Saturday, May 09, 2009

If he's right about the red-tail F16 and that idiot flyover, (Updated)

then the clown in the White House is even more of a clown than we may have imagined.
In the comments on my recent post regarding Operation Dumbass a discussion began about the different variants of the F16. A couple of guys noticed the bright red tail on at least one of the F16s in the NYC fly-over.

This is where it gets interesting.

The distinctive red tail goes back to World War II and the P51-C’s made famous by the Tuskegee Airmen (Image above). The “Red Tails” are still alive in the Alabama Air National Guard and their F16s are in fact painted with the distinctive red tail (the only organization with the red tail paint job that I’m aware of).

If that is true, that means that the administration launched an F16 all the way from Alabama for a photo op.

But what could possibly be the purpose of going to such lengths the film a “Red Tail” escorting Air Force One?

How about a Hollywood movie!?

George Lucas is shooting an epic film about the Tuskegee Airmen as we speak.
Pure chance? Maybe. But with this bunch, I have serious doubts. In the comments, we find
ABC News is reporting F-16s were indeed from Alabama Air National Guard apparently on loan to DC Air Guard.

Interesting, isn't it?

In comments, Arthur pointed to this post, with a lot more information.
For starters, Air Force sources have confirmed that the F-16s that escorted the VC-25 over Manhattan are assigned to the Alabama Air National Guard, not the D.C. Guard as the AP (and other media outlets) originally reported. The Alabama guard has painted some of its Vipers in a distinctive "red tail" paint scheme, honoring the legendary Tuskegee Airmen of World War II. One of the fighters observed over Manhattan had the same markings.

Why does that matter? The distance from Dannelly Field in Montgomery (where the F-16s are based) is roughly 750 miles from New York City. According to the Pentagon, the fighters logged just under four hours of flight time during their mission. During that time, they burned as much as 20,000 pounds of fuel, based on an optimal cruise speed and a configuration that included two external tanks.

With "two bags of gas," an F-16 has a maximum fuel capacity of 11,900 pounds. Subtract the "divert minimum" that pilots must maintain for safety (typically 1,500 pounds), and the amount of on-board fuel drops to just over 10,000 pounds. So, the F-16s had to take on extra gas somewhere between Montgomery and the Big Apple.

In other words, there was at least one in-flight refueling as a part of the mission--and possibly two--requiring at least one tanker aircraft. So, factor in the added expense of a KC-135 or KC-10 and its crew. At the beginning of this decade, the cost of each Stratotanker flying hour was pegged at more than $10,000. Operating a KC-10 is even more expensive, just over $13,000 an hour. Multiply that cost by three to five hours, the typical length of a tanker sortie
Which information means that this idiot scheme was even more involved and expensive and(Shock! and Horror!) polluting that previously admitted. And I have a hard time believing that President Obama had no knowledge of all this. And as this gets around, the media will have less and less excuse to hide behind as to why they aren't asking questions.


Arthur said...

This was the first I had heard of it.

Anonymous said...

I want to know who was on board the 747.

Roger said...

Although you're right that this was more expensive and polluting than previously admitted, the only change is in what was admitted. Both the tankers and fighters practice aerial refueling constantly (it's a tricky thing to do), so the only difference in this mission is that it included a photo-op over New York.

The four-hour fighter mission, and the tanker support, almost certainly got charged off to the military's training budget and would have happened regardless of the New York photos.

I was lucky enough to get to fly along on the New Hampshire Air National Guard's KC-135 tankers for a couple of training flights while I lived in New Hampshire, and I remember one of the flights from NH involved refueling F-16s over Virginia.

Although this flight was expensive, the military support was certainly already budgeted and would have been spent on exactly the same sort of mission (minus the photos).

Firehand said...

That's part of the problem: let's say they combined a training mission with this; why lie about it? Over and over, lie about it?