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Gents,

Thought I'd put a couple a pics up that I took earlier today of what seems to be RAF Mildenhall's latest resident. This Dyess B-1 was outbound from the Gulf back home on July 11th, callsign 'Rama 81' and was due to be tanked direct, with Mildenhall tankers refueling him this end. All pretty standard stuff but then he declared an IFE with an avionics problem and diverted in. After turning off the runway the aircraft was shut down on the taxiway with the crew immediately exiting. It was left there for a few days, then towed to one of the AMC stands by the terminal, then it moved to the usual RC-135 stand in the middle of the field where it's difficult to view from the outside. As of Wednesday, it's been moved down to stand 15, one of the usual 100th ARW stands on the Southside. This is also probably the best stand on the airfield to see and photograph from the outside and is attracting alot of interest as we don't get these around here very often. Word from sources on the inside is that it might be here a while as yet. The record in recent times is a Tinker E-3 which was stranded for about two months last year so he's got a while to go.

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Looks like it's carrying some restrained mission marks on the nose gear door.

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The discoloration around the tail cone has caused quite a lot of interest. I had a look at a few bone images before posting this pic and I can't see any evidence this is normal wear from hard use, yet cannot see what would cause it. Anybody got any ideas?

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Gary

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The curious discolorisation near the tailcone could be sand from flying over or staying at airfields near deserts , sticking to oily places caused by hydraulic leakage or so !! Henk

Edited by sundowner
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I think if what's going on around the tail of it was typical wear from desert operations, nobody would be asking any questions. B-1s have been going over there for so long that surely we'd have seen such a thing on many other air frames before now that we wouldn't even give it a second look these days.

I wonder if it had an engine issue that would have resulted in some paint scorching.

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You could try and get a pic of the port side and see whether the paint is in the same condition there... if it's not symmetrical, it's got to do with the engines.

Edited by Bonehammer73
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Thanks gents. I have since found a couple of pics taken of the other side which somebody took when they towed it down. The pattern of the discolouration is fairly similar on the other side. Also, and although I wasn't there when he came in the crew flew two overshoots of Mildenhall before putting it down, and before diverting in had to hold and dump fuel (not to mention the 100k that the tanker that had just launched had to get rid of as well!) which would hardly fit with an aircraft that has a fire that causes external damage and needs to put down ASAP. An internal avionics problem would sound about right. Now the question is, can I arrange to be there when he finally departs for home?

Gary

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Looks like a typical jet coming back from the desert...

Looks like there have been hydraulic leaks around that area during the time of the jet's deployment and all that fine powdery dusty sand has stuck to (and baked onto) the rear fuselage.

As an aside, many of you may have seen this jet when it was operated by the Kansas Air National Guard (My late father's unit).

Cheers!

John

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Exited the aircraft immediatly and left it on the runway for a couple of days? I bet it was the bean burritos in the box nasties. The poor thing needed to air out since you couldn't leave a candle burning...

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Probably the normal look of a B-1B that's been flying at 100 ft on full reheat over the desert for a few weeks.

Doubt that these aircraft spend much time at 100' on full afterburner (except for a minute or two during takeoff) these days. Most of the time is probably spent orbiting over the desert at most economical cruise speed, at 25,000' over the desert.

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Doubt that these aircraft spend much time at 100' on full afterburner (except for a minute or two during takeoff) these days. Most of the time is probably spent orbiting over the desert at most economical cruise speed, at 25,000' over the desert.

Every once in a blue moon they come/came down to do a show of force (not at 100'), but 99% of the time they sit up there cruising along from TIC to TIC, dropping when they need..then hit the tanker....go home.

Cheers

Collin

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There was a good feature recently in AFM that mentioned the show of force. The book Apache also mentions using flares at low level for this too. While I was exaggerating, there is truth to the bs!

I would be interested to see Airliners this dirty.

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I would be interested to see Airliners this dirty.

Not as difficult as you'd think. Airliners can be quite grubby when you get up close to them, all that shiny white paint just doesn't contrast with grime the way a nice, flat gray does.

My mom came to visit me in the Czech Republic back in 2007 and flew part of the way on Alitalia. After she checked in and went into the secured part of the terminal at Prague on her way home, I went to the viewing platform to watch planes for a bit.

An Alitalia machine lifted off and it was just about the dirtiest looking airliner I'd ever seen.

On a more recent time scale; passing through Heathrow on my way to and back from Canada in June and July I noted quite a few 747s with really grimy, burnt looking areas on their tail fins that I assume were the result of APU exhaust.

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Not as difficult as you'd think. Airliners can be quite grubby when you get up close to them, all that shiny white paint just doesn't contrast with grime the way a nice, flat gray does.

My mom came to visit me in the Czech Republic back in 2007 and flew part of the way on Alitalia. After she checked in and went into the secured part of the terminal at Prague on her way home, I went to the viewing platform to watch planes for a bit.

An Alitalia machine lifted off and it was just about the dirtiest looking airliner I'd ever seen.

On a more recent time scale; passing through Heathrow on my way to and back from Canada in June and July I noted quite a few 747s with really grimy, burnt looking areas on their tail fins that I assume were the result of APU exhaust.

It's funny that modelers of military aircraft absolutely have to weather them to one extent or another, whilst pretty much every model I've seen of a commercial jetliner shows an absolutely spotless, immaculate aircraft, cleaner probably than the real thing was the day it was delivered from the factory.

Anyway, that B-1 sure is a great example of a weathering. Never saw one that grimy before.

Gary, you continue to post some very unique pictures. Thanks very much for taking the time.

John

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Gary, you continue to post some very unique pictures. Thanks very much for taking the time.

John

Thanks, it's a pleasure. Just an update on the B-1; it's still here although on friday it was moved away to the airfield centre and was heard to be doing engine runs. It has since been moved back to the same stand but I would imagine that departure cannot be to far away, assuming everything went okay. Mildenhall had Mrs Obama arrive in a Andrews C-32 on Thursday before attending the Olympics opening the following night. It was known in advance, but as much I would have liked to have photographed one of the VIP Andrews C-32s (got the McGuire ones in here before), the arrival was going to be too late for decent pics so passed on it.

Gary

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Nice picture Gary it would be interesting to read what the issue was.

Hi,

I'll see if I can find out next time I'm over, somebodies bound to know, espically as several of the local enthusiasts actually work on the base. It finally got away yesterday afternoon as 'Rama 81', US bound with a Mildenhall tanker supporting him this end.

Gary

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