Airbus Tanker Loses Refueling Boom Hose During Flight Over Spain

Airbus Military said a refueling tanker due for delivery this month to the United Arab Emirates lost a boom in mid flight over Spain yesterday.

The aircraft was performing a test flight when the boom detached at about 7:30 p.m. and landed in a forest in the province of Caceres, in central Spain. The boom was later recovered by police, and the fallen part hasn’t damaged any property, spokeswoman Maggie Bergsma said today.

The aircraft returned to its base near Getafe, outside Madrid, and performed a normal landing, she said.

The Airbus A330 wide-body aircraft outfitted to work as a military tanker was the first of three on order with the UAE. A boom is a rigid hose that extends from the undercarriage of the plane to feed a second aircraft with extra fuel so it can continue flights without landing. Designed and built by Airbus, the boom measures 11.6 meters (38 feet) when retracted and 18 meters when fully extended.

The incident is under investigation and Bergsma said she had no information on whether the delivery will be postponed. It is the second time since Airbus Military began building tankers that a plane has lost a boom, with the first occurrence during a refueling task on a plane built for Australia.

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