Monday, March 31, 2008

In Awe of the KC135

We watched the KC135 do a touch and go the other day. Impressive; seeing something that large come down, float above the ground for a moment, then with a quick bump, soar back up into the sky. I've seen the small Falcon jets do it, but this plane is enormous and I'm sure it takes a talented pilot to make this manuever work.

The KC-135 Stratotanker's main mission is air refueling. It provides aerial refueling support to Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps aircraft as well as aircraft of allied nations. The KC-135 is also capable of transporting litter and ambulatory patients using patient support pallets during aeromedical evacuations. More info on the KC135

We were all sad to see the F15's leave the base, so it was a pleasant surprise to see this guy practicing his stuff!


  1. I live about 2 hours from Altus Air Force Base where they house some C-17 and I believe some KC-135 planes. It is not uncommon to see the C-17 planes in the air as you drive towards Altus, but one day there were several and they were doing touch and gos. It was too cool.

  2. Remember the KC-135s are almost 50 years old, so pieces DO occasionally fall off- They can be indentified by the phrase 'built' by the lowest bidder'... The Air Farce will not pay a reward, but will claim you stole their parts. :-)

  3. Hi Lou - I have to admit it makes me feel proud to see these guys in the air, protecting us, America!

    Jim - I did read that the planes were built in the 50's and 60's... they've held together much better than the F15's don't you think? I'll keep my safety helmet on at all times though.... just in case!

  4. Not really FF- There have been a number of incidents, including loss of life (by the crews) when things happened... The F-15 incident got a lot of publicity because it happened in a 1 v 1 dogfight, in a "normal" maneuver. Plus their availability vs. maintenance costs are through the roof!!! Something on the order of 150 maint hours per flight hour. When you look at the nominal 10 hour flight, that is 1500 hours of maintenance before it can fly again.

  5. Wow Jim! If it takes so many hours to get it back up in the air, why are they still flying? I understand they are going to replace the fleet, but I guess it will take awhile. Now I know where my tax dollar goes... $8400 per maint hour! Good grief! For such an old "bird" I am amazed that they are still around. (No comments from the peanut gallery, please.) The F-15's aren't quite as old but the one's that were here on base seemed to need alot of maintenance. Then of course they were grounded right after the Missouri crash. I heard they found a structural problem with the frame rails? I guess you will always be able to find problems with any aircraft... when they design and build the perfect one... now there will be something to talk about!

  6. We "lost" our F-16s here at Cannon AFB and got SpecOps C-130s (AC-130 gunships and various and sundry other flavors of C-130s, as well) to replace 'em.

    While I'm glad Cannon has another mission (and didn't get closed due to BRAC), the C-130s just ain't nearly as cool as the Lawn Darts. Or as loud.