"The Aviators" comes to Tinker, highlights KC-135, E-3 missions

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Mark Hybers
  • 507th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

 A crew from the popular television series "The Aviators" came to here on March 20-21, 2013 to highlight the KC-135 Stratotanker and the E-3 Sentry missions for an upcoming episode airing this fall.

The film crew of four spent two days at Tinker filming the KC-135 and E-3 missions in order to highlight the guard, reserve and active duty components and the specific mission capabilities of the jets and crews.

Airmen from the 507th Air Refueling Wing, 513th Air Control Group, 552nd Air Control Wing and Oklahoma Air National Guard's 137th Air Refueling Wing were active participants.

The film crew hailing out of Toronto, Canada, came very prepared for the type of fast paced, cramped filming needed to effectively demonstrate what the men and women do without hindering any part of the KC-135 or E-3 missions.

"Executing the schedule for the film crew took a total force effort of guard, reserve and active duty. We had a lot of support from both sides of the flight line." said Capt. Jon Quinlan, Chief, 507th ARW Public Affairs. "This documentary coverage will play a huge role in communicating our Air Force missions to the public and recruiting our future aviators. Plus it didn't cost us a penny"

Within five minutes of arriving at the front gate, the crew unloaded and began filming 507th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron members while they worked on a KC-135.

"We were really surprised at how efficient the maintenance process seemed to be," said Anthony Nalli, executive producer. "They were all in different areas working on different things at the same time. They seemed to be a very cohesive team."

Director of Photography, Devin Lund, who has been with the show since season one was quite surprised at the size of the aircraft. "There is going to be a ton of great video here," Lund said.

The Aviators crew filmed mission briefs and pre-flight inspections on both the KC-135 and E-3 Airborne Warning and Control System to get a feel for what goes into these missions before the aircraft leave the ground.

Major Mark Povec, 465th Air Refueling Squadron Pilot got the opportunity to interview with the film crew and document what's it's like to be part of a KC-135 crew.

"The film crew was outstanding when it came to the interview. It was great to highlight our ops and maintenance teams." said Maj. Povec. "All around it was a good experience."

A highlight during the filming for Megen Andersen, production coordinator, was finding out more about the boom operator position.

"I was really surprised how intense the boom operator's position is," she said. "He or she has to be so precise and attentive during the mission while working on their stomach in a small office."

The "Aviator" series focuses on interesting people, the latest aircraft and coolest technology, both civilian and military. It's currently filming for the fourth season, set to air this fall.

The series airs weekly in the United States with an audience of over 9.3 million in almost 3.6 million television households as reported by Nielsen ratings during the show's second season. Additionally, the show has more than 2 million views or downloads via popular online video subscription sites.

While the show mainly airs on the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) the show is now running in some areas on the Discovery Channel.

The episode filmed here is expected to air sometime in October, according to the producers.

For more information on "The Aviators" visit their website at http://www.theaviators.tv/