Sponsor Message:
Military Aviation & Space Forum
My Starred Topics | Profile | New Topic | Forum Index | Help | Search 
KC-135 Turns 51 And No One Noticed?  
User currently offlineKC135TopBoom From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 12135 posts, RR: 51
Posted (6 years 11 months 2 weeks 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 10402 times:

The KC-135 officially turned 51 on 31 August 2007. That is 51 years of continous service, only matched by the KCs stable mate, the slightly older B-52 (at 54).

http://www.military.com/features/0,1...,148424,00.html?ESRC=airforce-a.nl

42 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineRaginMav From United States of America, joined May 2004, 376 posts, RR: 1
Reply 1, posted (6 years 11 months 2 weeks 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 10392 times:

What is the oldest frame still flying? (Active Duty or otherwise...) I get to see a pretty good variety of 135 variants around here - RC's from Offutt (Occasionally the OC-135 - always a treat), and KC's from LNK!




View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Nick Challoner
View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Alan Lebeda




View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Jakub Gornicki
View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Martin Pole



User currently offlineKC135TopBoom From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 12135 posts, RR: 51
Reply 2, posted (6 years 11 months 2 weeks 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 10375 times:

I believe the oldest C-135 still flying is 55-3123, which began life as a KC-135A and is now a NC-135E.

User currently offlineRedFlyer From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 4318 posts, RR: 28
Reply 3, posted (6 years 11 months 2 weeks 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 10367 times:

"KC-135 Turns 51 And No One Noticed?" I think we were all waiting for the official announcement from you!  Smile


I'm not a racist...I hate Biden, too.
User currently offlineKC135TopBoom From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 12135 posts, RR: 51
Reply 4, posted (6 years 11 months 2 weeks 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 10348 times:

Quoting RedFlyer (Reply 3):
"KC-135 Turns 51 And No One Noticed?" I think we were all waiting for the official announcement from you!

I missed it too...............  cry   banghead 


User currently offlineDeltaDC9 From United States of America, joined Apr 2006, 2844 posts, RR: 4
Reply 5, posted (6 years 11 months 2 weeks 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 10329 times:

I think the next key brithdays after 50 are 62 and 67.....you know....the social security retirement ages......


Dont take life too seriously because you will never get out of it alive - Bugs Bunny
User currently offlineRedFlyer From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 4318 posts, RR: 28
Reply 6, posted (6 years 11 months 2 weeks 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 10200 times:

It's a very amazing airplane. Here's a brief but fascinating read on it:

http://www.theaviationzone.com/factsheets/kc135.asp

This is the first time I was aware that the 135's are being fitted with wing-mounted drogue systems allowing for refueling of drogue and boom receptacle aircraft on the same mission or simultaneous refueling of multiple aircraft.

Quote:
outfit part of its KC-135 fleet with the capability of refueling both probe-and-drogue and boom receptacle aircraft on the same mission. This also the capability of refueling up to two probe-and-drogue aircraft at the same time.

So much for some people claiming that even the KC-767 won't have that capability. I would imagine if the USAF puts that capability on a 50+ year old design then a much more modern iteration would have that capability as well.



I'm not a racist...I hate Biden, too.
User currently offlineCaptOveur From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (6 years 11 months 2 weeks 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 10195 times:

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Thread starter):
The KC-135 officially turned 51 on 31 August 2007.

Hopefully the Air Force will get something new before one of those things falls into my back yard out of old age.


User currently offlineRC135X From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 8, posted (6 years 11 months 2 weeks 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 10173 times:

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 2):
I believe the oldest C-135 still flying is 55-3123, which began life as a KC-135A and is now a NC-135E.

I think you have a Typo, TB, as the NKC-135E you're thinking about is 55-3132, one of the BIG CROW platforms. As of January 2007, it had amassed the lowest total time of all operational C-135s of any variant: 10,576 hours (sorry my data aren't more current, but I use an annual summary tool). Incidentally, NKC-135A 55-3123 retired in 1988 and is on display at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. Among its other duties it served as the Airborne Laser Lab (ALL) and remains in that configuration.

As far as the oldest tanker version still flying, it appears that 55-3145 might be the winner (18,528 hours), although it was a Forbes/Kansas ANG airplane and they are converting to R models so it might be on the endangered species list. It had not been accessioned to AMARC as of the 9th of August, and I haven't checked yet for the past 30 days of accession, so it could be parked as we write.

