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    Off topic - Fatality (was: Bubble horizon)
    From: Brian Whatcott
    Date: 2002 Dec 17, 18:46 -0600

    Here is the most informed background on this fatality, that I have
      been able to find:
    In November 1988, Master Sergeant James Borland, a boom operator
    whose principal task it was to fly the fueling boom onto a receiver
    airplane when refueling, was preparing to make a celestial observation.
    This was the standard practice for that position on a trans-Atlantic run.
    (The boom took the sights, and the nav did the sight reductions. )
    One of two sighting windows then fitted to KC135-E airplanes
    broke free, thought to be due to corrosion at the seal.
    These overhead windows were located about six feet aft of the
    pilots' position, near the boom operators seat.
      Sgt Borland's head and arm were lifted clear outside the  aperture
    where the force of the partial ejection into the high speed, thin air
    killed him.  His intact corpse was recovered when the aircraft
    descended to a viable height.
      James served with the MARCH Air Force Reserves.
    The sighting windows on the KC135 were then deemed
    unnecessary,  and replaced with a sandwich of plates to
    eliminate this risk.
    Brian Whatcott
    At 12:18 AM 12/17/02, Robert Eno, you wrote:
    >I too, have heard about navigators getting sucked out of the perspex domes
    >that used to be affixed to aircraft. The stories were always gruesome and
    >usually involved headless navigators.  'nuff said on that. Matter of fact,
    >an aircrew member was supposedly killed in about 1989 or thereabouts because
    >he got sucked out the dome. The aircraft ended up emergency landing in
    >Frobisher Bay. That was the story anyway. It happened too long ago for me to
    >verify it.
    >Paul Hirose,  you said:
    > > KC-135s used to have flat windows on top of the plane near the bubble
    > > sextant port. I heard they were replaced with metal plates after an
    > > accident in the 80s (?) in which a nav got sucked out to his death.
    > > Such stories are often apocryphal, but there may be some truth to this
    > > one. The one -135 I worked on in my career, in the 1990s, did have the
    > > window openings plated over. In fact, I heard the story of the nav
    > > from one of the crew chiefs on that bird, after he noticed me playing
    > > with the periscopic sextant. What a way to die.
    > >
    > >
    Brian Whatcott
       Altus OK                      Eureka!

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