APC tour America 2007 Final Day 9

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ianf
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APC tour America 2007 Final Day 9

Post by ianf »

Today 13 years ago I was on my first trip of America, and what a trip it was! Run By Rich Cooper under the Ian Allen banner. We did what was called at the time the ultimate trip. Visiting bases and getting access then unheard of. I will be putting some of the highlights on the Aviation of the day thread, But thought a bit more coverage was needed.

Our first day was at AFB Holloman then home of the F-117. The base was high security and we had to submit to many rules, but we got what we came for and more.
Before we were allowed to see the 117 we had to pass a test. We were allowed to shoot the QF-4 Phantoms that were there and the USAF heritage fleet of Phantoms, they were doing flights that morning, Not a bad test you may say? Well the test was the one aircraft nearby. It was a (at the time) latest F-16 which had a very interesting weapon fit, on it and it was in markings of an Arab country that at that time had not bought it! there was one on the line and one in the hangar.

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At dinner we were informed we were clear to stay, so out to the runways to see an early afternoon launch.

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Also launching on a nearby runway was German tonkas based there.

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Waiting for the stealths to return we saw what else the base had.

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The afternoon launch returned.

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We stayed on base for the evening launches and a set piece shoot at sunset.

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More tomorrow.
Last edited by ianf on Fri 23 Oct 2020, 10:36 am, edited 7 times in total.
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Re: APC tour America 2007

Post by capercaillie »

Love these Ian.

What's the story behind the tiger QF-4E? Was it tigered before or after conversion to drone?
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Re: APC tour America 2007

Post by Wrexham Mackem »

That brake chute shot is fantastic. They all are, what a day out that was Ian!
its time to kick the tyres and light the fires

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Re: APC tour America 2007

Post by ianf »

Thanks guys. Paul I don't know if it was on prior conversion as there was 2 painted like that. I forgot to mention the damaged Phantom was hit by a stinger in tests and refused to die! So they managed to land it and it was one of four that wouldn't die that we saw. The chute shot was a unexpected, when he landed and taxied in we was told to be in a safe place, I picked the Phantom next to where he parked under the tail next to the exhausts! Oh and this is only day 1 of the tour more Holloman tomorrow!
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Re: APC tour America 2007

Post by Spiny Norman »

Very nice to see. The ground-leve F-4 shot is terrific.

Was that a photo bus in the hangar?!

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Re: APC tour America 2007

Post by ianf »

Hi Norman the bus in the Hangar was the remote control bus were they flew them presumably back to land. Below is the self destruct panel on it.

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Re: APC tour America 2007

Post by Spiny Norman »

Aha. I recently watched a programme on the F-4 and included the target ones. Didn't show how they were controlled. That's great to see.

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Re: APC tour America 2007

Post by ianf »

Day 2 of the trip promised more access to the 117s. but before going on base we visited a small air park on the base accommodation site near Alamorgodo.

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Next to this was a small museum It had all sorts of fascinating trinkets in, and I regret not taking picture inside. One item caught my eye. It was a copy of the local newspaper Its front page read. Huge secret gas plant explodes in the desert and shatters the towns windows. It goes on to say the plant was about 30 miles away. The date on the paper gave the real story 16th July 1945 the "plant" was the Trinity bomb test!

On base we started on tooms first.
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Then we were allowed into the "canyons" this is the complex of hangars on base which look like the name suggests, Security was tight in here and at first we could go no closer than 20 feet near a stealth. This changed as some of our guides were the pilots and naturally wanted to show the jet. I was amused and relieved when one wanted me to follow him under the jet to show us something and the guard squirmed but did nothing! and the child came out in me as I did I touched the aircraft like you do and saw why they don't like rain. The skin is rubber. We saw later roles of it, that is cut to shape in a jig then stuck to the jet! I also had to smile as the pilot told me they had had problems bombing as the bombs "hovered" in the bomb bay before dropping due to the aerodynamics. The solution was to put disrupter petals at the front that opened with the door open. He was quite proud of this American invention. Until I told him he was wrong. Even though it was a year before I joined Lindy's team I knew Victors had the same plates for the same reason!

No need to guess what lives in here!
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This aircraft has a panel of rubber missing, they at the time was suppose to be 3 months from retirement. recent reports suggest otherwise.

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The germans said hello.

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A very enjoyable day!


