Back to Squawk list
  • 22

USAF grounds KC-135 Stratotanker fleet over concerns their tails may fall off mid-flight

The U.S. Air Force has ordered its entire fleet of KC-135 tankers to be grounded for inspection over concerns that their tails could fall off mid-flight if not properly fixed. The USAF ordered the inspections on Tuesday for a "non-conforming part in the vertical tail assembly." Flight operations are restricted until the roughly 30-minute inspection is complete. ( More...

Sort type: [Top] [Newest]

Jim Welch 5
Saw one fly in & out of our field today, and it sure didn’t appear to be grounded as they rotated!
John Taylor 4
I wonder who supplied the non-conforming pins; China? I know that there was a lot of bogus hardware being introduced into the supply system when I was on the KC-135. That was the early to mid 2000's.
matt jensen 4
Sad. The USAF can't find a replacement in 20 yrs.
avionik99 2
I thought the AF was buying Boeing 767 conversions?
matt jensen 3
They did and just ordered more of them.
Alan Macdonald 1
But the recent orders for the KC-46 are to replace the KC-10A's which are being/have been retired. Then, maybe when that action is completed we will see some more 60+ years old KC-135 being laid to rest in sunny Arizona. We thank them for their service.

Roy Hunte 2
The KC46 has a reliability problem.

If they would have ordered the joint Lockheed Martin/Airbus offering of the KC30 as well, they might have had a backup plan.
John Taylor 9
The problem was that instead of keeping the boom operator in the tail end where he can actually see the receiver aircraft with his own eyes, they moved him up onto cargo floor near the cockpit. He has to use cameras and they found that there is a serious problem with depth perception and have had the boom strike several receiver aircraft, nearly punching out a few windshields. So they added a second boomer to watch another screen next to the original boomer to help. Due to this issue, the aircraft is not certified for combat operations. Training ops only. As usual, the military tries relying on high tech in an area where a human can do the job much better. They've only been doing for 70 years.
John Taylor 2
Plus, to address the Lockheed Martin/Airbus issue; even if the airframe is built in the US, using a foreign company like Airbus (France) to supply weapon systems is a bad idea. If France doesn't like a war that France disapproves of, they may withhold parts for the planes. Recall that during the raid on Kaddafi, the French wouldn't let us overfly their airspace. So we had to fly all the way around and use extra tankers to get them to and from the fight. Never trust your ability to fight on any foreign nation.
John Taylor 3
"If France doesn't like a war that France disapproves of, they may withhold parts for the planes."

Boy, I butchered that sentence. I wish there was an edit button.
Neil49 3
FlightAware used to be a valuable source for useful articles -- what happened?

More and more, it's just click-bait headlines from the usual pipelines directed to low-information readers. Whether it's Fox News Flash Headlines,,, or whatever, give us a break!
Michael Blackstock 9
FlightAware 'Squawks' are community driven. You have the power share things important to you and to change the direction of the postings.
Dan Brooks 2
I;m sorry, I am a "low-information reader". I am trying to learn about the world of aviation. I didn't have the luxury of being taught the ins and outs in the service. What's wrong with a person that wants to expand their horizons? You sound fat..
jeff slack 1
Sadly, this is a reflection of the intelligence of the community; like US politics it is in decline.
WatnNY 2
I haven't heard of a single tail falling off of a KC-135!
Ben Bosley 1
Inspection for a non-conforming part. Another sensationalist headline from Fair and Balanced.
belzybob -1
Foxnews...says it all.


Don't have an account? Register now (free) for customized features, flight alerts, and more!
Did you know that FlightAware flight tracking is supported by advertising?
You can help us keep FlightAware free by allowing ads from We work hard to keep our advertising relevant and unobtrusive to create a great experience. It's quick and easy to whitelist ads on FlightAware or please consider our premium accounts.