KC-10A Extender added to Air Force museum’s collection

The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force welcomed the KC-10A Extender Monday, a tanker and cargo aircraft that will become part of the museum’s permanent collection.

Retired Lt. Col. James Aaron flew the KC-10 for 30 years as part of his 35 years in the Air Force.

Watching the flyover at the museum Monday reminded him how much he missed flying the KC-10 and how proud he is of everyone he’s flown with, he said..

“It brings a tear to the eye to see the KC-10 flying over,” Aaron said.

The KC-10 originally derived from the civilian DC-10, he exlpained, and is able capable of carrying cargo and aerial refeuling.

“The significance for the Air Force is this airplane did so much heavy lifting for so many years,” Aaron said. “Forty-four years of service. It had its baptism of fire in (Operation) El Dorado Canyon.”

The aircraft is being reunited with the USAF F-111 at the museum, which was also part of Operation El Dorado Canyon in Libya inthe 1980s.

“(The KC-10) was the lead aircraft that did the refueling out of England on its way to Libya,” Aaron said. “We’re bringing these two airplanes back together again to be preserved here at the museum.”

He described it as a “pilot’s airplane.”

“Flying an airplane like this, it’s predictable. It was a wonderful airplane to fly,” Aaron said. “It was a very honest, forgiving airplane and it would do anything you asked of it within reason.”

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