At the opposite end of the spectrum are the high-time jets: all of the RC-135Ws. The most hours are on 62-4134 with 48,850 hours (again, current at of 16 Jan 07, so there may be some flux among specific tails). The Ws were previously Ms which flew COMBAT APPLE missions in SEA, adding up the hours.

My eponym (RC-135X, and now an RC-135S) has a modest 22,259 hours.

The highest tanker hours are in KC-135R(RT) 58-0018 ("Balls 18") with 31,964 hours, thanks to it having been one of the five original SAC airborne command posts and then serving in similar roles. Its sister, "Balls 11" (58-0011) is next with 31,135 total time.

Not at all bad for an airplane intended to have a life around 8,000-10,000 hours. If you do the math with 62-4134 (48,850), it's pretty amazing for a military (rather than commercial) airframe: first flight 19 Jun 62, so it has averaged a low 1,086 hours per year or just shy of 3 hours per day. But this is misleading, as the typical mission time for these airframes is 14-18 hours. Thinking this way, it averaged one flight a week for 45 years. These airplanes also spend months in PDM and upgrades, so there's even more flights per available hours than the numbers suggest.

Incidentally, if there are any Wikipedia editors out there you may want to edit the C-130 web entry, which claims that it is the third oldest continuous operating airplane on duty with the original service (Canberra and B-52 are first and second). The KC-135 first flight was 31 Aug 56, before the C-130's in December 56, so it should be fourth.


User currently offlineMoose135 From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 2312 posts, RR: 10
Reply 9, posted (6 years 11 months 2 weeks 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 10166 times:

Quoting RC135X (Reply 8):
The highest tanker hours are in KC-135R(RT) 58-0018 ("Balls 18") with 31,964 hours, thanks to it having been one of the five original SAC airborne command posts and then serving in similar roles. Its sister, "Balls 11" (58-0011) is next with 31,135 total time.

Interesting to know that! I helped add to both those totals back in the day flying out of Grissom. Glad to see a couple of my old rides are doing so well.



KC-135 - Passing gas and taking names!
User currently offlineRC135X From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (6 years 11 months 2 weeks 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 10168 times:

Quoting Moose135 (Reply 9):
Interesting to know that! I helped add to both those totals back in the day flying out of Grissom. Glad to see a couple of my old rides are doing so well.

Grissom AFB had the nickname "Tanker Heaven." In addition to these two refuelable tankers which were at various times EC-135As and -135Ps, it had 58-0124 (a former RC- front-end trainer), 58-0126 (a former recon KC-135R), and 60-0356, -0357, and -0362 (former RC-135Ds and before that KC-135A-IIs. 60-0357 was the first recon -135 and the first receiver air refuelable -135). KGUS also was home to the four KC-135Ds, which were ex MATS RC-135As. The 70th AREFS flew both a tanker and a PACCS mission, so the base had EC-135Ls and usually one EC-135G (for a long time it was 63-7994 "Miss Piggy" for her op weight). Jets swapped between the 70th and the 4th ACCS at Ellsworth AFB, so there was an occasional EC-135A wearing the black-and-white checkerboard.

I learned receiver air refueling at KGUS before moving on to the RC community in Alaska. All of the "RTs" were fun to fly.


User currently offlineVenus6971 From United States of America, joined Dec 2004, 1442 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (6 years 11 months 2 weeks 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 10159 times:

Quoting RC135X (Reply 10):
All of the "RTs" were fun to fly.

I think all the RT's are now at McConnell, they are in high demand and used for Special ops just because of their Air refueling recevier and the extra radios and Satcom capability.



I would help you but it is not in the contract
User currently offlineDIJKKIJK From France, joined Jul 2003, 1791 posts, RR: 4
Reply 12, posted (6 years 11 months 2 weeks 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 10150 times:

I wonder where the USAF finds the spare parts for these wonderful machines, since the B707 has long since been out of production. Do they have a huge surplus stocked up somewhere?


Never argue with idiots. They will bring you down to their level, and beat you with experience.
User currently offlineMoose135 From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 2312 posts, RR: 10
Reply 13, posted (6 years 11 months 2 weeks 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 10146 times:

Quoting RC135X (Reply 10):
All of the "RTs" were fun to fly.

Ain't that the truth! Will never forget the first time I pulled up to the contact position behind a KC-10 - it just blocked out the sky!