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Re: APC tour America 2007 Day 2

Post by ArabJazzie »

What a way to loose 2 days of your life you will never get back! Fantastic!
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Re: APC tour America 2007 Day 2

Post by ianf »

Geoff that 2 days turned into 10 days! couldn't really afford the trip actually, was a huge risk for me at the time, but worth every penny and then some!
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Re: APC tour America 2007 Day 2

Post by PeteFenwick »

Fabulous trip and great photos. I suspect after a trip like that I might hang up my aviation camera.
Many thanks for posting-brilliant

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Re: APC tour America 2007 Day 2

Post by Airwolfhound »

Outstanding, cheers for posting :-)
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Re: APC tour America 2007 Day 2

Post by ianf »

Day 3 was only half a day at Holloman and was taken up mostly by a set photoshoot with one aircraft. We did see a few stealths in their hangars but not much more. We also got to visit the fire station which had a nice surprise.

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Not many fire station has this kind of gate guard.

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We left what had been an unbelievable 2 1/2 days and wondered could the rest of the trip stand up to this? well we kept getting gems like the next visit. Before we left the area we went to Alamorgodo airport. amoungst the civvie stuff we got a Neptune water fire bomber, an early mark of Neptune and a Albatross, plus a little more in the Hangars.


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Inside one of the Hangars we found 4 Neptunes being converted to Water bombers.

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Chatting with the guys inside on their work I mentioned engines would be a problem for them? He laughed and took me outside at the back of the hangar and showed us his stockpile of 54 engines!

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So ended our first leg, We was supposed to have a rest day the next day as we was touring by coach. Which is a great way of seeing just how big America is. But Rich informed us he had a surprise and we had to wait till the next day to find out! So will you!
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Re: APC tour America 2007 Day 3

Post by iainpeden »

Fantastic photos and a Phantom scheme I had never seen before. Ian - I have taken the liberty of posting a link to this post on Britmodeller to find out if anyone has any information on them.
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Re: APC tour America 2007 Day 3

Post by ianf »

Thanks Ian please let me know what they have to say I am interested. I assume your referring to the striped F-4? Well I told Paul earlier I thought I had seen 2 and checking my pics that is true. Here are the two.

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I do not think the stripes were applied after conversion. Only the day glow seems to have been added as you can tell from the crude way it works round the serials. Plus the pic below shows a scheme I had seen before retirement again only the day glow was added

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Last edited by ianf on Sun 18 Oct 2020, 8:51 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: APC tour America 2007 Day 3

Post by Ewart »

Phantastic thread.

Looking forward to seeing the rest of your trip.

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Re: APC tour America 2007 Day 3

Post by ianf »

Day 4 was a mystery tour. It had a positive start though, We boarded our coach at 5.30 am! for our trip we did not know how far we was going, and it felt like we had only just left the bar the previous evening! no comment on that time lol. Anyway I received a text from a friend back home, who promised me one text if the news I wanted happened and sure enough within 3 mins of wheels off of 558 return to flight I was sharing the news over on the west coast of the USA! On our way to our location for the day we stopped briefly at Gila Bend airport and shot these.

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I still find it amazing a small civil airstrip has such gate guardians. Finally after a few hours driving we turn off on to what was basically a dirt road and after a few miles we arrived at the Barry Goldwater's weapons range! to see live weapon firing.

Please forgive the quality of the shots we was in desert with the temperature in the 130s and the heat haze was huge.

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It looked like it would largely be a viewing day as obviously we were nowhere near the targets and the aircraft appeared tiny. it was impressive to watch.

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Then the star of the day appeared.

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and starting gun firing!

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The first hit shots you saw above was from a F-16, below is the hog gun run!

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The 10 pilot also liked his picture being taken with a few flybys of our tower.

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Considering this was one of our "days off " not a bad day at all!
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Re: APC tour America 2007 Day 4

Post by rob68 »

Gila Bend, was there in January, they are both very faded now

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Re: APC tour America 2007 Day 4

Post by ianf »

Day 5 was a very busy day. We was in Tucson and the base being visited was Davis Montham AFB this of course has the Boneyard as part of its complex. We was lucky in being allowed on the main base in the morning and from mid morning onwards the whole of the bone yard! This could only be done safely on a bus those familiar with the American yellow school buses know they have sliding windows so allowing us shooting.

Everything was on the clock today so we did the cactus park in 15 mins.

