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Odd LCA with no markings at Moffett Federal Airfield: I need help for ident

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posted on Sep, 13 2007 @ 10:36 PM
Okay, I usually keep a camera in my car but the batteries were dead.

Today taking off from Moffett Field in Mountain View, California was an aircraft I could NOT ident. Im pretty good with comericial aircraft but this one was a bit baffling.

The aircraft was a wide body

Mostly white and did not appear to be a cargo aircraft (An-124's are known to appear at Moffett from time to time) also all its windows were in place. Most cargo conversions plug the windows. No markings except for small numbering which were too far to make out and a small flag by the base of the tail which also was too small to make out.

The tail of the aircraft was high mounted and canted back similar to the VC-10 aircraft AND had the 4 engine arrangement on the tail like the VC-10

The tail also did resemble the Il-62 which sported 4 rear engines and a canted tail but lacked the pod of the Ilyshin a/c.

I am familiar with the VC-10 and the wing appeared more foreward in the fuselage than on that aircraft. Also Im under the impression that all of the VC-10's are used by the RAF (soon to be replaced) and are NOT painted white nor do they sport a white paint scheme or winglets.

The last two items: the plane was equipped with Whitcomb winglets and since I am in the flight path for both SFO and San Jose depending on weather conditions I am familiar with the sounds of stage II and stage III aircraft. This aircraft was really loud. Far more so than a stage II or stage III. It climbed out using the main runway which is west to east and appeared to get intot he approach pattern for SFO.

CIA rendition flight crossed my mind but why fly from an airport that a major highway runs parallel to the runway and tarmac and why use such a large and old aircraft (although the winglets suggest an upgrade)?

Any ideas?
It was really quite odd.

posted on Sep, 14 2007 @ 01:02 AM

The only aircraft built with the four engined configuartion that you describe are...

The VC10, Il-62, Lockheed Jetstar and the prototype of the North American/Rockwell Sabreliner. (Anyone who can think of another, please dive in)

The VC10 and the Il-62 both have bullet fairings (what I assume you mean by 'pod') at the junction of the T-Tail and the fin, the Il-62 being larger.

Both the Jetstar and the Sabreliner prototype had the tailplane mounted mid fin rather than as a T atop the fin and I don't think the Sabreliner prototype still exists. at least not in a four engined configuration.

With regard to your other comments.....

Wide body..... if I disregard the number of engines, I can think of two aircraft that, because of fuselage diameter vs wingspan tend to look wide-bodied - The BAC 111 (with a quite small bullet fairing) and the Canadair/Bombardier Challenger (especially Challenger 601 and 604), however, as well as an error in identifying the number of engines, this would also be an error of scale. The stepped engine cowlings/nacelles on the Challenger 601 / 604 might, I guess, cause a mis-identification of the number of engines, as might the irregular shape of a hush-kitted Spey on a BAC-111. However, the relative diameter of the turbofan nacelles to the fuselage diameter on the Challenger tend to make it look smaller overall rather than larger.

Winglets.... unfortunately, from the point of identification, any number of different aircraft, both business and commercial are thus fitted or have been fitted after market including HS.125s, B727s, etc.

Noise.... The noisiest aircraft I can think of in that general category (T-Tailed, no bullet fairing (well almost none anyway), and a wide-bodied appearance, possibly with aftermarket winglets - but with two engines podded on the rear fuselage) would be the BAC 111 - the Speys were notoriously noisy.

So without knowing the conditions under which you saw this aircraft, may I respectfully suggest that you may have mis-identified the number of engines.

With the addition of winglets, I'm guessing you saw a BAC-111. How close is this.......

The Winged Wombat

[edit on 14/9/07 by The Winged Wombat]

posted on Sep, 14 2007 @ 01:58 AM
Could it possibley be an engine test bed on any number of rear engined aircraft. They have a habit of fitting them in rather bizarre locations. If if it was to be owned by an engine manufacturer that might explain the lack of markings (not quite boeing or airbus who would coat anything of theirs with a giant adert.


posted on Sep, 14 2007 @ 07:54 AM
reply to post by FredT
Moffett field is where NASA Ames is right? Funny I had a thread a couple of days ago about an odd four engined aircraft there I saw on TV(it was the NASA QSRA research aircraft from the 1970's-80's). I would suggest Fred that you ring the airfield, and if you have an accurate time and date they may be able to help you out. Other than that I would agree with Wombat that if you can rule out the VC-10 and Il-62 then BAC-111 with winglets is possible, although why you would go to that trouble and not hush kit it seems odd. Sounds like an assignment for waynos.


[edit on 14-9-2007 by thebozeian]

posted on Sep, 15 2007 @ 01:51 PM
The remaining RAF VC-10's seem to come in a number of variants and colour schemes, some "stretched" and others not (which might account for the wing positioning ?). Some aircraft have refuelling pods under the outboard section of each wing, which if looked at from the wrong angle or a good distance might look like a bit like winglets. One common theme is that they all seem to have minimal markings apart from fairly discreet squadron insignia on the tail. Although I can't see any examples of white VC-10's in RAF service. Just grey or a desert sandy brown.

VC-10 flying in to drop off some kit to a RN ship in port nearby ? Or collecting some kit from, I dunno, Lockheed Martin ?

VC-10 recognition ...

posted on Sep, 16 2007 @ 04:17 AM
reply to post by The Winged Wombat

It is possible that I may hae misidentified the aircraft but the runway area is about 100 years from US 101 where I was passing. Im 90% sure but there is always that 10%. the engine configuration was unusual to say the least.

We fly from that field all the time and as I said there is always something interesting on the Tarmac. The ops guys at the base do not really talk too much about what is going on so i doubt they would be much help.

The link is not working for the BAC-111 but I will see if I can dig one up.

Thanks for the info. if i catch it again I will get a pic up.

posted on Sep, 16 2007 @ 04:21 AM
I took a look at the BAC-111

That does not seem to be it. It appeared much larget and there were F-18's on the tarmac as well for a point of reference.

posted on Sep, 16 2007 @ 11:07 AM
Did it look at all like the Tu 334? Again, this has only two engines, but from a certain angle the exhaust from the tail mounted apu can make it look like another engine is present.

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