KC-135E Stratotanker

This is part of the museum's First, Last, and Only aircraft—View the others


The KC-135 Stratotanker provides the core aerial refueling capability for the United States Air Force and has excelled in this role for more than 50 years. This unique asset enhances the Air Force’s capability to accomplish its primary missions of Global Reach and Global Power. It also provides aerial refueling support to Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps and allied nation aircraft. The KC-135 is also capable of transporting litter and ambulatory patients using patient support pallets during aeromedical evacuations.


Four turbofans, mounted under 35-degree swept wings, power the KC-135 to takeoffs at gross weights up to 322,500 pounds. Nearly all internal fuel can be pumped through the flying boom, the KC-135’s primary fuel transfer method. A special shuttlecock-shaped drogue, attached to and trailing behind the flying boom, may be used to refuel aircraft fitted with probes. Some aircraft have been configured with the Multipoint Refueling System (MPRS).

MPRS configured aircraft are capable of refueling two receiver aircraft simultaneously from special “pods” mounted on the wingtips. One crewmember, known as the boom operator, is stationed in the rear of the plane and controls the boom during in-flight air refueling. A cargo deck above the refueling system can hold a mixed load of passengers and cargo. Depending on fuel storage configuration, the KC-135 can carry up to 83,000 pounds of cargo.

Arrival Ceremony

Video Tour

Serial Number: 57-1507
First Flight:
31 August 1957
Still in service
Crew: Pilot, co-pilot, boom operator
Payload: 30,770 gallons (200,000 lbs) of transferable fuel; 83,000 lbs of cargo or up to 80 passengers
Powerplant: 4x Pratt & Whitney TF-33-PW-102 turobfan
136 ft 3 in
130 ft 10 in
41 ft 8 in
Empty Weight:
98,466 lbs
Loaded Weight:
297,000 lbs
Maximum Speed:
610 mph
Cruise Speed:
530 mph
Range: 11,192 mi. maximum (ferry flight)
Service Ceiling: 50,000 ft
AMC Museum Restoration Crew Chief: Tim Anderson

Assignment History

The assignment history for the Air Mobility Command Museum's KC-135E Stratotanker, serial number 57-1507:

Date Location
7 Jan 1959 Delivered to United States Air Force
Feb 1962 to 4321st Strategic Wing (SAC), Offutt AFB, NE
Jul 1962 to 4238th Strategic Wing (SAC), Barksdale AFB, LA
Apr 1963 to 2nd Bombardment (H) Wing (SAC), Barksdale AFB, LA (deployments to U-Tapao RTAFB, Thailand, Eielson AFB, AK, and K. I. Sawyer AFB, MI)
Jul 1969 to 301st Air Refueling (H) Wing (SAC), Lockbourne AFB, OH (deployments to U-Tapao RTAFB, Thailand, Robins AFB, GA, Don Muang RTAFB, Thailand, Clark AB Philippines, Eielson AFB, AK, and Little Rock AFB, AR)
Apr 1975 to 160th Air Refueling (H) Group (Air National Guard), Rickenbacker ANGB, OH
Jul 1984 Designated KC-135E
1992 to 108th Air Refueling Wing (ANG), McGuire AFB, NJ
7 Aug 2009 Flown to Air Mobility Command Museum, Dover AFB, DE for display
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Is there a log for the personnel that flew aboard this aircraft? My father was a KC-135 pilot and was stationed at Lockbourne from 1968 to 1971, during which time he did multiple Young Tiger deployments to U-Tapao. It would not be a surprise if he did some seat time in this aircraft. In fact, it might be a surprise if he did not! If there is a log (searchable or not) for this aircraft that I could look at, I would be grateful to see it. BTW, he flew C-119s earlier in his career; maybe he was on one of the models of those that you have! Thanks for taking care of these old birds. Thank you.

Probably not to be honest. I’ve been trying to track down the history of a C-119 in a junkyard in Fairbanks Alaska called “Know Fear”. I even figured out what its military tail number was before being transferred to the civilian world, found the only picture out there of it in military service, and found out what units it served with. But I couldn’t get anything deeper than that when I asked a USAF historian for more information. If it were modern missions, they might be able to release information from the electronic tracking system we used, but I don’t think that became a thing till the last 15 years or so. Before that, it was all paper forms, and the USAF has good reason to possibly destroy old records like that I don’t think they keep records back to 50 years that meticulously. Which is a bummer.

PS, if you can find your father’s old pilot logbooks, those will probably be the most detailed records of what he was doing. I think they had to carry those around and at least log hours, if not what tail number they were flying, or much about the mission.

I was a crew chief on the tankers of the 108 ARW in NJANG,the plane I worked on was 59-1456

I was a crew chief on KC-135R and T model Stratotankers. I got to see a lot of these E model tankers at Fairchild AFB when the Guard was there in the mid 1990s operating the E models then. I loved working on the KC-135s and had the honor and privilege of painting squadron art on five lead aircraft, one of which was “City of Spokane” which, to my knowledge still flies on a KC-135 there at Fairchild to this day. Glad to have been a part of AMC and very happy to see a good old tanker at that museum.