Loring Air Force Base, Maine

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MITO Takeoffs, Loring AFB, Maine 1984
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What is MITO?

Minimum interval takeoff, or MITO, was a technique designed to get the maximum number of aircraft airborne in the minimum amount of time. Strategic Air Command crew members practiced it frequently, knowing that once Soviet missiles were launched, they'd have only minutes to save as many bombers as possible for the counterpunch. The takeoff interval between tankers was 15 seconds, and just 12 seconds for bombers.

The challenge for pilots was to negotiate the turbulence on the runway and avoid after takeoff the wake of the bomber ahead. Whatever we did, taking off 12 seconds behind another B-52 meant at least a minute of very rough air during the takeoff roll and initial climbout.1

The aircraft would get into the air as fast as possible, one following another off the runway. Such "minimum-interval takeoff (MITO)" exercises were hazardous, since there was a danger of a disastrous pileup, greatly aggravated by the clouds of black smoke pouring from water-injected J57s fitted to all Buffs except the B-52H that reduced visibility to near-zero for all but the first aircraft in the stream. 2

1 An excerpt from "A Full Retaliatory Response." by Thomas D. Jones.

2 B-52 Evolution. http://www.faqs.org/docs/air/avb52_1.html

Note: Post-1995, I remember reading somewhere that MITOs are now one minute intervals. Mike Makar

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