US Recon Planes Break Down at Sky-High Rates, Alarming Lawmakers

World

The US Air Force’s C-135 reconnaissance aircraft are suffering mechanical issues at a significant pace, a new investigation has found.

“A C-135 military jet is about 110 times more likely than a commercial airliner to be forced to land early because of mechanical failure,” the Omaha World-Herald revealed in an investigative series published June 24, citing newly unearthed data.

The problems plaguing the aircraft are so severe, no commercial airline would consider putting passengers on them — a pretty remarkable statement, considering Boeing derived the C-135 from the same design it got the 707 airliner from. “An engine on fire at 31,000 feet. A pressurization failure that made the cabin feel like the summit of Mount Everest. A broken cockpit windshield over the ocean, hundreds of miles from land,” the report says, listing some of the issues C-135 air crews have had to overcome to return to land safely.

Service members at the US Air Force Offutt Air Base in Nebraska have endured all of the above “and more,” the report says.

Mechanical failures are responsible for the cancellation of one in 12 missions C-135s are supposed to fly, data cited by the newspaper show.

All five lawmakers representing Nebraska in Congress — three in the House and two in the Senate — penned a letter to US Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson calling for responses to questions including, “What is you assessment…

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