Aviation Photography and Airport Monitoring from the Charlotte Airport Overlook

While researching the Carolinas Aviation Museum before my road trip, I noticed on Google Maps that Charlotte Douglas IAP (CLT) has an airport overlook. After visiting the museum and grabbing a bite to eat, I drove the short distance to the overlook to watch and listen to the airport activity. The overlook is a parking area with some benches on a hill between the north ends of Runway 18R/36L and Runway 18C/36C that overlooks Runway 18C/36C, the Air Carrier Terminal, and the Tower. You can even see downtown Charlotte’s skyline in the distance. On the day I visited, it put you at the departure end of Runway 36C (I don’t know if that’s the usual direction they work in or not) and in a great spot to get photos of the aircraft lifting off of the runway and departing.

The Charlotte Airport Overlook at Charlotte Douglas International Airport
Downtown Charlotte’s skyline as seen from the Charlotte Airport Overlook

It didn’t turn out to be that great of a location for monitoring and listening, though. You’re alright if you’re going to be listening to the airport frequencies, but the transmitter site for the airport is right behind the overlook and it creates a lot of interference on other bands. I was using the Home Patrol 2 and TRX-2 in the mobile station to record/log on multiple bands and I ended up having to turn them off while I was at the overlook because of all the interference.

The airport transmitter site behind the Charlotte Airport Overlook that creates the radio interference


Here’s what I was listening to while I was at the overlook:

118.100 – Charlotte Tower
126.400 – Charlotte Tower
133.350 – Charlotte Tower
119.000 – Charlotte TRACON
120.050 – Charlotte TRACON
124.000 – Charlotte TRACON
125.350 – Charlotte TRACON
126.150 – Charlotte TRACON
128.325 – Charlotte TRACON
135.600 – Charlotte TRACON
307.800 – Charlotte TRACON
292.250 – 145th Airlift Wing Ops

The Charlotte Airport Overlook is a great place to go plane spotting, but if you plan on trying to listening to anything other than VHF air traffic control frequencies, you’re going to run into interference issues. That aside, it’s a great place to spend a bit of time at in Charlotte if you’re an AvGeek. If you’re a parent with a child that loves airplanes, it would make a good stop as well. I noticed more than one parent with small children taking a lunch break at the Overlook. It’s a nice little site that it was thoughtful of the airport to provide!

The Carolinas Aviation Museum – Well Worth Visiting

The first stop of the second day of my South Carolina/North Carolina road trip was the Carolinas Aviation Museum located at Charlotte Douglas International Airport in Charlotte, NC. As aviation museums go, it’s not very large, nowhere near the size of the Museum of Aviation at Robins AFB or the National Naval Aviation Museum at NAS Pensacola, but it is very much worth a visit. It is a Smithsonian affiliated museum and part of its collection is also on loan from the National Naval Aviation Museum. Its collection features both military (mostly Navy and Marine Corps) and commercial aircraft, but the centerpiece of the museum is Airbus A320 N106US, the aircraft that was ditched in the Hudson River by its crew on 15 January 2019 after multiple large bird strikes. It’s only fitting that N106US end up in Charlotte since US Airways’ largest hub was in Charlotte (it has since merged with American Airlines and American Airlines has a large hub at Charlotte) and the flight’s destination was Charlotte Douglas IAP. As a bonus for fans of military aviation, you can also see a portion of the North Carolina Air National Guard 145th Airlift Wing’s ramp from the museum parking lot.

