Picture Stories from Earth: Tinker AWACS

Google Earth is a bigger time sink than IMDB.com. With their ‘street view’ function, you can be a virtual tourist almost anywhere in the world. People tend to think of GE as a collection of satellite photos, but that’s not totally true. Sure, central Siberia is likely to be old LandSat imagery, but more civilized places have plenty of ‘air breather’ imagery, from mapping companies and the like.

Today, BoingBoing pointed out a shot of Tinker AFB, OK, that shows an E-3A AWACS taking off. The mapping plane that captured the event was evidently flying in the same direction as the runway (170 degrees, according to the markings, almost straight south), and the frame timer was working fast enough to capture a number of shots of the AWACS as it climbed away.

EA-3 AWACS Takeoff from Tinker AFB

Seen on the right are a C-130, three KC-135 tankers, a B-52, and another AWACS. You can tell the AWACS because of the black and white saucer on top of the plane. That holds the airborne radar system.

The fun thing is, there’s another seven shots of the AWACS bird as it climbs away from the field. You can see them by clicking on [view larger map] on the BB post, or you could go to Google Earth and look up Tinker AFB yourself.

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