Diane Sawyer tours "Doomsday Plane"

Discussion in 'Now Playing - TV Show Talk' started by RGM1138, Jun 7, 2011.

  1. Jun 7, 2011 #1 of 26
    RGM1138

    RGM1138 I wanna Rock

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    A fascinating look at "Nightwatch", the USAF's airborne command post ran on World News Tonight. I love this kind of stuff. Apparently, the only windows are on the flight deck. And, there's a 5 mile long cable to communicate with subs.

    They may rerun this piece on Nightline tonight.
     
  2. Jun 7, 2011 #2 of 26
    Enrique

    Enrique Well-Known Member

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    Wait, I thought that was what Air Force One was for? Wondering how the president would get over to that plane if he was on Air Force One at the time.
     
  3. Jun 7, 2011 #3 of 26
    snowjay

    snowjay 40mph couch potato

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    It becomes Air Force One when the president boards it. (any aircraft he boards becomes AF1). He'd likely take one of the "standard" Boeings to get to it.
     
  4. Jun 7, 2011 #4 of 26
    RGM1138

    RGM1138 I wanna Rock

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    Actually, AF-1 is basically a flying limo. (More protected, but essentially the President's airborne office).

    The "Nightwatch" plane is heavily shielded to withstand EMP and other threats. It could be used after a nuclear attack or other emergencies.

    I'm sure that if the President needed to be onboard, they would meet up somewhere.
     
  5. Jun 7, 2011 #5 of 26
    jneugeba

    jneugeba Member

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    Any Air Force plane he boards becomes AF1. Otherwise it is Marine 1, Navy 1, etc. If he would board a civilian aircraft it would be Executive 1.
     
  6. Jun 7, 2011 #6 of 26
    stahta01

    stahta01 Simple Member

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    Anyone remembers the "Dukes of Hazard" episode where "Limo 1" without the president in it was car jacked?

    Note: I knew one of the Comm, I think repair not operator, people who formally worked on one of the back-up comm birds for communicating with the subs. He still had a Top Secret clearance after he joined the Air National Guard.

    Tim S.
     
  7. Jun 8, 2011 #7 of 26
    MarkofT

    MarkofT ****

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    I remember taking a tour of one of the "Looking Glass" planes during one of Offut's airshows back around 1987-1991. I think it was based on the EC135 but it could have been an E4.

    I wonder if this is the new plane, the E6 Mercury.
     
  8. Jun 8, 2011 #8 of 26
    IJustLikeTivo

    IJustLikeTivo Active Member

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    NEACP is very different plane that AF1. AF1 actually has quite primitive communications due to the age of the plane and the difficulties in upgrading the planes. I worked on a plane to do an upgrade 4 years ago and I was pretty amazed that nearly everything was the same as when the plane was delivered. Aside from adding a new version of Royal Crown and airborne internet for the press corps ( very slow internet) not much was new.
     
  9. Jun 8, 2011 #9 of 26
    RGM1138

    RGM1138 I wanna Rock

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    Apparently not. The E-6 is based on a 707 frame. The "Nightwatch" is an E-4 derived from the 747. But it has a planned retirement date of 2015, so who knows what's next.
     
  10. Combat Medic

    Combat Medic No guts, no glory

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    The scary thing is that sometimes they can't real that 5 mile long cable back in. So what they will do is fly over the Gulf of Mexico and just cut it free.
     
  11. DavidTigerFan

    DavidTigerFan No, not Detroit. TCF Club

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    The interesting thing though is the reason why it's 5 miles long. :) (It's necessary because subs communicate utilizing VLF (Very low frequency) with very high band width. It can even penetrate the earth's crust!)
     
  12. CuriousMark

    CuriousMark Forum Denizen

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    VLF yes, but not very high bandwidth. They maximize the bandwidth as much as possible, but we are not talking about even computer telephone modem speeds. I am sure they have workarounds, like short codes for common long messages, but that is good as it can get with VLF. The big advantage is that VLF can penetrate water to reasonable depths.
     
  13. DevdogAZ

    DevdogAZ Give 'em Hell, Devils

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    That would suck to be sitting out there on a fishing boat and suddenly have your boat chopped in half by a cable falling from the sky.
     
  14. Combat Medic

    Combat Medic No guts, no glory

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    When the plane is doing 'trailing wire operations' we would reserve the airspace from 0-35,000 feet. The oil companies would often call and ask us to raise our floor to 100 feet so they could send choppers to service the platforms. We would then explain that there was a chance that we would be dropping a cable the thickness of your pinky and five miles long from 35,000feet and we would ask if they thought their choppers would like that.

    I do often wonder if salvaging that cable would be worth the copper value.
     
  15. DevdogAZ

    DevdogAZ Give 'em Hell, Devils

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    But does the average fishing vessel (or any civilian boat) have to file any kind of "float plan" and let someone know they're going to be in a certain area? Obviously it's HIGHLY unlikely for the scenario I posed to actually happen, but I don't think simply "reserving" the airspace would eliminate anyone from floating into the area.

    And if there are oil platforms within the perimeter, how do you ensure that the dropped cable doesn't hit the platform?
     
  16. alansh

    alansh Active Member

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    The VC-25s (the official designation of the aircraft used as Air Force 1) are heavily modified 747-200s (delivered 1990), an older generation. Most 747s in passenger service now are 747-400, and Boeing just came out with the 747-800.

    There is talk, of course, about replacing them. One problem is that the only real candidate is the 747-800, which makes competitive bids impossible. In theory the A380 would also work, but there's no way Congress would allow a contract for the President's plane to go to Europe.
     
  17. IJustLikeTivo

    IJustLikeTivo Active Member

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    As you might have guessed, I know all that. Thanks. There is virtually no talk within the government of replacement due to the politics involved. They do need a significant upgrade in technical capability but as they always fly as a pair, that's not easy to do.
     
  18. sieglinde

    sieglinde Active Member

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    Missed it because I live in California and the ABC World News was not shown because of the NBA playoffs. Why couldn't they show it at 3:30, everyone records everything anyway?
     
  19. jsmeeker

    jsmeeker Notable Member TCF Club

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    That would be something to see. :)
     
  20. jsmeeker

    jsmeeker Notable Member TCF Club

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    Do they ALWAYS fly a pair? I thought that was only for overseas trips.
     

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