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Re: Military Jet flying through Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne - Pics

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Military Jet flying through Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne - Pics
June 17, 2013 10:29PM
My wife and I hiked the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne this past weekend and descending from White Wolf on June 14th around 6:00 pm a Military jet buzzed through the canyon. This scared the #$%^ out of us as we were on a ledge taking photos. I was able to take three shots of the jet as it zoomed past us. I have posted links to them here. I tried to enhance the image of the jet to get the numbers off the tail as when I reported it to the rangers they said they couldn't do much without them. To me it looks like a 93 with an RH and another character. Anyone else ever see these jets? It looks like a T-38 Talon. It was very loud and very dangerous. It could have caused rock slides or just knocked us off the ledge we were on.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/41328160@N07/9074334458/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/41328160@N07/9072114861/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/41328160@N07/9072145611/

This last one is the enhanced one of the jet

http://www.flickr.com/photos/41328160@N07/9072146127/



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 06/18/2013 07:45AM by wshamp.
avatar Re: Military Jet flying through Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne - Pics
June 18, 2013 07:55AM
Um... that's pretty awesome imho.

Amazing that you could get such good photos.

These jets are pretty annoying. They flew low at times...
got buzzed around Big Sam once.... they move fast... no time to get cam out.

Randy Morgenson, SEKI Ranger, was not too fond of the military
flying so low... he got the tail markings and reported them... and iirc
the military made it a point to not fly so low.

Like small aircraft... it's up to the pilot to follow the rules I guess..
I posted a photo of some planes flying low over El Cap when I was up
there once... and I just got flamed that I was nuts that they were low.
No mistaking that THAT jet is low... looks about 6500 ft... a wee bit lower than
Rancheria Mountain.

Thanks for posting



Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: Military Jet flying through Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne - Pics
June 18, 2013 09:53AM
Quote
chick-on

These jets are pretty annoying. They flew low at times...
got buzzed around Big Sam once....

When hiking in Death Valley, seeing jets fly low is often a daily occurrence. Those jets are usually from the nearby China Lake Naval Station. The jets that buzz over Yosemite, not sure from where they're from. Maybe from Lemore NAS or a NAS in Nevada.

.
Re: Military Jet flying through Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne - Pics
June 19, 2013 09:32AM
Saw this guy in DV...flew below me on Eurka Dunes. I'd guess 400-500 ft altitude.



Re: Military Jet flying through Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne - Pics
June 18, 2013 12:14PM
I LOVE seeing those jets. I've seen their wingtip turbulence kicking up dust on Mono Lake. I've been buzzed while flying in a hang glider. I've been able to see the pilot in his seat as they passed underneath me. Watching a close pass from the face of half dome would have been AMAZING. Annoying is the last thing I'd call them.

Just to give a contrary opinion.
avatar Re: Military Jet flying through Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne - Pics
June 18, 2013 12:21PM
Actually I like seeing the Military Jets... and helicopters...

I could do without the noise of the other planes... and contrails...

Couple years ago was traversing Kuna Crest... and plane over Mono area was
zigging around for what seemed like hours... felt like a mosquito in my ear.

Would I complain if I was IN that plane though? Heck no
smiling smiley



Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: Military Jet flying through Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne - Pics
June 18, 2013 02:09PM
Right around 1965 I went up Half Dome for the first time. We had just reached the top and were out at the Visor. All of a sudden two jets came screaming down Teneya Canyon. They flew by right at our level, one pilot actually waved. They descended into the Valley a bit and right about Bridal Veil Meadow they hit their afterburners and quickly went up out of sight. Pretty cool for a 16 year old. Little did I know a few short years later we would be getting close air support from F-4 Phantoms, just like those that flew by us that day. They stopped allowing them to do that a few years later.
Another airplane story. A couple years ago I had a very serious illness and was in a hospital in Reno (we were on vacation coming down 395 to Tuolumne on our way home to OC). After 3 weeks + in the hospital they finally allowed me to take a medevac flight home. It was a small plane, the pilot and my wife in the cockpit, two medics in back, and me strapped down & pretty medicated. As we were flying home, my wife said, “oh look….there’s Lembert Dome”. I was aware enough to know that I was missing probably the only time I would fly over, slowly, at low altitude, my favorite place in the whole world. So frustrating, thank goodness for the morphine, it made it a little easier.
Re: Military Jet flying through Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne - Pics
June 18, 2013 01:32PM
Quote
rabbitoutdoors
I LOVE seeing those jets. I've seen their wingtip turbulence kicking up dust on Mono Lake. I've been buzzed while flying in a hang glider. I've been able to see the pilot in his seat as they passed underneath me. Watching a close pass from the face of half dome would have been AMAZING. Annoying is the last thing I'd call them.

