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Thread: Unidentified Flying Jet Something

  1. #1
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    Unidentified Flying Jet Something

    Location: Belgium.
    Time: yesterday noon.

    Normally, when a jet fighter (F16 99.9% of the time) passes over, they fly at about 300m (1000ft) altitude, at their typical high subsonic cruise speed. Quite noisy, but soundwise they come and go in like 10 seconds.

    Yesterday, something with jet engine passed over. It sounded loud and deep, far louder than passenger planes at low passes. If it would have been a passenger plane (which it wasn't, see further) I remarked that it sounded like an old Russian beast. It was very cloudy and we couldn't see what it was, but my brother could take a glimpse through a hole in the clouds and he identified it as a jet fighter. He's not the ultimate expert on aircraft, but he has visited multiple airshows so he knows a jet fighterish thing when he sees one.

    The thing is, the sound lasted for at least a minute. And it died out very slowly. The sound never diminished to increase again so I assume it was a single aircraft. F16's here usually fly alone, sometimes with two or three but then you clearly hear one die out before the next one is getting loud.

    Assuming it was a single fighter-like plane, is their anything that looks like a jet fighter but typically cruises a lot slower? I don't know, some small jet bomber like a F111? Or could it be that, because of the low clouds, it was an F16 flying higher than usually and that caused the sound to be audible much longer than normally? It couldn't have flown very high as we wouldn't have been able to identify it as a jet fighter(ish). Would a difference between 300m and, say, 800m make such a difference in how long you can hear it?
    With sufficient thrust, water towers fly just fine.

  2. #2
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    Got any Warthogs stationed nearby or maybe visiting a local air show?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fairch...Thunderbolt_II

  3. #3
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    Not many airshows going on here in 2020, and I believe what he saw would have had to have at least swept/tapered/delta wings. He knows the BRRRRT so he might have recognized it. I don't know how well he got a look at it. Sound and speed wise, it would certainly be a possibility. I've never seen them fly here though.

    Statisically speaking, a "high and slow" F16 is more likely, but the sound appeared to me to come and last very long even for that.
    With sufficient thrust, water towers fly just fine.

  4. #4
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    There's an airbase near where I work, and occasionally I see a fighter (I'm pretty sure F-16) flying over, and I wouldn't say it's a minute but for at least 30 seconds or so I hear a fairly low roar. They aren't that low. I'm not sure but I'm guessing 2,000 or 3,000 feet.
    As above, so below

  5. #5
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    During a flyover event last year to kick off college football a trio of F16s orbited over my house in preparation to make a timed pass over the stadium in Athens, about 50 miles away. They were low and slow and the sound lasted a long time. Certainly brought some folks out of their houses!

  6. #6
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    Brother saw it flying high and climbing, ie rear end pointed at us. That explains why I heard it (F16 more than likely) so much longer than usually.
    With sufficient thrust, water towers fly just fine.

  7. #7
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    In other news, today's sighting was very much identified: our army has been using C-130 for the past three hundred years. This week, they FINALLY received the first of 7 A-400M. They did a tour of the country with it on monday but I missed it. This morning I saw a C-130 doing sharp turns at 300m twice. And this afternoon a low pass of the A-400M They're testing the beast out day and night. It's rather easy here to identify which cargo plane flies over: C-130 has a low horizontal tail, and A400-M has a T tail. And we have no other cargo planes. Very, very rarely you'd get some NATO thing like a tanker or AWACS, but never at low altitude.

    I like the A400-M, it's like a C17 with props. What I don't like is that we were talking about this plane in university, 18 years ago. And this week it was delivered already. Proper use of taxpayer money... On top of that, they can't/won't be maintained by national armies; all maintenance will be done in 1 country. The C-130 on the other hand are maintained like a good old car by our own military. As are the F16, for that matter.

    By the way, I'm 36 now and this year is more or less the first time I consciously know our military getting a new plane type. When I was born, they had already phased out the Starfighters in favor of F16 the year before. The C130 is eternal. Same for the Seaking, which only since this (or last) year has been phased out in favor of NH90. That NH90 was another excellent use of taxpayer money: wait years and years for the first delivery, then have small issues for years and years (such as: marine rescue helicopter can't withstand salt water...). The only new craft I remember before this/last year, were the Agusta helicopters in the nineties. They still use them today.
    Last edited by Nicolas; 2020-Oct-16 at 10:00 PM.
    With sufficient thrust, water towers fly just fine.

  8. #8
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    I think military waste is pretty much universal. As I mentioned in another thread, last week I saw a new US Navy destroyer. It's built around a radical new gun system. For which there is no ammunition because it was going to cost US$1,000,000 a round.
    Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by schlaugh View Post
    During a flyover event last year to kick off college football a trio of F16s orbited over my house in preparation to make a timed pass over the stadium in Athens, about 50 miles away. They were low and slow and the sound lasted a long time. Certainly brought some folks out of their houses!
    On this issue - my office in Tuscaloosa (thinking back to the days when I spent a lot of time on campus...) faces across the campus quad toward the stadium. I can usually tell when a flyover is scheduled for a game, because they will do a practice run the Friday afternoon beforehand. Pretty often, there are three planes then - the two in tight formation and a third one behind. Not sure whether that's the backup in case of a mechanical problem, or the commanding officer taking notes on flying precision.... Since our airport lost scheduled commercial service, jet noise gets my attention (often a team charter coming or going). Last last spring, a pair of F-16s did a tight turn really low near our house. They were lining up for a salute overflight of medical facilities.

  10. #10
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    What the original post made me immediately think of was B-1: sleek and supersonic-capable like a fighter, but substantially bigger and louder, with four jet engines... Something that's louder can seem closer to a listener than it actually is, which includes seeming to be at a lower altitude than it is. If it's higher or farther away from the listener but inherently louder, those two effects can roughly cancel out in perceived loudness, but the sound would last longer because the source would be within hearing distance over a longer path that takes longer to come & go along.

    I don't think any B-1s are based in Europe and I wouldn't know if any had even visited for a temporary exercise recently, but the thought also then led me to the fact that the same principles would apply (on a smaller scale) to the bigger two-engined fighters, like F-15 or Typhoon or maybe Rafale, if they're also louder.

  11. #11
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    I've seen a B1B in Belgium about 10 years ago at an air show. But this one turned out to be an F16 on an unusual altitude and manoeuvre/speed compared to the fast low cruise they usually do.
    With sufficient thrust, water towers fly just fine.

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