Ever wondered what it looks like to be in the cockpit of a B-1 “Bone” doing an aileron roll?
Low level flying, formation flying, night refueling, range activity and even a bit of aerobatics (yes, “Bones” can perform aileron rolls): this is all what you will find in the footage below produced by B-1 FTU Class 16-02 students “to share a glimpse into the life of upgrading Pilots and WSOs (Weapon System Officers)” and shared on Twitter by @B1B_Driver.
Air Force Strike Global Command FTUs provide follow-on training for pilots, WSOs and aircrew members in their assigned aircraft (B-52, B-1 or B-2).
Several “Bones” (in accordance with the nickname used by their aircrews) have deployed to Guam on Aug. 6, marking the first B-1 deployment there in a decade.
The aircraft, replaced the B-52s in supporting the U.S. Pacific Command’s (USPACOM) Continuous Bomber Presence mission.
Update: unfortunately the footage has been removed from Youtube. Still, here’s a gif of the aileron roll part.
Here’s a Gif created from the original footage showing the B-1 performing an aileron roll as seen from the cockpit.
The following video is particularly interesting as it shows a type of departure rarely seen at airbases across the world: the so-called “airborne pickup.”
Military aircraft that don’t take-off in formation, usually depart in sequence, rejoining (if needed) during the climb. In an “airborne pickup” one of the aircraft takes off, makes a 180-degree turn to enter the downwind leg for the runway in use and then turns back again to rejoin with the second aircraft that, in the meanwhile, has just got airborne.
It’s a visual maneuver in which perfect timing is essential to achieve the expected outcome: if everything goes as planned, the first aircraft should be flying in formation with the other one as soon as the second aircraft has completed the departure and before it starts the next turn inbound the first waypoint.
There are no special requirements of configurations and it’s a fairly simple maneuver that requires the airborne plane to compensate for any differences in performance between the aircraft by adjusting the pattern and by calling the “brake release” to aircraft on the ground.
The following video appears to show the final part of the maneuver, with the B-1 Lancer (or “Bone”) already airborne eventually becoming number 1 of the formation departed from Dyess Air Force Base, Texas (as opposed to the airborne pickup where the airborne aircraft completes the maneuver as chase plane, trailing the aircraft just taken off).
The following footage shows B-1 Lancer bombers with the 34th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron launch from Al Udeid airbase, in Qatar, to pound ISIS targets in Iraq and Syria.
The “Bones” (as the B-1s are nicknamed within the pilots community), have taken part in the air strikes on IS positions since the beginning of the air campaign.
The heavy bombers have been involved in carpet bombings not seen since the 2003 war in Iraq: according to a recent story published by the AFP news agency, the B-1s had flown 18 percent of all the strike missions against the Islamic State and accounted for 43 percent of the total tonnage of munitions dropped in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan over the last 6-month period.
According to the pilots of the 9th Bomb Squadron who took part in the missions over Kobane and have recently returned to the U.S. after their deployment in Qatar, it was not uncommon for the B-1s to “go Winchester” (a radio codeword which means that the aircraft has dropped all the weapons on board) during air strikes over the Syrian border town.
You don’t see so many C-130H and J models take part in a massive Elephant Walk very often.
On Dec. 6, a flight of 24 C-130 H and J models from the 317th AG and multiple Air National Guard Bases from across the United States took off from Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, as part of a U.S. Air Force Weapons School large-scale mobility exercise dubbed Joint Forcible Entry Exercise 14B.
The Exercise, which featured 100 aircraft in total, has the aim to test the ability of the participants in the weapons school courses to plan and execute synchronized aircraft movement from geographically-dispersed bases, large formations in a simulated contested battlefield.
The scenario includes missions to infiltrate and exfiltrate combat forces via airdrops and combat landings on degraded landing strips through heavily defended airspace.
The photo in this post shows the 24 C-130s taxiing in close formation right before a minimum interval takeoff, in what is referred to as an “Elephant Walk.” You can click on the image below to open a hi-rez version of the shot, and count the planes that are depicted in it.
Elephant walks are periodically performed at airbases all around the world to prepare squadrons for war-time operations and test crews ability to quickly and safely prepare aircraft for a mass launch; depending on the purpose of the training event Elephant Walk may terminate with the aircraft taking off in sequence, or taxi back to the apron.