February 29, 2008
The KC-135's at McConnell Air Force Base will soon be heading for retirement. "It's kind of like getting a new car. You have an older car that takes a lot of work and a lot of upkeep and a new car, with that new car smell, it will allow us to do our job easier and better," says Tech. Sgt. Jeff Bishop.
Crews like Bishop's say the planes are vital to protecting our country.They can refuel planes at 300 miles per hour and 30,000 feet in the air. And with the average age of each plane approaching 50, the new contract with Northrop Grumman and the parent company of Airbus couldn't have come at a better time.
"As we look to replace these planes we're looking at approximately three decades to do that so by the time we retire these airplanes they could be upwards of 80 years old," explains Col. Jim Vechery.
And the less time they have to spend making repairs to aging planes, the more they can focus on their job. It's still unclear whether or not McConnell will be getting any of the new plane immediately. Right now. the base is on a preliminary list.
Col. Vechery adds, "If they decide to bring them McConnell we'll be ready to receive them." And like the planes that would be retired, current crew doubts they be around to see any changes. But are hopeful for what the next generation of men and women will get to work with.
"They'll be spoiled. They'll have it easy, we've had it kind of rough."
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