Supercruise Aviation - Article
Air to Air during Red Flag 12-4

During Red Flag 12-4 i got the opportunity to fly with a KC-135 from McConnell AFB. This Tanker using Callsign “BAHA25” was assigned to Blue Air.

It took about 15 minutes before we were ready to roll, taxiing from a northwest platform all the way to runway 03 right. Being in the jumpmasterseat i had a pretty good view of everything that was going on. We had to wait a couple of more minutes because on 03 left our first receiptants , 6 F-15C’s from Leakenheath, were already roaring down the runway. After the Eagles were clear we got our permission and took off.

We had a smooth take off and gradually climbed to our refuellingtrack, According to the schedule we were supposed to have 6 F-15’s and 6 A-10’s. After a few minutes the first 4-ship of Eagles showed up. They stacked nicely on the leftside of the plane and started taking on fuel one by one. Once a plane is ready it will move to the right side of the tanker until they are all done.

There are several places on the tanker were you can shoot your photos from. First you can move down on both sides of the boomer being able to shoot the planes before, during and after the refuelingprocedure. Secondly there are the 2 sidewindows on each side of the plane which are good for shooting the planes that are waiting for/or are done refueling.

While the 4-ship was still taking on fuel they were joined by the remaining F-15 2-ship. Once the F-15’s had cleared the scene we only had a brief moment before an A-10 4-ship from the “Flying Tigers” showed up. They did the same routine as the F-15’s. The last 2 A-10’s cancelled so we were done for the mission.

Being one of Red Flags big birds meant we had to wait quite some time before we headed back to Nellis. During recoveries after a Red Flag mission fighters come in first followed by the large planes so we flew patterns for an hour or so together with a couple of B-52-s some 5 thousand feet below us. Finally we got a straight in on runway 21 right and had a smooth landing.

by Hans Antonissen