56 votes
Accepted

Who has final authority over Air Force One?

The pilot in command has final authority over Air Force One Air Force Instruction 11-202, Volume 3 says the following in Chapter 1, part 1.1.1 (as in, the very first thing in the document): 1.1.1. ...
Steve V.'s user avatar
  • 23.2k
55 votes
Accepted

Why do Air Force planes regularly fly in circles?

Generally speaking, Air Force (and military in general), aircraft will "orbit" (fly in circles around a given point) when the mission calls for them to be "on station" (nearby and ...
William Walker III's user avatar
40 votes
Accepted

What is this old US Air Force plane?

Based on the unique 6x pusher-prop configuration, this looks like a derivative of the Convair B-36 Peacemaker. Looking up the Wikipedia article for the B-36 and scrolling down to the variants section, ...
0xdd's user avatar
  • 528
40 votes

Does the Air Force (United States) help design their own planes?

While the Air Force (or other military unit) does not design their own jets, they do release specifications and have contests (e.g. the ATF that selected the F-22). This is basically the way it works (...
Ron Beyer's user avatar
  • 36.2k
31 votes

Has this USAF flight violated russian airspace?

Are you possibly thinking that the landmass that the aircraft is flying over is Russian territory? It is actually flying over Norway. In the image below I colored in green the border between Russia ...
Steve Pemberton's user avatar
30 votes

Has this USAF flight violated russian airspace?

Given the scale, that is far outside the 12 mile limit. What mission? RC-135W Rivet Joint is for monitoring electronic traffic. https://www.af.mil/About-Us/Fact-Sheets/Display/Article/104608/rc-135vw-...
WPNSGuy's user avatar
  • 8,654
27 votes

Can you identify this airplane?

It's most likely a Boeing B-29 Superfortress. It was a strategic bomber used by the US in the Pacific theater of World War II. The lower row of four windows and then another further aft matches ...
fooot's user avatar
  • 73.2k
27 votes

Why do Air Force planes regularly fly in circles?

That is a tanker. Flying gas station. It will orbit for several hours, specified time and track. Various other aircraft (fighters, AWACS, JSTARS) will come up and refuel as needed. While you see the ...
WPNSGuy's user avatar
  • 8,654
25 votes
Accepted

Why is a Lockheed MC-130J Commando II creating such a loud droning sound?

There are two factors reducing the volume of a sound when travelling through the air: The pressure wave expands as the surface of a sphere, which will reduce pressure as a function of distance $r$: $...
Bianfable's user avatar
  • 55.9k
24 votes

Where does Air Force One refuel?

I can't confirm whether either VC-25 has refueled in flight while acting as AF1 but the aircraft is so equipped for the job. I do know refueling on the ground depends on where the jet is and the ...
Romeo_4808N's user avatar
  • 73.7k
22 votes

What is this USAF transport aircraft from possibly the 50-60s?

It is indeed a C-130A. The large tail numbers indicate it's from the late 50's or early 60's. In the late 60's, the USAF went with smaller numbers forward of the passenger door. Here's a similar a/c ...
Gerry's user avatar
  • 19.8k
19 votes

Does the Air Force (United States) help design their own planes?

The answer to your question largely depends on your definition of "design", as well as the specifics of the procurement program. In general, the Department of Defense (DOD) does not have ...
Peter Schilling's user avatar
18 votes

Why would the USAF have no support for autolanding?

I was a Flight Test Engineer on DC-10-10 Ship 2 which was the Avionics Test airplane during initial certification. The DC-10 airplane was certified to CAT III Approach and Landing. The KC-10A was ...
Gunn's user avatar
  • 181
18 votes
Accepted

How do fighter jets pre-flight so quickly?

(Source - My many years on fighter jet flightlines. F-111E, F-106, F-15, F-16) Peacetime alert The designated jets are fully preflighted. Munitions fully loaded. INS aligned, IFF code laid in, most ...
WPNSGuy's user avatar
  • 8,654
17 votes

Could the V-22 Osprey be used as a close air support platform?

