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Giant KC-135 Stratotanker at Pápa

Text: HDF 47th Air Base | Photo: Major Péter Kopeczky, Captain Tamás Károlyi |  13:44 June 5, 2023

The airmen of the 121st Air Refueling Wing of the Ohio Air National Guard and the crew of the KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft stationed at the Hungarian Defence Forces 47th Air Base recently participated in a joint training event.


No sooner had the American air-to-air refueling aircraft landed on the Pápa tarmac than the Hungarian airmen participating in the training started executing their tasks, as the aircraft had to be towed due to its dimensions. Although this has not been the first-ever occasion when a Stratotanker was being towed, the Pápa experts had to be very circumspect in carrying out the process. One important aspect during the drawing up of the training schedule had been that the preparation should involve the widest possible scale of capabilities and skills on the part of the aircraft and the airbase personnel alike. Thus, among others, the military firefighters were also introduced to the giant tanker so they can learn about the emergency procedures, which enables them to professionally respond to various situations in the future, for example while extinguishing a fire on an aircraft. Besides, the Loadmaster squad of the airbase were also practicing the use of their means of transport, which formed another important part of the training.


The main element of the joint training event was the management of an emergency situation, in which a fire was simulated aboard the KC-135, and it was also coupled with evacuation. The firefighters entered the aircraft through its emergency exit, evacuated the crew and also started extinguishing the fire on the aircraft. One additional unique feature was that two airfield firefighters arriving from Columbus Air Force Base were also staying aboard the KC-135 aircraft as observers to participate in the alpine techniques training of their colleagues at Pápa, as well as in a shelter fire extinguishment drill. During the one-week training, the airmen of two nations managed to successfully harmonize their emergency procedures as well.