ASN Aircraft accident Boeing KC-135A Stratotanker 61-0273 Palomares
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Date:Monday 17 January 1966
Type:Silhouette image of generic K35A model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Boeing KC-135A Stratotanker
Operator:United States Air Force - USAF
Registration: 61-0273
MSN: 18180/495
First flight: 1961-11-01 (4 years 3 months)
Total airframe hrs:1947
Engines: 4 Pratt & Whitney J57-P
Crew:Fatalities: 4 / Occupants: 4
Passengers:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 0
Total:Fatalities: 4 / Occupants: 4
Collision casualties:Fatalities: 3
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Aircraft fate: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Palomares (   Spain)
Phase: En route (ENR)
Departure airport:Morón Air Base (OZP/LEMO), Spain
Destination airport:Morón Air Base (OZP/LEMO), Spain
A USAF Boeing B-52G Stratofortress (58-0256) began its mission from Goldsboro-Seymour Johnson AFB, NC (GSB), carrying four Type B28RI hydrogen bombs on a Cold War airborne alert mission named Operation Chrome Dome. The flight plan took the aircraft east across the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea towards the European borders of the Soviet Union before returning home. The lengthy flight required two mid-air refuellings over Spain.
At about 10:30 am on 17 January 1966, while flying at 31,000 feet, the bomber commenced its second aerial refuelling with a USAF Boeing KC-135A Stratotanker (61-0273) out of Morón Air Base in southern Spain.
The planes collided, with the nozzle of the refueling boom striking the top of the B-52 fuselage, breaking a longeron and snapping off the left wing, which resulted in an explosion. All four men on the KC-135 and three of the seven men on the bomber were killed.

Mid air collision
Loss of control

» 1966 Palomares B-52 crash (Wikipedia)


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This information is not presented as the Flight Safety Foundation or the Aviation Safety Network’s opinion as to the cause of the accident. It is preliminary and is based on the facts as they are known at this time.
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