The Carolinas Aviation Museum at Charlotte Douglas International Airport

Part of the 145th AW facility, including two of their C-17s, visible from the Carolinas Aviation Museum

The Carolinas Aviation Museum has a varied collection of military aircraft; given that the state of North Carolina is home to MCAS Cherry Point and MCAS New River, it’s not surprising that it features four Marine Corps aircraft. It also features three US Navy aircraft and a joint US Navy/NACA test aircraft. The first aircraft you see when you walk through the museum’s front door is a replica Sopwith Camel. When you first walk into the hangar where most of the aircraft are, one of the first aircraft you see is a Stearman Kaydet. Some of the museum’s military aircraft have histories behind them. The F-14D, Bu No 161166, was the last F-14 to drop ordinance in combat on a mission over Iraq. The A-7E, Bu No 155971, was one of the last A-7s to see combat while deployed to Operation Desert Storm on the USS John F. Kennedy (CV-67). The CH-46D, Bu No 153389, was used on a rescue mission during the Vietnam War on which a crewman’s performance resulted in a Congressional Medal of Honor.

Outside of the museum’s hangar, as you make your way back to the gift shop and entrance/exit is a C-130E ABCCC. You don’t see EC-130s very often and this one just happens to have a significant history. The EC-130E, 62-1857, took part in Operation Eagle Claw, the rescue attempt of American hostages in Iran in 1980, as REPUBLIC 5. Another EC-130E on the mission was destroyed when an RH-53 helicopter collided with it, but 62-1857 survived the mission and went on to continue serving until it was retired in 2013, having accumulated over twice as many flight hours as it was originally designed for.

The civilian and commercial aircraft in the museum’s collection also form an interesting group. One of the first aircraft in the museum’s hangar is a replica Wright Flyer, which was the first powered airplane to attain sustained flight near Kitty Hawk, NC on 17 December 1903. Just below the replica Wright Flyer is a Savoia Marchetti S.56C; one of only two surviving S.56Cs, it’s a significant aircraft because Zachary Smith Reynolds (of the R.J. Reynolds tobacco family) used an S.56C on a 10,000 mile around the world flight. The DC-3, N44V, represents the strong connection between the Carolinas and Piedmont Airlines. The museum’s Ercoupe is a fascinating little airplane designed in the late 1930s as an attempt to simply flight controls.

The centerpiece of the Carolinas Aviation Museum is Airbus A320 N106US. N106US was US Airways Flight 1549 from New York to Charlotte on 15 January 2009. Shortly after takeoff from LaGuardia airport, Flight 1549 flew through a flock of Canadian Geese, striking multiple birds causing damage to the aircraft and the loss of both engines. The crew, under the command of Captain Chesley Sullenberger, safely ditched the aircraft in the Hudson River. Thankfully, there were no serious injuries and all of the passengers and crew were safely recovered from the river. N106US is now part of a large display at the museum that also includes personal items from passengers that were on the flight as well as displays and videos that tell the story of what happened to Flight 1549.

Yesterday, before I started working on this blog post, I saw the museum post across their social media that they will be moving to a new facility in the future. The museum, the City of Charlotte, and the Charlotte Douglas IAP will be working together on plans for a new location so that the airport can use the current location for more private aviation space. Hopefully, the new location will be bigger and allow the museum to grow beyond what their current location limits them to. This could definitely be good news for the museum. The Carolinas Aviation Museum is definitely worth the trip to Charlotte for; it was the primary reason I included Charlotte on my road trip and I’m glad I did.

Most of the inside photos in this post were taken with my Google Pixel 3 phone in “Night Sight” mode. Night Sight is designed for taking photos in dark conditions and I found it to be great for taking photos inside of museums. Some museums are dark inside and others discourage the use of flash photography for preservation reasons, so the Night Sight mode enabled me to take better photos in the museums without using a flash. If you’ve got a Google phone and haven’t tried out Night Sight yet, I highly recommend it for any low light environment.

South Carolina/North Carolina Road Trip Scanning Report; 9 January 2019

On the second day of my road trip, I traveled to Charlotte, NC to visit the Carolinas Aviation Museum and the North Carolina Transportation Museum in Spencer, NC. Today’s list builds on yesterday’s list from the first day. Added to the list today were talkgroups from the NC VIPER P25 TRS and the Charlotte UASI P25 TRS. As conventional frequencies go, a few more National Park Service Blue Ridge Parkway P25 repeaters were added. Frequencies for Charlotte/Douglas IAP, Atlanta and Washington ARTCCs, and the NC Air National Guard were added in the aviation/MilCom category.

