Stunning video shows two BONEs taking off after sunset.
The B-1 bombers of the 9th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron, currently deployed to RAF Fairford, UK, as part of Bomber Task Force Europe, are quite busy (even during the weekend) these days. The video in this post shows DARK 61 (86-0140) and DARK 62 (86-0136) departing after 18:30 LT on Oct. 23, 2021.
As usual, the sight of a heavy Lancer taking off at night in full afterburner is simply stunning (you can find in our archive several articles featuring cool images and footage of the U.S. Air Force supersonic B-1 bombers and their glowing exhaust plumes, filmed in the darkness but also in plain daylight).
Interestingly, the thunderous take off was not the first event of the day for the two BONEs (as the B-1s are dubbed in the pilot community): the two jets had departed Fairford at first light (07.22AM) on Saturday morning under the callsigns SKYPE 01 (86-0140) and SKYPE 02 (86-0136). They rendezvoused with two KC-135s belonging to the 100th Air Refueling Wing from RAF Mildenhall, LARGER 637 and 638, over the North Sea and then they departed UK airspace via Sweden to work with Polish Air Force F-16s on a NATO joint mission.
From there the aircraft most probably headed towards the Baltic area.
They returned to RAF Fairford at 16.15LT and both went into a hot pit refuel, before they departed again at 18:30 for a local sortie to the north of the UK. They returned back to the British base almost exactly three hours later, at 21:30 LT: while it was a bit too dark to get a decent footage of their arrival, our friend Ben Ramsay at UK Aviation Movies filmed them on departure.
“It was tricky filming these B-1B Lancers in the dark, but these jets were absolutely stunning to see after sunset,” he says. “Certainly odd to see them flying on a Saturday, along with a U-2 (BLACK 01) that departed at 7:28am and recovered at 5:25pm. I shot a video of that recovery is here by the way. The B-1 has to be the current highlight of military aviation for me. What a treat to be rattled by these jets!”
David Cenciotti is a freelance journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written four books.