Identified: "Mystery Plane" Circling Over Denver, IRON99 [E-6B Mercury TACAMO]

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Mystery Plane Over Denver Metabunk.jpg

Update: The "mysterious" plane over Denver was indeed an E-6B Mercury, TACAMO - a mobile command platform used by the US Navy - the extra bumps are for communication equipment. While it's unknown exactly what it was doing, it's not at all mysterious. They fly practice and testing missions all the time. The only reason people noticed this one was that it left a nice contrail that showed the curved path it was taking.

Original Story.
http://www.thedenverchannel.com/news/local-news/mystery-flight-circles-over-denver-officials-have-few-answers



 

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Trailblazer

Moderator
Staff member
The Aviationist has covered it:

https://theaviationist.com/?p=40479


 

SR1419

Senior Member
Looks like it, from the video:
Indeed - but it doesnt show it long enough to tell if was really persistent- such that if it was doing laps and laying a big, persistent cloud (some) people would really be freaking out.
 
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M Bornong

Senior Member

moosebear

New Member
Was the contrail persistent?
I saw it. And during a turn over the mountains the contrail disappeared while it was heading north and then reappeared once it was heading east. I wondered if it had changed altitude. Also very curious why it would matter?
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
I saw it. And during a turn over the mountains the contrail disappeared while it was heading north and then reappeared once it was heading east. I wondered if it had changed altitude. Also very curious why it would matter?
If it persisted you'd get a really cool looking layered pattern when it was flying in the "racetrack" circuit. There's a bunch of contrail nerds here who like that kind of thing. :)
 

M Bornong

Senior Member
http://www.thedenverchannel.com/news/local-news/navy-identifies-mystery-plane-over-denver-its-mission-still-a-secret
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
http://www.thedenverchannel.com/news/local-news/navy-identifies-mystery-plane-over-denver-its-mission-still-a-secret
So basically it was going in for a service, but got stuck in traffic.
 

Keith Beachy

Senior Member
If they asked for a new/different/changed flight plan, then they would have to hold till the request was put through flight-service. And when in the system, ATC will clear them to go. Something as a military pilot I had to do when "command post" said new plan... and then we are put in holding by ATC until we call flight-service, put our new clearance on request, and then wait till ATC gets it and has time to give us our new clearance and let us go. (I learned my lesson, next time I was going to my first delay point in the sticks (AR track), then put in the change where we have to orbit anyway, and terminal traffic is not a problem.)
They could be training and asked to hold inbound to the Buckley VORTAC with specific legs, it may of been on their flight plan.
Traffic could be a problem, but usually nearer the terminal area, near OKC. Could be training, or a mission requirement (comm relay or whatever they do... ), or a clearance/flight plan problem.
They were high so they would not be talking to the local towers or be a problem for the Denver airport. Iron would be under Dever Center control.

https://www.faa.gov/air_traffic/flight_info/aeronav/digital_products/ifr/#highAlt
All the charts are online now.
TACAMO planes are stationed Tinker, OKC, their home.
 
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