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Still In Service

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Still In Service

Old 12th Apr 2020, 17:21
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Still In Service

Watching an aircraft at altitude heading westwards I thought I'd check FR24 to see just who was heading where; the aircraft in question was a USAF KC135 leaving UK airspace for a west bound oceanic passage. The details provided by FR24 showed the aircraft ID prefixed with 61, which I take to be the year of manufacture, which makes it at least 58 years old , It has to be older than the crew flying it!
This led to me musing: is this the oldest KC135 in the fleet?, indeed, is this the oldest active aircraft in the USAF inventory?
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Old 12th Apr 2020, 17:43
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There used to be a saying that "The last B52 pilot's father has yet to be born". I guess that also applied to the KC135. That may still be true with the delays to the KC46.
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Old 12th Apr 2020, 17:51
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The "61" refers to the fiscal year in which funds were allocated for the purchase of the aircraft. It might have been built a year or two later.
There are KC-135s around with earlier serials - there are 58- and 59- serials still around. There are also 4 with 57- serials based at RAF Mildenhall.

Last edited by EGTE; 12th Apr 2020 at 18:01. Reason: Added reference to 57-serials.
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Old 12th Apr 2020, 19:02
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The oldest KC-135 currently based at Mildenhall is 57-1440, which made its first flight 16 July 1958. There might be a few in the inventory even older than this.........
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Old 12th Apr 2020, 20:58
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The oldest aircraft in active US Air Force Service is a Boeing KC-135R Stratotanker. It last flew on July 7, 2018 using the Call sign of REACH419. The registration number is 57-1419 and it was manufactured and accepted into Air Force Service in 1957.

............
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Old 12th Apr 2020, 21:04
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Not to mention U2S 68-10337 flying out of Fairford, there a lot of very elderly airframes still doing good service.
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Old 13th Apr 2020, 08:30
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57-1419 first flight 29/5/58, delivered 27/6/58. As EGTE stated, the "57-" serial prefix only denotes the year the funding was approved, not the year it was built/delivered.
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Old 13th Apr 2020, 09:56
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So what is the oldest RAF aircraft still flying - not counting the BBMF ones of course. (Not sure if Boscombe should count either?)

Any suggestions??
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Old 13th Apr 2020, 10:07
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The oldest aircraft in front line service with the RAF is probably Puma XW199 (f/f 1/1/71).

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Old 13th Apr 2020, 10:10
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Teeeteringhead, in terms of airframe age, presumably the RC-135s?

In terms of length of service with the RAF, Puma?
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Old 13th Apr 2020, 10:39
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Treadigraph, I think you'r right (I overlooked the RC-135 as their serials begin with a "Z"!). Of the three, ZZ666 is the oldest (just) being ex 64-14830 with f/f 12/10/64.
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Old 13th Apr 2020, 13:24
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Possibly not continuous service, but oldest RAF airframes surely must be the BBMF
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Old 14th Apr 2020, 01:15
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Originally Posted by Herod View Post
Possibly not continuous service, but oldest RAF airframes surely must be the BBMF
I think you might be right, Spitfire Mk.2A P7350 is possibly the oldest aircraft still flying with the RAF?
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Old 14th Apr 2020, 01:39
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Originally Posted by roger4 View Post
The oldest aircraft in front line service with the RAF is probably Puma XW199 (f/f 1/1/71).
It used to be on the OCU fleet when I arrived in 76, glad to see the old girl is still going strong, despite my maintenance
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Old 14th Apr 2020, 09:57
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not counting the BBMF ones of course.
Just missed XW 199 when I did my very short Puma course (first pilot, day only, just ....), but I did fly XW 200.
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Old 14th Apr 2020, 10:53
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Mind you, what would be the oldest individual military aircraft in operational use worldwide? Surely has to be a C-47/Dakota?
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Old 14th Apr 2020, 10:55
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not counting the BBMF ones of course.
Sorry, missed your comment in post #8
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Old 14th Apr 2020, 11:09
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Originally Posted by Herod View Post
Possibly not continuous service, but oldest RAF airframes surely must be the BBMF
Hurricane LF363 is continuous RAF service though, so despite its 'downtime' while being rebuilt following its fire damage after Al Martin managed to get it back to Wittering, it is the longest serving RAF aircraft.

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Old 14th Apr 2020, 11:23
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Mind you, what would be the oldest individual military aircraft in operational use worldwide? Surely has to be a C-47/Dakota?
Must be for fixed wing I guess. For rotary? Probably a Huey of some sort; for British aircraft are any of the ex-RAF Wessex still flying in Uruguay?

And again I would exclude "Historic Flights" on same grounds as BBMF, I mean aircraft doing a proper military task.
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Old 14th Apr 2020, 11:25
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Originally Posted by teeteringhead View Post
Probably a Huey of some sort; for British aircraft are any of the ex-RAF Wessex still flying in Uruguay?
212 or Gz perhaps?
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