kc 135


     KC-135 N930NA was operated by NASA from 1973 to 1995 as a reduced gravity aircraft, but this airplane is more universally known as the “Vomit Comet”. Throughout her career, she flew more than 58,000 parabolas, in which the pilot would pull up to a 45° angle, then push over the top to a 45° dive. During this maneuver, the aircraft is precisely held at a constant zero gravity condition for up to 25 seconds at a time. This profile could be modified to produce a one-sixth gravity condition, simulating what it feels like to walk on the moon.

     Many different programs took advantage of this unique ability including astronaut training, student experiments and shuttle hardware tests (I.E. the space toilet). Many scenes of the Apollo 13 film were shot inside this aircraft, giving the movie an impressively realistic look. Representing the history of the airfield from which it flew, the aircraft now rests on display at Ellington Field Joint Reserve Base in Houston, Texas.

An F-22 Raptor, assigned to the 95th Fighter Squadron at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., disconnects from the boom of a KC-135 Stratotanker after receiving fuel to continue on its training sortie during exercise Red Flag 16-1 Feb. 4, 2016. The high-tempo exercise incorporates both day and night missions that give aircrews an opportunity to experience advanced, relevant, and realistic combat-like situations in a controlled environment to increase their ability to complete missions and safely return home.


127th Wing Over Michigan - A flight of A-10C Thunderbolt II aircraft are seen off the wing of a KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft while flying over Michigan. The aircraft are all are assigned to the Michigan Air National Guard’s 127th Wing and are assigned to Selfridge Air National Guard Base, Michigan. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Dan Heaton)

A U.S. Air Force B-52 Stratofortress leads a formation of aircraft including two Polish air force F-16 Fighting Falcons, four U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcons, two German Eurofighter Typhoons and four Swedish Gripens over the Baltic Sea, June 9, 2016. The formation was captured from a KC-135 from the 434th Air Refueling Wing, Grissom Air Force Base, Indiana as part of exercise BALTOPS 2016.