U.S. KC-10 aerial refueler loses refueling boom that falls in a hay-field

A KC-10 Extender flies over Afghanistan. Using either an advanced aerial refueling boom, or a hose and drogue centerline refueling system, the KC-10 can refuel a wide variety of U.S. and allied military aircraft within the same mission. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Aaron Allmon)

A KC-10 Extender has lost its flying boom. Someone’s found it in his hay-field….

A U.S. Air Force KC-10 Extender aerial refueler belonging to the 60th Air Mobility Wing was forced to perform an emergency landing at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho, on Nov. 1, at 11:20 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time, after losing its flying boom.

According to an official release from Travis AFB, California, where the aircraft is based, the KC-10 was conducting training in support of Mountain Home AFB’s Gunfighter Flag Exercise when the refueling boom separated from the aircraft near the range complex.

Used as the standard aerial refueling system for U.S. Air Force fixed-wing aircraft the flying boom is a rigid, telescoping tube, maneuvered by a “boom operator” by means of a control stick.

This method has the advantage to eliminate the requirement for the receiver pilot to plug the probe into the hose’s drogue: once the aircraft has reached the refueling position the operator moves the boom to insert the tube in the receptacle of the receiver aircraft.

The aircraft made a successful emergency landing at Mountain Home AFB. “All crew members are safe and no injuries have been reported on the aircraft or on the ground,” says the release.

Interestingly, the photographs of the remains of the boom, taken by someone on the ground, emerged on social media.

Top image credit: U.S. Air Force. Above embed from Air Force amn/nco/snco


About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.