F-14D, Bu No 161166 at the Carolinas Aviation Museum
Atlantic Coast Lines No 1031, built in 1913, at the North Carolina Transportation Museum

After lunch at the excellent Niko’s Grill near Charlotte/Douglas IAP after visiting the Carolinas Air Museum, I hung out at the Charlotte Airport Overlook for a while and watched some of the airliners taking off. This is a great spot for plane spotters to watch airport activity and take photos of planes. If you’re primarily into military aviation spotting, don’t expect to see much, but you’ll see a lot of commercial traffic. The only problem is that you’re right next to the transmitter site for the airport so radio monitoring/scanning can be an issue; I ended up just turning off the Uniden Home Patrol 2 and the Whistler TRX-2 in my mobile station due to interference. Niko’s Grill, by the way, was a great choice for lunch; I had a delicious gyro with fries. If you go, avoid the lunch rush around noon, it fills up very quickly – it’s obviously a very popular place for lunch.

South Carolina Public Safety Conventional
453.075 (PL 118.8) – Aiken County FD A Repeater
453.175 (PL 118.8) – Aiken County FD B Repeater
453.025 (PL 118.8) – Aiken County FD C Repeater
453.425 (PL 118.8) – Aiken County FD D Repeater
453.900 (PL 118.8) – Aiken County FD E Repeater
154.235 (PL 94.8) – Bamberg County EMS Dispatch
154.370 (PL 162.2) – Bamberg County FD Dispatch
154.400 (PL 118.8) – Barnwell County FD Dispatch
154.250 (PL 127.3) – Berkeley County FD/EMS South Dispatch
154.400 (PL 123.0) – Cherokee County FD Dispatch
155.0325 (DCS 051) – Cherokee County EMS Dispatch
150.935 (PL 114.8) – Edgefield County EMS Dispatch South
155.235 (PL 123.0) – Greenville County Fire Dispatch VHF
453.500 (PL 118.8) – Greenville County Fire Dispatch UHF
462.950 (PL 123.0) – Greenville County EMS Dispatch
462.975 (PL 123.0) – Greenville County EMS Tac 1
154.175 (PL 85.4) – Greer FD Dispatch 1 (Greenville Co)
154.100 (PL 85.4) – Greer FD 2 (Greenville Co)
452.500 (PL 141.3) – Berea FD Ch 2 (Greenville Co)
460.375 (PL 203.5) – Mauldin FD Dispatch (Greenville Co)
453.375 (DCS 331) – Parker FD (Greenville Co)
156.120 (PL 85.4) – Pelham-Batesville FD (Greenville Co)
154.205 (PL 192.8) – Laurens County FD Dispatch
154.130 (PL 162.2) – Lexington County FD Dispatch
154.220 (PL 141.3) – Newberry County FD Dispatch
154.995 (PL 141.3) – Saluda County FD Dispatch
155.385 (PL 141.3) – Saluda County EMS Dispatch
154.310 (PL 85.4) – Spartanburg County Fire Dispatch
154.025 (PL 85.4) – Spartanburg County Fire Ops
155.925 (PL 85.4) – Hilltop FD (Spartanburg Co)
154.445 (PL 127.3) – Union County FD Dispatch
155.175 (PL 203.5) – Union County EMS Dispatch

159.225 (DCS 306) – SC Forrestry Draytonville
159.375 (DCS 116) – SC Forestry Hampton

