Sign in to follow this  
Guest Tim757

Air Force One Tidbit

Recommended Posts

Today, here in Reno, NV, we had a campaign visit by the president of the US. My interest was in how they handled the air traffic during the short stay. Revno is a class C airport under normal circumstances. So, I crank up my scanner radio. Since I use the sim to fly into and out of KRNO as a base (or the nearby Stead which is not tower controlled), I am very familiar with the approaches and nav aids in the area. Sooo, I hear Oakland control descend AF 1 to 16,000, then to 10,000, the to 8800 until established on the localizer for KRNO 16R, the only ILS approach (even though it is a bright sunny day with unlimited visibility). Just about all of the commercial airlines were using a visual approach for this runway today. The point here is...during the course of the stay of AF 1, a temporary Restricted Zone is established over the airport and surrounding area.These days, AF 1 is accompanied by a fighter jet escort, which I could also hear, except when they made a low pass to clear the area ( I live within a mile of the airport! ). The interesting thing is, the fighter escort is able to track VFR aircraft in the surrounding area and, if any (there were three or four that I heard), the fighters come up on 121.5 ("Dog" or emergency VHF channel) and say "Aircraft squawking 1200 xxx miles (usually 25) from Reno on a heading of hhh, turn immediately to the south or YOU WILL BE FIRED UPON"!I understand the need for the security these days but what if the offending A/C is not monitoring 121.5? I wonder if any have actually been fired upon but that we have'nt heard. I should think that this would be a big enough deal for the press to sink their teeth into?Comments? No nasty political barbs, if you please.Larry S.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Help AVSIM continue to serve you!
Please donate today!

Hi Larry,>I understand the need for the security these days but what if the offending A/C is not monitoring 121.5?http://www.hifisim.com/images/as2betateam.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Interesting observation, thanks for the input. I've been out of the fighter cockpit for over 40 years now...how times have changed. Our intercepts back then involved heavy bombers and even then, we had to have confirmed approval from the ground prior to "going hot".As an aside, while I know todays fighters have excellant low speed handling, I still got to chuckle at the thought of an F-16 trading visual hand signals with a GA pilot in a Cherokee 140!!!;-)Larry S.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would think that if the "offending" pilot does not comply in fairly short order the Air Force pilot would visually contact the pilot. To me, and I may be wrong here, it sounds like this may be a warning prior to an intercept, if the pilot does not turn away he will be intercepted. At that point the Air Force pilot will give instructions on the radio and visual clues to the offending pilot on what to do. There are procedures spelled out on what to do if you are intercepted and the offending pilot should know what to do if for some reason his radio is not working or he can not hear the transmissions from the intercepting aircraft. I do know that the Air Force will try pretty hard to get the offender to change course before they will shoot anyone down. Having many friends and family in the government and Air Force I would say no, that no one has been shot down yet and then the story covered up. I usually hear about things like that. :-) Trust me when I say that the vast majority if not all military pilots do not want the thought of killing an innocent family or person on their conscience so they try very hard to get compliance before they get to the shooting stage. As far as the civilian pilot goes, when an armed fighter comes up beside you at close range you take notice immediately, and you know that if you don't follow his instructions right away you are going to end up a smoking hole in the ground. If you want to know the exact procedures during an intercept let me know and I will post them here.Take care,Philip Olsonhttp://www.precisionmanuals.com/images/forum/supporter.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

pretty hard to cover up a shooting down of an aircraft over US airspace.There's TRACON radars observing the incident, next of kin of the people on the aircraft, people on the ground possibly that see it happen or find the wreckage, the airforce crews, NTSB, aircraft owners (most aircraft out there in the air are rentals or shared ownership).You'd have to make half the country disappear in such a coverup, far easier to tell what happened and make it an example for all that you should not mess with the USAF when they're serious.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I also saw AF-1 yesterday in Reno just before I left town. Nice smooth touchdown :-)Must be the most high pressure job in flying, that one - every single landing you ever make is televised... go kangaroo hopping down the runway and you'll be the lead item on every news show in the country :-(As for intercepts, I've seen a picture of the AF practicing that with a Cessna - I believe it was from the Travis AFB flying club - and an F-15. The fighter flies at an incredible nose up angle and it still passes the Cessna pretty fast. At that angle, the '15 must be virtually sitting on the pipe at full throttle - noisy enough that even over his own engine and with the headphones on, I'm sure the Cessna pilot hears it just fine. I bet signalling to the Cessna while keeping control at a hair over stall speed is fun for the fighter jock too !Richard