Just to give a contrary opinion.

And they do not belong flying low in a National Park. You want to see jets, go to an air show.
Re: Military Jet flying through Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne - Pics
June 18, 2013 09:26AM
I remember a jet screaming through the Valley heading straight at Half Dome. I was sure the pilot was intending to commit suicide by crashing into the face. At the very, very last moment, when it was maybe a couple hundred feet from the Dome, the jet went verticle, shooting up parallel to the face.

I always wondered what it would have been like to have been on the top of Half Dome at that moment -- or even worse, to have been climbing on the face.
avatar Re: Military Jet flying through Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne - Pics
June 18, 2013 09:45AM
Quote
dogfacegeorge

I always wondered what it would have been like to have been on the top of Half Dome at that moment -- or even worse, to have been climbing on the face.

Knowing the attitude and frame-of-mind of many seasoned rock climbers, they would have probably thought that it would have been a once-in-a-lifetime bitchin' opportunity to be on the face of Half Dome when this incident occurred.

They tend to be thrill seekers by nature and would have been stoked to witness this spectacle up-close and firsthand.

.
Re: Military Jet flying through Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne - Pics
June 18, 2013 10:53AM
I happen to love seeing, feeling, and hearing miltary jets. I have jet fuel in my blood from Langley.

all these Sierra treats were fine with me: F-18 sonic booms over Whitney , a B-52 doing terrain-hugging up the Owens Valley, and a unidentified black-ops on a beeline to Edwards.

I am not sure, but the T-38 you saw looks like the colors of a nearby Beale AFB jet. California gets lots of business thanks to the military.
Re: Military Jet flying through Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne - Pics
June 18, 2013 12:16PM
Maybe loud, but not dangerous. What a great thing to see!
Re: Military Jet flying through Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne - Pics
June 18, 2013 12:25PM
We were at Ten Lakes and made a comment of how loud it was! I wish I would have seen it, we would have been above them!

I have never posted a picture before, I can't seem to figure it out. Can someone point me to Chick-on's post on how to do it or let me know? Thanks!
avatar Re: Military Jet flying through Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne - Pics
June 18, 2013 01:38PM
Quote
atomicmonkey
We were at Ten Lakes and made a comment of how loud it was! I wish I would have seen it, we would have been above them!

I have never posted a picture before, I can't seem to figure it out. Can someone point me to Chick-on's post on how to do it or let me know? Thanks!

http://yosemitenews.info/forum/read.php?9,48257,53255#msg-53255

http://yosemitenews.info/forum/read.php?3,49711,49739#msg-49739

Love to see ur Jet photo or whatnot.



Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: Military Jet flying through Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne - Pics
June 18, 2013 01:36PM
I've seen a few over the years having fun navigating low in SEKI canyons. The best one was somewhat less than two decades ago in Kings Canyon while two of us were camped at the canyon brink below the east end of the Mt Bago ridge above Lower Vidette Meadow with imposing East Vidette right across the canyon. On a dayhike nearby I was crawling about on steep slopes of the south facing side of that ridge looking for foxtail pine pics. A military jet came flying down the canyon below my eye level making an incredible roar as all the sound bounced off the granite walls. As a young enlisted man in the US Air Force at one overseas base after disciplinary action, got stuck with flightline guard duty carrying around an M16. A most impressive experience at early dawn when sound carries at ground level was to be behind not too far away as an F105 Thunderchief launched down the runways and then lit its afterburners with a huge bang.



http://www.davidsenesac.com



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 06/18/2013 01:37PM by DavidSenesac.
Re: Military Jet flying through Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne - Pics
June 18, 2013 03:18PM
That plane does have the paint job of Beale AFB. However, the tail number is a BB. See this website - http://www.beale.af.mil/shared/media/photodb/photos/2012/12/121205-F-XX999-002.JPG

