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  • 32

How Trump's secret trip to Iraq became not-so-secret

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It was a crisp winter morning in Sheffield, England, when amateur photographer and plane enthusiast Alan Meloy looked out his kitchen window and noticed a large trail in the sky. He didn't know he was about to accidentally help uncover a highly sensitive, secret presidential trip to a conflict zone (www.cnn.com) 기타...

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thomassommerville
modern inexpensive cameras are well capable of identifying aircraft type and operators even at 40,000ft.My Nikon B700 at less than £400 is an example.
jmilleratp
You may have billions of dollars worth of security, intelligence and subterfuge. But, I have a camera with a telephoto lens. :-)
joelwiley
Who you gonna believe, your trusted government or your own lyin' eyes?

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mdlacey
Your loss. An intellectual would take all into account.
awsauerman
It would be so nice to read an informative article and not have it fall into the political garbage that it ends with. How hard is it (it must be for some) to keep trash talk/politics out of it?

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Dubslow
Dubslow 3
Just like the SSV Normandy!
rrtbj
So much secrecy uncovered by an amateur photographer. .
deingy
Various VC USA blue and white aircraft fly all the time without the President aboard. I've seen one of the 747s making approaches at WPAFB several times under non AF1 conditions. Very strict rules when it is AF1. As a vet I thought the trip was a great idea.
joelwiley
Callsign may have said REACH358, but the ICAO tag mapped to VC-25.
How many R-Pis and Planeplotter groundstations logged it across the UK & Europe?
I presume FA, out of courtesy, did not report it.
OccamsRazor
Remember when Bush Jr did a similar trip they changed the aircraft code to a Gulfstream V. Flightaware doesn't track military flights.
williambaker08
Ya and almost got spotted by a British airways pilot who called in and asked if Air Force one was in the area!!! Controller said no that was a gulfstream aircraft. If he spoke up and said no that was a 747 it would have blown their cover.
allorrie
With the addition of social media, one mans hobby can be converted to espionage.
sparjolly
R Jolly 7
So many cloaks of secrecy until then someone remarks, "but the Emperor has no clothes"
vertgreen
My admiration and respect to the Real Troops in conflict zones.
flyboyeddy
2. I'm not sure the ceiling limit in a 200 series, but I'm sure smooth air was part of that decision. light chop might mess up the Donalds hair!!
Also, hard to hide anything on a "severe clear" morning, In this day altitude may not help either, ask the fine folks at Air Malaysia. Just sayin...
timofthedeep
I wish there could be a politics free zone SOMEWHERE where I could hide from it.
jeffinsydney
jeff slack -4
Yes, just like the Germans did while they were burning Jews...............unfortunately when politics and people sink as low as they currently have; every platform needs to be the voice of the people.

