ha763
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C-17 Hits A KC-135 Inflight

Thu Dec 29, 2005 7:46 am

A C-17 hit a Hawaii ANG KC-135R on a night-time refueling training mission off of Oahu last Thursday (22Dec). This caused the KC-135 to go into a dive, but both aircraft landed safely. The KC-135 received "minor" structural damage to the tail and boom. No mention of any damage to the C-17.

C-17, tanker collide 200 miles off O'ahu
 
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kc135topboom
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RE: C-17 Hits A KC-135 Inflight

Thu Dec 29, 2005 11:29 am

This sounds like the receiver (C-17A) underran the tanker, during, or just after the Boom Operator made contact. This will take the boom and receiver below the lower limit and outside of the air refueling envelope. That is the most dangerous position to be in as the Boom Operator cannot control the boom if a disconnect occures in this position, aerodynamic forces could spring the boom into the tankers tail section. The correct manuver is for the receiver to drop down (slowly), then back.

If the receiver pilot tries to back out, first, he will actually come up and in. Only the Boom Operator can see enough to give the proper direction.

Most times this happens to fast for the Boom Operator to call for a "Breakaway" manuver.

Someones career is on the line here, and I doubt it will be the Wing Commander. The Boom Operator is in charge of the refueling, he will most likely get dinged here, as well as the pilot of the KC-135R.

It is unusual to refuel near the end of the mission (200nm from HNL after flying from LTS), esspeically with passengers aboard.

I'm glad no one got hurt.
 
KC135R
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RE: C-17 Hits A KC-135 Inflight

Fri Dec 30, 2005 1:44 pm

Hmmm...

Last year, in a similar sounding incident, a C-17 ripped a boom off of a KC-135 over the Gulf of Mexico - luckily both crews survived that one too.

In that incident the investigation concluded there were many errors, but they specifically mentioned another problem in addition to the many mistakes both crews made - that there was a lack of procedural guidance on refuelling a C-17.

Apparently refuel procedures for all the other heavy aircraft (C-5, B-52, etc) are covered in the KC-135 flight manual in more detail than the C-17. They believed that the lack of guidance might have contributed to the lackadaisical attitude about closure rates on such a heavy aircraft, which ultimately led to the hard contact and boom eventually coming off the tanker.

I wonder if that lack of guidance was corrected and, if not, could this be a similar problem?
 
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kc135topboom
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RE: C-17 Hits A KC-135 Inflight

Sat Dec 31, 2005 9:11 am

Quoting KC135R (Reply 2):
I wonder if that lack of guidance was corrected and, if not, could this be a similar problem?

Good question. I did not know of the earlier incident. But, the USAF is usually pretty quick in getting publication changes out when procedures are part of an accident cause.
 
ha763
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RE: C-17 Hits A KC-135 Inflight

Sat Dec 31, 2005 9:49 am

No new information except that Col. Changose will ground himself during the inquiry and apparently will still try to re-qualify as a flight instructor after the inquiry and before the arrival of the first C-17 in February.

C-17 pilot won't fly during inquiry

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