Proposal calls for more C-17s at Altus Air Force Base - - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - |

Proposal calls for more C-17s at Altus Air Force Base

ALTUS, Okla. (AP) _ The U.S. Air Force would bring eight more C-17 Globemaster III cargo airplanes to the Altus Air Force Base for maintenance and transfer a fleet of eight C-5 Galaxy planes elsewhere under a proposal made public this week.

Gwen Brewer, public affairs director for the base's 97th Air Mobility Wing, said the maintenance group for the C-5 aircraft would remain at the base to work on the C-17s.

``People here would have to be found to do the C-17 work,'' Brewer said. ``It'll probably balance out.''

The additional C-17 aircraft would mean a total of 18 of the $240 million cargo planes would be stationed at the base.

The proposal also calls for existing C-5 facilities to be converted for use by C-17 planes and for new facilities to be built for the C-17s. The C-5 planes, which are nearly as long as a football field and as tall as a six story building, are slightly bigger than the newer C-17s.

Due to airspace considerations, 24 KC-135 Stratotanker refueling planes would do transition training at other airfields but continue to be maintained at Altus Air Force Base.

Under the proposal, C-17 aircrews would conduct low-level navigation training on 14 existing routes in Oklahoma and Texas, and night vision training would be carried out at Clinton-Sherman Industrial Park at Burns Flat.

One proposal includes creating a short assault strip for the C-17s at the Sooner Drop Zone near Gould in Harmon County to be used for ``touch and go'' exercises. The drop zone is currently used for airdrop exercises for the training of C-17 pilots and loadmasters.

The proposals are laid out in a draft environmental assessment and proposed Finding of No Significant Impact prepared by the 97th Air Mobility Wing.

Brewer said it is ``only a proposal'' and public input would be welcomed.
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