WC-135W Constant Phoenix, serial 61-2667
One last go around the patch! The WC-135W Constant Phoenix, serial 61-2667 (callsign SHINR51), arrived at the Greenville Majors Airport yesterday. This historic "nuke sniffing" airframe has been in USAF service since 1962 and has 36,577 flight hours. Boneyard Safari was on scene and we were not only lucky enough to see its arrival, but subsequent pattern work!
Tasked with collecting nuclear samples from the atmosphere, this Constant Phoenix has found itself in the midst of major world events such as Chernobyl in 1986, Crimea in 2014, Fukushima in 2011, and a number of other nuclear tests by countries such as Pakistan, India, and North Korea.
A formal retirement ceremony for Tail 667 was held at the Lincoln Airport Wednesday, September 7th, to send off the aircraft many of its former flight crews lovingly refer to as "Old Busted". If you look closely at the side of the aircraft, you can see many signatures both under the cockpit section and on the inboard engine. During the ceremony, the base welcomed the new addition to the fleet and the WC-135W's replacement, WC-135R tail 64-14836, which Boneyard Safari caught flight testing at Greenville back in June prior to delivery. The WC-135R is the first of three Constant Phoenix aircraft that is slated to come on property.
In the meantime, the fine folks at L3Harris in Greenville will begin removal of Tail 667's sensor suites and communication equipment. Shortly after, it will be flown one final time to the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base boneyard, or AMARG, where it will join many of its sisters in the desert.
Farewell to this Cold Warrior. She has served her country well!