Example of tail number configuration from Beale would be
BB
AF
64
240

US Air Force does not use RH designation. There is a RA but it is from Randolph AFB in Texas and they don't have black T-38's.
Re: Military Jet flying through Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne - Pics
June 18, 2013 03:38PM
F-117A flying over Halfdome. http://www.daviddarling.info/encyclopedia/S/stealth_technology.html Won't ever see that again.
Re: Military Jet flying through Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne - Pics
June 18, 2013 03:57PM
Don't forget the plane that flew up Yosemite Valley, and left its mark in Airplane Gully...
http://yosemitenews.info/forum/read.php?3,57381,57415#msg-57415
Re: Military Jet flying through Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne - Pics
June 18, 2013 05:00PM
I was in a commercial airliner once and the pilot came on the intercom to say that it was the crew's last flight together, and that as a treat he was going to fly up to Yosemite. He then flew the plane up the Merced Canyon all the way to Half Dome, where he turned on a wing, a full 360 degrees, with Half Dome maybe 1000 feet below us. This was a regularly scheduled, commercial airline flight.
Re: Military Jet flying through Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne - Pics
June 18, 2013 08:47PM
I think parklover is right on the BB on the tail. I can't clean it up anymore though. I guess it was cool to see the jet so close but I could go see it at an air show. I was at Yosemite backcountry for the peace and serenity. It startled us because it was so loud. I think the canyon amplifies the sound. I do think it could be dangerous though. If he had broken the sound barrier in there a sonic boom in that canyon would really hurt the ears and could cause rock slides. The rangers were very interested in trying to identify the jet as this appears to be a problem they are continuing to deal with. I guess I was lucky though to get some cool shots.
Re: Military Jet flying through Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne - Pics
June 18, 2013 09:29PM
It was actually the ranger I talked to said the jets could cause rock slides. I have no expertise in the area but I will take her word for it.
Re: Military Jet flying through Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne - Pics
June 18, 2013 09:42PM
I asked a aerospace engineer if it was a possibility that a jet flying at the altitude you saw it would cause a avalanche and they said it was doubtful.
Re: Military Jet flying through Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne - Pics
June 18, 2013 09:34PM
Aircraft are only allowed to go supersonic over military bases and, I can't remember exactly, but it is either 10 or 20 miles off a coast over the ocean so I wouldn't worry about sonic booms over Yosemite. Also, if it is a issue all the rangers need to do is note the tail code and call that base. Each base has a specific set of letters on it that identifies the base. Edwards is ED, Beale is BB, China lake is XE or DD, etc. The codes can be found on the internet if you look at the website of a base. There would be a flight plan on file and they could find out what pilot was flying at that date and time.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/18/2013 09:52PM by parklover.
avatar Re: Military Jet flying through Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne - Pics
June 18, 2013 09:43PM
Quote
parklover
so I wouldn't worry about sonic booms over Yosemite.

And do they actually follow the rules?
Re: Military Jet flying through Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne - Pics
June 18, 2013 09:45PM
Unless they want to be discharged they do.
Re: Military Jet flying through Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne - Pics
June 18, 2013 09:46PM
Well it is illegal to do what this pilot did but he did it anyway.
Re: Military Jet flying through Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne - Pics
June 18, 2013 10:01PM
It would not be the first time that a pilot did something that they should not have done. You have to have a certain kind of personality to do flight testing or be a fighter pilot and they are A personalities and are known to push the boundaries. Like I said in my edited post, if this is a continuing problem then the rangers need to contact that base.
Re: Military Jet flying through Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne - Pics
June 18, 2013 10:13PM
This is just what the ranger told me. She said they have contacted the bases (she didn't say which ones) and they give the park the run around. She said they can really only do something if they get the tail numbers. She also said they have gone out with cameras specifically to try and photograph the jets but they haven't been able to get a shot of the tail numbers. She gave me her email address and I sent the pics I took. I will email her with the info you gave. Hopefully it helps them. It seems there is a game of cat and mouse going in.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/18/2013 10:16PM by wshamp.
Re: Military Jet flying through Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne - Pics
June 18, 2013 11:17PM
Am I the only one who has a hard time believing this ranger? If it really were illegal, and they had pictures, couldn't the military figure out what plane it was? It's not like the pilots can go anywhere they want with no one tracking them? And why should it be illegal? Sounds like there is more to this story than the ranger knows.
avatar Re: Military Jet flying through Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne - Pics
June 19, 2013 08:34AM
Quote
chicagocwright

And why should it be illegal?

For one it cost a lot of money to fly those jets. It's one reason, due to the sequester, military jets are NOT appearing in most air shows this year (nor are they doing fly overs at special events like baseball or football games).

So any jet in the air should be there for a particular mission (training or otherwise) and that shouldn't include flying through Yosemite's National Park at too low of an altitude because that's against a federal regulation and our military is supposed obey all federal regulations.