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Agreed! At one of the Reno Air Races of past, I talked to a Navy F-18 pilot after a performance which included a demo of the slow flight abililities of the aircraft. The plane "flew" down the runway at about a 30-40 degree nose up angle, engines at 80 percent, everything "hanging out" including the tail hook, and it still went by at about 120mph. The pilot told me that, without the very sophisticated computer flight control systems, of which there are three, the aircraft could never be flown.In the above mentioned demo, he said the forward wing slats were constantly moving in and out so that the aircraft would not stall, far faster than any human could handle. And this in an F-18 which has acknowledged greater manouverability than the F-15 or F16.By the way, at the end of the demo pass, the plane would retract everything, and still with the high pitch angle, accelerate into a high speed climb to over 20,000 feet, pull a half Cuban 8, and come back for a low high speed pass. Now that's impressive!!!Larry S.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Basically, just like the>police, the military will be required to fire warning shots>before shooting to kill. In case the private pilot is not>monitoring the relevant frequency, the warning shots should>persuade him to follow the fighter pilot's instructions (which>can be given visually - any pilot is expected to know those>signals).Gosta,I know of know military situation where "warning" shots are fired. You are either cleared hot or not (land, sea or air, it does not matter). I know the CG types fire across the bow, but even in that instance they are in a situation where deadly force has already been authorized. "Across" the bow can turn into THROUGH the bow very easily on pitching seas at night. Also, you must understand, that authorization for deadly force does NOT have to be a verbal or written command. There are established SOP's that govern when a situation has turned into one allowing targets to be engaged.Police that I know also do not fire warning shots. This is hollywood stuff. If you have to unholster, you are in a situation where you must shoot to kill. The WARNING is the unholstering of the weapon itself. Police also do NOT try and shoot guns out of hands, or just wound in the knee or some other crazy crap like that. If POTUS or AF1 are deemed to be facing a threat, the threat will be eliminated first, questions asked later. It is up to individual pilots to be aware of the situation surrounding their craft.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

>I know of know military situation where "warning" shots are fired. You are either cleared hot or not (land, sea or air, it does not matter). I know the CG types fire across the bow, but even in that instance they are in a situation where deadly force has already been authorized. "Across" the bow can turn into THROUGH the bow very easily on pitching seas at night. Also, you must understand, that authorization for deadly force does NOT have to be a verbal or written command. There are established SOP's that govern when a situation has turned into one allowing targets to be engaged.http://www.hifisim.com/images/as2betateam.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi gosta,While I agree with your explanation concerning the verbage used to confront a possible hostile, I have to correct you about the warning shot issue.I train in tactical weaponcraft. Many of my students are active law enforcement, active and retired military, as well as citizens who feel the need for such training. Almost all these folks are U.S. citizens. None, and I mean NONE, of the law enforcement and military people I work with will fire a warning shot. And the training never involves and kind of a warning shot. Always a verbal warning from the low ready position, but no warning shot. And if an engagement is unavoidable, then the target is the thoracic cavity. The mandate is simple... stop the threat. No more, no less. Keep in mind that you are responsible for anything that comes out the muzzle of your weapon. To fire a round in warning means it will fly off somewhere you do not intend... and what will it hit? An innocent? Someone else's property? Warning shots are an ugly liability.I concur that the Air Force will be firm in their warning to a possible hostile aircraft. They will try their best to steer the offending pilot in the right (safe) direction. But when the shoot order comes, all that will be left is a smoking hole in the ground... and alot of questions to be answered.It's enough to make all pilots insure their radios are in good working order.Greg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Civilian law does not apply to these situations. This is governed by the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Military personnel, regardless of if it is peacetime or not are also NOT subject to civil law. They too are subject on a 24/7/365 basis to the UCMJ. Do not confuse civilian police actions with what would occur if a aircraft strays into restricted military controlled airspace, especially if AF1 is involved. Also, something that most people, even Americans do not understand. ANY person within a military zone (call it a base, camp, restricted area etc.) are subject to the UCMJ an its laws. As with civilian law, ignorance is no excuse.Warning shots are not authorized nor employed. Too many warning shots of past have ended up embedding themselves in inocent people. It is highly UNPROFESSIONAL to boot. Military and civilian police personnel are highly trained and entrusted to size up any situation and and determine if force is needed. Are mistakes made? yes. Is it easy to look at the film on Monday morning and see that something could have been done different? yes. We must understand though that these situations NORMALLY occur due to the stupidity of the person making the violations. Sorry that is what it is STUPIDITY, nothing more, nothing less.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Actually, look in the FAA's Airman's Information Manual (AIM)-there is a whole section on what to do when intercepted...I think most of what was written was ment for ADIZ crossing screw-ups but I do believe it also applies to Homeland Security now too.As far as monitoring 121.5, generally in flight most airlines I have had jump seat on as well as a bunch of corporate have 121.5 on the com 2 if available. Not only because of the odd chance that the USAF is "hunting" you but for silly stuff like your #1 comm dies and you don't notice, or ATC's radio fails and they try and contact you on "guard" etc....kinda a cheap back-up. Besides its fun to listen to when the odd call comes in for assistance (lost pilot etc).Tim757

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this