KC-135 Pressure Test Gone Very Wrong

April 7th 1999 – A Boeing KC-135R-BN Stratotanker, 57-1418, c/n 17549, of the 153rd Air Refueling Squadron, Air National Guard, was undergoing maintenance at the Oklahoma ALC, Tinker AFB, Oklahoma. When a civilian technician commenced a pressurization test using what some say was a home built non standard pressure gauge that most unfortunately did not have a needle “Max” peg. During a moment of distraction, the technician failed to notice the meter passing the max indication point, then also failing to notice that the needle continued for another full 360 degree turn.
As the needle was making its second way around the gauge, the KC-135 Stratotanker with its cabin now ridiculously over-pressurized, responded most unfavourably, rupturing with an explosive BOOM, announcing the technicians failure for all to hear, and the immense cabin pressure violently tearing a massive 35 foot hole in the aft fuselage, allowing tail section of the 53 million dollar jet to commence a self-executed rapid kinetic disassembly, and unceremoniously dropped to the ground.
 Read how a USAF KC-135 crew saved an F-4 Phantom by dragging it home...


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