That said, I don't have a problem with military jets flying over any national park if its within the rules and regulation of the federal government such as flying over Death Valley National Park is permitted.

.
avatar Re: Military Jet flying through Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne - Pics
June 19, 2013 01:01PM
Quote
wshamp
She said they can really only do something if they get the tail numbers.

Yeah, sure. Like they don't know what planes are flying in the area.
Re: Military Jet flying through Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne - Pics
June 18, 2013 09:10PM
Actually the high country receives a fair amount of very loud booms naturally each summer. Its called THUNDER. So the probability of causing avalanches due loud sound even from a jet is probably low. Most of the talus fields in the high country only move during larger earthquakes or after really heavy periods of lubricating rains like well into Mexican Monsoon cycles. Boulders break off cliffs and cause little avalanches just adding to the piles.

http://forums.mammothmountain.com/viewtopic.php?f=21&t=6698

http://search.yahoo.com/r/_ylt=A0oGdVeQLsFRdXUAo51XNyoA;_ylu=X3oDMTE0cHRsMWtjBHNlYwNzcgRwb3MDMQRjb2xvA3NrMQR2dGlkA0FDQlkwMl84OQ--/SIG=12bahkp83/EXP=1371643664/**http%3a//landslides.usgs.gov/docs/wieczorek/reg015-08.pdf



http://www.davidsenesac.com
Re: Military Jet flying through Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne - Pics
June 19, 2013 05:59AM
A rare jet

versus

a gazillion people, cars, RVs, trash, etc

where's the problem?
Re: Military Jet flying through Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne - Pics
June 19, 2013 06:55AM
There are no cars or RVs in the GCT and other backcountry trails. There are tens of people and some trash.
As someone who works in aerospace: I appreciate the jets/military, but wouldn't want one buzzing through a canyon and scare the cr*p out of me.
Re: Military Jet flying through Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne - Pics
June 19, 2013 08:40AM
On Friday evening, we had no idea that it was a military jet. It definitely wasn't supersonic. It did get us talking about all the aviation traffic and noise over Yosemite. It seemed like the entire weekend was filled with jetliners flying high over, leaving contrails and noise to remind us that the busy world is just a few miles away. It also reminded me that I was really glad to be where I was!
avatar Re: Military Jet flying through Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne - Pics
June 19, 2013 08:54AM
Quote
atomicmonkey

It seemed like the entire weekend was filled with jetliners flying high over, leaving contrails and noise to remind us that the busy world is just a few miles away.


This is to be expected since Yosemite National Park is below the flight paths of airline routes to and from the east from the three major Bay Area airports (San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose). The silver lining for those of us who live in the Bay Area (or for many who are visiting the Bay Area from points east) is those who have a window seat on a daytime flight will often get excellent views of Yosemite from high above – a very sweet treat for those of us who love Yosemite.

.
Re: Military Jet flying through Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne - Pics
June 19, 2013 09:20AM
Military jets have been particularly active over Yosemite recently...don't know why, but saw several over the 12 days we were there. One day, over a dozen.

The most impressive jet encounter that I have seen over Yosemite was the Blue Angels, in 2006. They must've been returning from an air show somewhere. They traveled in formation several times over the valley. I got crappy video, but my nephew scored with photos over North Dome and, more impressive, over Yosemite Falls. I'll see if I can post one of them...

Most memorable was on top of Mount Whitney. On the edge, a jet zooms by just about even with the summit and tips to give a wave. A crew on the switchbacks weren't so amused, though, as the sonic boom caused rocks to fall while they were doing trailwork.

Like plawrence said...jets get very close to the highway as you approach to drop down into the Panamint Valley. They appear out of nowhere from below. Shocking, but then cool.
avatar Re: Military Jet flying through Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne - Pics
June 19, 2013 10:11AM
"Pilots are requested to maintain a minimum altitude of 2,000 feet above the surface of the following: National parks, Monuments, Seashores, Lakeshores, Recreation Areas and Scenic Riverways administered by National park Service, National Wildlife Refuges, Big Game Refuges, Game Ranges and Wildlife Ranges administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Wilderness and Primitive areas administered by the U.S. Forest Service.

