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Air Tanker Flaws Not New

The wings of five airtankers linked to the same Wyoming company have snapped off in mid-flight since 1979.

The crash last June of a C-130-A owned by Hawkins and Powers Aviation of Greybull, Wyoming was caught by a television crew and broadcast worldwide.

One month later, a Hawkins and Powers plane fighting a Colorado fire also lost a wing in mid-flight, killing its two crewmen.

Now, an Associated Press review of public records shows the wings snapped off two other Hawkins and Powers' planes in 1987 and 1979. A fifth plane previously owned by the company crashed in 1994, also in a wing failure.

The government permanently ended the firefighting use of all surviving C-130 and PB4Y-2 aircraft, saying contractors could not guarantee the safety of the planes.


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