Thousands of external fuel tanks from US airplanes were recycled by Vietnamese farmers after the Vietnam War to produce improvised river boats and canoes.

Drop tanks enhance a fighter’s fuel capacity significantly, but they also increase drag and make the plane less maneuverable.

When a fighter jet is empty or has to engage in air-to-air combat or escape an incoming missile, they are ejected.

During the Vietnam War, thousands of drop tanks were launched over Southeast Asia. The dropped drop-tanks were practically presenting from above for farmers and fishermen living in remote places.


The tanks were made in clamshell halves that nested together for economical shipment by Royal Jet Inc of Alhambra, California (see one of their identification labels below). The halves were snapped together and locked by a belt once delivered to an aviation base.

After being dropped during combat operations, the Vietnamese discovered that the tanks were dismantled just as simply as they had been assembled.

So, when life gives you fuel tanks, remember to create canoes.

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