Monday 13th December saw the departure from the Boeing facilities at St Louis International Airport, Missouri of the second batch of Qatar Emiri Air Force F-15QAs on the initial part of their delivery flight. Chris Wood was there to catch them when they landed at RAF Mildenhall.
The four F-15s (callsigns RETRO 61 to 64) were supported by a pair of refuelling tankers for their long journey to RAF Mildenhall in the UK.
For the initial part of the flight they joined up with a KC-135R (callsign GOLD 12) from the 186th Air Refuelling Wing at Sioux City, Iowa which departed from Scott AFB, Illinois shortly before 0030 local time (0630 GMT).
For the second part of the flight, including the transatlantic portion, they were accompanied by a 305th Air Mobility Wing KC-10A (callsign GOLD 11) from McGuire AFB, New Jersey, which departed from Pease Air National Guard Base around 0300 local time (0800 GMT). The handover occurred in the Bangor, Maine area.
Their route saw them exiting the oceanic airspace to the north of Northern Ireland heading towards Glasgow, where they made a southerly turn towards East Anglia.
They arrived overhead Mildenhall’s runway 28 for a run and break shortly after 1330 local time (GMT).
Meanwhile, the straggler from the first delivery got airborne shortly before 1300 (as RETRO 65) for an hour long test flight.
This was the first time the aircraft had flown since it arrived at Mildenhall on 28th October.