Note-
FAA Advisory Circular AC 91-36, Visual Flight Rules (VFR) Flight Near Noise-Sensitive Areas, defines the surface of a national park area (including parks, forests, primitive areas, wilderness areas, recreational areas, national seashores, national monuments, national lakeshores, and national wildlife refuge an range areas as): the highest terrain within 2,000 feet laterally of the route of flight, or the upper-most rim of canyon or valley. c. Federal statutes prohibit certain types of flight activity and/or provide altitude restrictions over designated U.S. Wildlife Refuges, Parks, and Forest Service areas. These designated areas, for example: Boundary Waters Canoe Wilderness areas, MN; Haleakala national Park, Hawaii; Yosemite Nat'l Park, CA; and Grand Canyon Nat'l Park, AR, are charted on Sectional Charts.
Re: Military Jet flying through Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne - Pics
June 19, 2013 01:25PM
I'm very glad our pilots get their training in friendly canyons.

the dam interrupts the GCT wilderness 24/7/365. A rare plane much less often.
avatar Re: Military Jet flying through Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne - Pics
June 19, 2013 01:33PM
If it happened to me I would think it was very "cool" and would have tried desperately to get pictures. That said, that area should be kept wilderness and the planes don't belong there. There are plenty of other places to get canyon flight time.
avatar Re: Military Jet flying through Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne - Pics
June 19, 2013 01:40PM
Quote
h_lankford

the dam interrupts the GCT wilderness 24/7/365. A rare plane much less often.


That said, the dam and those who operate it are good at obeying all the park rules and regulations and the dam (like it or not) has the lawful right to be there.

Planes (not just military) flying below minimum altitude of 2,000 feet above the surface (without the permission of NPS) are going against the law of our land. All federal employees, including the military, should adhere to the laws and regulations of the federal government they work for. I think it's really dangerous when anyone associated with the military think that they are above the laws of the land.

That said, if they're on a special military training mission that requires them to practice low altitude flying in a national park – with the approval of the National Park Service – I don't have any problems with them training in National Parks. But they need the approval of the Park Service to do so and not just do so on their own, ignoring NPS regulations and the laws of Congress.

.
Re: Military Jet flying through Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne - Pics
June 19, 2013 03:38PM
Interestingly enough the T-38 is a jet that can be owned and operated privately:

According to the FAA there are seven privately owned T-38s in the U.S.[5] Boeing owns two T-38s, which it uses as chase planes.[5] Thornton Corporation owns three T-38s and three F-5s.[5] In addition, ILOAJP HOLDING and Wayne L. Siltanen own one each.[5] (from Wikipedia).

Any chance this is an F-5?

Also I read somewhere that this plane (t-38) is used in practice as an aggressor (Soviet or other). Maybe it was in a radar evading security defense penetrating mode evading his chasers?
avatar Re: Military Jet flying through Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne - Pics
June 19, 2013 04:34PM
Quote
mtn man
Interestingly enough the T-38 is a jet that can be owned and operated privately:

According to the FAA there are seven privately owned T-38s in the U.S.[5] Boeing owns two T-38s, which it uses as chase planes.[5] Thornton Corporation owns three T-38s and three F-5s.[5] In addition, ILOAJP HOLDING and Wayne L. Siltanen own one each.[5] (from Wikipedia).

Any chance this is an F-5?

Also I read somewhere that this plane (t-38) is used in practice as an aggressor (Soviet or other). Maybe it was in a radar evading security defense penetrating mode evading his chasers?

I was wondering about that also. If you look close you can almost see two Russian stars under the wings. Still, if this is in fact military they have very ample official military operating areas elsewhere for low level flights, some of which are understandably off limits to general aviation when "active". This is just somebody hot dogging it through the park illegally. Plain and simple. No base commander is going to publicly own up to the fact one of his pilots did this. "Cover thy ass" does not work that way.
Re: Military Jet flying through Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne - Pics
June 19, 2013 08:10PM
T-38 are a variation of the F-5. My son makes a hobby of identifying all types of planes but he could not tell from the picture which one it was. It is correct that they use T-38's for training and paint them like enemy planes, hence the Soviet Stars. If you Google T-38's there are several for sale.
avatar Re: Military Jet flying through Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne - Pics
June 19, 2013 11:37PM
Quote
tomdisco
This is just somebody hot dogging it through the park illegally. Plain and simple.

Exactly.
Re: Military Jet flying through Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne - Pics
June 20, 2013 09:50AM
Quote
tomdisco
No base commander is going to publicly own up to the fact one of his pilots did this.

True you are extremely unlikely ever to get an admission or apology, but that doesn't mean it is not worth complaining.Base CO's do not enjoy receiving complaints from the NPS or public, and will ream the pilots out behind closed doors, thus mitigating the problem for a while.
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