VISIT USA / March 2015
Sorry, Goose, but it's time to buzz the tower.
* BASE VISIT NAS FALLON 'TOP GUN SCHOOL'
Naval Air Station Fallon or NAS Fallon is the United States Navy's premier air-to-air and air-to-ground training facility. It is located southeast of the city of Fallon in western Nevada in the United States. Since 1996, it has been home to the Naval Fighter Weapons School (TOPGUN). It is also home to the Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center (NSAWC/NAWDC), which includes TOPGUN, the Carrier Airborne Early Warning Weapons School (CAEWWS) and the Navy Rotary Wing Weapons School. Navy SEAL Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR) training also takes place here.
In March 2015 I had the opportunity to visit this base. Walking on the tarmac between the different types of airplanes was an amazing experience.
* FRESNO AIR ATTACK BASE
The Fresno Air Attack Base was established in 1955
and is located at the Fresno Airport. The base is jointly operated by
CDF and the US Forest Service, Sierra National
* RAINBOW CANYON (STAR WARS CANYON) - MILITARY LOW LEVEL FLYING
Out on the western edge of Death Valley National park in California
there is an area known to the military as the R2508 Complex which is
administered by Edwards AFB. This area is composed of internal
restricted areas, Military Operations Areas, Air Traffic Control
Assigned Airspace areas, and other special airspace. Use of these areas
include bombing ranges, supersonic corridors, low altitude high speed
maneuvers, radar intercept areas, and refueling areas. Within this area
is a training area where they practice low level flying. The canyon is
known as Rainbow Canyon (or Starwars Canyon) and the route through this canyon is known as the Jedi Transition.
* RED FLAG 15-2 / NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE
Exercise Red Flag is an advanced aerial combat training exercise hosted at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada. Since 1975, air crews from the United States Air Force (USAF), United States Navy (USN), United States Marine Corps (USMC), United States Army(USA) and numerous NATO or other allied nations air forces take part in one of several Red Flag exercises held during the year, each of which is two weeks in duration.
Under the aegis of the United States Air Force Warfare Center (USAFWC) at Nellis, the Red Flag exercises, conducted in four to six cycles a year by the 414th Combat Training Squadron (414 CTS) of the 57th Wing (57 WG), are very realistic aerial war games. The purpose is to train pilots and other flight crew members from the U.S., NATO and other allied countries for real air combat situations.
Each day you are able to see a lot of movements during Red Flag.
* DAVIS-MONTHAN Air Force Base
Davis-Monthan Air Force Base is a United States Air Force base located south-southeast of downtown Tucson, Arizona. It was established in 1925 as Davis-Monthan Landing Field. The host unit headquartered at Davis-Monthan is the 355th Fighter Wing assigned to Twelfth Air Force, part of Air Combat Command (ACC). The base is best known as the location of the Air Force Materiel Command's 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group (AMARG), the aircraft boneyard for all excess military and government aircraft.
One of the wing's tenant units, the 55th Electronic Combat Group, is tasked to provide command, control and communications countermeasures in support of tactical forces with its EC-130H aircraft; and, employing the EC-130E aircraft, provide airborne command, control and communications capabilities for managing tactical air operations in war and other contingencies worldwide.
In below pictures you are able to see some variants of this C-130 aircraft.
In Tucson, near Davis-Monthan Air Force Base you also find the sole aircraft boneyard for excess military and government aircraft. Tucson's dry climate and alkali soil made it an ideal location for aircraft storage and preservation. Also the hard ground does not need to be paved. 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group is also known as 'The Boneyard'.
* LUKE Air Force Base
Luke Air Force Base is a United States Air Force base located seven miles (11 km) west of Glendale, in Maricopa County, Arizona, United States. It is also about 15 miles (24 km) west of Phoenix, Arizona.
Luke AFB is a major training base of the Air Education and Training Command (AETC), training pilots in the F-16 Fighting Falcon. On 31 March 2011 it was announced that the F-35 Lightning II would replace the F-16 as the primary training aircraft at Luke, although the date of deployment of the new aircraft to Luke and reorganization plans were not announced. On 16 July 2013, the Air Force announced that Luke AFB will house a total of 144 F-35A Lightning IIs.
During our visit we where able to see a few Lightnings.
* Marine Corps Air Station YUMA
Marine Corps Air Station Yuma or MCAS Yuma is a United States Marine Corps air station which is the home to multiple squadrons of AV-8B Harrier IIs of the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron 1 (MAWTS-1), Marine Test and Evaluation Squadron 22 (VMX-22) and Marine Fighter Training Squadron 401 (VMFT-401), an air combat adversary squadron of the 4th Marine Aircraft Wing of the Marine Corps Reserve.
The station is located 2 miles (3 km) from the city of Yuma, Arizona. A joint use civilian-military airport, MCAS Yuma shares airfield facilities with Yuma International Airport and occupies approximately 3,000 acres (1,200 ha), most of which is flat desert.
During our visit a civilian plane (T-59 HAWK) crashed and unfortunately killed one Marine on the ground. source/link : (https://www.marinecorpstimes.com/story/military/2015/03/11/marine-killed-after-jet-hits-ground-vehicle/70173038/)
* PALM SPRINGS AIRPORT / FLIGHT 'FIFI' BOEING B-29A
Palm Springs International Airport, formerly Palm Springs Municipal Airport, is a public airport two miles (3 km) east of downtown Palm Springs, California. The airport covers 940 acres (380 ha) and has two runways. The airport is highly seasonal, with most flights operating during the winter.
'FIFI' is a surviving Boeing B-29 Superfortress, and one of two that are currently flying. It is owned by the Commemorative Air Force, currently based at the Vintage Flying Museum located at Meacham International Airport, Fort Worth, Texas. FIFI tours the U.S. and Canada, taking part in air shows and offering flight experiences.
Built by Boeing at the Renton factory in Washington, B-29A serial number 44-62070 was delivered to the USAAF in Kansas in 1945. Modified to a TB-29A standard, it served as an administrative aircraft before being placed in "desert storage". It was returned to active duty in 1953. This Airplane was retired in 1958.
In the meantime a second B29 is airborne named 'DOC'.
* VISIT 'USS MIDWAY' & NAVAL AIR STATION NORTH ISLAND SAN DIEGO
USS Midway (CV-41) was an aircraft carrier of the United States Navy, the lead ship of its class. Commissioned a week after the end of World War II, Midway was the largest ship in the world until 1955, as well as the first U.S. aircraft carrier too big to transit the Panama Canal. It operated for an unprecedented 47 years, during which time it saw action in the Vietnam War and served as the Persian Gulf flagship in 1991's Operation Desert Storm. Decommissioned in 1992, it is now a museum ship at the USS Midway Museum, in San Diego, California.
Naval Air Station North Island or NAS North Island is located at the north end of the Coronado peninsula on San Diego Bay and is the home port of several aircraft carriers of the United States Navy. It is part of the largest aerospace-industrial complex in the United States Navy, Naval Base Coronado in San Diego County, California.
NAS North Island itself is host to 23 aviation squadrons and 80 additional tenant commands and activities, one of which, the Naval Aviation Depot, is the largest aerospace employer in San Diego.