The Harrisburg Air National Guard Base actually has units spread around all of PA. The former Olmstead Air Force Base next to the civilian Capital City Airport, State College and Muir Army Airfield at Fort Indiantown Gap.The Air Refueling Wing is based at the Pittsburgh International Airport in Coraopolis, PA.[Image: F-15C Eagles from the 67th Fighter Squadron at Kadena Air Base, Japan, are refueled by a KC-135R Stratotanker from the 909th Air Refueling Squadron during joint bilateral training with other U.S. forces and the Japan Air Self Defense Force Feb. 25, 2010. By U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Angelique Perez [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons]It provides aerial refueling capability to U.S. and Allied forces worldwide using the KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft.The KC-135 was the US Air Force's first jet-powered refueling tanker and replaced the KC-97 Stratofreighter. The KC-135 was initially tasked with refueling strategic bombers.What is remarkable is the length of service, now 60 years since its first flights in 1956.Studies have concluded that many of the aircraft could be flown until 2040, although maintenance costs have greatly increased. The aircraft will eventually be replaced by the Boeing KC-46 Pegasus.What many people don't realize is the manufacturer, Boeing, used a widely popular commercial airliner, the Boeing 707 in its design of the KC-135. So next time you fly consider the plane you are flying retrofitted to haul a tank of gas to thirsty military planes doing a long flight mission.This isn't a plane you just pull up to fill up. Here are some amazing performance facts of this faithful work horse of the US Air Force...First off, as a refueling tanker designers have used practically every square inch for that primary mission. As upgrades occurred over the years there are fuel tanks in the body and in the wing.Not only is there room made for its own fuel, the K-135, has several separate tanks to allow different types of fuel to be carried for the requirements for different types of planes.Of course with this much fuel increasing payload weight you need to have the right engines to power it. A sweeping upgrade from Pratt & Whitney original engines to General Electric/Snecma engines has produced the following impressive results (improvements over the original).[list][*]22,500 lbs of thrust (+100%)[*]Fuel efficient (+25%)[*]Engine Maintenance costs (-25%)[*]Quieter at Takeoff (-25%)[/list]With the K-135 having increased maintenance costs and some reaching the total flying limits by 2040 the DOD plan is to slowly replace these reliable workhorses with another Boeing commercial cousin, the Boeing 767 and with the military tag Boeing KC-46 Pegasus.We give tribute to the important role the Harrisburg Air National Guard Defense plays as part of our state and nation's defense in the kickoff of our latest Harrisburg video.
It's all a bit of shock. The darkness closes in sooner like a drawn curtain. The days become cooler. There's a barrage of sights and sounds that tell us that summer is gone and fall is here.For summer lovers it can be a sad time. But soon our senses are overwhelmed by the beauty of fall. Here are a few of the top reasons we love fall.Fall Flowers Trumpet Fall Colors..While summer flowers emphasize more of the bright primary colors fall flowers and trees fill in the rest of the color palate.While traditional garden mums are my all time favorite fall flower check out this colorful collection to inspire your love for the fall season colors. We Fall For The Weather...Depending on where you live of course winter can be too cold, spring too wet and summer too hot. With sunny bright days, comfortable temperatures and low humidity fall weather is typically perfect!I love to run and bike and I'm often amazed how the warm sun and cooler air makes for perfect conditions to enjoy the outside. The warm sun and cooler evenings make outdoor walks, hikes on trails the absolute best time of year.The Smells of Fall...There's a different sense all around when you smell someone's fireplace or fire pit smoke in the clear air. Nothing against the neighbor's grilling out over the summer the fall brings a different perspective with every wisp of smoke you smell.The Sounds of Autumn...If you think enjoy the outdoors was fun, how about crunching fallen leaves under your feet? Have you ever tried to crackle as many at one time as possible? There's absolutely nothing like it year round. Perhaps it's nature's fix for folks who love to pop plastic bubble wrap? My other theory is that as adults it's our way of jumping in the leaves as kids. I remember taking huge tarp full of leaves out to our back woods and our kids loved falling into them from our zip line.No Fall sounds like the screams of a child's joy and crunching leaves.Take the time to enjoy the sights and sounds of this special time of year.