On 5-20-22 a KC-135 passed generally east-bound or northeast-bound near a park in Wichita KS (lat/lon 37.628321 -97.305618) at an unusually low altitude. Estimated below 2000' AGL. It may have then landed at nearby KIAB (McConnell Air Force Base) soon after.

This flight path is relatively unusual; normally the tankers fly their patterns on the east side of the KIAB runways, and the stated location is west of the base.

What was the aircraft's actual AGL or MSL altitude when nearest this location? (Ground level is about 1280' MSL there.)

The time it passed nearest the stated lat/lon was around 5:24-5:26 PM Central Daylight Time.

I tried to research this using FlightAware or FlightRadar24 but I'm not very familiar with how to use these programs to search past data, and I'm not sure whether or not they archive any military data, and if so, whether or not some special method is needed to see it. So this is basically a question about whether this information is accessible via either of these resources, and if so, how to access it, and what the result is.

Related: Would the "Calibrated Altitude" figure on FlightRadar24 better be termed "pressure altitude"?

  • $\begingroup$ As a sidenote, weird patterns and odd altitudes for military aircraft may sometimes stem from commanded mission. Where I live, for example, military pilots are not always bound by standard procedures and limitations. Basic rule was, at least back in the days w/r to minimum altitudes for example "as per flight regulation or as commanded or required by mission". $\endgroup$
    – Jpe61
    May 26, 2022 at 22:38
  • $\begingroup$ For military ops trigger could simply be proficiency. $\endgroup$
    – Jpe61
    May 27, 2022 at 8:41
  • $\begingroup$ Consider directing answers focussed on whether or not a correction for altimeter setting needs to be applied to the altitude data provided by FlightRadar24, to this related question -- aviation.stackexchange.com/questions/93379/… $\endgroup$ May 29, 2022 at 21:32

1 Answer 1


I think this is what you're looking for:


Looks like he overflew the field to enter the right downwind for RWY 1 at McConnell AFB at around 2700 ft MSL. That's around 400ft above pattern altitude although I've seen ADS-B readings vary from altimeter readings often. Maybe someone who knows more about that could speak to why that happens. I believe it's because ADS-B does not correct for non standard pressure altitude and this isn't corrected for by the displaying service either (ie. fr24 or fltaware). Curious myself whether there's any way to change that on these services.

Hope this helps

  • $\begingroup$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. $\endgroup$
    – Federico
    May 28, 2022 at 14:12

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