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KC-135 training missions on Tuesday had massive plane flying low over Spokane

UPDATED: Tue., Aug. 22, 2017, 10:08 p.m.

A KC-135 launches from Fairchild Air Force Base, June 23, 2017. Several witnesses reported seeing KC-135s flying low Tuesday over Spokane and Spokane Valley. A 92nd Air Refueling Wing spokeswoman said the pilots were practicing “touch and goes.” (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
A KC-135 launches from Fairchild Air Force Base, June 23, 2017. Several witnesses reported seeing KC-135s flying low Tuesday over Spokane and Spokane Valley. A 92nd Air Refueling Wing spokeswoman said the pilots were practicing “touch and goes.” (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)

A 136-foot flying gas station that can reach speeds of 580 miles per hour tends to get attention, especially when it flies low over Spokane.

Several witnesses reported seeing a U.S. Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker flying low over Spokane and Spokane Valley on Tuesday afternoon.

A spokeswoman at Fairchild Air Force Base said the crew with the 92nd Air Refueling Wing was simply performing standard training missions.

Col. Ryan Samuelson, the Fairchild base commander, said in a Facebook post that a “single tanker was practicing with various flight paths and timing for a future flyover of an event we will be supporting at the request of this incredibly supportive community.”

He said an earlier comment from a base spokesperson describing the tanker as performing “routine touch and goes” was incorrect.

“The flyover and practices have been approved by the Air Force and are under the control of FAA airspace controllers,” Samuelson wrote. “The altitudes flown are in accordance with FAA and Air Force guidance and procedures.

“We are always mindful of noise concerns of our neighbors and will always work to minimize impacts.”

While pilots perform training from the base most days, Richardson noted that the low-flying tanker on Tuesday generated “some calls.”