Palmetto 800 P25
TG 704 – Beaufort County FD Dispatch 1
TG 6542 – Jasper FD Tac 1
TG 24542 – Lexington County FD Dispatch
TG 24543 – Lexington County FD Admin
TG 25552 – Columbia FD Dispatch
TG 25569 – Richland County FD 5 HazMat
TG 27871 – SC National Guard
TG 28609 – SC LifeNet Medevac Helicopters
TG 40012 – SC Regional Gov’t 4
TG 44351 – Greenville FD Dispatch 1
TG 44385 – Greer FD (Greenville Co)
TG 48642 – Spartanburg County Regional 1
TG 51704 – MedTrans SC Medevac Helicopters

York County P25 TRS
TG 49602 – York County FD Ops 2

North Carolina Public Safety Conventional
154.400 (PL 156.7) – Gaston County FD Dispatch

NC VIPER P25 TRS
TG 15504 – Davie County FD Dispatch
TG 25005 – Iredell County Fire Dispatch
TG 50210 – NC HART Ops
TG 51581 – LZ West (Medevac Helicopters)
TG 51962 – Statewide Bravo 4
TG 51973 – Statewide Echo 3
TG 51985 – Statewide Hotel 3

Charlotte UASI P25 TRS
TG 413 – Mecklenburg Co Fire/EMS Ops 6
TG 453 – Mecklenburg Co Fire/EMS Dispatch
TG 457 – Mecklenburg Co Fire/EMS Ops 3
TG 459 – Mecklenburg Co Fire/EMS Ops 4
TG 461 – Mecklenburg Co Fire/EMS Ops 5
TG 463 – Mecklenburg Co Fire/EMS Ops 13
TG 467 – Mecklenburg Co Fire/EMS Conference
TG 983 – Charlotte FD 1I
TG 1027 – Charlotte FD Alarm (automated voice dispatch)
TG 1029 – Charlotte FD 1B
TG 1031 – Charlotte FD 1C
TG 1033 – Charlotte FD 1D
TG 1035 – Charlotte FD 1E
TG 1037 – Charlotte FD 1F
TG 1039 – Charlotte FD 1G
TG 1041 – Charlotte FD 1H
TG 1247 – Mecklenburg County Event 23
TG 1249 – Mecklenburg County Event 24
TG 1251 – Mecklenburg County Event 25
TG 1253 – Mecklenburg County Event 26
TG 1255 – Mecklenburg County Event 27
TG 7047 – Concord FD Dispatch
TG 7058 – Concord FD Training 2
TG 7121 – Carrabus County EMS Mutual Aid
TG 18533 – Gastonia FD 2
TG 18554 – Gastonia FD Dispatch
TG 25119 – Moorseville FD Dispatch 1
TG 26988 – Kannapolis FD 2

Rowan County P25 TRS
TG 40521 – Salisbury FD Dispatch

Aviation/MilCom
120.700 – Charleston TRACON

119.150 – Augusta TRACON
126.800 – Augusta TRACON

125.400 – Columbia TRACON
318.100 – Columbia TRACON
141.825 – 169th FW V14
140.125 – 169th FW V15

120.100 – Greer Tower
119.900 – Greenville Downtown Tower
133.325 – Donaldson Tower
118.800 – Greer TRACON
119.400 – Greer TRACON
270.275 – Greer TRACON

126.400 – Charlotte Tower
133.350 – Charlotte Tower
120.050 – Charlotte TRACON
124.000 – Charlotte TRACON
125.350 – Charlotte TRACON
126.150 – Charlotte TRACON
128.325 – Charlotte TRACON
135.600 – Charlotte TRACON
307.800 – Charlotte TRACON
292.250 – 145th AW Ops
173.4625 ($123) – 145th AW?; enc

343.750 – Bulldog MOA
264.700 – Poinsett Range

258.400 – DOUBLESHOT Discrete (W-161/177)
279.725 – DOUBLESHOT Discrete (W-161/177)