I think I posted these a while back, but here are a couple of slides I've scanned in from those days.

http://moose135.smugmug.com/photos/141731889-L.jpg




KC-135 - Passing gas and taking names!
User currently offlineSEPilot From United States of America, joined Dec 2006, 6892 posts, RR: 46
Reply 14, posted (6 years 11 months 2 weeks 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 10139 times:

How many KC-135's still flying have been reengined with the CFM-56's? About 12 years ago when I was active with CAP I got the opportunity to fly a mission on one; it was converted, but the plane that we refuelled was a recon 707 that had not been converted. Also got to fly the KC-135 simulator; that was quite an experience for a Cessna pilot; I actually made an acceptable landing, which the instructor told me that few single engine pilots did (due to the necessity to flare much higher.)


The problem with making things foolproof is that fools are so doggone ingenious...Dan Keebler
User currently offlineVenus6971 From United States of America, joined Dec 2004, 1442 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (6 years 11 months 2 weeks 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 10123 times:

Quoting DIJKKIJK (Reply 12):
I wonder where the USAF finds the spare parts for these wonderful machines, since the B707 has long since been out of production. Do they have a huge surplus stocked up somewhere?

This is where.

View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Michael Vaeremans




I would help you but it is not in the contract
User currently offlineSEPilot From United States of America, joined Dec 2006, 6892 posts, RR: 46
Reply 16, posted (6 years 11 months 2 weeks 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 10114 times:

Quoting Venus6971 (Reply 15):
Quoting DIJKKIJK (Reply 12):
I wonder where the USAF finds the spare parts for these wonderful machines, since the B707 has long since been out of production. Do they have a huge surplus stocked up somewhere?

This is where.

I'm sure, even though the KC-135 is long out of production, that Boeing still has the blueprints for each and every part on it, and with suitable inducement (read money) will produce whatever part the Air Force desires. But you are quite correct in where the vast majority of parts are likely to come from.



The problem with making things foolproof is that fools are so doggone ingenious...Dan Keebler
User currently offlineRC135X From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 17, posted (6 years 11 months 2 weeks 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 10113 times:

Quoting Venus6971 (Reply 11):
I think all the RT's are now at McConnell,

Yes. They joined 61-0293, the development R model which was an ex airborne command post. Part of the reason it was selected for the pilot work was because they could fill it up to in-flight max weight (and higher) for test purposes. The other re-engined "RT" was actually KC-135E 59-1514, the development E model, which was a former recon KC-135R. RC-135T 55-3121 was receiver air refuelable. It ended its recon role and served for many years as a front-end trainer at KGUS, RODN, and finally PAEI. As you may know it crashed at Valdez, AK, on 25 Feb 85.

Quoting Venus6971 (Reply 11):
they are in high demand and used for Special ops just because of their Air refueling recevier and the extra radios and Satcom capability.

The airplanes have always been part of these special missions, both in fact and in rumor. One particularly good unconfirmed "There I was" alert story was during the abortive rescue attempt in Iran. One AC told us that he and his crew deployed to a base where no SAC aircraft had ever been or would ever go again, short of nuclear war. Given the local geography, we all surmised he was implying somewhere in the (then-) USSR. Interesting how some 20+ years later KC-135s are routinely flying from bases in the former-USSR.

Quoting Moose135 (Reply 13):
Ain't that the truth! Will never forget the first time I pulled up to the contact position behind a KC-10 - it just blocked out the sky!

It was also fun on mission planning day to talk to the "tanker" crew scheduled to refuel us. They couldn't comprehend (especially the '135 guys) that we were a KC-135 and we were the receiver.


User currently offlineDeltaDC9 From United States of America, joined Apr 2006, 2844 posts, RR: 4
Reply 18, posted (6 years 11 months 2 weeks 4 days 6 hours ago) and read 10100 times:

Quoting RC135X (Reply 17):
They couldn't comprehend (especially the '135 guys) that we were a KC-135 and we were the receiver.

Is that common? I often wonderd why the KC-10 was needed, and how it was used differently from the 135



Dont take life too seriously because you will never get out of it alive - Bugs Bunny
User currently offlineRC135X From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 19, posted (6 years 11 months 2 weeks 4 days 6 hours ago) and read 10090 times:

Quoting DeltaDC9 (Reply 18):
I often wonderd why the KC-10 was needed, and how it was used differently from the 135

Much like the current 767 versus 330 debate, the KC-10 gestation was equally fraught with political infighting. It is essential to remember that the debate took place originally during the mid- to late-1970s, with SAC still the primum inter pares military command and the SIOP the only thing that mattered in war planning. SAC wanted a new tanker, the Advanced Tanker/Cargo Aircraft, first fielded in December 1973. MAC wanted more cargo capacity, so in 1976 then SecDef Donald Rumsfeld approved the purchase of 2 KC-10 ATCA prototypes. President Carter came into office and cancelled these as a threat to the C-5 re-winging going on in Georgia. SAC then sought to re-engine the KC-135, but even the AF CoS opposed this. Ultimately, the AF got both: re-engined KC-135s for SAC and a new wide-body cargo plane for MAC but operated by SAC.

