Red Flag trip report 08/11-08/12, 2005
by Peter A. Forkes

A friend drove down from the Bay Area to see Red Flag with me. We would have gone next week (for the second week of Red Flag) but I would not have been able to make it.

So, we arrived at Coyote Summit at about 10:45 in the morning and by 13:00 we had seen not a darned thing, but we did hear a big heavy prop. to the east - too far away to see.

Next we drove up to Tonopah Test Range (Lonewolf took me to a location where you can see TTR and S4 and that's where we went this time.

On the way there, at about 15:35 we were off-roading on the way to TTR when a pair of C130s came around the hill at about 100 feet and banked all the way around the hill, clearly going to exactly where we were heading.

We got there at about 16:15 and set up camp. At about 17:30 a passenger jet few from north-northeast (it was a two engine passenger jet (could it have been the 767-300?) then at 17:45 a 3-engined jet used for refueling (it is a KA-10?) flew the same flight path.

At 18:00 Roulette began talking and we could hear jets high up, but not see them. This went on until 19:30 when Roulette announced that they had 'been well and truly beaten'.

21:00 Roulette started up again and this time would could see the lights of the jets as well as see them drop flares. 21:45 it all stopped. That was it for the night.

There were two lightening storms - one to the west of TTR and one near Bald Mountain and we saw at least 5 meteors. When the moon went behind the clouds visibility was much better for us.

Friday

I was awoken at 6:15 by three loud, but distant, booms. I assumed that they were bombing on the range. At 6:20 there were eight more such booms, so I got up to see what was happening, but it was now silent and there were no expected plumes of smoke. Thirty minutes later there was a louder single boom (imagine a sound like they were blasting in a quarry) and then about a fifty seconds later there were two booms (these sounded like artillery gunfire and the noise resonated throughout the whole valley for quite some time.

These booms went on until about 9:15. There became a noticeable pattern: a single deep boom and then fifty seconds later two short booms (the second being quieter) but the whole valley resonated.

The first boom seemed to be coming from west of TTR and the second two from south-southeast of TTR.

That was it. We didn't see a single aircraft all morning (except for Janets landing at TTR).

Driving back I stopped off in Rachel to get gas and I could hear a jet flying around over the test range. This would have been 14:15.

At 15:45 I was driving past Nellis and about ten pairs of jets came flying in, forming a large circle around Nellis before landing.

At 21:05 this evening four jets flew over my house on their way from Nellis to the Nellis bombing range, so they are flying on a Friday night.

I might guess that on the first Thursday of Red Flag they fly on the afternoon between 14:00 and 15:30 and that the same is true on the first Friday.


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