Near mid-air collision during air to air refueling


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.

Do you know why the tanker nosed down? Because of the aerodynamic forces that occur between both aircraft in close proximity. You have what is called a bow wave from the receiver so just after disconnect the AWACs got low and too far forward so when it made a slight nose up correction is caused the pitch in the tanker to nose down cause the near miss. A breakaway should have been called by the boomer.