Due to space restrictions, the EC-135 Looking Glass is displayed without wings or engines.
On Jul. 17, 2021 the Strategic Air Command & Aerospace Museum hosted a “Flight Night” featuring the first opportunity for the general public to see the recently completed restoration of both the exterior and interior of the EC-135 Looking Glass.
“We’re very excited and honored to share this project with the public,” says Curator Brian York, who led guided tours of the EC-135, to 3KMTV News Now. “This aircraft is a significant piece in Cold War history and we look forward to telling the stories.”
Restoration Manager, Andy Beemer and his team of volunteers have been pressing forward after a nearly lost year to COVID in 2020.
“Due to COVID, it added a year to the EC-135 project timeline,” says Beemer on Strategic Air Command & Aerospace Museum website.
The restoration work included “prepping, masking, priming, painting, detailing, and reassembling the exterior of the aircraft,” explains Beemer.
This restoration included continued work on the right main landing gear.
Beemer’s team detailed the aircraft with paint markings and decals, as well as reassembly of exterior antennas, doors, and other components.
Some of the detailed work includes: Stars & Bars, flag detail on the tail, USAF logo, the RF Radiation “stay out zone” markings along with a yellow stripe located on the belly of the aircraft.
The month of June included the majority of the stenciling and sticker kit work. Due to space restrictions, the aircraft is displayed without wings or engines.
The Boeing EC-135 Looking Glass aircraft was a conversion of the basic C-135/KC-135 family of aircraft for the strategic command and control mission.
The Strategic Air Command (SAC) Airborne Command Post was airborne 365/24/7. The Looking Glass mission, to ensure Nuclear peace, was successfully completed for over 37 years. It also provided an alternate method to launch the Minuteman/Peacekeeper missiles if ground launch control centers are destroyed.
General John T. Chain Jr. landed the last mission on an EC-135 Looking Glass aircraft at Offutt AFB in 1990.
General Chain, Honorary Chair for this project said, “There was no other mission more important to the success of the United States winning the Cold War.”
US Navy E-6Bs replaced the EC-135s in 1998 and have performed a random mix of air and ground alert to this day.
The following video provides an in depth look at the restoration of the Strategic Air Command & Aerospace Museum, the EC-135 “Looking Glass.”