Hickam boss was a pilot during midair mishap
The Air Force is conducting a safety investigation of a mid-air collision last week between a C-17 Globemaster cargo jet, piloted by the commander of Hickam Air Force Base, and a Hawaii Air National Guard KC-135 jet tanker.
Maj. Paul Wright, Hickam spokesman, said he could not identify any of the other crew members of the C-17, which arrived here last week from Altus Air Force Base in Oklahoma for training.
Both Maj. Chuck Anthony, Hawaii National Guard spokesman, and Wright shied away from saying there was a mid-air collision. Both described the incident as a "contact."
Col. William Changose, the commander, was not grounded and the 174-foot cargo jet sustained only "minor damage" and was still being flown yesterday, Wright added. It is scheduled to leave on Monday.
The KC-135 tanker sustained "minor" structural damage to its tail and refueling boom, which can extend from 28 inches to 47 feet from the rear of the tanker, Anthony said.
It has been grounded until the safety investigation board has completed its findings, he added.
Anthony also declined to identify the KC-135 crew members until after the Air Force completes its investigation.
The Hawaii Air Guard KC-135 tanker was carrying about 30 passengers ó many of them C-17 crew members from Hawaii.
The incident occurred at 10:30 p.m. Thursday night about 200 miles from Oahu as the C-17 was being refueled on the last leg of its trip from the mainland.
Wright said that Changose is still scheduled to be one of two pilots on Feb. 8 when the first of Hickamís eight C-17 Globemaster cargo jets arrive from Altus. The other pilot will be Brig. Gen. Peter Pawling, commander of the 154th Wing.
The eight Globemasters, each costing $200 million, will be assigned to a partnership between active duty Air Force and Air Guard units here.