364.200 – NORAD AICC

251.100/133.150 – Atlanta Center Locas Low
263.000/125.150 – Atlanta Center Wilkes Ultra Low
263.125/135.350 – Atlanta Center Unarm Low
269.100/125.625 – Atlanta Center Spartanburg High
290.200/134.550 – Atlanta Center Moped Low
291.750/125.025 – Atlanta Center High Rock Ultra High
307.050/126.425 – Atlanta Center Dublin High
307.350/132.975 – Atlanta Center Pulaski High
322.325/128.100 – Atlanta Center Augusta Low
323.025/124.425 – Atlanta Center Charlotte High
360.625/124.325 – Atlanta Center Clark Hill Ultra High
360.625/126.775 – Atlanta Center Baden Ultra High
379.200/128.800 – Atlanta Center Leeon Low
360.625/126.775 – Atlanta Center Baden Ultra High
269.550/124.700 – Jacksonville Center Columbia Low
319.200/127.875 – Jacksonville Center Aiken High
322.450/118.925 – Washington Center Raleigh High
346.375/121.925 – Washington Center Wahoo Super High
363.225/132.225 – Washington Center Tar River High

US Army TRS – Fort Gordon
TG 2 – Fort Gordon PMO 1 (unenc)
TG 27 – Fort Gordon Range Control (unenc)
TG 44 – Fort Gordon unknown (unenc)
TG 75 – Fort Gordon unknown (unenc)

US Army TRS – Fort Jackson
TG 737 – Fort Jackson Range Control (unenc)

FedCom
172.450 ($140) – NPS Blue Ridge Pkwy, Fishers Peak Digital; unenc
172.725 (DCS 051) NPS Blue Ridge Pkwy, Mount Mitchell Analog; unenc
172.725 ($120) – NPS Blue Ridge Pkwy, Mount Mitchell Digital; unenc
172.750 ($110) – NPS Blue Ridge Pkwy, Mount Pisgah Digital; unenc
172.750 ($130) – NPS Blue Ridge Pkwy, Doughton Mountain Digital; unenc

171.550 (PL 103.5) – USFS Pisgah District/Natnahala NF Zone 2; unenc

163.5375 ($067) – unknown; enc

Savannah River Site Motorola Type II
TG 48592 – unknown (unenc)
TG 49072 – unknown (unenc)
TG 50464 – unknown (unenc)

Savannah River Site P25
TG 3001 – unknown (enc)
TG 3005 – unknown (enc)
TG 3009 – unknown (enc)
TG 3023 – unknown (unenc)
TG 3027 – unknown (unenc)
TG 3031 – unknown (unenc)
TG 3035 – unknown (unenc)
TG 3037 – unknown (unenc)
TG 3087 – unknown (enc)

Note: Some talkgroups are multicast between the two SRS systems

Miguel’s Mexican/American Restaurant, don’t let appearances fool you

Tucked away off of I-85 Exit 32 in Charlotte, is Miguel’s Mexican/American Restaurant. Don’t let the small, decidedly unfancy appearance of Miguel’s fool you, the food is outstanding. They serve both Mexican and American cuisine; I don’t know about the American part, but the Mexican is outstanding. For supper tonight, I had shrimp enchiladas (grilled shrimp with grilled peppers and onions) and they might just have been the best enchiladas I’ve ever eaten. If you’re around Charlotte/Douglas Airport, you’ve got to eat at Miguel’s!

South Carolina/North Carolina Road Trip Scanning Report; 8 January 2019

I’m on the first day of a three-day trip through parts of South Carolina and North Carolina. Today’s travels took me through the Clinton, Greenville, and Spartanburg areas. I was originally planning to visit the Ninety Six battlefield today, but since it is closed due to the government shutdown, I visited the Musgrove Mill State Park in Clinton, SC, the BMW Zentrum in Spartanburg, SC, and the Greenville Zoo in Greenville, SC.

