KC-97 Tanker.  My Air Force Airplane


The KC-97 Tanker was the airplane I flew in the US Air Force between 1956 and 1960 and then again in the Tennessee Air National Guard a few years later.  It was a great flying airplane with gigantic 4360 Radial engines (the largest size radial ever built) and when you'd take off in an unloaded airplane at 130,000 pounds it was a skyrocket. When you took off at 175,000 pounds with a full load it was frightening. The airstrip at Hunter AFB in Savannah, Ga was 14,000 (!) feet long and on a summer day the KC-97 might not be airborne at the end of that runway. Two 5 man crews that I was on were killed in those takeoffs and I had very fortunately been assigned to  some other duty and missed those flights.

Here's where the pilot sat. Notice the simple guages and the 4 throttles and the huge windows. Very comfortable for the 7 hour flights.

The main hull of the KC-97 with some of the huge tanks that carried the jet fuel that we pumped into the B-47's.  The lower hull under this one was also full of tanks for fuel.

                                                           USAF Capt. Jim Martin

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