The KC-10s had no daily SIOP alert role, so were free to focus on fighter deployments, collateral missions, and training. They were also able to fly into "C" designated bases, which gave them greater deployability globally. KC-135s continued to sit alert at Minot and Grand Forks, for example, while KC-10s at Barksdale traveled the globe as if they were in MAC.

Although there are strengths and weaknesses to each airplane when comparing the KC-10 to the KC-135 in terms of mission and effectiveness, there has always been an underlying tension over the real value of 60 KC-10s instead of several hundred newly designed KC-135 replacement airplanes.


User currently offlineRC135U From United States of America, joined May 2005, 293 posts, RR: 0
Reply 20, posted (6 years 11 months 2 weeks 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 10026 times:

Quoting RC135X (Reply 8):
The most hours are on 62-4134 with 48,850 hours (again, current at of 16 Jan 07, so there may be some flux among specific tails). The Ws were previously Ms which flew COMBAT APPLE missions in SEA, adding up the hours.

Flew a lot of missions on 134 out of Kadena when she was still an M (as well as 135 and 139 - the RC that flies a tad off center). It was a bit of an eye-opener when they sent the D model 60-0356 down from Eielson to pinch hit for an M which had gone back to CONUS for depot mx. For crews used to the relative power of the TF33s, a water burner takeoff was certainly different, and we had to hit the tanker soon after launch.

I still remember 121 at Kadena too, used as a trainer and before she was fitted with TF33s. The story of her loss in Alaska years later is sad, in that the crew's remains and the crash site took some months to locate.


User currently offlineF4wso From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 974 posts, RR: 11
Reply 21, posted (6 years 11 months 2 weeks 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 9891 times:

At least the Stratotanker is not as wrinkled as the B-52.
Gary
Cottage Grove, MN, USA



Seeking an honest week's pay for an honest day's work
User currently offlineKC135TopBoom From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 12135 posts, RR: 51
Reply 22, posted (6 years 11 months 2 weeks 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 9835 times:

Quoting RC135X (Reply 8):
I think you have a Typo, TB, as the NKC-135E you're thinking about is 55-3132, one of the BIG CROW platforms.

You are correct. my fingers sometimes get the wrong keys or out of order keys.

Quoting F4wso (Reply 21):
At least the Stratotanker is not as wrinkled as the B-52.

When the last Buff goes to DM, a KC-135 will be there to fly the bomber crew home.


User currently offlineRC135X From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 23, posted (6 years 11 months 2 weeks 22 hours ago) and read 9789 times:

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 22):
Quoting RC135X (Reply 8):
I think you have a Typo, TB, as the NKC-135E you're thinking about is 55-3132, one of the BIG CROW platforms.

You are correct. my fingers sometimes get the wrong keys or out of order keys.

No sweat. I learned to trust boomers a long time ago as having a good sense of touch, both from the tanker side and the receiver side.

I remember a night KC-135A flight out of Hooterville with two IBOs who taught this CP how to refuel a camo C-141B. They showed a great sense of delicacy. As a receiver, I always took a moment to say "nice touch" or give a thumbs up (in comm out scenarios) for a gentle connect.

Besides, my typing has never been any good: I went to UPT to learn to fly, not type data into the FSA/CAS.


User currently offlineDeltaDC9 From United States of America, joined Apr 2006, 2844 posts, RR: 4
Reply 24, posted (6 years 11 months 2 weeks 11 hours ago) and read 9768 times:

Quoting RC135X (Reply 19):
Although there are strengths and weaknesses to each airplane when comparing the KC-10 to the KC-135 in terms of mission and effectiveness, there has always been an underlying tension over the real value of 60 KC-10s instead of several hundred newly designed KC-135 replacement airplanes.

Thanks for the fantasic info.

It still seems like a mistake to me to go with the DC-10 from my point of view, seems like they could have renewed the entire fleet and avoided the situation they are in now.



