Doomed Airtanker Former CIA Plane
A firefighting tanker plane that crashed in California last June had a secret history. It once flew spy missions for the CIA.
A federal safety investigator says some records on the plane are missing – hindering the investigation of the crash that killed three crew members.
Investigators are not sure how long the plane flew with a wing assembly that eventually broke off. It could have been as little as 3,000 hours – or as long as 20,000 hours.
The revelation has renewed criticism of the Forest Service for putting the surplus military plane to work fighting fires. It was one of nearly two-dozen the Air Force released to private contractors in the late 1980s and early ´90s under an aircraft exchange program.