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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Fairchild versus McConnell cost-benefit comparison

Although the Air Force studied four bases as possible first homes for the KC-46A, Fairchild and McConnell Air Force bases would have the lowest costs, see the smallest number of personnel changes and need the least amount of construction. Here are some differences listed in the draft environmental impact statement for bringing the first wing of new tankers to Fairchild and McConnell.

Pentagon analysis shows McConnell cheaper option than Fairchild for new tanker

Sending the first squadron of KC-46A tankers to Fairchild Air Force Base would have provided a $292 million boost to the local economy from new construction and added more than 400 personnel to the West Plains military installation. But it would have cost U.S. taxpayers more money and caused more disruptions than sending them to McConnell Air Force Base, which is the Pentagon’s preferred location to be the first home for the new plane, a study of the different options shows.

Air Force’s Manas operations ending

The Pentagon is preparing to pull out of Kyrgyzstan, the former Soviet bloc nation where Fairchild-based tanker crews have flown thousands of combat refueling missions over Afghanistan since the start of the war. The Defense Department said Monday it will vacate Manas Transit Center by July rather than attempt to negotiate a lease extension for continued use of the expeditionary base. The transit center serves as a staging point for aerial refueling missions and as a northern air supply route into nearby Afghanistan for troops and equipment.

Fairchild loses bid for new tankers

Turns out the most important thing in becoming the first base for the Air Force’s new air refueling tanker is the same as the most important thing in real estate: Location, location, location. Fairchild Air Force Base lost out Wednesday to McConnell Air Force Base near Wichita, Kan., because McConnell had a better location, according to the scoring system the military used to make its decision.

Memorial for Fairchild airmen set

A memorial for the three Fairchild airmen who died when their KC-135 crashed in Kyrgyzstan will be held Tuesday, May 28 at the INB Performing Arts Center.

Shirts being sold to help benefit victims’ families

When she came up with the idea earlier this week of selling commemorative T-shirts to raise money for the families of Fairchild’s downed tanker crew, Brandy Tiffany thought she’d be lucky to sell 200. By Friday, the campaign to help a fund set up for the families of “Shell 77,” the call sign of the tanker that exploded and crashed in Kyrgyzstan last week, was nearing 2,000 shirt sales in just three days.

Public service planned for Fairchild air crash victims

Fairchild Air Force Base officials said Sunday that they are planning a public memorial service for the first Fairchild crew killed in a tanker plane crash since the beginning of wars in Afghanistan and Iraq more than a decade ago. Three airmen were killed when, according to witnesses, the KC-135 they were flying exploded Friday over Kyrgyzstan.

Fairchild crew reportedly lost

An aerial tanker jet reportedly flown by a Fairchild Air Force Base crew crashed Friday in the rugged mountains of Kyrgyzstan, the Central Asian nation where the U.S. operates an air base key to the war in Afghanistan. Military officials would not disclose where the KC-135 Stratotanker or its crew was from, but Reuters News Service reported that congressional sources were being advised that the tanker was from McConnell Air Force Base in Kansas and the three-member crew was from Fairchild on Spokane County’s West Plains.

Fairchild crew reportedly aboard crashed tanker

CHALDOVAR, Kyrgyzstan — A U.S. military tanker refueling plane crashed today in the rugged mountains of Kyrgyzstan, the Central Asian nation where the U.S. operates a military base key to the war in Afghanistan. There was no immediate word on casualties. The search for survivors was complicated by the harsh terrain of soaring mountains and deep valleys.

Fairchild tanker meeting Tuesday

The Air Force will discuss the possible effects of sending its first new air-refueling tankers to its base on the West Plains at a meeting next Tuesday. A session described as a drop-in open house scoping meeting will allow the military to show the public what it would mean to have Fairchild Air Force Base as the first main operating base for the new KC-46A and let members of the public say what they think about it.

50 years ago, 44 men died when KC-135 crashed before landing

The KC-135 tanker was on its approach to Fairchild Air Force Base on a foggy September morning 50 years ago when the air traffic control tower lost radar and radio contact.    The tanker, call sign Mourn 79, was due in from Ellsworth Air Force Base in South Dakota. It was somewhere west of Blanchard, Idaho, along a path that took it over Mount Spokane and Mount Kit Carson, when contact was lost. Although a tanker usually carried a crew of four – pilot, co-pilot, navigator and boom operator – Mourn 79 had 44 on board. Ellsworth was getting ready to repair its runway, and the plane, along with other air and ground crews, and one civilian adviser who worked for a spark plug company, were being sent temporarily to Fairchild.

Fairchild crew answers call to refuel F-16s

Eight fighter aircraft in need of fuel flanked the wings of the larger plane. One by one, the highly maneuverable F-16 Fighting Falcons, called the Thunderbirds, dropped to position themselves under the belly of the KC-135 Stratotanker during a refueling mission Monday morning.

43 years after rescue, pilots finally meet

MODESTO – Wayne Hague always wondered whatever happened to the pilot whose crippled plane he refueled and escorted to safety over North Vietnam in 1967. Ron Catton always wondered about that pilot who kept him from having to bail out of his F-4C Phantom fighter and right into a suite at the Hanoi Hilton.

Boeing to build new tanker

The Boeing Co. was chosen to build the next generation of U.S. Air Force tankers that will replace some of the KC-135s.