Horseshoe Falls at Musgrove Mill State Park; in August 1870, a Revolutionary War battle took place near these falls
The BMW M3 GT2 car campaigned in the American Le Mans Series from 2009-2012 on display at the BMW Zentrum in Spartanburg, SC
Bornean Orangutan at the Greenville Zoo

I let the Uniden Home Patrol 2 and the Whistler TRX-2 scan, log, and record while I did the driving and both were very productive. There was a lot of VHF/UHF public safety conventional and a lot of public safety activity on the Palmetto 800 P25 statewide trunked repeater system in South Carolina. F-16s from the 20th FW and the 169th FW were heard working in the Bulldog MOA and at Poinsett Range and 20th FW F-16s were also working in W-161/177 with an E-3 AWACS. There were a couple of surprises, too – with the government shutdown in effect, I didn’t expect to hear any National Park Service or US Forestry activity, but there were a few brief catches on some of their frequencies.

South Carolina Public Safety Conventional
453.075 (PL 118.8) – Aiken County FD A Repeater
453.175 (PL 118.8) – Aiken County FD B Repeater
453.025 (PL 118.8) – Aiken County FD C Repeater
453.425 (PL 118.8) – Aiken County FD D Repeater
453.900 (PL 118.8) – Aiken County FD E Repeater
154.235 (PL 94.8) – Bamberg County EMS Dispatch
154.370 (PL 162.2) – Bamberg County FD Dispatch
154.400 (PL 118.8) – Barnwell County FD Dispatch
154.250 (PL 127.3) – Berkeley County FD/EMS South Dispatch
154.400 (PL 123.0) – Cherokee County FD Dispatch
155.0325 (DCS 051) – Cherokee County EMS Dispatch
150.935 (PL 114.8) – Edgefield County EMS Dispatch South
155.235 (PL 123.0) – Greenville County Fire Dispatch VHF
453.500 (PL 118.8) – Greenville County Fire Dispatch UHF
462.950 (PL 123.0) – Greenville County EMS Dispatch
462.975 (PL 123.0) – Greenville County EMS Tac 1
154.175 (PL 85.4) – Greer FD Dispatch 1 (Greenville Co)
154.100 (PL 85.4) – Greer FD 2 (Greenville Co)
452.500 (PL 141.3) – Berea FD Ch 2 (Greenville Co)
460.375 (PL 203.5) – Mauldin FD Dispatch (Greenville Co)
453.375 (DCS 331) – Parker FD (Greenville Co)
156.120 (PL 85.4) – Pelham-Batesville FD (Greenville Co)
154.205 (PL 192.8) – Laurens County FD Dispatch
154.130 (PL 162.2) – Lexington County FD Dispatch
154.220 (PL 141.3) – Newberry County FD Dispatch
154.995 (PL 141.3) – Saluda County FD Dispatch
155.385 (PL 141.3) – Saluda County EMS Dispatch
154.310 (PL 85.4) – Spartanburg County Fire Dispatch
154.025 (PL 85.4) – Spartanburg County Fire Ops
155.925 (PL 85.4) – Hilltop FD (Spartanburg Co)
154.445 (PL 127.3) – Union County FD Dispatch
155.175 (PL 203.5) – Union County EMS Dispatch

159.225 (DCS 306) – SC Forrestry Draytonville
159.375 (DCS 116) – SC Forestry Hampton

Palmetto 800 P25
TG 704 – Beaufort County FD Dispatch 1
TG 6542 – Jasper FD Tac 1
TG 24542 – Lexington County FD Dispatch
TG 24543 – Lexington County FD Admin
TG 25552 – Columbia FD Dispatch
TG 25569 – Richland County FD 5 HazMat
TG 27871 – SC National Guard
TG 28609 – SC LifeNet Medevac Helicopter
TG 40012 – SC Regional Gov’t 4
TG 44351 – Greenville FD Dispatch 1
TG 44385 – Greer FD
TG 51704 – MedTrans SC Medevac Helicopter

North Carolina Public Safety Conventional
154.400 (PL 156.7) – Gaston County FD Dispatch

