The story behind this stunning B-1 photo: "RAMA 81 Heavy" across the pond

The following image was taken from a KC-135 tanker on Jul. 31, 2012.

Image credit: U.S. Air Force

It shows a B-1B as it crosses the Atlantic Ocean on its way to Dyess Air Force Base, Texas. The aircraft (#85-0064) had taken off from RAF Mildenhall as “Rama 81 Heavy” along with Quid 63, an accompanying tanker of the local-based 100th Air Refueling Wing.

The “Bone” had arrived in the UK on Jul. 11, when an avionics failure forced the U.S. Air Force bomber to divert to Mildenhall.

Interestingly, on Jul. 31, the return trip to Dyess was delayed by another KC-135 that experienced an emergency during an air-to-air refueling sortie over Germany.

Here’s an audio file of RAMA 81 talking with Gander to coordinate a weather deviation and rendez vous with the tanker approaching the East Coast.

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About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.