Picture of the Day - 4 February 2010

This one's a quiz. What's special about the airplane that has the NK on the tail?

i-44f951fe30b7136c253762eb7f697786-IMGP0015-tm.jpg

1/750 sec @ f/9.8; 180mm focal length

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Was it John McCain's?

Most likely the squadron commander's ride. They get the mascot. The 00 tail number might also be significant. It is also an EA-6 w/o a tail pod in a squadron of EA-6 electronics warfare aircraft that usually do also tends to point to it being a bit special.

The NK says it is in CVW-14 assigned to USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76). The mascot, based on the options available within CVW-14, would indicate it is a cougar and so the squadron is VAQ-139 Cougars which fly EA-6Bs, electronic warfare aircraft.

That's all I can come up with on short notice but perhaps you had something else in mind.

Definitely not an EA-6B, Art. I've worked on them for nearly 25 years.

A little more research.

An S3A or B belonging to the VS-35 Blue Wolves attached to CVW-14. Maybe the skippers a/c since its not the low visibility paint scheme.

VS-35 was disestablished March 31, 2005.

Thats all I've got.

It's not a prowler. It's also not an airframe that McCain flew.

A little search on the BUNO reveals this:

159387 (S-3B) was "Navy 1" which landed President George W. Bush aboard USS
Abraham Lincoln May 1, 2003. SOC Sep 25, 2003 and is now located at
National Museum of Naval Aviation, Pensacola, FL.

Ugh. I spent way too much time on this.

Justn a quick question - but how much did this paint job cost the American tax payers?

Not much, actually. The squadron logo was on the plane well before the President's photo op, so the only repainting that was done was replacing the air wing markings with "Navy 1" and painting the President's name under the canopy.