Aviation/MilCom
120.700 – Charleston App/Dep

119.150 – Augusta App/Dep
126.800 – Augusta App/Dep

125.400 – Columbia App/Dep
318.100 – Columbia App/Dep
141.825 – 169th FW V14
140.125 – 169th FW V15

120.100 – Greer Tower
119.900 – Greenville Downtown Tower
133.325 – Donaldson Tower
118.800 – Greer App/Dep
119.400 – Greer App/Dep
270.275 – Greer App/Dep

343.750 – Bulldog MOA
264.700 – Poinsett Range

258.400 – DOUBLESHOT Discrete (W-161/177)
279.725 – DOUBLESHOT Discrete (W-161/177)

364.200 – NORAD AICC

263.125/135.350 – Atlanta Center Unarm Low
269.100/125.625 – Atlanta Center Spartanburg High
291.750/125.025 – Atlanta Center High Rock Ultra High
322.325/128.100 – Atlanta Center Augusta Low
360.625/124.325 – Atlanta Center Clark Hill Ultra High
269.550/124.700 – Jacksonville Center Columbia Low
319.200/127.875 – Jacksonville Center Aiken High


TG 27 – Fort Gordon Range Control (unenc)
TG 44 – Fort Gordon unknown (unenc)
TG 75 – Fort Gordon unknown (unenc)

US Army TRS – Fort Jackson
TG 737 – Fort Jackson Range Control (unenc)

FedCom
172.750 ($110) – NPS Blue Ridge Mountains, Mount Pisgah Digital

171.550 (PL 103.5) – USFS Pisgah District/Natnahala NF Zone 2

Savannah River Site Motorola Type II
TG 48592 – unknown (unenc)
TG 49072 – unknown (unenc)
TG 50464 – unknown (unenc)

Savannah River Site P25
TG 3001 – unknown (enc)
TG 3005 – unknown (enc)
TG 3009 – unknown (enc)
TG 3023 – unknown (unenc)
TG 3027 – unknown (unenc)
TG 3031 – unknown (unenc)
TG 3035 – unknown (unenc)
TG 3037 – unknown (unenc)
TG 3087 – unknown (enc)

Note: Some talkgroups are multicast between the two SRS systems

For supper tonight, I stopped at Southern Barbecue in Spartanburg. I love North Carolina style vinegar based barbecue and Southern Barbecue is the best I’ve had since Don’s BBQ in Pooler, GA closed. If you find yourself around I-85 and US-221 in Spartanburg, it’s well worth the stop for great food and friendly service.

Hurricane Michael Notes and Observations (Updated 14 October 2018)

Note: Post Updated with some observations from Saturday, 13 October 2018

Savannah – Unfortunately the southeast has seen its second catastrophic hurricane this season. Just a month after Hurricane Florence devastated the Carolinas, Hurricane Michael brought destruction upon the Florida panhandle and southwest Georgia. Earlier this week, Hurricane Michael came ashore at Mexico Beach as a Category 4 (almost Category 5) storm, destroying the town and surrounding areas then tore into southwest Georgia while still a Category 3 storm. Due to the track of the storm across Georgia, the 165th AW C-130s and some of Gulfstream’s aircraft at Savannah evacuated the area, returning yesterday. The devastation wrought by Michael necessitated federal and military response similar to that of Hurricane Florence last month.

