first published on February 14, 2016 by Will
While performing airstrikes over an undisclosed Daesh controlled area, an F-16 pilot was almost forced to eject because of a fuel system failure that would only allow the jet to access 15 minutes worth of fuel, leaving the rest of the fuel trapped and unusable within the tanks.
A nearby KC-135 Stratotanker, which had been flying aerial support of A-10 Warthogs, heard the F-16 pilot’s distress calls and moved in for assistance. The F-16 and the tanker made multiple attempts to refuel the faulty fighter jet, but each time the failure persisted in only allowing the F-16 to take on small amounts of fuel. The F-16 would not be able to make it back to base.
The tanker crew made the hasty decision to change the mission and deviate off course. They accompanied the injured fighter jet back towards its airstrip, refueling it every 15 minutes. Because of the quick decisions made by the fuel tanker’s crew, the Air Force pilot was able to land safely, rather than ejecting and having to parachute down to the awaiting death cult.