Extended Swan Song.
6th Aerial Refuelling Squadron brings out the KC-10A Extender to Avalon Airshow for one last visit to Australia before retirement in 2024.
Images: Jaryd Stock, Daniel Vorbach, Ryan Imeson.
Interview with U.S. Air Force Major Mike Warzinski from the 6thARS in video below.
The U.S. Pacific Air Forces again were on show at the Australian International Airshow 2023, the first airshow held at Avalon Airport since 2019 due to the covid pandemic.
In a statement the Pacific Air Forces said at the commencement of the airshow that it had sent approximately 300 U.S. Military personnel and eleven aircraft with the U.S. Army providing two aircraft. The U.S. participates in events like this to demonstrate their focus in on regional security and stability showcasing their partnership with Australia and the Royal Australian Air Force.
In articles to come we will talk to the U.S. Air Force AIRBOSS on the ground Col Henry “Schadow” Schantz who oversaw the Avalon airshow USAF contingent and speak to Chief of the Australian Air Force Air Marshall Robert “Chipper” Chipman on the closeness of the USAF and RAAF partnership.
One of the standout aircraft on static display was the McDonnell Douglas KC-10A Extender (serial: 83-0078) which is based at Travis Air Force Base, California and was flown to Avalon by the 6th Aerial Refuelling Squadron. The aircraft which is celebrating its 40th year after being constructed in 1983 would be the last time a USAF KC-10 Extender attends a international airshow and marks the last time the type is in Australia due to the USAF retiring the type from service as KC-46 Pegasus aircraft come online and replace the KC-10.
This was the second visit to Avalon by this particular aircraft and the crew immediately made their presence felt at Avalon with a sensational flyby over the airfield with the rear boom down in the refuelling configuration giving local aviation enthusiasts and those on the ground a unique perspective before touching down on runway 36 after its long haul flight from Kadena Air Force Base in Okinawa, Japan.
In our feature video interview (CLICK ON THE LINK ABOVE) with Major Mike Warzinski KC-10 pilot and apart of the USAF/RAAF pilot exchange program he details what it took to get the KC-10 down to Avalon and what it was like flying with RAAF No.33 squadron for three years based at RAAF Base Amberley.