What the hell was that?

OK, I live 20 miles north of Philadelphia (Bucks County) I hear a military jet overhead. I look up and I see what looks like an MD-80 with 2 F-16s around the cockpit and 1 on each wing. I believe I am seeing an aircraft in some kind of trouble. I go to CNN.com and there’s nothing going on. I call my local TV station and tell them what I see. I email CNN news tip page. It appears nothing has happened. It is possible the MD-80 or whatever it was could have been military and not commercial but come on! Why would 4 f-16s be flying that close to a military plane that is probably used for VIP transport. What transport warrants 4 f-16s? What the hell was that?

The transport could have been a tanker… good for F-16s to be near those.

Aren’t they usually KC-10s? They’re pretty distingusable. This was a smaller jet like a dc-9, MD-80. Now I see the RAF has a VC-10 which it may have looked like but they have 4 engines on the tail. This looked like two engines on the tail.

No doubt some kind of ‘security’ alert, aka false alarm.

That it didn’t make the media is a good thing, perhaps they are tiring of all the paranoia too. Yeah, as if :frowning: .

Ok so we’ve got:
1 military plane, unknown if its a tanker, tri-jet(?) but smaller than a KC-10…with 4 F-16’s around?
Are you sure it wasn’t a KC-135?

The Air Force still had DC9’s so it could have been one of them. Also could have been one of the JPATS prisoner transport MD80’s moving some high level terror.


I read a report just last month that there have been over 2500 fighter scrambles since 9/11. How many made the nightly news?

long shot, and especially with F-16s (which do not use the prob and drogue refueling system) but could it have been an RAF VC-10 tanker? It’s got the basic MD-80 T-tail, rear fuselage mounted engines (albeit 4 instead of 2) .

I just saw an aircraft looking very similar to that on final approach to DM AFB in Tucson this morning. I didn’t have my camera with me, but it looked to be a MD-80 or DC-9 aircraft, but with the blue stripe livery a la the E4-B (blue stripe from fore to aft with what I assume was “United States of America” written above it, although it was too far to read".

Anybody got any ideas on what it was, or what it was doing?

A while back I also saw what looked like a 747 with an enormous radar dome sticking out of the middle of it landing at DM AFB (I live right under the path of the runway). Is that an AWACS aircraft or something?

EDIT: after browsing around globalsecurity.org, it looks like the AWACS aircraft I saw earlier was an E-3 sentry, based on the 707, not the 747. http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/systems/aircraft/images/e-3-0000000a.jpg

F-16s do fly in and out of Willow Grove NAS regularly which is right in your backyard. Could have been a training exercise.

The USAF has some DC-9s that are painted in the Air Force One scheme that are VIP transports, called the VC-9. They have some based at Scott AFB IL and I beleive at Andrews AFB as well. They have moved to the 737 frame as a replacement but there are still some of the DC-9’s around.