Help to ID a plane? [N90 - FAA Flight Inspection Aircraft]

c.eileen

Member
A strange jet passed overhead here and I was wondering if some of the members more familiar with jet aircraft could help me out with either an ID or an easy-to-use plane-spotting website I can try. I've tried about 4 and they are not user-friendly for someone who is not already familiar with aircraft. Also, I have a couple of questions about this particular aircraft.

The fuselage is bullet-shaped, kind of clunky looking actually (at least to my aesthetic standards) and relatively short compared to the wings. It's a T-tail, two engines mounted on the tail, no props. The wings are swept back, with the base of the wings wide, and the wing overall looks relatively short with blunt tips. I looked up some images of planes that seem to come closest to it in shape and proportion, and I found two that look kind of the same: A Douglas DC-9 (or some smaller version of it) and a Bombardier CRJ-100LR, with the latter the closest match. However, I couldn't tell, from the angle, if the wing tips were bent up like in the Bombardier. It looked to be about the size of a regional jet, and was flying low. My out-spread hand (about 8.5 inches), at arms length, just covered it when it was directly overhead.

This plane passed over 4 times—two round trips less than 10 minutes apart. It was all white with no markings at all—no logo, no numbers, no insignia. I'm about 60 miles W of Sacramento, CA and its large airports. The plane's final pass took it out towards a no-man's-land NE of here toward Glenn County. I don't know what's out there in terms of airports—other than small private plane type—but it originally came from that direction.

When someone buys a new plane, do they take it on a test flight before committing, like a person takes a new car on a test drive? If so, could that be the reason it has no numbers and flew back and forth for no apparent reason?

I'm not a paranoid who sees the NSA behind every bush. I just thought the whole episode, and the plane, rather curious. I'm glad my sister did not see it. She's much into the CT thing and would have been very unhappy, maybe even frightened.
 

c.eileen

Member
What date and time did you see it?

Today (8/11/15), at about 11:45. I saw it and started to search for images just before I contacted Metabunk.

And this was definitely a T-tail aircraft, though the fuselage of that Cessna in the video looks pretty close. Also the base of the wings were wider. Wish I had been able to get a photo (no camera to hand).
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Possibly a plane related to the firefighting. There were these flying around to the south of you:



Forestry and fire seem to use odd old planes.

Planes can just fly around for various reason - sometimes it's pilot training, sometimes testing, sometimes surveying.

Many planes look featureless from below. The markings can be on the side, and quite small.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
It also did two touch-and-go landings at Medford


And at several other airports. So I'm thinking they are simply practicing landings.
 
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Trailblazer

Moderator
Staff member
This definitely looks like the same track, but with the detail of the landings missing.

upload_2015-8-11_21-52-9.png


is this the plane?



The engines aren't mounted on the tail though.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Is this the same plane, on Planefinder? The track looks similar but not identical, and the plane type shows up as different.

I think it must be, with the difference being down to PlaneFinder's less complete coverage. It's just went off "the radar" on PF, but is still there on FR24.
 

c.eileen

Member
Trailblazer: Does the plane you detected look similar to the one Mick found? They're the same make, different model?
Mick's image shows a plane without markings, like I saw.
 

Trailblazer

Moderator
Staff member
Trailblazer: Does the plane you detected look similar to the one Nick found? They're the same make, different model?
Nick's image shows a plane without markings, like I saw.

Yes this is the exact plane, if Planefinder is right. Reg N90

Almost plain white.

 

Trailblazer

Moderator
Staff member
According to this link, N90 is part of the FAA fleet assigned to "Flight Inspection", but I don't know what that would entail?

http://www.aerovintage.com/current.htm


Edit: Found this link: http://www.507arw.afrc.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123345918

4/25/2013 - TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- The 1st Aviation Standards Flight is a small team of reservists performing critical inspections to ensure aircraft take off and land safely, not only at Tinker Air Force Base, but locations all over the globe.

The 24-member flight, located at the Federal Aviation Administration center at Will Rogers World Airport is a little known part of the 507th Air Refueling Wing. This unique flight augments the FAA's flight inspection mission and works hand in hand with their active duty counterparts, 375th Air wing Detachment 1.

This small team of inspectors spends a great deal of time flying in either the Bombardier Challenger aircraft running inspections on everything from takeoff and landing systems to flight routes as well as low level routes.

Missions are typically flown every other week. Planning for these inspections involves a great deal of preparation.
Content from External Source
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
According to this link, N90 is part of the FAA fleet assigned to "Flight Inspection", but I don't know what that would entail?

http://www.aerovintage.com/current.htm

https://www.faa.gov/air_traffic/flight_info/avn/
Flight Inspection Services (FIS) provides airborne flight inspection of electronic signals-in-space from ground-based navigational aids that support aircraft departure, en route, and arrival flight procedures in the National Airspace System. Flight procedures are also evaluated for accuracy, aeronautical data, human factors flyability, and obstacle clearance. Flight Inspection Services also provides Flight Inspection for the Department of Defense on foreign navigational facilities that have been designated as essential to the defense of the United States. These activities are conducted with a fleet of 32 specially-equipped flight inspection aircraft.

