AD Main Menu

Gallery: Eileson's KC-135 Stratotanker

A KC-135R Stratotanker from the 168th Air Refueling Wing, Alaska Air National Guard, Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska takes off from the flightline here in the morning hours of October 5th 2004 in support of the 168th ARW's Operational Readiness Inspection.
Joshua Strang / AK ANG
A KC-135 Stratotanker from the 168th Air Refueling Wing, Alaska Air National Guard, Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska takes off from the flightline here on 17 July 2006. The KC-135 provides aerial refueling support to Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps aircraft as well as aircraft of allied nations.
Joshua Strang / AK ANG
A 12th Fighter Squadron F-15C from Elmendorf AFB, Alaska, refuels behind a 168th Air Refueling Squadron KC-135 Stratotanker over the Pacific Alaska Range Complex March 26, 2007.
Robert Wieland / AK ANG
Tech. Sgt. David Tickle refuels an F-16 Fighting Falcon during RED FLAG Alaska 09-1 Oct. 17, 2008 at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. Sergeant Tickle is from the 91st Air Refueling Squadron at Mac Dill AFB, FL.
Laura Max / USAF
An F-15 Eagle from Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska positions itself to get refueled from a KC135R Stratotanker during a refueling mission on 7 November 2006. The KC-135 belongs to the 168th Air Refueling Wing, Alaska Air National Guard, Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska.
Jonathan Snyder / AK ANG
Craig Medred

While this weekend’s immensely popular Arctic Thunder air show will feature an assortment crazy-fast and crazy-nimble aircraft from the Lower 48, let’s not overlook the Alaska Air National Guard’s KC-135 Stratotanker that can offer sweet fuel to the flyboys.

While not the fastest plane in the air, the KC-135 from Eielson Air Force Base near Fairbanks offers some eye-popping statistics as part of its mission to support Pacific Air Forces missions as a member of the 168th Air Refueling Wing.

• Despite weighing more than 160 tons at takeoff, the KC-135 Stratotanker manages to get airborne. Every single time.

• Depending on how its storage is configured, the KC-135 can carry 83,000 pounds of cargo.

• Nearly all fuel transfers go through its flying boom, with just one crew member, the boom operator, controlling the action from the aft of the plane.  

• Some aircraft have been configured with a multipoint refueling system, consisting of special pods mounted on the wingtips. These KC-135s are capable of refueling two aircraft simultaneously.

Read the Arctic Thunder preview here.