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#4637059 - 01/16/18 06:33 PM Watching aircraft.
CT8 Offline


Registered: 10/09/14
Posts: 10989
Loc: Idaho
Thinking about moto gp racing when I looked in the sky and like magic there was an F15 from the local airport or Mountain Home AFB. It hit me that for years I loved the air shows. watching the mil jets take off on after burner the Supersonic fly by when on a dependents day cruise on the Missouri when we joined a Carrier group and just watching the planes take off from the air port, the fire bombers and crop dusters that these pilots are so awesome. What they do beats the snot out of what the Nascar,F1 and moto GP etc guys do with ease!! Yikes. This splains mind of the pilot. They bad !
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#4637067 - 01/16/18 06:38 PM Re: Watching aircraft. [Re: CT8]
jeepman3071 Offline


Registered: 04/15/10
Posts: 4220
Loc: Storrs, Connecticut
There was a spot near the end of the runway at the local airport where you could stand and the planes would take off right over your head. I remember going there as a kid and it was awesome. It was so loud the ground would shake as they flew over. After 9/11 that was all fenced off.
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#4637118 - 01/16/18 07:28 PM Re: Watching aircraft. [Re: CT8]
madRiver Offline


Registered: 07/11/15
Posts: 3538
Loc: New England
I live very local to Pease AFB and enjoy the “air show”.

The odd ones I have seen in traffic at run way end are Air Force 1?, B2 Stealth? and A10(teeth/massive cannon/odd whine) fly over. I always open windows. My two daughters enjoy it at their school in flight path.

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#4637233 - 01/16/18 09:24 PM Re: Watching aircraft. [Re: CT8]
OTCW Offline


Registered: 05/07/17
Posts: 49
Loc: Tennessee
I grew up next to an airport. A very busy one with lots of cargo jets from fed ex. It would vibrate the nails out of the wood shutters periodically. This was in the days before remote control tvs were common. You had to sit next to the tv and crank the volume up and down for 10 seconds every 5 mins or so. I can't stand airplanes.
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#4637248 - 01/16/18 09:39 PM Re: Watching aircraft. [Re: CT8]
andyd Offline


Registered: 09/25/04
Posts: 7156
Loc: Marshfield , MA
There was/ is a MA National Guard unit that flew C5 As out of Chicopee? Hazy on details. They are humongous
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#4637375 - 01/17/18 06:07 AM Re: Watching aircraft. [Re: andyd]
Astro14 Offline


Registered: 10/10/10
Posts: 8539
Loc: Virginia Beach
Originally Posted By: andyd
There was/ is a MA National Guard unit that flew C5 As out of Chicopee? Hazy on details. They are humongous


Westover Air Force Base. My kid brother was once part of the 439th Airlift Wing, based there, during his time in the Air Force.

They still fly C-5s. Their ramp accommodates all sorts of military aircraft, including F-14s, many years ago...
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#4637378 - 01/17/18 06:15 AM Re: Watching aircraft. [Re: CT8]
Astro14 Offline


Registered: 10/10/10
Posts: 8539
Loc: Virginia Beach
Best plane-watching job, ever, is US Navy Landing Signals Officer.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Landing_Signal_Officer

"There always came that exquisite moment of human judgment when one man - a man standing alone on the remotest corner of the ship, lashed by foul wind and storm - had to decide that the jet roaring down upon him could make it. This solitary man had to judge the speed and height and the pitching of the deck and the wallowing of the sea and the oddities of this particular pilot and those additional imponderables that no man can explain. Then, at the last screaming second he had to make his decision and flash it to the pilot. He had only two choices. He could land the plane and risk the life of the pilot and the plane and the ship if he had judged wrong. Or he could wave-off and delay his decision until next time around. But he could defer his job to no one. It was his, and if he did judge wrong, carnage on the carrier deck could be fearful.”— James Michener, The Bridges at Toko-Ri (1953)


Edited by Astro14 (01/17/18 06:15 AM)
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#4637405 - 01/17/18 06:58 AM Re: Watching aircraft. [Re: CT8]
demarpaint Offline


Registered: 07/03/05
Posts: 29780
Loc: NY
I had the honor of watching one of the best airshows I've ever seen from the vultures nest of the USS Carl Vinson last year on a Tiger Cruise back to San Diego from Hawaii. Hopefully one day I'll get to do it again. The Blue Angles will be a Jones Beach this spring, I'll make sure I see that one too.
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#4637433 - 01/17/18 07:28 AM Re: Watching aircraft. [Re: andyd]
Oldmoparguy1 Offline


Registered: 01/21/05
Posts: 5613
Loc: Charlotte, NC
Originally Posted By: andyd
There was/ is a MA National Guard unit that flew C5 As out of Chicopee? Hazy on details. They are humongous


Some years ago I was driving by that base and there were 3 C5's in the pattern. Talk about aluminum overcast! thumbsup
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#4637482 - 01/17/18 08:24 AM Re: Watching aircraft. [Re: CT8]
CincyDavid Offline


Registered: 03/03/16
Posts: 708
Loc: Cincinnati, OH USA
Absolutely LOVE watching planes overhead. The Harrier hovering over the Mississippi River in front of the Gateway Arch during the old VP Fair, assorted USAF cargo birds flying in and out of Scott AFB in Mascoutah IL, Missouri ANG F4 Phantoms taking off from Lambert Field, Blue Angels practicing at NAS Pensacola when we were visiting the museum there, A10s over the Pima Air & Space Museum last spring, small planes at Lunken Airport while eating lunch at the Sky Galley...the list goes on and on.

