Friday, November 23, 2007

FAA History Lesson -- November 23

From the FAA Historical Chronology, 1926-1996...

”Nov 23, 1959: The Strategic Air Command began using seven special air routes established for its use by FAA to carry out day and night, all-weather, low-altitude training missions. The routes for Operation Oil Burner, code name for these SAC radar bomb runs over simulated targets throughout the country, were laid out to avoid congested population and airport centers to the maximum extent possible. “

Oil burner” is another example of the U.S. Military’s sometimes-playful sense of humor -- in a truth-in-advertising kind of sense. A B-52 flying near tree-top level does indeed burn some “oil.” One of these routes used to run through my airspace and provided an endless source of excitement. One of them once made a NMAC (Near Mid Air Collision) report on my frequency -- they almost hit a hang glider. I don’t know who would have the better story to tell -- the B-52 pilot or the hang glider pilot.

Along the truth-in-advertising line, some of the guys flying the B-52s had the best radio call sign -- DOOM.

Don Brown
November 23, 2007

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