Can it be? Sure. Let's take a look at what it would be replacing. The A-10 was designed from the ground up to be a platform for moving the GAU-8 into range of the target. It has good low speed ...
FreeMan's user avatar
  • 16.2k
17 votes
Accepted

What is the maximum height of USAF fighter pilot?

To become an Air Force pilot, you have to be a commissioned officer, there are few ways you can do that. First you can go through the Air Force Academy, which is probably the most common. Another way ...
Ron Beyer's user avatar
  • 36.2k
15 votes
Accepted

Why was the F-117 retired so quickly?

Several reasons can be found for its early retirement: the aircraft was instantly obsolete after one was shot down over Yugoslavia by a 30 year old SAM system Maintenance was pretty expensive and ...
jwenting's user avatar
  • 15.9k
15 votes
Accepted

Aside from simulated dogfights, do F-22 Raptors actively participate in live fire/target practice using live munitions?

Plenty of times. There are multiple missile shoots annually out of Tyndall Air Force Base, where F-22s or other active duty and reserve Air Force units fire live ammunition at target drones over the ...
Romeo_4808N's user avatar
  • 73.7k
14 votes
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What are the white tubes underneath the Canopy of the F-22 Raptor?

Those are Cartridge Actuation Devices (CADs) - pyrotechnic charges used during canopy separation for canopy jettison or ejection. Note the nozzles at the outboard ends and the ignition wires inboard. ...
Romeo_4808N's user avatar
  • 73.7k
13 votes
Accepted

Has the United States Air Force used Contra-rotating Propeller Aircraft?

In short, the US didn't need one. The main reason for the development of Tu-95 was the rather unique situation existing after WWII, when the Soviet Union needed a heavy bomber to carry the (then ...
aeroalias's user avatar
  • 100k
13 votes
Accepted

How did this air force plane likely get into the eye of Hurricane Florence?

They fly straight through, as part of their mission to collect meteorological data about the storm, used for forecasting (NOAA's G-IV fleet flies the periphery of storms to collect data used to help ...
Zach Lipton's user avatar
  • 8,286
12 votes
Accepted

Does a pilot of Air Force One receive any special privileges?

First off the pilot of Air Force One may or may not not be a commercial pilot (in the FAA sense) on account of the plane is operated by the military. For example the previous pilot of AFO Colonel Mark ...
Dave's user avatar
  • 101k
12 votes

Identify an USAF transport aircraft in Greenland around 1960

That is the Douglas DC-6 / C-118/R6D Liftmaster. This specific plane was built in June 1947 with modifications for presidential use. It is well known for flying US President Truman. It was the first ...
bogl's user avatar
  • 10.8k
12 votes
Accepted

Has this USAF flight violated russian airspace?

Do not mix the exclusive economical zone (EEZ, 200 NM) and the sovereign area. The aircraft has been in the EEZ, not in the sovereign area (12 NM) of the Russian Federation. EEZ Yes the aircraft ...
mins's user avatar
  • 73.3k
11 votes
Accepted

Could the V-22 Osprey be used as a close air support platform?

The V-22 is not without its strong points as a support aircraft. However, CAS is a specialized role for which it will never truly be ideal. That's not to say it wouldn't be feasible to deliver ...
Dave's user avatar
  • 126
11 votes
Accepted

Airplanes in static display at Whiteman AFB

F-100, F-15, and F-4. There is no F-22. The thing that looks like a brown nose cone on the F-100 appears to actually be the long, nose-mounted pitot boom, painted a light color, with its shadow ...
quiet flyer's user avatar
  • 22.6k
10 votes
Accepted

Does the US military use metric system?

As the US military primarily flies and trains in US airspace, they use the standard measures associated with the airspace. That is feet (or flight levels), nautical miles and knots, inHg, and °F. ...
Gerry's user avatar
  • 19.8k

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