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Safety of KC-135s questioned after third in-flight emergency in a year

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Photo: Video by tmj4.com

Safety of KC-135s questioned after third in-flight emergency in a year

By Jaclyn Brandt. CREATED May 29, 2013

MILWAUKEE - An in-flight emergency forces the crew aboard a military refueling jet to turn around and land just minutes after takeoff Tuesday night.

It's the second in-flight emergency this month for the 128th Refueling Wing.

Tuesday night’s emergency happened during a training flight. Many of these planes have been in service for more than half a century, but the 128th insists it is confident with its aging fleet.

On the tarmac at Mitchell Airport, mechanics were picking apart engine number four on Wednesday on the KC-135. Pilots shut the engine down Tuesday night and turned around just minutes after leaving Milwaukee for a training flight.

Just two weeks ago, a different plane in the 128th had to make emergency landing when it had engine trouble.

The military uses the planes to refuel other planes in the air, and they've been on the job for a long time. The frame of the plane that turned around Tuesday night was built in 1958, and the engines were replaced in 1985. The Air National Guard maintains problems are few and the planes are still up for the job.

Tom Murray contributed to this report.