Al Udeid RC-135 - web

An airman marshals an RC-135 Rivet Joint surveillance aircraft into position July 24, 2015, at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar. The RC-135 Rivet Joint aircraft has maintained a constant presence in the region since the early 1990s. 

The Air Force refers to airplanes that spend extended periods of time under repair as “hangar queens.” These are some recent examples of 55th Wing RC-135 aircraft that experienced repeated mechanical failures in a short period of time. An “IFE” is an incident in which a pilot declared an in-flight emergency. An “Air Abort” means the aircraft took off, but its mission was cut short. A “Ground Abort” refers to a mission that was ended before takeoff.

Rivet Joint RC-135V — Tail No. 64-14846

May-July 2017

» Ground Abort, 7/28/2017 — Tiller (steering) wheel problem

» Ground Abort, 7/19/2017 — Grinding/ratcheting in control column

» Ground Abort, 7/11/2017 — Missing part

» Ground Abort, 7/10/2017 — Tiller wheel problem

» Air Abort, 5/24/2017 — Landing-gear handle problem

» IFE, 5/18/2017 — No. 1 engine shutdown

» IFE, 5/16/2017 — No. 1 engine shutdown

Rivet Joint RC-135V — Tail No. 64-14842

November 2016-April 2017

» IFE 4/28/2017 — Left hydraulic system leak

» Ground Abort, 4/17/2017 — Left hydraulic system problem

» Ground Abort, 4/3/2017 — No. 1 engine failed to start

» Ground Abort, 3/29/2017 — No. 3 engine failed to start

» Ground Abort, 3/27/2017 — Rudder-trim problem

» Ground Abort, 3/23/2017 — Rudder-trim pedal problem

» Ground Abort, 3/20/2017 — No. 2 generator problem

» IFE, 3/14/2017 — Landing gear failed to retract on takeoff

» IFE, 3/10/2017 — Landing gear failed to retract after takeoff

» IFE, 3/2/2017 — Lost left-side hydraulic system

» Ground Abort, 2/28/2017 — Air compressor manifold problem

» Ground Abort, 2/21/2017 — Steering problem 

» Ground Abort, 2/16/2017 — Interphone failure

» Ground Abort, 2/14/2017 — Interphone failure

» Ground Abort, 2/8/2017 — Seat back broken

» Air Abort, 2/7/2017 — Radio broken 

» Air Abort, 12/12 or 12/13/2016 — Landing gear initially failed to retract after takeoff.

Rivet Joint RC-135W — Tail No. 62-4131

September-October 2015

» Ground Abort, 10/24/2015 — No. 1 generator circuit breaker popped

» IFE, 10/18/2015 — No. 1 generator control unit caught fire after circuit breaker popped

» Ground Abort, 9/25/2015 — Smoke poured out of electrical rack

» Ground Abort, 9/21/2015 — No. 3 tank-to-engine manifold valve failed to close

» Ground Abort, 9/17/2015 — No. 3 forward boost pump broken

January-March 2014

» Air Abort, 3/26/2014 — Liquid cooling system leak

» Air Abort, 3/24/2014 — Liquid cooling system leak

» Ground Abort, 2/28/2014 — Right-side hydraulic system failure

» Ground Abort, 2/21/2014 — No. 3 engine warning light

» IFE, 2/12/2014 — Liquid cooling system leak

» IFE, 1/23/2014 — No. 3 engine warning light 

Rivet Joint RC-135V — Tail No. 64-14844

June-August 2013

» Air Abort, 8/26/2013 — Generator failure, lost power

» Air Abort, 8/19/2013 — Right landing gear problem

» Ground Abort, 7/14/2013 — Generator problems

» IFE, 6/29-30/2013 — No. 3 main fuel tank leak 

» Air Abort, 6/28/2013 — No. 3 main fuel tank leak

» IFE, 6/27 or 28/2013 — No. 3 main fuel tank leak

» IFE, 6/20/2013 — No. 1 engine warning light

Steve is the military affairs reporter for The World-Herald. Follow him on Twitter @SteveLiewer. Phone: 402-444-1186.

Commenting is limited to Omaha World-Herald subscribers. To sign up, click here.

If you're already a subscriber and need to activate your access or log in, click here.

Recommended for you

Load comments

You must be a full digital subscriber to read this article You must be a digital subscriber to view this article.