Local News

Was weather factor in deadly KC-135 crash?

SPOKANE, Wash. - One of the possibilities investigators are considering is the possibility that bad weather contributed to the KC-135 crash in Kyrgyzstan that killed three Fairchild aviators.

Historically, the vast majority of KC-135 mishaps have happened on landing or takeoff. Out of the 77 tankers that have been destroyed in mishaps only 5 came apart in mid-air and in at least one case the aircraft mishap happened around a thunderstorm.

The Fairchild crew was up for an afternoon refueling mission when, about 100 miles from the Manas Transit Center pilots called air traffic controllers and asked to change their route.

Tanker crash weather vo

According to the Russian International News Agency the crew was concerned about lightning and large cumulous clouds in the area.

Fairchild officials are not in the position of confirming those Russian news reports because all information about the crash is coming from Kyrgyzstan.

Pilots are trained to stay away from thunderstorms; violent down and updrafts can tear a plane apart. Lightning poses a hazard as well. In fact on Tuesday Utah Air National Guard KC-135 was struck by lightning outside Salt Lake City. However the lightning only found an antenna on the tanker and the crew landed safely.

Also, according to the Russian International News Agency, villagers near the crash site now want to be compensated because fuel from the downed plane contaminated one of the streams they use for their livestock.

Meanwhile back home in Spokane, plans for the air crew's memorial service are still pending.