Given the overcast skies you may or may not have seen them but you can certainly hear some different aircraft in the skies over Savannah this weekend. T-45 Goshawks belonging to the US Navy’s Naval Air Training Command are operating out of Savannah International Airport while doing carrier qualifications with the aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN-75). When they do carrier qualifications in this area, they usually use Cecil Field in Jacksonville but this weekend, some are here in Savannah.
It isn’t unusual to see F/A-18s from MCAS Beaufort working out Savannah during the weekend but it isn’t often that we get to see the T-45s. The T-45s are easy to pick out because of their distinctive white color scheme with red nose, tail, and wingtips. With the weather forecast for the rest of the weekend, it may be hard to see them flying over the city on their way to and from the USS Truman out in the Atlantic but if you’re close to Savannah International you’ll be able to see them as they depart and arrive.
They’ve been using a mix of VHF and UHF air traffic control frequencies, so they’re not as hard to hear on a scanner as some other military aircraft that visit Savannah International are. If you’ve got a scanner or amateur radio gear that can receive the VHF air band you’re in luck. The T-45s will be using the callsign NAVY CD followed by a 1##, 2##, or 3## number.
- 119.100/257.800 – Savannah IAP Tower
- 120.400/353.775 – Savannah Approach/Departure
- 124.675/282.200 – Jax Center
- 120.950/284.500 – SEALORD North Primary
Remember that all of these frequencies are used AM mode. Even with a handheld scanner or radio, you should be able to the first two frequencies quite well here in town and even be able to pick up some of the activity on the second two. Depending upon altitude, they may skip the third frequency and switch directly between SEALORD and Savannah Approach/Departure. If you’ve got a scanner or radio that can pick up military UHF, you can also hear their air-to-air communications on 225.800, 290.500, 299.200, and 357.000.
The T-45s also created some activity to listen on the Chatham-Effingham and SEGARRN public safety radio systems yesterday. At least 4 of the T-45s came back to Savannah from the USS Truman as emergency aircraft for low fuel issues. The Air National Guard Fire Department at Savannah International had to stand by for each one and they could be heard on talkgroup 6640 of the Chatham-Effingham system and TG 415 of the SEGARRN system (the traffic is simulcast on both systems).
Good Listening and Good Spotting!