Kaboom! Refueling plans ablaze by the sea

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Following news of the – thankfully non-lethal – Omega Aerial Refueling 707 crash in California,I can’t help but wonder how this will affect air forces and upcoming air shows.

Until the K-707 crashed with 150,000lbs of jet fuel, Omegahad just two K-707s and one KDC-10 tanker.  

I saw the KDC-10 at Aero India a few months ago. It was theresupporting Boeing’s ultimately ill-fated F-18E/F Super Hornet bid for the MMRCAcompetition. Boeing test pilot Ricardo Traven told me that the KDC-10 was ofcritical importance in getting a pair of US Navy Super Hornets and Boeingsupport personnel to Bangalore.Aside from refueling the F-18s in flight, the large cabin (the aircraft wasformerly a JAL DC-10) had more than enough space for a full support team.

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Two weeks later on the eve of Australia’s Avalon show RAAFchief Mark Biskin told me Australia is still using Omega while it awaits thelong-delayed A330-based KC-30A tanker.

There are not many commercial tankers around, so the loss ofthe K-707 will certainly be felt. I would also be curious to know where thecrashed aircraft was heading with all that fuel.

Wonder what Omega will comes up with as a replacement.Another KDC-10, perhaps?  

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