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Accident description
Last updated: 27 May 2016
Date:Tuesday 30 July 1968
Type:Boeing KC-135A-BN Stratotanker
Operator:United States Air Force - USAF
Registration: 56-3655
C/n / msn: 17404/94
First flight: 1958-04-25 (10 years 3 months)
Total airframe hrs:6089
Engines: 4 Pratt & Whitney J57-P
Crew:Fatalities: 9 / Occupants: 9
Passengers:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 0
Total:Fatalities: 9 / Occupants: 9
Airplane damage: Destroyed
Airplane fate: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:56 km (35 mls) E of Red Buff, CA (   United States of America)
Phase: En route (ENR)
Departure airport:Merced-Castle AFB, CA (MER/KMER), United States of America
Destination airport:Merced-Castle AFB, CA (MER/KMER), United States of America
The KC-135 departed Castle AFB (MER) on a refueling training mission. The crew was conducting a practice emergency descent from FL390 to FL230. After a sharp turn the vertical stabilizer separated and the airplane crashed in a timberland forest on Mount Lassen.

Tail failure
Loss of control

» Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker: More Than Just a Tanker (Aerofax Series) / Robert S Hopkins, III


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This map shows the airport of departure and the intended destination of the flight. The line between the airports does not display the exact flight path.
Distance from Merced-Castle AFB, CA to Merced-Castle AFB, CA as the crow flies is 0 km (0 miles).

This information is not presented as the Flight Safety Foundation or the Aviation Safety Networkĺs 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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