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The morning was to be spent with the A-10 but there was plenty more aircraft on site.

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Before long the Hogs arrived.

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Before we knew it, it was time to go to the boneyard. We had been asked what we want to see most?

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Need a clue? :laughing: Other aircraft were there too.

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Some folk like Phantoms there was quite a few still there.

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Vikings had recently retired too.

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In case you didn't guess we wanted Tomcats!

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There is more to show in the bone yard, I will post a second page to this tonight. I am busy today working on Lindy, so part 2 will be after tea.
Last edited by ianf on Mon 19 Oct 2020, 4:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: APC tour America 2007 Day 4

Post by iainpeden »

As promised I posted this on Britmodeller about the tiger striped a/c; Ianf - people are very complementary about your thread.

Creepy Pete came up with the theory that the tiger striped Phantoms were the result of somebody with a pressure washer having fun, after they had been converted to drones

F-4G 69-7268, which last flew with the 23rd TFS, 52nd TFW at Spangdahlem and was converted at Marconi Flight Systems in 1999, not wearing any tiger stripes, see here: http://www.topflightimaging.com/qf_gall ... llery.html

By the time this one was retired, the 52nd TFW didn't have any F-4E's anymore, so these two didn't come from the same unit. Some research shows the E last flew with the AFRES at Bergstrom AFB in Texas, after many years with the 4th TFW at Seymour Johnson.

https://www.britmodeller.com/forums/ind ... -the-usaf/

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Re: APC tour America 2007 Day 4

Post by buccs2b »

Those striped QF-4s remind me very much of the Slovakian twin seat Fulcrums
I hear gliders

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Re: APC tour America 2007 Day 5

Post by ianf »

A few more from the bone yard.

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One part of the base is fenced off, It did not take much working out why. These aircraft was used to spray Agent Orange. When we asked what contaminated the tomcats we got a no comment!

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Even a couple of missiles are in.

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Tonkas
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This Herc was starting the mothball process.

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Another Tomcat even this early they were breaking them down.
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A bit of a cheat this was taken the evening before but seemed appropriate here.
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Well 5 days in it was Friday night what a week! No bases open till Monday so what to do? Were in Tucson and one of my bucket list museums is a stones throw away. So Saturday means Pima!
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Re: APC tour America 2007 Day 5

Post by ianf »

Day 6 no base today just the awesome museum that is Pima.

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One of 3 B-52 on site!
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This one carried the X-15 on its flights.
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I always wanted to see a Skycrane. You don't get its size till you see a DC-9 in the back ground is roughly the same size!

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When I was there this had not been completed.

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We spent a full day there and I still want to go back again, With new additions and angles I didn't do this is a museum worth repeat visits.
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Re: APC tour America 2007 Day 6

Post by ianf »

Ian thanks for sharing the link, some interesting theories. I can tell you the jet wash one is wrong. I looked closer at them it was definitely paint. If you look stencils have no mark on them. They appear to have been applied over them. Maybe they were added post conversion? I cannot shake the idea I saw them in a magazine like this, before I went there. I am going through my mags to check, if I find anything I will let you know. The lack of seats in them I can explain, they only had a limited supply of serviceable seats. So they were moved from jet to jet as needed. They also flew with head rest only in the back seat on single seat sorties. It does amuse me I'm on a black base shooting stealths and the main topic is a drones paint scheme ! :laughing:
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Re: APC tour America 2007 Day 6

Post by ianf »

Day 8 was the start of the home stretch. Day 7 had been our only rest day of the tour. So today we was visiting the home of Top Gun at NAS Fallon. Outside the base they have a nice collection of jets so before entering we did a quick walk round the collection.

Just a couple of the rarer types.

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On base first up was the adversaries.

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Then we went between the runways for some launches.

My first F-18E

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Back on the pans more to see.

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On base was the Ronald Ragen air wing, they had 4 Prowlers with them and 2 was to launch. I guessed correctly this would be the last time I would see a prowler fly and were we was was shooting into the sun. Well if you don't ask you don't get? We did and was repositioned under the nose of one of the two not launching.

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The last part of the day We climbed the 80 foot control tower and you can access the roof. The trivia we was given by our guide is the base is 4920 feet above sea level, so standing on the roof we was 5000 ft up!

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and yes I could her the top gun music in my head on this shot.

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Just one more base and another "black" base to visit!
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