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travelsider05
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US military aircraft avoiding land

Wed Nov 30, 2022 8:15 am

I've been noticing this for a while now, and just curious about this. Is there a reason why US military aircraft, when in flight, are avoiding going over land?

The link below is one of several examples that I've noticed for several months now:
https://flightaware.com/live/flight/RCH ... 1130/0447Z
 
GalaxyFlyer
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Re: US military aircraft avoiding land

Wed Nov 30, 2022 2:43 pm

We frequently don’t have diplomatic clearances to overfly sovereign land. We had to zig-zag around Swan Island (Colombia enroute to Panama); Fiji (enroute PHIK to Australia); around Cuba, for other examples. Even some NATO countries require dips, depart Rota or Moron for the ocean tracks, Sevilla Control would clear us direct to the coast-out fix which would, sometimes, pass within 12nm of Point Sagres, PO. Technically, it would be a violation without the dip in the flight plan.

Refueling used to be common over the Straits of Gibraltar because of Spanish refusal to give overflights.
 
mxaxai
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Re: US military aircraft avoiding land

Wed Nov 30, 2022 2:45 pm

Could be a matter of overflight permits. Some countries have relatively strict rules or just need a ton of paperwork and approvals. As long as you stay in international airspace / international waters, you can do whatever you want.

Now, the Lombok strait is technically entirely Indonesian, however it's considered an international strait and/or an archipelagic sea lane, which means that mostly the same rules as proper international airspace / waters apply for transiting aircraft and ships.
 
rlwynn
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Re: US military aircraft avoiding land

Wed Nov 30, 2022 11:17 pm

I would think it has more to do with what is in the plane.
 
GalaxyFlyer
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Re: US military aircraft avoiding land

Thu Dec 01, 2022 12:40 am

rlwynn wrote:
I would think it has more to do with what is in the plane.


Not in my 18 years except for nukes and that was a special mission. Whether a country will issue a dip clearance might depend on the cargo, but more often the destination. Spain didn’t want to be associated with Israel and Mideast politics, in general. Most times, the dip shop doesn’t want to waste time, effort and potential capital asking for clearances; saving the requests for times they’re really needed. Swiss and Austria didn’t care what we carried, but strictly cared about neutrality. I was curious about the plane that took a wide track around the UK, recently, though.
 
LTEN11
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Re: US military aircraft avoiding land

Thu Dec 01, 2022 3:49 am

Quite often get something interesting tracks between Guam and Darwin. Sometimes weaving their way between Indonesian Islands, or going east of Papua New Guinea.
 
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Tugger
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Re: US military aircraft avoiding land

Thu Dec 01, 2022 4:29 am

rlwynn wrote:
I would think it has more to do with what is in the plane.

Except those flights don't ever appear on the flight tracking sites...

The USA of course still respects nation's flight boundary envelopes to ensure such flights never experience an incident.

Tugg
 
mxaxai
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Re: US military aircraft avoiding land

Thu Dec 01, 2022 9:08 pm

Tugger wrote:
Except those flights don't ever appear on the flight tracking sites...

Tugg

There was a somewhat famous incident, before fr24 was around, in Austria.

USAF filed a flight plan for a "DC-10" where somebody made the mistake to provide multiple registrations for what should have been just a single aircraft. And indeed, only a single aircraft showed up on radar.
This seemed fishy to the Austrians, who quickly launched a pair of Drakens to have a look. Surprise, the "DC-10" was actually a formation of a KC-10 and a pair of F-117, which would otherwise not have been permitted to fly over Austria (or only with a lot more paperwork).
 
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LyleLanley
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Re: US military aircraft avoiding land

Thu Dec 01, 2022 11:43 pm

mxaxai wrote:
Tugger wrote:
Except those flights don't ever appear on the flight tracking sites...

Tugg

There was a somewhat famous incident, before fr24 was around, in Austria.

USAF filed a flight plan for a "DC-10" where somebody made the mistake to provide multiple registrations for what should have been just a single aircraft. And indeed, only a single aircraft showed up on radar.
This seemed fishy to the Austrians, who quickly launched a pair of Drakens to have a look. Surprise, the "DC-10" was actually a formation of a KC-10 and a pair of F-117, which would otherwise not have been permitted to fly over Austria (or only with a lot more paperwork).


There's a lot more to the story than what The Drive published. Long story short, that incident was a combination of bureaucratic dip clearance bungling, "don't tell us and we won't ask" implicit guarantees, and the left arm not knowing what the right arm was doing in various levels of the Austrian government. "I'm shocked! Shocked to find that gambling is going on here!"

As a military organization, the USAF generally doesn't advertise that which it's trying to keep a secret, but they don't go out of their way to ostracize an ally, either.

Btw, all KC-10 flight plans are labeled as "DC10" because "KC-10" is not an official aircraft designation in the ICAO database. KC-135 (actually K35R) is an official designation, so they don't fly as a "707". When you look under equipment and furnishings and see TACAN and other military specific avionics and equipment it becomes clear there's no secret trying to be kept. Just the way the system is designed.
 
GalaxyFlyer
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Re: US military aircraft avoiding land

Fri Dec 02, 2022 2:39 am

Better story, but slightly off-topic, would be the KC-135 crew, a tight on fuel declared “due regard” and flew direct across France. Meet on the ramp by various colonels.
 
iRISH251
Posts: 979
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Re: US military aircraft avoiding land

Sun Dec 04, 2022 7:25 pm

LyleLanley wrote:
mxaxai wrote:
Tugger wrote:
Except those flights don't ever appear on the flight tracking sites...

