Radio comms, dramatic footage, black triangles flying across the sky: this video is fantastic and also features some interesting details.
As already reported, in the night on Aug. 27, 2019, three U.S. Air Force B-2A Spirit stealth bombers belonging to the 509th Bomb Wing, from Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, landed at RAF Fairford, UK, for a Bomber Task Force deployment that will last some weeks.
Beginning on the next day, the aircraft have started launching sorties from their deployment base. On Aug. 28, one of the three strategic bombers landed at Naval Air Station Keflavik, Iceland, marking the first landing of B-2 in Iceland. Then, on Aug. 29, two B-2As flew above the English countryside and over the White Cliffs of Dover along with two British F-35B Lightning jets during the first mission that saw the integration of the Spirit bomber with non-US F-35s.
The video below was filmed by our friend Ben Ramsay of UK Aviation Movies later on the same day as the two B-2s recover back to RAF Fairford under the radio callsigns “MYTEE 11” and “MYTEE 12”.
There are several things that make the footage particularly interesting. First, the clip shows the returning bombers flying the overhead traffic pattern: as explained in a recent post, “military aircraft recovering to their base in VFR (Visual Flight Rules) often perform an overhead pattern that allows the formation, once overhead the runway (hence the name), to “break” a few seconds apart and enter an in-trail downwinde leg. The downwind is then followed by a base turn and final approach.” Unless you live next to Whiteman AFB, where the aircraft can carry out training missions that involve multiple approaches, most of times you’ll probably see B-2s landing following an instrumental approach that does not include an overhead break. Interestingly, in the very same video below, the second aircraft recovers to the base with an ILS (Instrumental Landing System) approach then cancels the IFR FPL (Flight Plan) reporting the IP (Initial Point) to join the overhead traffic pattern too.
Second, the video captures an engine test on the ramp (in the first part) and, after the aircraft have landed, both can be seen as the opened their bomb bay doors.