Altus_The Air Force flew a high-flying mission over Altus on Friday, with the goal of educating farmers about the Air Force during Farm-City Week. Many farmers tagged along as a KC-135 airplane refueled a C-17 plane in mid-air. A boom lowers from the plane and connects to the C-17 which provides the momentum for both aircraft during the mission.
7News Reporter Garret Krier and Chief Photographer Oliver Knop laid in the belly of the plane, and watched out a back window as the entire process unfolded. While it's something the Air Force does daily, amounting to thousands of times per year, many folks never get to see it first-hand.
Jimmy Smart was a passenger on Friday, and had a lot to say after witnessing the process. "To be with another plane 30 feet from your plane, and they're both the biggest planes you've ever seen - it's just amazing." Boom Operator Doug Boren agrees - he describes his job as amazing. It's his job to control the boom and make sure the two airplanes connect properly. "Anytime we can take the guys up from the community, here, and showcase the mission that we do out here at Altus Air Force Base, it's always a good deal."
Local farmer Rodney Nichols described his view just a few feet away from the mission. "The big plane comes up behind you, and it's almost unnerving to have that big plane so close to you - it's pretty exciting." Lieutenant Shawn Teagan flew the plane, and has been around the world and back too many times to count. "It's an amazing opportunity to represent the United States in doing its business," he said. "Whether it's for humanitarian aid to help out the hurricane victims in the U.S., or to famine victims in Africa."The farmers and the 7News crew flew in the KC-135 that holds about 30,000 gallons of fuel, and in tough areas it can refuel fast. It can pump about 1,000 gallons per minute into another aircraft. Taking farmers and community members up on the mission was all a part of Farm-City Week which is used to promote better relations between farmers, the base's military members, and Altus residents.
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