BERLIN, Germany - A KC-135 Stratotanker from the Royal Air Force Base Mildenhall arrived at Berlin-Schoenefeld Airport to take part in the ILA 2010 Berlin International Aerospace Exhibition and Conferences from June 8 to 13.
The Berlin Air Show is one of the premier events of its type in the world, with 1,153 exhibitors from 47 countries, including the United States.
“We are all glad to be here,” said Air Force Capt. Owen Walker, 351st Air Refueling Squadron KC-135 pilot from Royal Air Force Base Mildenhall, United Kingdom.
The KC-135 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.
During the show, the KC-135 crew showed all the parts of the aircraft including the boom operator station and the cockpit.
“One of their main questions include how old the aircraft is, and when they hear it’s 50 years old, they’re shocked,” Walker said. “They find it hard to believe that it is really that old and yet, it’s working perfectly.”
The visitors are also able to ask questions to the aircrew about the aircraft as well as the Air Force life.
“Everybody is friendly,” said Air Force Tech. Sgt. Charles Douglas, 100th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief. “Everyone is interested with the KC-135 since not a lot of people know about this particular aircraft.”
But putting out a show like this takes a lot of planning, hard work and dedication, Captain Walker said.
“Even though we only flew from England, the main challenge is that we usually don’t go to a lot of air shows so mainly, we are concerned about the basic planning,” he said. “We had to ensure the runway and the taxi way is wide enough for the aircraft. We also need clearances to fly. So there’s really a lot of logistical planning involved.”
According to him, these wouldn’t be made possible without the teamwork and cooperation between and among the members of the team.
“We all know each other pretty well,” Walker said. “We all get a long. We are a tight-knit group. We have fun doing our mission here.”