AWAC Configured C135

I have observed an AWAC configured E3 making approaches and “touch and goes” into KPIE for the past hour. KPIE hosts Coast Gurard Aviation, Clearwater and an Army Reserve Blackhawk Unit. We see what is left of the the P3, ASW fleet on occasion and we get some visiting F16 AFR.

One camera gone with wife. One with spent batteries. All I have left is the phome cam.


Uhh. . . Nice. . .

Don’t forget that KPIE is also the home of the Pasta Rockets!

This ship made about 10 circuits. Seven were made from from a turn north of me and the last three were hard rights to final from 5 miles out. On the first approaches he maintained about 2500 feet over my location but the final three were brushing 2000 feet in tight powered turns. It was a good show.

Another pic.

Pasta Rockets? Oh, yes. the Piaggio Brothers and their Starships cousins.

What ever happened to the two 104s that sortied from there?


MacDill says it was an E8 JSTARS, the newest AWAC configuration. … asp?id=100

Then MacDill is wrong. The E8 doesn’t have a Radome, however the E3 does.

You mean the Starfighters demo Team? They’re still around, just moved to the other coast at the JFK Space Center and doing a lot more than just aerial displays.

You have seen my pics. The news source I contacted wants to go with the MacDill statement no matter how obvious the story is that the pics tell. Further, the markings were not Navy, they were Air Force.

We aren’t some chiles that have been left behind.


I also observed this E3 and have some photos that I took of it flying over my house. The ST.Pete/Clwr controller continually referred to it as an E3. Whenever they would warn other aircraft of the traffic they would say do you have the E3 in sight or there’s and E3 so and so. The callsign used by control was Sentry61.


Thanks, kflash1.

Baynews9 is holding with their statement from MacDill that it was a Navy E8 but I suppose that you can tell that media outlet anything. I have some almost comical email from the BN9 contact about the event.

There was also a Chinook arrival in the middle of the E3 event.

Anyone with eyes to see and a camera to record knows what went on. Do you get KPIE tower chatter by scanner or another source?

I work at home and I follow most of the air traffic by ear. I refer to the PIE ( and FlightAware for anomalies. I am on the long N/S final in Safety Harbor. I am able to observe approaches from 2K to 2.5K altitude on a ground track that passes over the intersection of Enterprise and Mc/Booth.

At the moment the cloud deck is at about 500 feet so all arrivals are IFR.

Thanks for your response.


I live in Bay Pine Estates over by the VA Center. Most all heavies that land on 35 cross either right across our back yard or across the front of the house. We are 8 miles out. When the E3 filed a flight plan to leave it flew out on 17 and came across to the east of me and made a 180 slow turn and headed out to Tyndall AFB. There were 10 souls on board and they had 47000 lbs. (2hrs) of fuel on board. I also got the pilots name and some other info when they were filing a flight plan to Tyndall.

I monitor with a BC780XLT and a Scantenna up about 40’. I also hear MadDill pretty good but St.Pete/Clwr comes in really loud. We are basic in a path for landing on 35.



Well my image didn’t come out. Let me try again. Not sure how to post an image. Just read that the image can’t just be on your computer that is the problem. I’m used to being able to just put images on forums straight off the computer. Guess not here.


The last three turns the E3 made exposed his whole underside to me. I missed those photo ops because he was coming from over CLW and making a hard over turn to final just over Enterprise/McBooth. I counted about 10 TnGs over about an hour and change.

Did he land for fuel or was he good for the trip back to Tyndall?

Your pic did not come thru.


That’s why we need an improved forum software like vBulletin (no, I have no financial interest in it).
If you have a flickr account you can post your picture there then use the IMG tags to get it to display here.

Okay, I’m trying the pic again. I posted it to my facebook so now its on the web. Lets see if it works or not.


Well, that didn’t work either. I will try one more time and then give up. Not sure what I am doing wrong.

I’m almost sure the link has to end in " .jpg " saw the other with JPG on the end, don’t know if it case sensitive?

RWB is correct. It needs to have a file extension of JPG. You can also use BMP.

If you remove the img tags then the picture can be seen as an ordinary web page. … 1847281303

I think the fact that is says Air Force under the wing pretty much makes it an Air Force and not a Navy plane. :slight_smile:

Great shot. I cut and pasted the Facebook link without the stuff. It looked like he was under 1K at your place.


Thanks for posting the photo link. Yea he was passing over pretty low. Made 5 or 6 passes but with the trees it was hard to get a good photo as low as it was. Sure knew when it was coming though with all the noise it was making. The KC135 tankers fly over my house on their approach to runway 4 at MacDill and you can’t hardly hear them but this guy was really making some weird loud noises.