Close call: E-3 AWACS almost collides with KC-135 tanker mid-air

Oct 19 2012 - 4 Comments

It must have been one of the most frightening view in the career of the KC-135’s flying boom operator.

A NATO E-3  Sentry almost hit the tail of the tanker and its flying boom during air-to-air refueling operations. Not only the close proximity of the two large planes was dangerous, but also the evasive maneuver the pilot performs to avoid collision: the AWACS (airborne early warning and control plane) pulls several negative G-forces to gain quick separation from the refueler.

According to the user who uploaded it to Youtube, the aircraft was damaged and some crew members hurt as a consequence of the maneuver.

  • Impressive video (removed by user, but still available at

  • This shows just how dangerous this kind of job can be. These guys have got major balls! Remember it was the Palomares Incident in 1966 when a B-52 loaded with four nukes and a KC-135 had a midair that resulted in a Broken Arrow alert and the end of Chrome Dome missions.

  • Vance Thomas

    proximity (prɒkˈsɪmɪtɪ)

    — n
    1. nearness in space or time
    2. nearness or closeness in a series

    Close proximity is a double-entendre. The close closeness?
    Pet peeve.

  • R.Lopaka

    SEE…..Texting behind the wheel is BAD!!!!