Oddly enough I don't recall seeing/hearing planes at Wright-Patt when I have visited the Air Force Museum.
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#4638045 - 01/17/18 06:34 PM Re: Watching aircraft. [Re: OTCW]
fdcg27 Offline


Registered: 09/25/09
Posts: 15702
Loc: OH
Originally Posted By: OTCW
I grew up next to an airport. A very busy one with lots of cargo jets from fed ex. It would vibrate the nails out of the wood shutters periodically. This was in the days before remote control tvs were common. You had to sit next to the tv and crank the volume up and down for 10 seconds every 5 mins or so. I can't stand airplanes.


When I was but a boy and as much in love with airplanes as I am now, you could park at the arrivals end of the preferred runway at CLE off Brookpark Rd and watch the planes thunder in.
This was back in the early seventies and CLE was a far busier place then than it is today.
The 707s, 720s, 727s, 737s (then -200s with low bypass Pratts), DC-8s and DC-9s really did thunder in. You'd also see some TWA L-1011s as well as UAL, NW and AA DC-10s, which were pretty quiet. There were also the little CV-580s from North Central and Allegheny as well as Allegheny's screaming BAC 1-11s. There was even an Allegheny Commuter line that used Doves and Herons. Air Canada arrived in Vanguards for a time, a very quiet large turboprop and you'd see the occasional chartered L-188 Electra and even the rare DC-6/7 or Connie.
Fun times.
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#4639544 - 01/19/18 04:49 AM Re: Watching aircraft. [Re: CT8]
billt460 Online   content


Registered: 03/30/15
Posts: 4402
Loc: Glendale, Arizona
I live just a few miles from Luke Air Force Base. It has the largest F-16 fighter wing in the world. Most every F-16 pilot goes through some portion of their training at Luke. F-16's are always in the air. For some reason it gets noticeably louder at the end of the month, when they start using afterburners more. I've been told that's because they want to burn up their monthly fuel allotment, so it won't be reduced. However I have no idea if that's true. Perhaps Astro could comment on that. I've often wondered if it was B.S. or not. If it isn't you would think someone would have caught on by now.

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#4639647 - 01/19/18 07:59 AM Re: Watching aircraft. [Re: billt460]
Astro14 Offline


Registered: 10/10/10
Posts: 8539
Loc: Virginia Beach
Originally Posted By: billt460
I live just a few miles from Luke Air Force Base. It has the largest F-16 fighter wing in the world. Most every F-16 pilot goes through some portion of their training at Luke. F-16's are always in the air. For some reason it gets noticeably louder at the end of the month, when they start using afterburners more. I've been told that's because they want to burn up their monthly fuel allotment, so it won't be reduced. However I have no idea if that's true. Perhaps Astro could comment on that. I've often wondered if it was B.S. or not. If it isn't you would think someone would have caught on by now.


The unfortunate truth of the Pentagon budgeting, which is the product of quite literally thousands of congressional laws and regulations, is that you must spend your budget in this year, to justify getting it next year. We used to budget by quarter, and the same thought process was applied: spend your OPTAR (fuel money) down to zero at the end of every budgetary reporting period.

So, if budgeting monthly, then, yeah, burn it down to zero, or risk the bean-counters cutting your funding in the next month, without regards to your training, your operational commitments, your tasking from higher headquarters, any of it.

I've got a great story about the "budgeteers" with their spreadsheets, and analysis, and slavish devotion to policy and process without understanding operational impacts. Bear with me...

In 1995-1996, I managed (via a spreadsheet of my own creation) the fuel $$ for CVW-8. I tracked the fuel for each aircraft type (F-14, F/A-18, S-3, EA-6B, E-2C and HH-60) by the gallons used and plugged in the cost to arrive at the fuel budget. Updated daily from the maintenance guys who would give me the "upload" numbers - how many gallons pumped for each squadron and updated daily from the ops guys who'd give me the sorties flown for each squadron.

At the end of a year of doing this, I had a running average cost/gallons per sortie for each aircraft type. I could predict, to within a few hundred $$, what a flight schedule, consisting of hundreds of sorties for an entire air wing, would cost. I had a predictive accuracy of about 1%, based on historical data, and an understanding of the operational environment. Our fuel budget was about $ 7.5M/quarter, if we were funded at "100%" of operational necessity. This was in the days when jet fuel was about .65 - .72/gallon. Roughly 10 cents/pound.