Flight Inspection Operations Group are headquartered in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, at the Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center. There are six flight inspection field offices, located throughout the continental United States, and one in Anchorage, Alaska. International Operations are conducted from Oklahoma City. From this location, we respond to worldwide request from international customers. Flight inspection is conducted by a work force of approximately 188 employees. Our pilots and technicians flight inspect more than 5,500 facilities throughout the world, averaging 20,000 flight-hours annually. A flight inspection crew usually includes two airspace system inspection pilots and one flight inspection technician. A fleet of approximately 32 aircraft of 5 different types supports the flight inspection program: Challenger 601, Challenger 604, Challenger 605, Lear 60 and Beechcraft BE-300.
Content from External Source
So basically they are testing the airports!
 

c.eileen

Member
Possibly a plane related to the firefighting. There were these flying around to the south of you:



Forestry and fire seem to use odd old planes.

Planes can just fly around for various reason - sometimes it's pilot training, sometimes testing, sometimes surveying.

Many planes look featureless from below. The markings can be on the side, and quite small.

I saw enough of the plane as it passed away to see that it was bare of colors or markings. And, yeah, some of the planes working these fires are pretty bizarre. The top one you show looks like a toy!
 

c.eileen

Member
https://www.faa.gov/air_traffic/flight_info/avn/
Flight Inspection Services (FIS) provides airborne flight inspection of electronic signals-in-space from ground-based navigational aids that support aircraft departure, en route, and arrival flight procedures in the National Airspace System. Flight procedures are also evaluated for accuracy, aeronautical data, human factors flyability, and obstacle clearance. Flight Inspection Services also provides Flight Inspection for the Department of Defense on foreign navigational facilities that have been designated as essential to the defense of the United States. These activities are conducted with a fleet of 32 specially-equipped flight inspection aircraft.

Flight Inspection Operations Group are headquartered in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, at the Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center. There are six flight inspection field offices, located throughout the continental United States, and one in Anchorage, Alaska. International Operations are conducted from Oklahoma City. From this location, we respond to worldwide request from international customers. Flight inspection is conducted by a work force of approximately 188 employees. Our pilots and technicians flight inspect more than 5,500 facilities throughout the world, averaging 20,000 flight-hours annually. A flight inspection crew usually includes two airspace system inspection pilots and one flight inspection technician. A fleet of approximately 32 aircraft of 5 different types supports the flight inspection program: Challenger 601, Challenger 604, Challenger 605, Lear 60 and Beechcraft BE-300.
Content from External Source
So basically they are testing the airports!



Great replies, guys. Thank you!
 

TWCobra

Senior Member.
Navigation Aids such as Instrument Landing Systems (ILS), VORs DME and NDB need to be periodically flight checked for accuracy. It generally the responsibility of the various worldwide regulators and specially instrumented aircraft are used for the job.

This is probably what this aircraft does.
 

c.eileen

Member
This definitely looks like the same track, but with the detail of the landings missing.

upload_2015-8-11_21-52-9.png


is this the plane?



The engines aren't mounted on the tail though.
Ehh...could be. The engines seem a little far forward and the nose cone seems too pointed, but it could be the plane. This angle is different from what I was able to view, so the perspective here is playing tricks on me. I'm going to say that, allowing for the difference in perspective, this is probably the plane.
 

c.eileen

Member
Again, Everybody, Thanks!
Nick: I think you outlined somewhere how to access the radar tracking site that you and others use, and have used here. Could you direct me back to the thread that had that information? I think it was a chemtrail discussion...but there are so many...
I have an iMac using Safari and Firefox. Will the site work with those, or do I need an MS browser? Will Chrome work?
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
Sorry, sorry, sorry! Terrible typist and not being attentive! Sorry Mick!

Thank you for the site!
There is also a flightradar24 app for your phone, if you have one.

you can change the altitude filter easily (click add filter, and drop down menu under tools) too, which might come in handy if you are showing your sister which plane is making a current contrail. or if you can tell the plane is low you can filter out planes at 30,ooo feet etc.

But don't be shy about asking the guys for any help using it.. they love it.

alt.PNG
 

c.eileen

Member
There is also a flightradar24 app for your phone, if you have one.

you can change the altitude filter easily (click add filter, and drop down menu under tools) too, which might come in handy if you are showing your sister which plane is making a current contrail. or if you can tell the plane is low you can filter out planes at 30,ooo feet etc.

But don't be shy about asking the guys for any help using it.. they love it.

alt.PNG
Awesome, thank you! Maybe I can use this to help my sister see that the "grid pattern chemtrails" she sees in the Redding area (which seems one of the focal points for a lot of this) are simply intersecting flight paths of ordinary commercial aircraft as they go about their normal business. I can show her the planes' paths, flight numbers, everything. Thank you very much.
 

Trailblazer

Moderator
Staff member
Awesome, thank you! Maybe I can use this to help my sister see that the "grid pattern chemtrails" she sees in the Redding area (which seems one of the focal points for a lot of this) are simply intersecting flight paths of ordinary commercial aircraft as they go about their normal business. I can show her the planes' paths, flight numbers, everything. Thank you very much.
Yes it is a useful tool for that. It can take some getting used to as often the planes are much further away than you think! Mick has some graphics illustrating it, but basically even a plane 10 miles away will look pretty high in the sky. Contrails you see above rooftops might be 30 miles away or more.
 

c.eileen

Member
a little graphic on grid formation.. it is kinda hard to find what youre looking for on this site :)
https://www.metabunk.org/contrail-pattern-simulator.t3157/

Add: and a chart of how far away the contrail kinda is. the numbers on the left are "degrees" above the horizon. it does help.
https://www.metabunk.org/how-far-away-can-i-see-an-aircraft.t4038/#post-118743
Thanks for the altitude info. It will come in handy.
Signing off for the night. You have all been a big help.
 
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