Investigation Faults Boom Operator:

An Air Combat Command investigation into the mishap between a KC-10 aerial refueler and an F-16 attempting to refuel says the “boom operator’s abrupt and excessive” maneuvers with the boom flight control stick caused $930,000 worth of damage to the F-16 and $75,000 to the refueling boom. The report, released by ACC this week, noted that the F-16, assigned to the South Dakota ANG’s 114th Fighter Wing, was “within the acceptable air refueling envelope” but at an “elevated position” during the Oct. 28, 2005, refueling operation. The boom operator on the KC-10, from the 305th Air Mobility Wing, McGuire AFB, N.J., “jerked back” on the control stick to avoid striking the F-16’s tail, then “abruptly pushed forward” on the stick to prevent it from striking the underside of the KC-10. In the end, the boom hit the F-16’s right aft fuselage.