Question regarding US Navy aircraft type

Sun Mar 08, 2020 7:15 pm

SheikhDjibouti wrote:
Sort of? Actually, I'm going to turn that around and point out that the non-tactical transports were 100% ALL in the white top pseudo civilian scheme, right back to when C-141s were the main transport to 'Nam. And prior to that it was all silver for these MAC birds.
I cannot agree with you that these schemes were being used specifically to appease "sad folks" at international airports, although these days that is indeed a possibility.


Ah, that makes sense. Thanks for the corrections. It was my understanding that some jets were kept in the white-top scheme when the rest were camo’d - for instance, there were two white-top KC-10s up until the mid-90s - for the diplomatic concerns, but I didn’t realize all were so high-viz beforehand. Thanks again for the corrections and the history. :smile:
"I've sold monorails to Brockway, Ogdenville, and North Haverbrook, and, by gum, it put them on the map!"
 
SuperiorPilotMe
Posts: 202
Joined: Mon Dec 24, 2018 4:55 pm

Re: Question regarding US Navy aircraft type

Tue Mar 10, 2020 3:36 pm

Off-topic, but man those A-3s (and their A-5 official replacements) had real deck presence.
Stop the stupids!- Claus Kellerman

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Buckeyetech, meecrob and 17 guests

Popular Searches On Airliners.net

Top Photos of Last:   24 Hours  •  48 Hours  •  7 Days  •  30 Days  •  180 Days  •  365 Days  •  All Time

Military Aircraft Every type from fighters to helicopters from air forces around the globe

Classic Airliners Props and jets from the good old days

Flight Decks Views from inside the cockpit

Aircraft Cabins Passenger cabin shots showing seat arrangements as well as cargo aircraft interior

Cargo Aircraft Pictures of great freighter aircraft

Government Aircraft Aircraft flying government officials

Helicopters Our large helicopter section. Both military and civil versions

Blimps / Airships Everything from the Goodyear blimp to the Zeppelin

Night Photos Beautiful shots taken while the sun is below the horizon

Accidents Accident, incident and crash related photos

Air to Air Photos taken by airborne photographers of airborne aircraft

Special Paint Schemes Aircraft painted in beautiful and original liveries

Airport Overviews Airport overviews from the air or ground

Tails and Winglets Tail and Winglet closeups with beautiful airline logos