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The Air Force flies these planes daily. Here’s why civilian airlines won’t

daftandbarmy

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Ouch...



“There’s a reason why zero, exactly zero, airlines on the planet operate the 707,” Gen. Mark Kelly, the head of Air Combat Command, said on Wednesday at the Air Force Association’s Air, Space and Cyber Conference.

It’s because of the engines, Kelly explained. Specifically the “challenges of sustaining a 707 with TF33 engines.”

TF33 engines, like the 707 itself, are very old. The engine and the aircraft were first flown in 1959 and 1957, respectively, though the aircraft did not fly as an Air Force AWACS platform until 1975. The 707 was once “synonymous with the new jet age” and ushered in “the era of mass air-travel,” according to the BBC. But that time has gone, and now it takes a small miracle just to keep them aloft, Kelly said.

The Air Force flies these planes daily. Here's why civilian airlines won't
 

dimsum

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The rest of the article is a pitch for the E-7A Wedgetail that the RAAF, ROKAF, and some others (Turkish?) have.

It totally makes sense - I'm surprised the USAF hadn't switched to a 737-based platform years ago.
 

Good2Golf

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KevinB

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I recall flying on the 707s - a great aircraft in its day. Not so much now.
I recall flying to Cyprus in one, did not feel safe, the landing in German was sketchy at best, the landing in Cyprus was frightening (is it supposed to make that tearing metal sound?) - it was apparently deadlined on the return.
I think we came back on near new CC-150 - definitely was not a CC-137
 

OldSolduer

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I recall flying to Cyprus in one, did not feel safe, the landing in German was sketchy at best, the landing in Cyprus was frightening (is it supposed to make that tearing metal sound?) - it was apparently deadlined on the return.
I think we came back on near new CC-150 - definitely was not a CC-137

Flew on them in 76 and 83 for Op Snowgoose. And on a few Pri 5. Once the overhead storage bin opened on landing, the teapot flew out and hit my wife on the noggin. She and I both laugh about it now.
 

Blackadder1916

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I recall flying on the 707s - a great aircraft in its day. Not so much now.

I flew on the last 707 flight "into" Lahr before they closed the runway, returning from a trip to Ottawa where I escorted several boxes of classified material that was going to Tunney's Pasture - on the flight going over was treated like a VIP, last pax to board, first pax to leave because I had to witness my cargo being loaded and unloaded. The next time I flew from Germany to Canada (my HHT) we flew out of Stuttgart. While the Boeings were showing their age, I recall flying out of Lahr on a few occasions when the scheduled service has handled by a contracted charter service (which we referred to as "Scare Air") who used 707s (their bilingual signage was English/Spanish) that made service air look like a premium airline (with the exception of the flight attendants).
 

Haggis

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My first trip on a CAF 707 was from Trenton to Gagetown for a course. A member of the flight crew walked up and down the aisles with a 2" wide roll of tape looking for loose trim and fittings to secure before takeoff. One was right next to my window seat.
 

dapaterson

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Airworthiness testing for oddball aircraft is a significant cost with few platforms to bear the cost (to say nothing if the NRE), and can drive decisions to retain obsolete airframes.

Add to that the military's institutional bias against investing in sensor or support platforms vs shooting platforms, and here we are.
 

KevinB

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My first trip on a CAF 707 was from Trenton to Gagetown for a course. A member of the flight crew walked up and down the aisles with a 2" wide roll of tape looking for loose trim and fittings to secure before takeoff. One was right next to my window seat.
While not 707 related - flying to Gagetown in 1988 on a Herc in my Tans -- unfortunately the crew chief with the tape - got to a hydraulic line just after it had decided to drip all over my tunic - oddly that was the last time I flew in a Dress uniform the requirement was dropped shortly after -- I'm sure I wasn't the only one to have a tunic ruined...
 

Good2Golf

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Ahhhh, yes…The Sacred White Cow flapped me across the country to BOTC back in the the day. I remember the up-down-up-down-up-down from Ottawa-Trenton-Winnipeg-Comox-Vancouver and the approach into Comox was a horrible high-speed floating approach…I watched several thousand-foot markers pass by the window before the wheels touched down. We rolled out so far, that the FE had to drop out of the front gear crew door to pull a snow-fence steel post out of the grass at the end of the runway so the plane could do the requisite 180° at the end of the runway. That was after the pilots tried to no avail backing up with thrust reversers, which…on the 137 produced even more noise and much less thrust than in forward…good times! 😆
 

daftandbarmy

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Flew on them in 76 and 83 for Op Snowgoose. And on a few Pri 5. Once the overhead storage bin opened on landing, the teapot flew out and hit my wife on the noggin. She and I both laugh about it now.

But did they still allow smoking on board back then? :)
 

FJAG

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The 707s, when new, were a great improvement over the Yukons. Flew in a Yukon from Trenton to the west coast for my BOTC in its last year of service. Seats faced the tail - which is safer but feels weird.

yukon.jpg


Did a few hops in the early days between Winnipeg and Trenton on 707s. They felt posh then. Can't recall for sure about the smoking thing but I think yes. Everyone smoked on airplanes in the early 70s.

🍻
 
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