Watch this air tanker refuel its twin against a full moon


Against a full moon, almost anything will look impressive, like in this video where two otherwise ordinary looking KC-10 air tankers create a must-see moment thanks to the shimmering glow of the moon in the background. 

A few facts about the KC-10 Extender air tanker

An Air Mobility Command advanced tanker and cargo aircraft, the KC-10 Extender is an aerial refueling work horse designed to extend and expedite the global reach and mobility of the U.S. armed forces. This hulking air tanker can also transport equipment and personal for overseas deployment.

The KC-10’s carrying capacity includes up to “75 people and nearly 170,000 pounds (76,560 kilograms) of cargo [at]a distance of about 4,400 miles (7,040 kilometers) unrefueled.”

KC-10 air tanker

U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jerry Morrison

The KC-10 achieves these distances thanks to three main fuel tanks nestled under the air tanker’s wings and another three tanks spread out under the forward lower cargo compartment, the center wing area and the rear compartment. Together, these six tanks can lug around 356,000 pounds (160,200 kilograms) of fuel. According to a U.S. Air Force website, “During boom refueling operations, fuel is transferred to the receiver at a maximum rate of 1,100 gallons (4,180 liters) per minute; the hose and drogue refueling maximum rate is 470 gallons (1,786 liters) per minute.”

The KC-10 is also loved for its versatile refueling capacity. Within a single mission, the KC-10 can refuel a wide variety of military aircraft. 

And in case you are wondering why an air tanker is refueling another air tanker in our featured video, the answer is all about extending the air tanker’s delivery range, especially if one is carrying important vehicles and personnel to a specific time sensitive destination. The KC-10 also includes powered rollers and winches inside the cargo compartment for moving heavy loads.

KC-10A entered service in 1981 and is a modified Boeing Company DC-10. 

The KC-10A is operated by the 305th Air Mobility Wing at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J.; and the 60th Air Mobility Wing, Travis Air Force Base, Calif. Air Force Reserve Associate units are assigned to the 349th Air Mobility Wing at Travis, and the 514th Air Mobility Wing at JB McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst.

About Author

Kristian strives to enlighten and entertain readers. In addition to his teaching and editorial responsibilities, he is working on a science-fiction novel that promises not to include exoskeleton suits and anemic aliens floating in mysterious vats of green-tinted goop.

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