So, this was also in the days of the first budget battles and government shutdown. Across all of the Atlantic Fleet, budgets for airwings were sharply reduced. We got cut to $4.5M for a quarter based on the "budgeteer" rules. We weren't deploying, and hence in shore-based training mode, and so they gave us their pre-planned fuel $$ allotment of "60%"

Except that our ops schedule changed after we were budgeted. So, we WERE deployed that quarter, and expected to train at full levels flying, 90 sorties per day, and I said, at the beginning of the quarter, "we need $2.8M more or we can't do this" to my wing commander, great guy, who then sent a formal message to the 3-star in charge of all Atlantic Fleet Aircraft (AIRLANT).

This caused such a ruckus in the halls of the admiral's staff, particularly among the budget folks, that the admiral himself flew out, along with an O-6 budget guy, to meet us aboard the ship. In the meeting on $$, budget guy wanted to see my numbers. In what he thought was an "ah-ha" moment of catching me being all screwed up, he noticed that my cost per flight hour was all "wrong" according to the budget guidelines that he, himself, had created. Note that this guy wasn't an aviator. Never flew. He was maintenance all the way.

His budget guidelines stipulated that a planning number of $900 (again, based on fuel cost at the time) be used for an F/A-18 sortie. I planned them at $1,500. "See, they don't know what they're doing, Admiral! They're just wasting fuel! They're not following your guidance on fuel management!"

Or words to that effect.

Well, the issue was this: an F/A has a maximum landing weight on board a ship of 33,000 lbs. Structural limit. That translates to a landing fuel of about 3,000 lbs. Given the base weight of the F/A-18 and the training weapon load (FLIR, AIM-9, etc.) that the admiral required us to carry for the training that we were directed to accomplish.

An F/A-18 launches with 17,500 lbs of fuel. It can't land with more than 3.000 lbs. It must therefore, burn, or dump, 14,500 lbs of fuel to be within structural landing limits of the airplane on a ship. That fuel cost, yep, you got it, $1,500. There was simply NO WAY TO BURN ANY LESS.

The admiral, a fighter pilot, who had directed our airwing to be at sea, and to fly the sorties we were flying, instantly understood. Budget guy, a Captain, did not. We weren't screwed up. Budget guy was. He planned a cost per sortie that simply couldn't have been achieved within the engineering limits of the airplanes.

We got our $2.8M request.
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#4639807 - 01/19/18 10:55 AM Re: Watching aircraft. [Re: CT8]
Win Offline


Registered: 02/05/03
Posts: 4448
Loc: Arkansas
Our primary residence is under a downwind leg; depending on the active, people turn base over or within a few hundred yards of me. I'm on a big hill, so people are at pattern altitude, but much closer to me.

My warehouse of junk is on the other side of the airport, within the downwind leg, about where folks would do a midfield break.

Off one end of the long runway, there is still a parking area where people can park and watch takeoffs and landings. I sometimes take my five year old there for lunch.

When I was a kid, there was a big field across from the airport where everyone flew model airplanes and shot model rockets off. You could walk over to the airport, climb all over the Sabre Dog out front, go through the terminal, and walk up to the gates and watch people get on and off Martins, Convairs, and Braniff 727's. People dressed up to fly then - women wore gloves, men wore coats and ties. You could go upstairs and the weather service guys would let you look at the ancient radar which really didn't tell you much. When I started flying, you could go up there and get a weather brief in person.

I remember waiting my turn one Saturday morning - behind a Saab 340, an ultra light, F-16's, and me - that was the kind of diversity at the local airport. It was a plane watcher's paradise. Everyone had an airplane. Some people had more than one. The ramp would often be full of trainers from the training bases over in Oklahoma and Texas, mostly T-37's, but once in a while something more interesting, and people flying in for a $50 burger. A-26 fire tankers in fire season.

There aren't any airplanes to watch anymore. I guess 9/11 hurt it, the local depression of the last decade pretty well finished it off. The A-10's are gone now. The new terminal for less air traffic doesn't even have a restaurant that looks out to the flight line. It has a crummy snack bar that looks at a metal detector. There are very few GA aircraft left - mostly corporate jets of the one or two big service companies that still have an HQ here. Some military transients stopping for gas, usually F-18's. C - 130's with student pilots from LR AFB ( they are fun to watch, anyone who thinks they can land an airliner cold should watch student pilots, who already know how to fly complex airplanes, struggle with a C-130 in a tight pattern ), and some regional jets that are as dull as paint drying to watch.

I don't know if it will ever come back. The fast jets I seriously doubt. More commercial traffic, maybe, as the economy recovers and people need to get in and out. Light GA will be the last thing to come back as small business recovers. That will be quite a few years - airplanes will be the last thing folks spend their discretionary money on.
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#4641535 - 01/21/18 01:11 AM Re: Watching aircraft. [Re: CT8]
Shannow Online   content


Registered: 12/12/02
Posts: 39892
Loc: 'Stralia
Astro14...welcome to power stations.

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