Monday, March 27, 2017

The Mystery of AE059A - now solved!

Update: From an anonymous contributor - The "mysterious" hex AE059A on RCH302 was being used by 22ARW KC-135RT 60-0362 (should be AE059D).  It may well be that the aircraft's 2nd box was being used - which had been replaced and not recoded. This aircraft landed at EGUN (Mildenhall AB, UK) at 0951 UTC. Thanks to our anon source.

Well here is a really interesting mystery for my readers to contemplate. We have a Mode-S hex code address AE059A flying around Europe right now displaying a Mode-S call sign of Reach 302. So what is such a big deal about that?

USAF KC-135R 60-0319 in flight (Photo courtesy of Air International)
Well AE059A was last used by a KC-135R tanker serial number 60-0319 assigned to the 22 ARW at McConnell AFB in Kansas. problem is that airframe is now sitting in the 309 AMARG boneyard at Davis Monthan AFB in Arizona.

There is this post on the Aviation Week Network site on March 3, 2013:

USAF Retires 'First Operational' KC-135R .... Again

According to another article on February 26, 2013, KC135R 61-0312 of the 97AMW/54ARS at Altus AFB arrived at AMARG for storage. It was posted that it was the first of 16 which were being retired as part of a Force Structure Reduction authorized by the National Defense Authorization Acr for fiscal year 2013. This article claimed it was actually the second KC-135R  to be retired (see article above) but it is assumed (based on its unpainted appearance) that the first, 60-0319, was not considered operational at the time of its arrival at AMARG.

So readers has 60-0319 been made operational again, reactivated and flying around Europe right now as Reach 302 or has AE059A been reassigned to another AMC airframe? My guess is the later but which AMC airframe is using it?

If anyone has anything solid to share on AE059A please drop me a line at the email address in the masthead.