Constant Phoenix arrives at Mildenhall

On Tuesday 30th March 2015 WC-135W Constant Phoenix arrived at RAF Mildenhall under the cal sign ‘COBRA 67 Heavy’ the aircraft is rumored to be staying as part of a deployment.

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Cobra 67 is seen on final approach to RAF Mildenhall. © Ryan Dorling

61-2667 is an atmospheric research aircraft, with a rich history of being used as a weather aircraft with the 55th WRS at McClellan AFB and with the 10th ACCS based at RAF Mildenhall.

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61-2667 is seen here commencing a 180 on the runway 29 under-run in the markings of the 10th ACCS. © Chris Dorling

The aircraft was used for atmospheric air sampling during Operation Tomodachi over the Fukushima nuclear power plant after the Japanese tsunami in 2010, 61-2667 flew nine missions over Japan and conducted 660 air samples which were in turn transferred over to national laboratories where they were examined further, this disaster was the largest nuclear meltdown since the 1986 Chernobyl disaster which the aircraft also flew mission to conduct air sampling.  The aircraft uses two external flow pods that are located half way down both sides of the fuselage to sample the air, this pods work similar to that of the Wurlitzer jukebox where it uses an arm to pick pieces of filter paper out to be exposed.

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61-2667 is seen here departing RAF Mildenhall with seven mission marks in the shape of nuclear power symbols. © Ryan Dorling

61-2667 does have a sister WC-135 serial number 62-3582 is a WC-135C, this aircraft has a lot more aerials on the aircraft but is thought to do the same job as her sister 667.

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62-3582 is seen here at rest at RAF Mildenhall in 2009. © Ryan Dorling

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