Go hide under a rock or live in a cave.
rapidwolve
Sorry but some platforms DON'T need to be the political voice of people, and this is 1 of them.
FAwareM
FAwareM 4
That's "President" Trump, CNN headline writers. You should get used to it as you will be seeing it for another six years.
jm11
j m -1
That's redundant; everyone knows he's the president.
sstuff
sstuff 2
That is respect for the office.
joelwiley
Except for those who know the term is an oxymoron. Just sayin'
siriusloon
siriusloon -2
And you never, ever let it go when the media said "Obama" rather than "President Obama", right?
SBI1
No Name 4
What a surprise, a Fake News CNN "Article" in an attempt to show something negative about POTUS. Shocker.
crosbya
FYI. I ignore conspiracy comments by people who do not use their real name.
joelwiley
There is a fine line between 'show something negative about LOTUS' and straight news reporting. Very, Very fine.
WALLACE24
Hard to get news anymore without spin. We all have our own opinions, we don’t need theirs every 3 seconds.
orvlnet
orvlnet 6
There never has and never will be such thing as "unbiased news". Everyone has some sort of bias, even the most reputable news organizations. The key is for such organizations to wear their bias on their sleeve and present all sides to a story. This is the key difference between news outlets like Fox and the NY Times.
WALLACE24
Spinning the news(including adding false narratives) and having a bias are different to me. News media is political showbiz. I’m just glad the trip was a success. The troops deserve it.
siriusloon
siriusloon -1
The NYT regularly publishes columnists, op-ed pieces, and letters from conservatives. How many liberals get their fare share of the airtime on Faux News?
orvlnet
orvlnet -7
Strap on your tin hats everyone, we've got a Trump fan in the house!
williambaker08
And we should be worried Y.
siriusloon
Exactly what was negative about Trump in the article? Just because the news media merely mentions his name doesn't mean it's negative or fake. He's a big boy, he doesn't need people to look after him. He can yell at CNN louder than you ever can. Get a hobby.
jeffinsydney
jeff slack -1
Not hard for something negative to be seen or said about 45; even FOX has woken up..............but we are talking about the president's security not fake news.
siriusloon
IIRC, both Bush 43 and Obama made at least one trip over there in a C-17 to maintain security. I doubt anyone in the Pentagon had enough nerve to even suggest it to tRump.
jetserf
jetserf 7
When did those trips happen? In all of the instances I’ve read about the Presidents traveled to war zones in a VC-25A.
rwingo19
I mean, we are not 100% engaged there right now, so the need for a C-17 is not there
mdlacey
Analysis based on NO evidence. Don't fly or design aircraft if that's your criterion.
PTAYERS2836
trip upset liberals, best they could come up with was to be offended by Melonia wore “work boots”. Guess works boots do scare liberals...
rapidwolve
WTH has that got to do with the aviation side of things?
666adt
Couple of questions:

1. Is there any significance to the "VC" and/or the "25" designations?
2. Why would it be flying what seems to my uneducated "eye" to be so low, 31,000 feet? Why not higher, where it would be harder to hit and harder to identify?
deingy
V is used for the decked out versions of C (cargo) type aircraft just as R, E, and K are used for reconnaissance, electronics, and tanker versions. ie, VC-135(retired AF!), RC-135 and EC-135 (spy planes), and KC-135 (air-air refuelers). All versions built on the same airframe.
deingy
Flew many times on T-29 aircraft {trainer} aircraft converted for courier duty that had a camera in the back that you weren't told about. Should have been called a RVT-29.
siriusloon
That would negate the advantage of not telling people about it, don't you think?
orvlnet
orvlnet 2
1. VC stands for "VIP Carrier".
2. They were trying to look like a cargo flight on trackers (Reach callsign). Those aircraft usually fly around 30k ft. Even at 45k ft a zoom lens would still be able to ID the aircraft quite easily.
siriusloon
No, it does not. The "C" is the Basic Mission Letter and means that it's a Cargo aircraft. The "V" prefix is the Modified Mission Letter and indicates that it's modified and equipped for VIP use. All of this is easily verified. Google is your friend.

In theory, numbers in each series are supposed to be used sequentially, but the "C" for "Cargo" series jumps around like the rest of them. Basically, when this designation was assigned, "25" was available and the people who suggested and approved it liked it.

