Posts Tagged ‘plane model’
Fighter pilots from the Massachusetts Air National Guard, flying Supersonic F-15 Eagles were the first called to action on September 11th, as commercial jetliners became the tools of terrorists. Their response was immediate. Those F-15’s flown by members of the 102nd Fighter Wing from Otis Air National Guard Base on Cape Cod were the dominant force in the skies over New York City.
“I think for any of us being out there and seeing our country come under attack is something we’ve all had to get adjusted to, not only for the military, but for everyday life for all of us,” said Col. Donald Quenneville, Commander of the 102nd Fighter Wing.
Since that day in September, the role of the 102nd Fighter wing has been stepped-up. Every day, the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) gives them a new mission depending on where they’re needed. From Canada to Washington, D.C. and as far west as Detroit, their purpose is to keep civilians on the ground safe from other air attacks.
The 102nd Fighter Wing gave 22News reporter Patti Smith the rare opportunity to fly along on one of those sensitive F-15 missions. Hours before takeoff, Guardsmen and women outfitted her with the necessary gear: from a flight suit and boots to a parachute harness and G-suit designed to prevent blood from escaping vital organs during high-velocity maneuvers, and finally, an oxygen mask.
Next, there was an emergency training session in an F-15 flight simulator. There, Smith learned how to quickly exit the jet and how to operate her parachute should she need it. Then, it was on to a final briefing with Col. Donald Quenneville, who was her pilot.
Taking off armed with a home video camera, Smith began the trip.
In full after-burner, they began their climb to cruising altitude in just two minutes; a level that the government asked us not to disclose. For national security reasons, there are details about the flight such as airspeed that we were not permitted to disclose. At top speed, however, the F-15 can make the trip from Otis to New York in less than 10 minutes. Smith’s trip took her to New York in about 20 minutes.
She asked Quenneville whether there is someone over New York every 24 hours a day. “Our tasks come from NORAD, so it’s whatever they determine,” Quenneville said. “Believe me, in the interest of safety and security, we’ve had a lot of presence over New York.
The flight took Smith right over Ground Zero, which more than two months after the attacks, was still smoldering.
Still above New York, they flew alongside of the F-15’s taking part in the day’s mission, and then headed in to link-up with an Air Force refueling tanker. Refueling tankers like the one they encountered allow F-15 Eagles to stay up in the air for extended periods.
Their orders come from NORAD, and until the terrorist attacks, their main role was to defend the U.S. from external threats, but that changed on September 11, and so did the appearance of the enemy. “Up until the 11th of September, no one could have imagined it could possibly be an airline wearing an American Airlines logo,” Quenneville said. He added that F-15 fighter pilots have had to adjust to the idea that they may someday receive an order from above to fire at a civilian aircraft during another attack. But we also have to look at it from the perspective that that’s no longer a jet liner; its a guided missile that’s trying to create havoc in our country and cause further harm.”
For now, these missions that originate on Cape Cod will continue indefinitely; the result of the hard work of the 1,100 full and part-time members of the military who’ve been called to duty. “It’s important to let the American public know that their skies over their country are safe and secure,” Quenneville said.
Japanese officials said Wednesday that it has grounded its entire F-15 fighter fleet following the crash of one of the jets into the East China Sea.
Japan’s Defense Ministry ordered the fleet to remain on the ground pending an investigation into the cause of the crash Tuesday, when an F-15 based on the island of Okinawa went down during a routine training mission.
The pilot of the jet remains missing and about a half dozen naval ships have been mobilized in a search for him, the ministry said in a statement. Debris from the jet’s tail has been spotted in the ocean. It was not known if the pilot was able to eject before the crash.
Japan, with 202 F-15 fighters, is the biggest foreign user of the popular U.S.-designed planes but is currently looking for a newer aircraft to replace its aging fleet.
Though many upgrades and changes to the planes have been made over the years, F-15 fighters have been in service since the early 1970s and are increasingly expensive to maintain. The United States, which also relies heavily on the aircraft, is planning to phase out its F-15s in favor of the more advanced F-35 and F-22.
The Japanese versions of the plane, originally built by McDonnell Douglas, now Boeing, are produced domestically under a license by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.
On June 11, two US F-15 fighter jets intercepted a small civilian plane flying near Camp David, the presidential retreat where Barack Obama is spending the weekend with his family.
The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) said the F-15 jets intercepted the Beechcraft Bonanza aircraft near the Maryland retreat at around 3:25 pm (1925 GMT).
NORAD said they escorted it away “without incident.”
“The civilian aircraft, which was out of radio communication, was intercepted approximately 11 miles from Camp David,” it said in a statement.
“The F-15s… escorted the aircraft out of the area and it landed at Hagerstown, Maryland, without incident.”
NORAD spokeswoman Stacey Knott said the plane was intercepted out of an “abundance of caution” because it was out of radio contact, adding that it did not appear to pose any threat.
Camp David is one of the United States’ eleven ‘No-Fly Zones.’ Originally a three-mile radius, it was increased to eight-miles after September 11, 2001.
The area, known as Prohbited Area 40 is over Thurmont, Maryland, surrounding Catoctin Mountain Park.
The retreat has been used to host multiple heads of state since Franklin Delano Roosevelt asked Winston Churchill to join him there in 1943.
The camp is also U.S Navy installation and is alleged to be one of the safest places in the world.
A Saudi pilot died when his U.S.-made F-15 fighter jet crashed in eastern Saudi Arabia.
The Saudi Defense Ministry said in a statement on Tuesday that Lt. Saif bin Abdullah died when his F-15 plane crashed late on Monday evening during a routine training flight over King Abdul-Aziz air base in the country’s east.
The statement says authorities are investigating the crash.
Saudi Arabia announced last fall a $60 billion deal to buy 84 new F-15 fighter jets.