Inside Air Force Mid Air Refueling Plane Boom Pod [VIDEO]
I got to tour the KC-135 Stratotanker at Andrews Air Force Base and show you the cockpit and the tiny space for boom operators
Air Force One and the other white planes for the top government officials are on one side of the runway at Andrews Air Force Base. On the other side, the KC-135 Stratotanker planes line up, ready to do the amazing feat of mid-air refueling.
I got to tour the inside of one of the planes on Sunday. Watch my video – below – to see me get into this tiny boom pod space and inside the cockpit where the pilot explains how he releases the fuel.
I was surprised to learn that the planes were made in the 1950s and 1960 and are still being used by the Air Force 459th Air Refueling Wing.
I met a male and female boom operator. They are the skilled airmen who connect to the other plane and load the fuel midair– at just 10 to 30 feet away. They told me they stay down in that lying position for an hour or two during the operation.
I got to go to this special tour because my friend Carrie Sheffield -- her Substack is here – invited me for her pilot boyfriend's "family day” at the base.
He’s a Colonel in the 459th Operations Group, known as the "Home of the Liberators", which is a reserve component of the U.S. Air Force. In the video, he explains to us what all the buttons and gears do in the cockpit so he can pilot the plane during the refueling.
I also met a nurse with the Critical Care Air Transport Teams (CCATT) which is also part of these KC135 missions. They get critically ill or severely injured service members aboard the aircraft and treat them while flying them home for full-time care. Read more about their mission here.
Learn more about the history of the KC-135 Stratotanker here. Thank you to the U.S. Air Force for your hospitality and brave and honorable service to our nation.
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Thanks for sharing your tour Emily, very interesting, I rode in Huey helicopters and have rode in a C-130. Very interesting in seeing where the guy in back watches and controls everything when the plane lines up. They do an amazing job and also the medical personnel, we all thank them for their service.
This is interesting. The only military aircraft I flew on were helos... for simulated combat missions during Spearhead Ranger Camp in May 1990 to June 1990 in Marburg Germany. Otherwise it's been commercial airlines and a couple times in a small airplane with my Dad piloting. BTW I finally received the Substack Android App.