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128th Refueling Wing crew returns to Milwaukee after in-air emergency

Annie Scholz, Jay Sorgi and Nick Montes

Photo: Video by tmj4.com

128th Refueling Wing crew returns to Milwaukee after in-air emergency

CREATED Jun. 18, 2013 - UPDATED: Jun. 19, 2013

MILWAUKEE - A plane with the 128th Refueling Wing based in Milwaukee has landed in Indiana after having hydraulic issues in the air.

The plane is a KC-135, with the fleet from the 128th Refueling Wing of the Wisconsin Air National Guard.  The crew was returning to Milwaukee.

"The information I'm getting back is that the right side of the hydraulic system had some sort of failure," said Captain John Capra on TODAY'S TMJ4's Live at 4:30.

He explained that crews could manually override the hydraulic failure with a crossover valve to land the plane safely.

The 128th Air Refueling Wing tells TODAY'S TMJ4 that three people were apparently on board, and that the plane was burning off fuel before it landed at Grissom Air Reserve Base, an hour north of Indianapolis.

The base has a longer runway than Mitchell International Airport.  The crew took advantage of it and landed safe and sound.

This is the third time in recent weeks, and the fourth time this year, such an issue has happened with the refueling wing.

"The planes are definitely old.  Our planes are averaging 50 years in age, though the systems have been upgraded...it still is prone to failure.  We've maintained the plane with an impeccable rate of maintenance.  When something like this happens, it affects us," said Capra.

However, Capra says the planes are built with backup systems. They have maintenance procedures in place and each plane is looked at, in some fashion, every day.

"I can tell you that they're safe. They're a very safe aircraft."

The crew should be back on Wednesday.  As for the aircraft, maintenance crews will evaluate it at Grissom Air Base before it's flown back.

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