This report monitored the return flight of eight RF-4C's from Ryggee, Norway to Shaw AFB, which were deployed there since the 24th May 1978, from the 152ndTRG/192ndTRS for a NATO photo-reconnaissance exercise.
STAPLE 42 flight on a 'phone patch to 'Raymond 1' (TAC/ALCC at Langley AFB, VA) advising that RETRO 82 was suffering extremely cold cockpit temperatures and would be unable to cross the ocean. The flight would have to leave the tanker formation and divert to RAF Alconbury, with an ETA of 09:55. Presently over SKP/Skipness, Scotland at 08:54. RETRO 82 will divert as two ships, with RETRO 84 accompanying him. In fact '82 departed from the formation as a single ship at 08:50 without informing the tanker, who was on HF at the time. 'Raymond 1' requested that he return to the formation and then re-abort!
STAPLE 31 flight had an 'on-time' for refuelling at 09:20 at 56n 19.54w with an 'off-time' at 09:40 at 56n 25w, with fuel uplifts for RETRO 71 of 9.0, RETRO 72 of 8.3, RETRO 73 of 8.3 and RETRO 74 of 8.4
STAPLE 31 flight passed 56n 30w 10:06 blocking F260/270 53n 24w next.
STAPLE 42 had 'off-loads' to RETRO 81 of 10.5, RETRO 82 of 11.5, RETRO 83 of 12.4 and RETRO 84 of 11.0, with 'on-time' of 08:40 at 56.25n 03.26w and 'off-time' of 09:15 at 55.59n 09.30w.
The STAPLE flights were the KC-135's and the RETRO flights comprised of 64-1019, 64-1021, 64-1016, 65-0876 and 65-0886 (these later two were the Alconbury diverts). The other RF-4C's in the group remain unidentified.
[This activity was copied via Croughton Airways on 6750]
[Photo: 64-1021, © unknown via Peter Greengrass collection]