Wednesday, August 5, 2020

U.S. Air Force’s next-generation refueling tanker aircraft perform an elephant walk

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Ten U.S. Air Force’s refueling tanker aircraft, includes eight newest KC-46A Pegasus and two KC-135s, were a part of Wednesday’s elephant walk exercise at McConnell Air Force Base, Kansas.

McConnell’s tanker aircrews and maintenance personnel were tested on their ability to rapidly generating multiple sorties during a weather evacuation exercise.

On Thursday, the Air Base press release said that the elephant walk was part of a weather evacuation exercise that demonstrated rapid mobility capabilities of Team McConnell tankers to take flight in a moments notice.


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“Every spring we know here in Kansas we get pretty severe weather so this is our efforts to prepare for this. Several years back we had a fleet wide damage issue from hail so we want to make sure we avoid that in the future,” said McConnell KC-46 Aircraft Maintenance Unit Officer, Captain Dustin Bordelon.

Captain Bordelon said when aircraft have to evacuate a base they don’t stay airborne. They travel to area bases where they can avoid severe weather and return once the base and grounds are clear.

“Every spring we know here in Kansas we get pretty severe weather so this is our efforts to prepare for this. Several years back we had a fleet-wide damage issue from hail so we want to make sure we avoid that in the future,” said Captain Bordelon.

The term Elephant Walk dates back to World War II when the Army Air Forces had a large number of bombers, which would regularly generate attacks in excess of 1,000 aircraft from its Numbered Air Forces. It was named Elephant Walk because the nose-to-tail, single-file taxi movements of bombers resembled the nose-to-tail trail of elephants on their way to the next watering hole.

Photo by Staff Sgt. Christopher Thornbury

Photo by Staff Sgt. Christopher Thornbury

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