A Q&A with Cody

19/02/2023

Recently, I had the chance to ask former USAF KC-10 pilot Cody some questions about his time flying the Extender, below are the questions I asked and the answers I received. I hope you enjoy reading, it was a real pleasure to talk to Cody!

The commentary and views expressed are not representative of the USAF or the DoD. Photos are a collaboration and credit resides with their original producers. 

What inspired you to want to join the Air Force?

My dad was a navigator on the B-52 so I grew up on/around Air Force bases watching jets flying overhead. I can't think of another time in my life when I didn't want to be a pilot.

What is your favourite moment you've had flying?

4th of July 2020. My first mission as the aircraft commander flying the KC-10. My crew refuelled the USAF Thunderbirds before the Washington DC flyover.

What is the worst moment you've had flying?

I always hated having to cancel a mission because of maintenance issues or weather. 

Besides the KC-10, is there any aircraft you'd like to fly or to have flown?

I flew the T-6 and T-1 in pilot training and am now an instructor flying the T-1 at pilot training. Since the KC-10 is retiring next year I'm currently debating what to go to next. Only time will tell, but I'm looking forward to whatever comes next.

During Air to Air Refuelling, did you have a favourite receiver?

Aside from another KC-10, it was really awesome watching fighters AR while deployed, they'd come up to the boom with less munitions than the previous AR and it was neat knowing we were making a difference. 

What aircraft did you fly prior to the KC-10?

I've flown the DA-20, T-6 and T-1. 

What is the most difficult mission you've flown?

My first mission as AC probably takes the reigns as most difficult, or at least the most stressful. We had an issue with our auxiliary power unit which delayed our takeoff. We had to scramble to make it to the AR on time otherwise another tanker would've had to give the Thunderbirds their fuel. 

How long have you been in the Air Force?

I've been in the Air Force just over 7 years now. I've been a rated pilot for just over 5 years.

As a KC-10 pilot, what are your thoughts on the new KC-46?

This one is tough for me and many other KC-10 pilots. The bottom line is that the KC-46 is not and was never intended to replace the KC-10. Therefore, the KC-10 remains more capable in some areas while the KC-46 vastly outperforms the KC-10 in others. Not matter how I or other -10 pilot feel about the -46, those who fly it speak highly of it and I'm sure it will become a great asset to our tanker fleet.

How many years did you spend flying the KC-10?

A little over 5! I left the -10 in 2022 as an instructor pilot with a little over 1600 hours.

Thank you very much to Cody for agreeing to answer these questions for me, and thank you all very much for reading, I hope you enjoyed it!