F-15E Crew And KC-10 Boom Operator Talk The Merits Of Coffee While Refueling

Aerial refueling videos never get old. Sometimes they are beautiful, sometimes they are absolutely terrifying, sometimes they are surprising, sometimes they are informative, and sometimes they offer a little insight into the daily banter that occurs between flying gas stations and their customers. In this case, a KC-10 Extender boom operator shoots the breeze with an F-15E Strike Eagle crew while gassing up over the Persian Gulf, and coffee and its many forms are the topic of choice.

One of the things the big jet and cargo plane flyers have on the fighter guys is the ability to get up and walk around, make good snacks, and even take along a Keurig for the ride. This comes up often, including in this video. Also of particular note is that this sortie is the Strike Eagle pilot’s final one in the F-15E. Soon he will be flying the same aircraft he is sipping gas from—the KC-10. He even gives thanks for the gas with a nice break and flare release as he drops off the boom.

A similar video was posted recently in which an F-22 pilot talks to a KC-10 boom operator about shooting stars, thinking about space, and their common love for Chick-Fil-A. It’s a classic.

What most don’t realize is that the tanker’s boom and the receiving aircraft’s receptacle have intercom connections that activate once the aircraft are in contact. This way the boom operator and the pilot can converse clearly and securely without using the radios which can be negatively impacted by environmental and operational factors, and just poor operational security. The repartee between ‘boom’ and pilot makes the whole aerial dance look incredibly easy, which it absolutely is not.

Author’s note: You can read all about what life as a boom operator is like in one of my past ‘confessions of’ special features linked here.

Contact the author: Tyler@thedrive.com

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Tyler Rogoway


Tyler's passion is the study of military technology, strategy, and foreign policy and he has fostered a dominant voice on those topics in the defense media space. He was the creator of the hugely popular defense site Foxtrot Alpha before developing The War Zone.