Tugg

There was a somewhat famous incident, before fr24 was around, in Austria.

USAF filed a flight plan for a "DC-10" where somebody made the mistake to provide multiple registrations for what should have been just a single aircraft. And indeed, only a single aircraft showed up on radar.
This seemed fishy to the Austrians, who quickly launched a pair of Drakens to have a look. Surprise, the "DC-10" was actually a formation of a KC-10 and a pair of F-117, which would otherwise not have been permitted to fly over Austria (or only with a lot more paperwork).


Btw, all KC-10 flight plans are labeled as "DC10" because "KC-10" is not an official aircraft designation in the ICAO database. KC-135 (actually K35R) is an official designation, so they don't fly as a "707". When you look under equipment and furnishings and see TACAN and other military specific avionics and equipment it becomes clear there's no secret trying to be kept. Just the way the system is designed.


The KC-135 and 707 may be the same general shape but that's about it. They have a common ancestry in the Boeing 367-80 but things diverged substantially from there.
 
GalaxyFlyer
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Re: US military aircraft avoiding land

Sun Dec 04, 2022 10:05 pm

iRISH251 wrote:
LyleLanley wrote:
mxaxai wrote:
There was a somewhat famous incident, before fr24 was around, in Austria.

USAF filed a flight plan for a "DC-10" where somebody made the mistake to provide multiple registrations for what should have been just a single aircraft. And indeed, only a single aircraft showed up on radar.
This seemed fishy to the Austrians, who quickly launched a pair of Drakens to have a look. Surprise, the "DC-10" was actually a formation of a KC-10 and a pair of F-117, which would otherwise not have been permitted to fly over Austria (or only with a lot more paperwork).


Btw, all KC-10 flight plans are labeled as "DC10" because "KC-10" is not an official aircraft designation in the ICAO database. KC-135 (actually K35R) is an official designation, so they don't fly as a "707". When you look under equipment and furnishings and see TACAN and other military specific avionics and equipment it becomes clear there's no secret trying to be kept. Just the way the system is designed.


The KC-135 and 707 may be the same general shape but that's about it. They have a common ancestry in the Boeing 367-80 but things diverged substantially from there.


I would guess Lyle is familiar. BTW, USAF KC-135 pilots get an FAA 707/720 Type Rating on their civil licenses, so not that far apart.
 
iRISH251
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Re: US military aircraft avoiding land

Sun Dec 04, 2022 10:29 pm

GalaxyFlyer wrote:
iRISH251 wrote:
LyleLanley wrote:

Btw, all KC-10 flight plans are labeled as "DC10" because "KC-10" is not an official aircraft designation in the ICAO database. KC-135 (actually K35R) is an official designation, so they don't fly as a "707". When you look under equipment and furnishings and see TACAN and other military specific avionics and equipment it becomes clear there's no secret trying to be kept. Just the way the system is designed.


The KC-135 and 707 may be the same general shape but that's about it. They have a common ancestry in the Boeing 367-80 but things diverged substantially from there.


I would guess Lyle is familiar. BTW, USAF KC-135 pilots get an FAA 707/720 Type Rating on their civil licenses, so not that far apart.


That's interesting. I guess the aircraft systems have a lot of similarities.
 
Newark727
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Re: US military aircraft avoiding land

Sun Dec 04, 2022 10:34 pm

GalaxyFlyer wrote:
I would guess Lyle is familiar. BTW, USAF KC-135 pilots get an FAA 707/720 Type Rating on their civil licenses, so not that far apart.


I didn't know that - must help Omega Air Refueling find crew for its 707s!
 
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LyleLanley
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Re: US military aircraft avoiding land

Mon Dec 05, 2022 9:42 pm

iRISH251 wrote:
The KC-135 and 707 may be the same general shape but that's about it. They have a common ancestry in the Boeing 367-80 but things diverged substantially from there.


Yep, absolutely. I was speaking more to the point that the ICAO designation rules for aircraft type are very specific and that a KC-10 being labeled "DC10" is not an attempt at subterfuge, but rather a quirk in how ICAO designations work. In many ways, they don't make sense, e.g: a KC-10 (a modified DC-10) is identified as "DC10", but the E-3 (a modified 707) = E3TF and the IAI Phalcon (a modified 707) = B703. The KC-46 (a very, very heavily modified 767) is B762. Meanwhile, an MC-130P (old engines) = C130 and an MC-130J (new engines) = C30J, but the AC-130U (old engines) and AC-130J (new engines) are both simply C130. :banghead:

iRISH251 wrote:
That's interesting. I guess the aircraft systems have a lot of similarities."


They really don't. The KC-135 has a bespoke, military cockpit with all internal systems sans refueling equipment controlled by the pilots and navigation done by a real Navigator (now pilots), 4 modern(ish) engines, 3 generators, 2 hydraulic systems (left and right), and only 1 air conditioning pack. 707's had a normal airliner cockpit with internal systems controlled by a real FE and navigation (mostly) done by the pilots with 4 ancient engines, 4 generators, 2 hydraulic systems (utility and auxiliary), and normally 3 air conditioning packs (some had two). Maybe they flew similar enough for the type rating, or maybe it was a fiendish plot by the KC-135 pilot mafia to help with employment on the outside, but systems-wise they're very different beasts.

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