Dont take life too seriously because you will never get out of it alive - Bugs Bunny
25 SEPilot : It could be the other way around....
26 DeltaDC9 : Or they might charter a NW DC-9......
27 RC135U : Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't the KC-10 purchase heavily influenced by California political clout and the desire to keep the DC-10 line running?
28 KC135TopBoom : You are mostly correct. The DC-10-30CF was competing against the B-747-200F in the ATCA program. The California delagation pretty much forced the sel
29 Post contains images SEPilot : The most likely scenario.
30 Post contains images DEVILFISH : I noticed alright, but was desperately trying to ignore it as it reminds me of my age!
31 Michlis : Same here! In fact, I had the opportunity to go on two refueling missions. I remember on one of the two flights, the boom operator let me and a fello
32 Venus6971 : . NW DC-9's are old I will give you that but they have not been around since the late 50's, this should make you feel old, the KC-135 and the B-52 we
33 SEPilot : NW DC-9's may not be as old in calendar terms as B-52's or KC-135's, but in terms of hours and/or cycles they leave them in the dust. Military aircra
34 Post contains images Moose135 : Of course, unlike the B-52 (and occasionally the KC-135) no one has ever been shooting at those DC-9s
35 SEPilot : True, but the vast majority of the B-52's and KC-135's still in service have not, I would wager, suffered any battle damage. Most of those that have
36 KC135TopBoom : How long is a B-52 year? That is true, also. But, the DC-9s are not flown like the B-52 or KC-135, nor do they go through the rapid gross weight and
37 Venus6971 : Lets see, I would guess that a Buff year is equal to 8 years for any other acft. Lets see what acft it has outlived, the B-58, C-141, C-131,C-124,C-1
38 SEPilot : But the $64,000 question remains: Will it outlive NW DC-9's?
39 Post contains images KC135TopBoom : The return of SAC?????????? YESSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! In the case of the B-52, KC-135, and C-130, I think all 3 types already ha
40 Post contains images Connies4ever : Heck, FORTRAN turned 50 in June. I didn't see any T-shirts. There's just no respect anymore !
41 Post contains images SEPilot : Very true. But my question really should have been phrased as whether they will be retired before NW DC-9's.
42 KC135TopBoom : I doubt it. The DC-9s will retire when their maintenance becomes too expensive for NW to fly and profit from them. That is not the case with the C-13
Top Of Page
Forum Index

Reply To This Topic KC-135 Turns 51 And No One Noticed?
Username:
No username? Sign up now!
Password: 


Forgot Password? Be reminded.
Remember me on this computer (uses cookies)
  • Military aviation related posts only!
  • Not military related? Use the other forums
  • No adverts of any kind. This includes web pages.
  • No hostile language or criticizing of others.
  • Do not post copyright protected material.
  • Use relevant and describing topics.
  • Check if your post already been discussed.
  • Check your spelling!
  • DETAILED RULES
Add Images Add SmiliesPosting Help

Please check your spelling (press "Check Spelling" above)


Similar topics:More similar topics...
C-17, KC-135, C-130 & B-52 Production List posted Sat May 5 2007 21:56:24 by BDLGUY
KC-135 Lands With Refueling Boom Down posted Sat Apr 28 2007 02:34:48 by AirTranTUS
Are KC-135's Doing Former C-141 Missions? posted Tue Apr 17 2007 22:50:48 by T56A15
"Omega" KC-135? posted Thu Mar 15 2007 02:01:36 by GQfluffy
KC-135 Tanker Wing posted Sat Jan 6 2007 01:17:13 by Blackbird
KC-135 CFM56 Engine Conversions posted Thu Dec 7 2006 00:23:40 by Dc8jet
KC-135 Low Level Pass posted Tue Nov 28 2006 13:55:45 by Wannabe
KC-135 Fire In Manas posted Wed Sep 27 2006 17:52:42 by Venus6971
A Tribute To The KC-135 posted Thu Sep 21 2006 17:41:49 by 747400sp
KC-135 VS KC-10 posted Wed Jun 28 2006 17:55:57 by 747400sp
KC-135 CFM56 Engine Conversions posted Thu Dec 7 2006 00:23:40 by Dc8jet
KC-135 Low Level Pass posted Tue Nov 28 2006 13:55:45 by Wannabe
KC-135 Fire In Manas posted Wed Sep 27 2006 17:52:42 by Venus6971

Sponsor Message:
Printer friendly format