5 Facts About The Air Force’s Flying Gas Station
YouTube / Sam Eckholm
At first glance, the incredible KC-135 Stratotanker isn’t too different from a traditional airliner- but it is.
Here are five interesting facts about the Air Force’s Flying Gas Station:
1. It’s a modified Boeing 707
The jet is capable of refueling other aircraft 30,000 feet in the sky.
2. The aircraft has been flying for over 70 years
The KC-135 made its first flight in 1957 and was the Air Force’s first jet-powered aerial tanker. It’s projected to fly until it reaches close to a hundred years old. This means that the last Air Force pilot to fly the KC-135 is yet to be born.
3. The plane has a rather unique entrance with just a ladder that comes right at the nose
This was designed for crews that needed to get up in the aircraft very quickly and go on missions. Interestingly, it was also designed for parachutes back in the day.
4. It can move up to 83,000 pounds of cargo.
The aircraft’s primary purpose is aerial refueling, but it can also support cargo transport. It can move up to 83,000 pounds of cargo- this is equivalent to six standard-size pallets loaded up inside.
Moreover, up to 36 passengers can fit on seats lined on either side of the plane including aerial medical evacuation wherein stretchers are loaded on board, transporting patients.
5. The plane can fly up to 16 to 17 hours
This depends on how high it goes and how fast it’s going. It can also carry up to 200,000 pounds of fuel, or 30,000 gallons.
Also, another unique thing about the KC-135 is all the flight controls are connected by cables. Even throttles are connected by cables, and that’s a very unique feature in today’s modern planes.