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Last updated: 22 September 2018
Date:Thursday 30 April 2015
Type:Silhouette image of generic R135 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Boeing RC-135V Rivet Joint
Operator:United States Air Force - USAF
Registration: 64-14848
C/n / msn: 18788
First flight: 1965-01-21 (50 years 4 months)
Crew:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 27
Passengers:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 0
Total:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 27
Aircraft damage: Substantial
Location:Bellevue-Offutt AFB, NE (OFF) (   United States of America)
Phase: Takeoff (TOF)
Departure airport:Bellevue-Offutt AFB, NE (OFF/KOFF), United States of America
Destination airport:Bellevue-Offutt AFB, NE (OFF/KOFF), United States of America
The Boeing RC-135V Rivet Joint, assigned to the 343rd Reconnaissance Squadron, 55th Wing, experienced a fire in the rear cabin during initial takeoff from runway 12 at Offutt AFB.
The aircraft and its crew were conducting a routine training mission in support of an Air Force Special Operations Command exercise. The crew consisted of cockpit crew, electronic warfare officers, intelligence operators and in-flight maintenance technicians.
The pilot aborted the takeoff, and all crew members safely evacuated the aircraft. Four crewmembers received treatment for minor smoke inhalation.
Fire crews arrived at approximately 18:29 and extinguished the flames. The fire burned a hole through the upper fuselage above the rear galley area of the aircraft, causing structural damage and
damage to aircraft control and mission related systems. Repair cost to the aircraft is estimated at $62.4 million.

Probable Cause:

The board president found by preponderance of the evidence that the cause of the mishap was a leak in the high-pressure oxygen system due to poor assembly of the system tubing at depot maintenance.
Failure by L3 Communications depot maintenance personnel to tighten a retaining nut connecting a metal oxygen tube to a junction fitting above the galley properly caused an oxygen leak. This leak created a highly flammable oxygen-rich environment that ignited. The resulting fire melted the retaining nut causing the tubing to become detached from the junction fitting, feeding more oxygen to the fire, increasing its size, and causing severe damage to the airframe, galley, and mission equipment onboard the aircraft.

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: USAF AIB
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 61 days (2 months)
Accident number: Final report
Download report: Final report


photo of Boeing RC-135V Rivet Joint 64-14848
photo of Boeing RC-135V Rivet Joint 64-14848
photo of Boeing RC-135V Rivet Joint 64-14848
photo of Boeing RC-135V Rivet Joint 64-14848
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This information is not presented as the Flight Safety Foundation or the Aviation Safety Network’s opinion as to the cause of the accident. It is preliminary and is based on the facts as they are known at this time.
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