Officials inspect planes flown by 128th Air Refueling Wing

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Four in-air emergencies in a little more than two months. That has some people worrying about the safety of the planes used by Wisconsin's 128th Air Refueling Wing. However, officials with the Air National Guard unit say they've done plenty of investigating and insist the plans are perfectly safe.

Master Sergeant Matthew Kuspa walked FOX6 News through one of the KC-135 air refueling tankers on Friday, June 28th. Inspectors check every part of the plane; something they do every two years. Even so, the safety of these massive 50-year-old planes has come into question after four in-air emergencies since April 19th.

"One in-flight emergency is too many. So we take it very seriously when we have an in-flight emergency. Of course, having four of them within a short period of time is concerning to us," said Captain John Capra.

But Capra says each of the four emergencies were considered "non-critical."

"That is by definition, items that address abnormalities requiring immediate attention but not necessarily immediate action," said Capra.

Capra says the issues ranged from condensation mistaken for smoke, to a bad fuel flow sensor, to broken hydraulic and oil pressure equipment. Officials say in each case, the crews encountered problems they're trained to face. After taking a closer look, officials found no signs of a trend and insist the only thing in common was smart thinking by the pilots.

"That's comforting to us to know that they took the right approach, everyone followed their checklist, everybody did what they were supposed to do," said Capra.

While the planes are about 50 years old, officials say the engines were replaced 18 years ago. The Air National Guard planes to use these planes through 2040.