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Last updated: 29 November 2021
Date:Friday 30 June 1972
Time:ca 05:00
Type:Silhouette image of generic C135 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Boeing C-135F Stratotanker
Operator:L'Armée de L'Air
Registration: 38743
MSN: 18682/C004
First flight: 1964-02-26 (8 years 4 months)
Engines: 4 Pratt & Whitney TF33-P-5
Crew:Fatalities: 6 / Occupants: 6
Passengers:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 0
Total:Fatalities: 6 / Occupants: 6
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Aircraft fate: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:ca 4 km NW off Hao Island Airport (HOI) (   French Polynesia)
Phase: Approach (APR)
Departure airport:Hao Island Airport (HOI/NTTO), French Polynesia
Destination airport:Hao Island Airport (HOI/NTTO), French Polynesia
The aircraft lost power on one engine and crashed into the sea while attempting to return to the airport. The C-135F was on a weather reconnaissance mission associated with a nuclear test.
After this accident another C-135 stationed at Hao Island also developed engine problems. It was determined that there was significant corrosion of the compressor fins and of certain pressure tap ports supplying the FCU (Fuel Control Unit) with salt particles and dust from coral and that there was a blocked bleed-valve.

To prevent this, the French Air Force began to systematically wash the jet engines after exposure to a saline atmosphere.

» La perte du C-135 n° 473
» Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker: More Than Just a Tanker (Aerofax Series) / Robert S Hopkins, III


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This information is not presented as the Flight Safety Foundation or the Aviation Safety Network’s 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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