Gulfstream Savannah’s aircraft appeared to evacuate to Huntsville, AL just as they did during Florence. On Wednesday, 10 October while I was in Brunswick, I caught some of the Gulfstreams leaving Savannah: GULFTEST 11 (G500, N500GA, Gulfstream Aerospace), GULFTEST 90 (G650, N656GA, Gulfstream Aerospace), and GULFTEST 51 (G600, N601GA, Gulfstream Aerospace). Yesterday, after I got back to Savannah from Brunswick, I heard 12 Gulfstream and Gulfstream customer aircraft return from Huntsville. No doubt due to problems caused by Michael, these aircraft came back to Savannah from the northwest instead of the southwest like they did after Florence; I caught them on 132.925 with Jacksonville Center to 125.300 with Savannah Approach/Departure, then to Savannah Tower on 119.100. One of them also checked in with the Gulfstream Service Center on 128.925 prior to its arrival. (I didn’t catch two of the aircraft on Mode-S so I’m not sure what their registrations were)

GULFTEST 10 (G500, N500GA, Gulfstream Aerospace)
GULFTEST 20 (G500, N509GD, Gulfstream Aerospace)
GULFTEST 29 (G550, N584GA, Gulfstream Aerospace)
GULFTEST 33 (G650, N282GA, Gulfstream Aerospace)
GULFTEST 51 (G600, N601GA, Gulfstream Aerospace)
GULFTEST 62 (B-LWX, G-450, TAG Aviation Asia)
GULFTEST 62 (G450, N401SR, Gulfstream Leasing)
GULFTEST 64 (G650, N655GD, Gulfstream Aerospace)
GULFTEST 66 (B-8127, G-450, Private)
GULFTEST 83 (Gulfstream Hurrevac Flight)
GULFTEST 90 (G550, N582GA, Gulfstream Aerospace)
GULFTEST 97 (Gulfstream Hurrevac Flight)

I’m not sure where the 165th AW’s C-130s evacuated to, but yesterday, I heard four of their aircraft arriving back in Savannah in from the north following the same sequence of frequencies that the Gulfstreams did. Additionally, they checked in on 225.750 with squadron operations and were using 225.050 for air-to-air traffic.

DAWG 06 (C-130H3, 94-6706, 165th AW)
DAWG 08 (C-130H3, 94-6708, 165th AW)
DAWG 61 (C-130H3, 93-1561, 165th AW)
DAWG 63 (C-130H3, 95-1563, 165th AW)

The Federal and Military response to Hurricane Michael has so far been very similar to that from Hurricane Florence. I’m too far away from southwest Georgia and the Florida panhandle to hear any of it, but I did catch one military aircraft going to the area from Savannah and saw some aviation assets working in the area on ADS-B Exchange.  Just as during Florence, those aviation assets were C3I and ISR aircraft. Yesterday morning, SHADY 11 (MC-12S-2, 09-00642, 224th MI Bn) departed Hunter AAF to the southwest and later in the morning I saw it on ADS-B exchange doing orbits in the area of Panama City and Apalachicola, FL. In addition to the MC-12S-2, I also noted two US Customs and Border Patrol P-3 AEWC aircraft (N142CS and N146CS) working in the area and a USAF E-3 AWACS.

On Saturday, while taking a look at the Florida panhandle and southwest on Georgia on ADS-B Exchange, I noticed something interesting around Albany and Tifton, GA. N19HX, a Helicopter Express Bell 206L-3 helicopter, had come from around Tifton (probably out of the airport in Tifton) and begun working just south of Albany. N41HX, a Helicopter Express Bell 407 helicopter was working south of Tifton, roughly around I-75. Based out of Atlanta, Helicopter Express is a contractor that provides helicopter services for a variety of purposes, disaster relief being one of them. Given where they were working, I’d have to guess that they were part of the Hurricane Michael response. With the flight paths that were plotted on ADS-B Exchange, I’d guess that both aircraft are working out of Henry Tift Myers Airport in Tifton.

Thankfully, those of us in southeast Georgia came through Michael with few problems, as the storm moved through the state a bit more to the northwest of us than it could have. The people in the Florida panhandle and southwest Georgia, however, are suffering. Don’t forget that people in those areas are some of those that helped us after Hurricanes Matthew and Irma; it’s our turn to help them.

Please keep the people of the Florida panhandle and southwest Georgia in your prayers and help with donations or contributions as you can. Many will remain out of their homes for quite a while and have lost most if not all of what they had.