They're talking about the replacement "Air Force Ones" being designated as VC-25B, but I think they'll pick something else. The 747-8 is very different from the 747-200 and I think most politicians, especially presidents, would rather have an "A" than a "B" model.
joelwiley
If it goes down in this administration it will be VC45(THE GREATEST EVER)T
ROBERTMILLSJR
Guessing that like most aircraft, they fly at the most fuel efficient and tail wind altitudes.
Other considerations such as turbulence, other aircraft and concealment from hostiles may be involved.
I'll put in a call to Sara Sanders in the meantime to see if she'll answer the question.
deingy
??? Is Sheffield,UK on the flight path of a normal DC-Bagdad flight or did the VC-25 stop by Lakenheath and that would explain that altitude. They stopped at Ramstein on the way back.
siriusloon
Google "prevailing winds".
jm11
j m 1
What about the comments from the Reuters reporter and Trump that they kept the window shades shut and the lights down for the flight for security reasons? I could see why they may have the plane dark closer to landing in Iraq but why would closing the window shades affect security?
ROBERTMILLSJR
Guessing the window shades were down to avoid showing it wasn't a cargo 747 flight.
Safe to assume that all 747 flights into Iraq are Cargo.
Sophisticated terrorists might suspect that a stunt like this was in the cards at any given time, and only had to give orders to shoot and any 747 or 757 with window lights aglow.
That being said, I doubt they'll be caught off guard like that again, especially those proven, nasty, Obama, Clinton and Democrat funded and supported anti-American Iranians.
siriusloon
The blue and white paint and highly-polished aluminum would be less of a clue than window shades being open?
orvlnet
orvlnet 2
Great comment, right up until the wingnut closing statement.
ROBERTMILLSJR
Yep, I agree. I should've kept that to myself. Won't do it again. My apologies.
topgunnh
Hmm, FL310? Ability to be spotted by amateur photogs? AF1 Colors? This could have been a decoy for the benefit of CNN and the others so they'd have something to talk about. They're always ready to take the bait.
orvlnet
orvlnet 6
Even at FL450 a 747 is clearly identifiable on a clear day with any decent telephoto lens. That's irrelevant.
joelwiley
Setting up a decoy to trick CNN during a government shutdown?
That certainly would be the highest and best use of our precious tax dollars, wouldn't it? /s
crchall
This guy has just assured that no one will ever be able to do that again. They'll be using a different aircraft or it will be painted in some other colors, fly at night, something. The Secret Service pays attention to stuff like this.
siriusloon
How reassuring that they didn't think of it before the flight.

[This comment has been downvoted. Show anyway.]

bsampson
You know it is very disappointing and proves that even here on this forum some people just cant help themselves keeping to the topic.
rwingo19
True that, sad!

[This comment has been downvoted. Show anyway.]

dnorthern
Bill. You are acting like a childish moron. Grow up and act the adult your chronological age demands
orvlnet
orvlnet -6
Yea c'mon Bill, don't you know you're not allowed to talk that way about our dear leader?
williambaker08
He maybe a messed up president but it was us americans that elected him and now we have to listen to him rant and rave. GET OVER IT.
baingm
You are a dangerous moron moron....

[This comment has been downvoted. Show anyway.]

siriusloon
Because the BBC version has big words you wouldn't understand.
rapidwolve
What would you rather have them post??..The way I read it, seemed pretty clear.
pixelvt
Bill Fox -2
you would prefer Fox news ?
666adt
False dichotomy logical fallacy.
WALLACE24
WALLACE24 -8
Maybe it’s the last presidential visit.
WALLACE24
Meaning: it’s past time to leave.
siriusloon
After once again proving to allies whose very existence depends on the *promised* U.S. support can and usually will evaporate with no notice. Why would anyone ever trust the US. You betrayed the Hmong in Vietnam, thousands of other Vietnamese and Cambodians who were abandoned when Hanoi fell, countless interpreters and fixers in Iraq and Afghanistan, and now the Kurds. Trump claimed Obama "founded" ISIS, but what he's just done is put their recruiting on steroids.

Sometimes you need to consider the long-term consequences of a decision rather that tweet something impulsive that not even your own DoD had any idea about, let alone your allies, solely for the short-term benefit of getting approval from Faux News and a few keyboard warriors on here.
WALLACE24
1. Allies are born out of need not friendship.
2. Vietnam war based on BS (domino theory)
3. Hanoi didn’t fall. Saigon did.
4. Gen Westmoreland lied to Presidents. Every GI realized no win without invading the north.
5.President does not report to Dod. Other way around.
6. If we stay longer in Middle East then leave, what will be different than now? Americans are weary of spending life and $.
7. Neither Obama or Trump did or should put all their faith in generals or Dod.
8. Not a keyboard warrior Jack! Been there, done it.
joelwiley
Often the truth hurts, and gets downvoted. Doesn't change its truthfulness.
Flightdog
Let's see...it has pretty much become a holiday tradition that POTUS shows up in a war zone to shmooz with some troops so what is the big deal. Just fly him in unannounced (if these trips are actually necessary-which is a debatable) and that should take care of it. Some guy in England saw AF1 fly over his house...so what!

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